TEFL or “Teaching English as a Foreign Language” is often used as an acronym for the qualification or certificate itself. TEFL is not one single qualification but is a term used to describe courses normally similar in length and depth, most notably CELTA and Trinity. They are designed as entry level courses although experienced teachers often take them to improve their career prospects. Being TEFL certified is by far the most useful qualification for new teachers. This is now widely regarded as the industry standard.
From the employers’ point of view, the most respected, for new teachers is a certified course lasting between 100-130 hours which includes some (usually 6 hours) actual teaching. These courses typically take place over an intensive 4 weeks. Some centres have a part-time option, spreading the programme over a number of months.
A lot is crammed into a tight schedule. TEFL courses will cover language analysis, teaching methodology, observations of experienced teachers and actual teaching practice, amongst other things. Some find it hard going but almost all come away feeling it was well worth the time, effort and money and are ready to teach English abroad.
There is no escaping the fact that TEFL is expensive. Courses range from $1300 to $2000. Inevitably this puts many people off. There are cheaper options but they will not be as comprehensive and will not help your prospects of finding a good job nearly as much.
The standard 100-130 hour intensive TEFL course is also sometimes distinguished from shorter ones by being referred to as “full TEFL”. This is the area most covered in this chapter. (more…)