Traveling the world and exploring new cultures can be expensive and sometimes difficult. Many people do not have the time to travel either because of their job or because they are in school. However, many people take a year off in between school and work to teach English abroad. This is a great opportunity because not only do you gain work experience, but you also can travel and get paid to explore a new culture!
But before you get too excited, you may want to think about getting certified to teach English abroad. Although not all countries require that you be certified, such as China, many programs will pay you more money if you are certified. Keep reading for more information on how to become certified to teach English abroad.
There are three types of certifications you can earn: TEFL, TESOL, and TESL. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. TESOL is Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. And TESL is Teaching English as a Second Language. Basically, all three certificates mean the same thing: you are qualified to teach English. However, there are some subtle differences in meaning and some programs require you to have a specific certificate. Luckily, many certification programs accredit you with all three types of certificates.
To make this easier to read, I am just going to refer to the teaching English certificate as TEFL from now on.
There are many ways to get TEFL certified. You can take online courses, you can take classes locally, or you can even go abroad and participate in intense training programs. Personally, I prefer not taking online courses. While it is convenient, it does not allow you to practice teaching a class-which, considering that is what you will be doing, I think is the most important element of a certification course.
In the U.S., there are TEFL seminars held throughout the year all over the country. Two examples are Oxford Seminars and LC Coaching. I took the Oxford Seminar course recently, and I had a great experience. While it is only a 60-hour course, compared to the LC Coaching’s 100-hour course, I felt it was a good overview of everything I needed to know and expect. Both of these seminars are offered on weekends, so as not to disrupt your work or school schedule, and they are taught by people who have experience teaching English abroad. There is a wide range of topics covered, including a review of English grammar, games to incorporate in your lesson plan, the theory behind teaching a foreign language, and how teachers can deal with culture shock. Now obviously you cannot cover absolutely everything you need to know in these courses, but like everything else in life, you learn best from your own experience. In the meantime, these seminars provide excellent guidance.
Many colleges and universities also offer TEFL certification. As far as I know, these programs take a much longer time to complete. You can take the course at your own pace, but sometimes it takes up to two years to finish.
If you are itching to go abroad, then you should try one of the TEFL programs abroad. Check out TEFL Certification Abroad, and you can decide whether you want to spend a month learning how to teach English in Oxford, Barcelona, Prague, or Cadiz.
One of the biggest benefits of completing a TEFL certification program, aside from the fact that you will make more money, is that all these programs will help place you in a country after you receive your certificate. This makes the process of finding a job much less overwhelming. You can also keep in touch with your classmates and see how their job hunt is going or if they can offer any tips.
Additionally, you can earn specialized certificates, such as teaching business English, teaching English grammar, teaching English to children, and teaching for TOEFL-Test of English as a Foreign Language. However, these are not necessary and often you can find resources for teaching these specialized courses online.