Basic TEFL Qualifications
Is there an age limit for TEFL?
People of all ages
teach English. Indeed, many trainees in TEFL certificate courses have retired
from their traditional professional lives. Schools often favour more mature
teachers who can perhaps bring the benefit of business or professional
experience to their lessons. Many people have started a second career in TEFL
in middle age.
Do I need to be qualified to teach EFL?
are not always essential, especially in certain parts of the world and for
certain schools. In some countries, simply being a native speaker of English is
enough. In others, a university degree in any subject, without any teaching or
English qualifications, will suffice. Having said that, there is no doubt that
a recognised TEFL qualification of some kind will open more doors, more
rapidly, in more countries and at higher salaries. It will also be of practical
value to you personally - not to mention your students - in giving you the
confidence, skills and experience that will put you at ease in a classroom.
Can I teach EFL if I am not a native
Everything depends on your level. If you are bilingual or of
near-native level, you can enrol in TEFL courses and teach EFL just as any
native speaker. If your level is lower than this, you may be able to teach but
only within your own country or in more remote parts of the world.
Can I do a TEFL course if I am not a graduate?
Although many centres require candidates to have a university degree in some
discipline, it is equally possible to find others where the only requirements
are a good command of English and a good educational background.
What qualifications are there for TEFL?
standard international TEFL qualification currently exists. In North and
Central America and much of the Far East, the most important qualification is a
good first degree. In the European Union, the British Commonwealth and much of
South America and Central Europe qualification means having passed a 70-hour
TEFL course (including observed teaching practice) and often, but not always,
having a university degree in any discipline.
Although various TEFL courses exist, those that are validated by
external bodies, such as the Cambridge/RSA or Trinity College, London
certificates, are usually preferred.
Cambridge ELT Certificate (CELTA)
course is often considered to be the reference for TEFL qualifications and is
widely respected internationally. The full name is the Cambridge ELT
Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). This replaces the
previous Certificate in Teaching of English as a Foreign Language to Adults
(CTEFLA). CELTA places great emphasis on teaching practice. With over 8,000
enrolments worldwide per year, CELTA is clearly the most popular TEFL course
among teachers. It is externally validated by the University of Cambridge Local
Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).
CELTA courses are usually 4-week intensive programmes although
it is sometimes possible to take the course on a part-time basis. In all CELTA
courses, observed teaching practice is an important and integral part of the
Entry requirements for CELTA courses vary somewhat from centre
to centre. Although the course is open to native and non-native speakers, all
candidates must be interviewed and take a language awareness test. Some centres
require candidates to be graduates while others accept candidates with a good
general education and command of English.
There are more than 200 centres offering CELTA courses in over
40 countries around the world. The course cost varies depending on centre.
Trinity Certificate in TESOL
About 4,000 candidates
annually qualify for the Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English
to Speakers of Other Languages. The Trinity syllabus is strictly controlled
with basic requirements common to all validated centres. All trainees are, for
example, expected to experience learning a foreign language.
The course may be full-time, usually following a 4- to 6-week
intensive programme with 130 tuition hours, or part-time over a number of
months. In many Trinity centres, it is possible to take a short, presessional
course as an introduction, while some centres also offer a correspondence
module in addition to the main programme.
Entry requirements vary between a good educational background
and a university degree, with a good command of English obviously being a prime
requirement. No distinction is made between native and non-native speakers.
Most Trinity Centres are in the UK although there are now a
growing number overseas. The course cost varies depending on centre.
Other TEFL courses
There are various other
TEFL-related courses, some of them preparatory, some specialized, some run by
chain schools who wish to train teachers in their own particular methods.
Short, introductory courses can be useful to help you decide whether TEFL is
for you or in the event that you cannot afford a full certificate course.
Specialized courses (eg business English or neuro-linguistic programming) are
useful for experienced teachers who wish to develop their careers.
Where can I find TEFL courses?
TEFL.net's TEFL Courses listings or EnglishClub's lists of TEFL course providers.
Where can I find work once I have a certificate?
classified advertisements, look at jobs offered at
TEFL.net ESL Jobs. You can also post your
resume there free. The EL Gazette has monthly listings in its paper
journal. The Times Educational Supplement, the Guardian and many
other newspapers carry announcements.