How to choose a TEFL course

How to choose a TEFL course

Updated December 21, 2021

Update on TEFL courses in 2022

A TEFL certificate is still considered the top ESL qualification by schools around the world hiring international English teachers for their school!


Do you want to get certified to teach abroad, but aren't sure how to choose a TEFL course?

In this short video, we’ll explain how to choose a TEFL certification that’s right for you and everything you need to know about getting TEFL certified in 5 minutes.

The basics

What is TEFL? Well, TEFL stands for teaching English as a foreign language and it is a certificate that qualifies you to teach English in any non-English speaking country. It is by far the most commonly requested and most well known English teaching certificate worldwide.

There are other ESL certifications out there that might seem similar to the TEFL certification, but TESL & TESOL serve different purposes. TESL stands for teaching English as a second language and qualifies you to teach within an English-speaking country. TESOL will qualify you to teach both within an English-speaking country and a non-English-speaking country.

But be careful! This is a term that is often misused. In general, your TESOL certificate will need to be over 250 hours in order for you to teach within a country like Canada or the United States. Anything less will only qualify you to teach overseas.

Teaching English online

When it comes to teaching English online, you’ll also need a TEFL certificate. On top of this, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree for most online teaching jobs. You’ll work as an independent contractor which means you can have flexible work hours and can set your own schedule. You’ll earn between 18 and 25 dollars per hour and the type of students can vary. But the best part is that you can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have a steady internet connection and a webcam!

Do I really need a TEFL?

Who is a TEFL certificate for? Everyone! A TEFL certificate is always a good idea. Whether you’re already an experienced or licensed teacher or new to teaching, a TEFL will help you learn the basics of teaching ESL. TEFL is beneficial for:

  • Individuals seeking an English teaching position online or in a foreign country.
  • Individuals with little to no teaching experience who want to learn the basics.
  • Teachers who want to learn skills to teach English Language Learners (ELLs).
  • Licensed teachers who would like to add English teaching to their repertoire.

A TEFL course will teach you how to: 

  • Teach English language skills.
  • Simplify English grammar.
  • Plan a lesson.
  • Manage a classroom.
  • Build effective learning materials.

How to choose the right course for you

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about choosing the right TEFL course for you. So, how do I find a reputable TEFL course?

Here are top tips from our TEFL Course Advisors on choosing the right TEFL course for you:

1. Choose a course with great reviews. Check out sites like or to find out what other students thought about the course and whether or not it got them hired!

BONUS: Be wary of any TEFL course that offers a guaranteed job!

2. Ensure the instructors have the right credentials. There is no global standard for TEFL meaning anyone can make and sell a TEFL course. That’s why you want to make sure the instructors know a thing or two about teaching.

BONUS: Accreditation does not guarantee quality.

3. Choose a course that suits your learning style. Nowadays, both online and on-site or in-person TEFL courses will land you an English teaching job. Choose a course that has an engaging curriculum and that fits your lifestyle.

BONUS: A TEFL practicum is not a requirement for landing a teaching job. Teaching experience is measured in years - not hours. Whatever course you choose, make sure you select the right number of hours of TEFL training (100+ hours). The number of hours of TEFL training will impact the types of job for which you qualify. For instance, you’ll need a 120-hour course for online teaching. Be sure your certificate states the correct number of hours - additional modules can be great, but may not always count towards your TEFL certificate.

Where can I teach abroad?

There are different regional requirements that should be taken into consideration when you’re deciding on the right length of TEFL course for you.

This chart is an excerpt from Teach Away’s TEFL country comparison chart that outlines some of the basic requirements for popular destinations. Make sure that you’re choosing a destination and taking a TEFL course that’s right for you.

tefl country comparison chart excerpt

The OISE TEFL Course

Let’s take a closer look at the OISE University of Toronto TEFL course. The course is 100% online and completely self-paced. This means that you can get TEFL certified from anywhere in the world, at a pace that fits your schedule. On average students complete the course in as little as 6 weeks, but do have one year to complete the course.

There are no prerequisites which means you can enroll at any time. This course is also internationally recognized and reflects the reputation of a world-class, top 20 university that is globally recognized for its academic excellence.

And last but not least, our 120 and 150-hour courses offer you two specializations that make your certificate stand out! These specializations are a unique feature of the OISE TEFL course. You direct your own ESL teaching career by choosing the areas in which you’d like to become an expert.  OISE TEFL Specializations: 

To learn more about the OISE University of Toronto TEFL course, visit If you still have questions about TEFL or teaching abroad, please email our TEFL Course Advisors at at

Enroll in the OISE TEFL certification through Teachaway


How much do l need to pay to complete the course online. Do l sit for examination at the end.Do l pay additional money to get my certificate after completion
Hi Seth,

Learners have one year from the date of enrollment to complete the course , but the course takes 6-12 weeks on average to complete with an hour or two of daily work.

- Elspeth

Elspeth Chalmers
If I have an ESL certificate in Texas…. I have taught for 35 years which course would I need?
Maria Pena
thanks for all your helpful info. I would like to teach business english online. If I take a course is it likely that those who provide the course can assist with locating teaching gigs? keep up the good work.
Please how long does the course take from start to the taking of the exams?

How much do I pay?


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