If you’re looking into applying for overseas teaching jobs, whether they’re English as a Second Language (ESL) positions or roles for experienced teachers, you will undoubtedly come across something called a Teaching English as a Foreign Language, or TEFL certification. And as a result, you’re probably wondering if earning a TEFL qualification is something you should do.
Regardless of other qualifications and experiences you’ve accumulated, a TEFL certification is always a powerful addition to your resume. It will give you priority over other candidates who may be equally qualified otherwise and it will fast track you through your application process with Teach Away if you choose to apply through the University of Toronto TEFL program. Further, it will differentiate you from competition in the eyes of principals and hiring staff around the globe. Even when a TEFL qualification is not required, it is always noted.
Want to find out your earning potential teaching anywhere in the world? Get a decent idea of what you can expect with the help of our free teach abroad salary calculator!
Now, here’s how a TEFL qualification applies to you depending on your other qualifications and experience:
Bachelor’s degree + TEFL certificate
These are the minimum preferred qualifications for any teaching jobs abroad. If you don’t have a teaching license and are seeking an overseas teaching job, you should have both a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. With these under your belt, you may be lucky enough to find ESL teaching jobs in countries such as China, Japan, and Korea.
Bachelor’s degree + teaching license + TEFL certificate
With these qualifications, you will be qualified for plenty of teaching positions in countries all around the world. Although your TEFL certification cannot replace years of experience, it can be the difference maker between you and a licensed teacher with the same or similar teaching experience. Your TEFL certificate will be beneficial both when your resume gets in the hands of a Teach Away placement coordinator and again when it reaches the principal overseas in charge of hiring.
Bachelor’s degree + teaching license + 5 or more years teaching experience + TEFL certificate
In addition to positions requiring under 5 years of experience, a degree, teaching license, and five or more years of classroom experience tend to be the baseline for higher paying teaching positions. Among these are often high paying openings in the United Arab Emirates in cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Adding a TEFL qualification distinguishes the candidate from others with similar experience at both the Teach Away recruitment level and at the hiring level. Expect more interviews when you add TEFL to your resume.
Here’s a little more about TEFL that applies to everyone:
- There is no organization to accredit TEFL qualifications, so you will want to make sure the TEFL course you take is issued by a highly reputable body so that your certification is internationally recognized.
- Your TEFL course should be at least 100 hours in length as this is the commonly accepted minimum TEFL course length by most schools
- TEFL is distinctively different from TESL and TESOL, and we have a great resource to explain how they differ here: What’s the difference between TEFL, TESL, and TESOL?
- TEF courses, such as the Unviersity of Toronto TEFL Online, may come with options to specialize in certain areas such as:
Make this the year you qualify to teach abroad. To learn more and compare our courses, click here.