What is TEFL - What is ESL? - What is TESL? - ESL Websites - TEFL Job

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the differences between TEFL, TESL and TESOL? How long does it take to complete the TEFL Online course? Does a TEFL certificate expire? Find the answers to these frequently asked questions and more below.

TEFL Certification

What is TEFL?

  1. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and a TEFL certificate qualifies teachers to teach English to students in countries where English is not the first language.
  2. A TEFL certificate prepares new and experienced teachers to teach in the foreign language classroom and is the most widely recognized international qualification to teach English.
  3. A TEFL certification is often required for international teaching jobs.

Is a TEFL certificate required to teach abroad?

A TEFL certificate is a requirement for most international teaching jobs abroad. Even in cases where a TEFL certificate is not specified as a requirement, it is always noticed by international employers and could be the distinguishing factor between you and other teach-abroad candidates.

What's the difference between TEFL, TESL and TESOL?

The terms TEFL, TESL and TESOL refer to similar, but distinct, ESL teaching qualifications. For more on these distinctions please visit our What’s the difference between TEFL, TESL and TESOL? blog for more information on these commonly used acronyms.

Can a TEFL certificate be used to teach subjects other than English?

Yes. A TEFL certificate prepares teachers to adapt their teaching across different subjects (not just English) for instruction to English Language Learners (ELLs). What is commonly referred to as “academic English” is becoming a requirement for foreign language students looking to attend English-speaking colleges and universities.

What is the difference between a TEFL certification and a teaching license?

A TEFL certification is not a teaching license. A teaching license is issued to teachers by their state or provincial issuing body and certifies them to teach in schools in their home country. A TEFL certificate prepares individuals of all experience levels to instruct students in English in the foreign language classroom.

Does a TEFL certificate expire?

No. A TEFL certification is a lifetime certificate and never expires.

The University of Toronto TEFL Online Course

What is the relationship between the University of Toronto and Teach Away?

The University of Toronto TEFL Online certification course was designed and developed by professors of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education. Upon completion of the program, graduates will receive a TEFL certificate issued directly from the university. Teach Away delivers the TEFL Online course, and coordinates all aspects of the program including general queries, enrollment and collection of course fees, technical support and coordination of certificates.

For more on this professional relationship, click here.

What will I learn in the TEFL Online course?

In the TEFL Online course you will learn strategies to effectively teach in a foreign language classroom to students whose first language is not English.

The TEFL Online certification course will teach you how to…
1. Plan Lessons Plan and deliver effective lessons that meet class learning objectives and promote productive learning.
2. Manage a Classroom Manage a classroom and student behaviour to create a welcoming and safe learning environment.
3. Teach English Language Skills Teach key core language skills such as reading, writing, speaking, listening, pronunciation and grammar.
4. Identify Learning Styles Identify different learning styles and adapt lessons to suit students and their needs.
5. Build Effective Learning Materials Find, adapt and personalize a wide variety of text-based and digital materials for the classroom
6. Learn Specialized Teaching Strategies* Learn teaching strategies for a variety of specialized areas such as Teaching Business English or Teaching English to Young Learners.

*In the 120 and 150-hour courses you are required to complete specialized training in two areas of English language instruction

For detailed information on what you will learn, review the TEFL Online Curriculum.

Is the The University of Toronto TEFL Online certification course accredited?

TEFL courses are not accredited. Institutions or universities can be accredited, but there is no official external accrediting or evaluation body to govern the standards of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) courses.

The TEFL Online course was designed by the University of Toronto, which is an internationally recognized university and ranked as one of the top 20 universities in the world. Upon completion of the course, graduates receive a certificate issued by the University of the Toronto.

What's the difference between the 100, 120 and 150-hour TEFL Online course?

100-HOUR TEFL ONLINE COURSE* 120-HOUR TEFL ONLINE COURSE 150-HOUR TEFL ONLINE COURSE
Includes: 6 core course units Includes: 6 core course units

2 units of specialization

Includes: 8 core course units

2 units of specialization

1 additional unit on teaching abroad

Introduction to English Language Teaching (10 hours) Introduction to English Language Teaching (10 hours) Introduction to English Language Teaching (10 hours)
Teaching Language Skills (25 hours) Teaching Language Skills (25 hours) Teaching Language Skills (25 hours)
Adapting Subject-Specific Content (10 hours) Adapting Subject-Specific Content (10 hours) Adapting Subject-Specific Content (10 hours)
Structuring and Delivering Lessons (20 hours) Structuring and Delivering Lessons (20 hours) Structuring and Delivering Lessons (20 hours)
Classroom Management (25 hours) Classroom Management (25 hours) Classroom Management (25 hours)
Resources and Materials (10 hours) Resources and Materials (10 hours) Resources and Materials (10 hours)
Elective Specialization (10 hours) Elective Specialization (10 hours)
Elective Specialization (10 hours) Elective Specialization (10 hours)
Digital Technology in the Classroom (10 hours)
Learner-Centred Lessons (10 hours)
Teaching Abroad (10 hours)

*Teach Away considers a 100-hour TEFL course to be the minimum requirement for teaching jobs requiring a TEFL certification. While there is no international standard, most international schools will only accept a TEFL certification that is a minimum of 100 hours.
For more detailed information, please review the TEFL Online Curriculum.

Is there a teaching practicum?

No. There are no live or in-class components to the TEFL Online course and no teaching practicum. A practicum is not a requirement for all TEFL jobs. Teaching practice completed as part of a TEFL course does not count towards years of full-time teaching experience when applying to jobs.

Which TEFL specializations should I choose?

If you are enrolled in the 120 or 150-hour TEFL Online course, you are required to complete two elective specializations. If you have specific career goals in mind (for example, teaching English in the Middle East or Korea or China) you may want to tailor your certification to become a stronger candidate for those positions. If you’re interested in using your TEFL certificate as a way to travel the world, you may wish to choose specializations that prepare you to adapt to a variety of working environments such as Teaching English to Young Learners or Teaching Business English.

Before beginning specialization units, all teachers will develop a foundation in ESL pedagogy and teaching techniques from the units in the core curriculum.

Note: Specializations can be added at anytime during the course, and you do not need to decide your specializations when you enroll.

What are the prerequisites to enroll?

There are no prerequisites to enroll in the TEFL Online course. Enrollment can be completed at anytime and you can begin the course instantly. To start the course, visit our Enrollment Page.

How much does TEFL Online cost?

The 100-hour University of Toronto TEFL Online course is $995, the 120-hour course is $1295 and the 150-hour TEFL course is $1495.

If you reside in Canada, prices displayed are in Canadian dollars. If you reside in the US or internationally prices are displayed in US dollars. To start the course, visit our Enrollment Page.

What are the available methods of payment?

Payment for the course is collected online. TEFL Online accepts Visa, American Express, Mastercard, and Paypal as methods of payment. If you would like to pay for the course by Wire Transfer directly at your local bank, please contact us at teflonline@teachaway.com to request an invoice.

Can I pay for the course in installments?

No. Payment for the course is due in full at enrollment and payment plans are not available.

Completing the TEFL Online Course

When can I start the TEFL Online course?

Anytime you choose! There are no fixed enrollment dates for the course and you can begin the course as soon as you enroll.

Is the course 100% online?

Yes.

Do I have to be in Canada to complete the course?

No. The TEFL Online course is 100% online and you can complete your TEFL training from any country worldwide.

How long does it take to complete the course?

On average, the 100-hour TEFL Online course takes approximately 6-8 weeks to complete, the 120-hour course takes 8-10 weeks, and the 150-hour course takes around 10-12 weeks. You will have a maximum of one year to complete the course.

Is there a deadline to complete the course? Does the course expire?

You will have a maximum of one year to complete the course from the day you enroll. After this time you will not be able to access the course materials. In special cases, extensions can be granted for teachers requiring extra access. If you are currently enrolled and have a question concerning your course please contact the TEFL Support team atteflsupport@teachaway.com

Are books or materials required to complete the course?

No. Books and physical materials are not required for the course. All materials needed to complete the TEFL Online course will be available online through the course platform.

How long will I have access to the course? Can I download the course content?

Once your certificate has been issued, your user account will be deactivated and you will not be able to access the course materials. There are a multitude of pdf documents and reflective activities available for download in each lesson. You are encouraged to download all materials as well as take active notes throughout the course as you would in any lecture. The course as a whole cannot be downloaded.

How will I be assessed? Is there a final exam?

Assessments consist of written assignments and tests. There will be a written assignment, called a reflection journal, and a final test for you to complete in each unit . Reflection journals are written responses to questions posed throughout a unit. At the end of each unit, there is a multiple choice test covering all material in the unit. After all units have been completed there is a final exam testing on all materials.

The passing grade for all assignments and tests is 70%. In the event that you fail a test or assignment you can re-attempt it as many times as needed to achieve a passing grade.

All tests and the final exam are multiple choice and completed 100% online.

What are the technical requirements to complete the course? What type of computer/device do I need to complete the course?

Computers/Devices

TEFL Online is in full compliance with mobile and desktop web standards. Users can complete the certificate using any web-enabled device. PCs using Windows 7 or later, Macs using OSx 10.6 or later, iPads running iOS 6 or later, Android tablets running Android 4.0 or later

Browsers

TEFL Online is optimized for use in Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers

Other technical requirements:

  • A steady high-speed internet connection
  • Adobe Reader
  • Microsoft Word (or the ability to open .docx documents)

The course may work on other devices, browsers, and with a data connection however this will limit the amount of help and support TEFL Online can offer students. Students currently residing in China, Vietnam or other countries with restrictions on internet access may experience difficulties while taking the course. This will limit the amount of help and support TEFL Online can offer students.

Can I complete the course from my phone or tablet?

The TEFL Online course is compatible with most electronic devices. The recommended device is a laptop or desktop, but the course can be accessed via a browser on most smartphones and tablets. A word processor (software or cloud-based) is a requirement to complete the course as you will need to download materials and submit assignments throughout. Please ensure the device you plan to use is equipped to download documents.

I’m having a technical issue in my course, what should I do?

If you are experiencing technical difficulty in your course, please email the TEFL Support at teflsupport@teachaway.com

How will I receive my certificate? How long will it take?

You will receive your certificate electronically by email and physically by mail. After you complete the TEFL Online program you can expect to receive a scanned copy of your certificate by email in approximately two weeks. Your physical certificate copy will arrive according to regular mailing times 4-6 weeks after course completion.

Certificates are sent via regular mail and mailing times vary according to your proximity Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Is job placement through Teach Away guaranteed?

No. Graduates of the TEFL Online program are not guaranteed job placement with Teach Away upon completion of the program. All candidates will be assessed based on their individual experience and education.

Teaching Abroad

What are the requirements to teach abroad? Do I need to be a native English speaker?

The widely accepted minimum requirements to teach abroad are a TEFL certificate and bachelor’s degree in any area. Teachers without a bachelor’s degree – while still hired abroad – may not be eligible to teach in certain countries and should expect to face a higher level of competition worldwide.
A native English speaker is someone who holds citizenship in a country where English is the first language. Some employers abroad may request native English speaking teachers, while others may require native English speaking teachers in order to comply with their country’s visa regulations.
Remember: Requirements vary from job to job. Many institutions abroad will also consider non-native English speaking teachers with native-level English fluency for teaching positions.

Do I need to know a foreign language?

No. You do not need to speak the local language of the country where you choose to teach. Today’s ministries of education, private institutions and universities use a communicative approach to teaching English requiring the teacher to speak with students entirely in English.

Does age matter?

Age is a requirement to obtain a work visa, and age requirements will depend on the country. Most countries set a minimum age (often the age of majority) and maximum age (often the age of retirement) to obtain a work visa. Age requirements are immigration policy, and not up to the discretion of schools or recruiters. If you are approaching the age of retirement you may wish to consult this comprehensive list outlining the age requirements to qualify for work visas in different countries.

Individuals of all experience levels and ages are welcome to register for the University of Toronto TEFL Online course.

How do I find a teaching job abroad?

There are many steps to finding a teaching jobs abroad. The TEFL Job Search Guide created by Teach Away will guide you through the 5 steps of landing an international teaching job. The guide includes information and advice on:

  • Choosing a destination
  • Qualifications & job requirements
  • Building a teacher resume
  • Finding jobs and how to apply
  • Tips from Teach Away recruiters

Do you have questions about TEFL? Request to speak with a course advisor today