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Online TEFL course versus in-class course certification

Posted: 03 Feb 2015, 07:29
by mpalke1
I am looking into getting my TEFL certification and I would like to take a 120 hour online course, but I was wondering if it is much more difficult to get a job with the online certificate as opposed to the in class certificate? I will be applying for jobs in Europe and specifically in Portugal so if anyone knows anything specifically related to these areas, it would be greatly appreciated!

Re: Online TEFL course verses in class course certification

Posted: 03 Feb 2015, 20:46
by Briona
Hi there,

While it's certainly possible to find work in Europe with just an online TEFL certificate (assuming you meet the other criteria), an increasing number of employers look for more intensive face-to-face qualifications such as the CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL. This is because these courses include the all-important 6hrs of observed and assessed teaching practice where you teach real students as opposed to your fellow trainees.

I've worked in Portugal and can tell you that (a) most schools required their teachers to have one of the aforementioned qualifications and (b) there is no way in hell I would have wanted to step into a Portuguese classroom with just an online TEFL certificate to my name.


Re: Online TEFL course verses in class course certification

Posted: 04 Feb 2015, 08:25
by mpalke1
Thanks Briona! I have a Bachelors Degree and a little bit of experience teaching in Thailand, but honestly this is all very new to me. How difficult will it be for me to get a job there as a U.S. citizen? I will be looking for a job that starts in September or October but I'm trying to get an early jump on obtaining all of the info I will need. My girlfriend and I would like to live and work in Portugal and travel all over Europe for at least a year but we're not sure if that is possible as non-EU citizens. Any advice at all about living and working in Portugal would extremely helpful and appreciated. And if you don't think that Portugal is a good idea for us, do you have any other suggestions? Thank you!

Re: Online TEFL course verses in class course certification

Posted: 04 Feb 2015, 10:12
by Briona
Hi again,

When I said 'meeting the criteria', the main thing I was referring to was nationality. As a non-EU citizen, you will not be able to find legal work in Portugal or elsewhere in (Western) Europe. This is because EU hiring law dictates that employers cannot just hire non-EU citizens, they first have to prove that there were no EU citizens who could do the job. When it comes to EFL teaching, this is not a very likely proposition.

Your next problem is that thanks to Schengen law, legally you can only stay in Europe for 90 days out of any 180 days. Leaving the country you're in does NOT 'restart the clock' - you actually need to stay away from not just that country but the entire Schengen zone for a further 90 days.

For more on teaching in Europe, have a look at the advice guide I wrote: ... urope.html.

Hope that helps, and if you have any other Qs, please ask.


Re: Online TEFL course verses in class course certification

Posted: 23 Nov 2015, 08:56
by Lucie
Lots of people from outside the EU work as English language teachers and assistants. As no EU countries (obviously not including UK as part of "EU") speak English as a first language, they are always wanting native English speakers to teach English as a foreign language.

Many countries have a School language assistant program where they seek out English speakers from UK, North America, Australia etc to help in schools. Salary is not much - basically just enough to live frugally on - but then under this program you only work about 25 hours and are allowed to pick up extra paid work doing something else at the same time & you have a visa to travel throughout Europe for a longer period of time (up to 1 year at a time).
http://highereducation.frenchculture.or ... -in-france ... -eeuu.html

The Schengen agreement that Briona refers to (90 days in 180 days) is only one type of visa you can get. They have other visas for working, volunteering, studying, and staying longer term. You would have to contact the specific country's embassy to determine if you are eligible for one of these visas.

It is true that it is harder for a non-EU citizen to live and work in Europe, but that does not mean it is not possible.