Are TEFL Certificates Worth it?

One of the most common questions that come up on search engines relating to TEFL certifications is, ‘Are TEFL certificates worth it?’ It’s a natural question, and courses are an investment, so you want to be sure that you are investing your money wisely and purchasing a training course that will help you secure work and earn a good salary. Teaching abroad is the goal of many people; it’s a great way to explore the globe while earning money. On our site, you will see many past students living their best lives, some with short-term adventures, whilst others have embarked on longer-term career paths in countries all over the world. If this makes you curious and you want to do the same, it’s natural to investigate the qualifications to discover whether they might be worth it and give you what you need.

Although there is a potential to find work without a TfL certification, there are lots of reasons why the whole experience will be better if you get the qualification first. TEFL certifications come in various shapes and sizes, and it’s essential if you’re going to use your skills to try and work abroad that you get a qualification that is recognised universally. ATL qualification should be regulated and accredited by a third-party external body such as OFQUAL. If you get a qualification from a school like ours that offers accreditation, it’s most definitely worth it. The only time a TEFL certification is considered not worth it is if you stumble upon an unreputable company trying to take advantage by selling courses that are not regulated or accredited in any way and, therefore, unlikely to be recognised when you head off into the big wide world to find work.


TEFL Basics

The acronym TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. You will sometimes hear it called TESL or TESOL. As the terms tend to be interchangeable, we prefer TEFL. So, a TEFL certification means you have met the standards and understand the process of teaching people who do not have English as a first language how to learn successfully. The qualification gives employers confidence that you are capable of educating and ensuring that all students can make progress and thrive in your care. TEFL certifications can be undertaken online, and we have a range of online TEFL courses from Cape Town, all of which can be undertaken in person. Online is by far and away the most popular method for obtaining a TEFL qualification. With this under your belt, you can go on to teach English around the world or even online from South Africa. You don’t have to be a native English speaker to undertake a TEFL qualification, but you should be prepared to demonstrate that you have fluency and a good understanding because you are looking to pass that knowledge on to other people. We have plenty of non-native speakers building successful careers as TEFL teachers, as well as many native English speakers doing the same.

The TEFL Course

We said online learning was the most popular way to obtain your TEFL certification, and this is partly because it is a self-paced experience. Classroom courses tend to be shorter and more intense, but if you have a job and are looking to build a TEFL career on the side. It can be hard to attend a classroom-based course. TEFL courses online from Cape Town in South Africa give a lot of flexibility to the learners, meaning they can attend and work when they have time and still walk away with the same level of qualification as those who attended an institution.

The course is designed to ensure that you have all the tools you need to teach English as a second language. Teaching English is a skill in itself, and you also need to understand how you teach students whose primary language is not English. In the course, you will discover the four styles of learning and how to target your lessons to each of those groups of students. Some people are auditory learners, some visual, others prefer to read and write to learn, and finally, kinesthetic learners like to do things to help the information process through their brain. You must understand these learner types and how to differentiate and create resources that make sure everyone gets the same experience.

When learning a second language, students can sometimes find that their mother tongue’s interference creates a stumbling block. Part of your learning will be on this subject and how you can help your students overcome the problem. It’s a common issue, and something about English teachers teaching English students will not come across. The course will then go on to teach you about lesson planning and how to understand different levels of ability, differentiate your lesson plans, and make sure you have work available for those who are struggling to keep up as well as those who are excelling. It’s really important that nobody is left behind and that those students who are finding it easy are constantly challenged so they don’t lose their momentum.

Of course, once you have planned your lesson, you then need guidance and help on how to present it. We need to make sure that the lesson is structured and stays on track. You aim to make sure everyone is getting a chance to maximise the acquisition of the English language. Built into this is the ability to manage a classroom full of students. You don’t want to spend your whole time shouting at the top of your voice and being ignored. You will find plenty of information on how to maintain interest and get students on your side wanting to learn, which will make your life a lot easier.  You will find plenty of information on how to maintain interest and get students on your side wanting to learn, which will make your life a lot easier. The bottom line is our job as a TEFL course provider is to equip you with all the skills and confidence. You need to go out into the world on your own and be a successful English teacher.


Are TEFL Certificates Mandatory?

This is a yes and no question. There are some countries in the world where you can teach English as a foreign language without having a TEFL certification. It tends to be something of a cost-saving exercise in poor nations as they don’t have to pay unqualified staff as much. For some people, this is a great way to begin their career, and they can explore some amazing countries, but in other cases, you won’t get far unless you have a TEFL qualification. First of all, it is a requirement for many jobs in many countries, especially if you don’t have a degree. You will struggle to find well-paid work if you do not have your TEFL certification. Some countries can be even stricter and require the TEFL certification to qualify for a working visa. As mentioned before, your TEFL certification must be one that will be recognised and acknowledged across the world as meeting the standards of teaching required to educate others. The bottom line is that, in our opinion, it’s not worth trying to build a career teaching English as a foreign language unless you have your TEFL certification. Here are six in-depth reasons why the TEFL certification is considered so valuable and necessary for a career in teaching English as a foreign language.

1. A TEFL certification opens a lot more doors

It’s fair to say that most employers are going to be looking for candidates who have formalised training. Although there is no particular regulation in the TEFL world, A TEFL certification is pretty much the industry standard. Not having a certificate will put you on the back foot with your peers who have gone and got their qualifications. It is a popular industry to work in, and lots of people want to have their own experiences travelling and teaching, so making sure you are at the top of the list is going to help.

You can think of your certificate as having bargaining power. You are proving that you have been certified as a qualified teacher, which makes you a lot more desirable. This means you can negotiate your salary and mitigate any of the missing skills that employers might be looking for, such as having a degree or previous teaching experience or, in the case of some South African English teachers, not having English as their first language. It’s also fair to say that in some countries, you have to have a degree and be a native speaker to get a job, but there are plenty of opportunities where your TEFL certification will be your golden ticket. Teaching English online is also popular, and lots of agencies bringing together students and teachers will also be looking for a TEFL certification as a standard. Teaching English as a foreign language online in South Africa is a great way to top up your income because of the time zone. You will find that a lot of students are available in your evening and weekend time because it is daytime for them wherever they live.

2. TEFL and Visas

So, from a work point of view, having a TEFL qualification will certainly open more doors and enable you to apply for more vacancies. It will also increase your chances of being successful. As mentioned above, it is also a legal requirement in some countries to get a visa to be able to work there.­ There are countries where you can teach and get a working Visa without a TEFL qualification, but you will find yourself restricted as there are plenty that demand it. The United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and Qatar are a few destinations where having a valid certificate is part of the Visa application criteria. If you want the world to truly be your oyster, then a TEFL certification is a smart move.

3. You are Investing in Your Future

Self-development and adding value to your work is also important. A TEFL certification increases your employability value because it means you are going to be a better teacher and more competent in the classroom than someone who has not gone through the process. Our in-depth courses available in Cape Town online are designed to be able to help you manage any unexpected challenges that come your way and provide a more effective education for your students.

Even if you have taught English to English children before, the nuances of teaching someone who has no English skills a different native language are incredibly different. We don’t teach people to speak English by just constantly repeating various words and phrases until they get the hang of it; it’s much more creative than that. You will need to make your lessons interesting and have fun activities and resources with which to do this. The TEFL qualification will help you understand exactly how to do this.

A lot of students are going to want to have good conversational English skills, and you will find that this is often a target for teachers, but at the same time, you do not overlook grammar. If you are a native English speaker, grammar is something you take for granted. It’s part of the fluency process for English speakers, but explaining it to others can actually be more difficult. Some grammar rules are incredibly difficult to grasp, and if you do not have a TEFL qualification, you will not have been shown how to easily make sure that you are able to pass this information on to your students. You will also learn how to incorporate teaching grammar rules into your lessons and make sure things stay fun and exciting.

are tefl certifications worth it

4. A Route to Work

There were actually some interesting partner programs on offer with TEFL providers and schools who have agreed to look favourably at candidates to train with them. Some TEFL providers will offer help and advice when it comes to finding work, which makes it a lot easier than trying to navigate the world alone.

We have plenty of resources for our students so that they can successfully secure themselves a job when they have finished training with us. Other TEFL companies will find placements for you, which means that your first job, although not well-paid, is part of your course and a good learning opportunity. TEFL companies tend to have job boards where you can look at vacancies and know the different nuances that certain employers have. They also understand each country and what they are looking for in terms of recruiting English teachers for their schools and institutions.

We have spent a long time researching and investing in our South African students to make the process of finding work as an English language teacher easier for them. So, if you are looking to teach English abroad and are a South African National or if you want to teach English on the li from South Africa, we have plenty of information that will help you get started.

5. Internationally Recognised

Once you have your TFL certification, you are qualified forever. It’s an internationally recognised qualification, provided you have undertaken learning with a regulated and accredited provider like us. There are no retraining or refresher modules, but we do offer extended learning if you wish to specialise in a particular area, such as business, English or exam preparation.  It gives you a skill that you can pick up or put down throughout your life to suit your circumstances at the time. We have some teachers who take a break to raise a family and then return to foreign climates with the children in tow to continue exploring the world. Just be sure you check the course has the correct accreditation and regulations, which are the factors that make it recognised all over the world.

Once you start looking at courses, you will realise that ‘hours’ factor into the different qualifications. We do have other blogs on our site that go into the concept more deeply, but the basic principle is that you need at least 120 hours as a minimum to obtain a qualification that will be internationally recognised. If you are using online self-paced learning, you can expect this to take you quite a few weeks, but it does give you a qualification that will stay with you for life. You will also see larger numbers of hours offered, and these mean the qualification is a slightly higher level, which some people prefer but may not be necessary to get you started in the world of teaching English as a foreign language abroad.

6. Learn from Home

One of the best things about learning online is that you can do so from the comfort of your own home and start earning money without leaving the house. It’s also a good way to build some confidence, and many people start by teaching English online while they are building up and sorting everything out to start a new life as an English teacher abroad. There is no right or wrong way to do anything when it comes to TEFL. It is simply a case of what works for you. If you have a solid Internet connection and a decent laptop or desktop PC, you could start your own business teaching English online from the comfort of your own home. You possibly want to look for employment via one of the many companies that offer their service, and again, having your TEFL certification will make you an attractive candidate for them. They then source your students and take care of a lot of the administrative work for you. Some people enjoy teaching English online so much that they choose to explore the world by becoming digital nomads and taking their work wherever they go. Others prefer to move on to teaching in person.

Picking Your TEFL Course

So why do we have so many different TEFL courses on offer? Well, that’s a very good question, and it does come down to what you are looking for. The courses are all different, and we go to great lengths to ensure that there is plenty of information on each course so that you can compare. We do have very knowledgeable tutors available who can help you decide which is the best course if you are stuck. As we’ve already mentioned, you should be looking for a minimum of 120 hours. Some courses are 100% online, whereas others offer time zone issues as you can study whenever it is convenient with you—classroom-based learning, at least in part. If your course is 100% online, you still have a nominated tutor who is very knowledgeable and has lots of experience in teaching English as a foreign language and is there to help you every step of the way. Online courses help with time zone issues as you can study whenever it is convenient with you.

are tefl certifications worth it

Can You Get a TEFL Qualification for Free?

Yes, you will find TEFL qualifications offered free or very cheap, but no, you really shouldn’t bother with them. First off, they will not be accredited or regulated; therefore, they do not have the universal recognition that causes like ours come with. As we said earlier, a TEFL qualification is an investment in yourself and your future. It takes time and money to prepare and deliver courses that meet the standards that the regulatory bodies demand, and we do have to pass those charges onto our students, but it does mean that the qualification you receive is worth it.

Not only that, but it means your confidence and knowledge will be right up there, and you can go off into the world of teaching English as a foreign language, knowing that you have everything you need to handle a classroom full of students. It’s not something you can learn in one evening, and expect to get a certificate printed from your computer that you can take to get a job. The 120 hours is an industry standard for a very good reason, and this is one of our most popular courses as our students, past and present, know that it will help them get a job. If you are serious about developing a career teaching English as a foreign language anywhere in the world, then invest in a good quality course that will set you up and put you on the right track.

More About Cape Town

We are very pleased to be able to offer our courses in South Africa and Cape Town. Let’s take a closer look at the appeal of Cape Town. Located on the southwestern tip of South Africa, Cape Town is very picturesque and vibrant. It has some stunning landscapes, a rich history and a diverse culture. Of course, one of the most famous scenic icons in Cape Town is Table Mountain, but it certainly doesn’t end there. There are glorious, pristine beaches, as well as the Cape Winelands. It creates a brilliant balance between natural beauty and urban living. Those living in Cape Town enjoy a Mediterranean climate; the summers tend to be very dry, and the winters, although mild, can be quite wet. However, overall, it is a generally stable climate, and this gives those who enjoy outdoor living plenty of opportunity to get out and about.

Cape Town has a rich mix of cultures and ethnicities, with influences coming from Africa, Europe and Asia. The economy is growing and becoming increasingly diverse. This means that there are plenty of job sectors expanding and opening up. Tourism, technology, finance, and the creative industries are all booming. This is one of the reasons why the demand for English teachers has gone up. English is considered the global business language, and therefore, with an expanding tourism industry and a desire to be able to move anywhere in the world. People are seeking English lessons. One of the ways you can diversify as an English teacher is to teach business English to adults.

The cost of living in Cape Town is generally lower than in many other major cities around the world. However, it’s essential to consider factors like housing, transportation, and healthcare when assessing the overall cost. Thinking about housing, you will find a wide range of property styles, including modern city centres, apartments, beachfront properties, and suburban homes. The cost involved is going to vary depending on the size and style of the accommodation you are looking at.

Getting around Cape Town is pretty easy. Public transport is good, but generally, people have their cars as it makes it slightly easier still to move about. That said, this can cause traffic congestion at peak hours, but Work is constantly ongoing to try and improve the public transportation system and get people out of their cars and back onto trains and buses. Generally, Cape Town is a safe area, but anyone looking to move there should do their research on different neighbourhoods and what they are like to live in. Petty crimes like pickpockets exist everywhere in the world, and people should take proper care and precautions when moving around at night.

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