TEFL skills – How they can be transferable

Some people think that teachers are born. But it just takes developing skills that everyone can do to thrive as a TEFL teacher.  People develop skills no matter the job, as long as it goes well. Think about working in the hospitality sector. Patience with customers and co-workers, organization, and interpersonal skills are all incredible to develop.  According to Indeed, some of the most sought-after skills employers look for are communication skills, teamwork, organization and emotional intelligence. These are just a few skills that you will master as you grow into becoming an experienced TEFL teacher. 

Let’s break it down into sections and talk about which transferable skills you can develop as a result of or in preparation for a career in TEFL.

TEFL teaching in the classroom with a number of kids with their hands up


Communication is the most fundamental skill you can use in TEFL, and it is essential. It is necessary to be able to hold the attention of large groups, so making your communication style both informative and entertaining is an asset. Can you stay on topic? That’s critical, whether in TEFL or another field. This is especially important when communicating with different audiences. Knowing who you’re catering to and adapting the message.

It’s all about message clarity and performance. If you’re excited about how you’re projecting a message, chances are the recipients will be as well, whether you’re in the classroom or going over performance indicators at work. However, if you have these communication skills and want to teach, the good news: you’re already a good fit. If you’ve developed these skills in a TEFL role and are looking for your next opportunity, consider public relations, training services, or cross-cultural work.

When it comes to cross-cultural roles…

Cultural knowledge/sensitivity

If you’ve travelled and haven’t been chased back through customs, chances are you’ve gained some understanding of how things work worldwide. Understanding how people operate, global societal expectations, and how people want to be treated is a critical skill. In today’s globalized economy, reading situations is vital. Empathy and knowledge of practices and businesses in other countries are significant feathers in anyone’s cap.

By the way, you can undoubtedly add language skills to this. We previously discussed communication skills, which are especially important when there is a language barrier. Even better if you know other languages, and for TEFL teachers thinking about a different path, there’s a good chance you’ve picked up some phrases, if not become fluent, in another language. You’ll be a great fit if you have these skills and want to work in TEFL. Otherwise, these abilities are ideal for business and international relations positions, cultural ambassadorship, and communications.

TEFL teacher teaching students in Thailand

Organizational Skills

We mentioned “organization” as a critical skill in our introduction, so you’ll hear more about it. Like everything else in this article, this works both ways: you might wonder if you’re organized enough to put together lesson plans as a teacher or how those skills come in handy elsewhere if you’re a teacher. How could organizational abilities not be beneficial? Managing tasks and having systems to keep yourself organized is helpful in your personal and professional lives.

There are transferable skills in lesson planning in a teaching context. When planning, consider students’ abilities, especially when teaching younger students. Progression isn’t always linear; it takes skill to keep everyone busy and productive when learning at different levels. Understanding different audiences is a communication skill and an organizational one.

Organization and initiative go hand in hand. If you’re organized, you can use your resources to generate ideas and set aside time to experiment with different tasks. Moreover, being organized is a massive advantage if you’re in a research position.


Again, consider this in the context of TEFL. Travelling worldwide may encounter various issues, including visas, budgeting, finding accommodation, time management, etc. So, if you want to be a TEFL teacher, you’ve probably had to deal with unexpected problems and find solutions. The good news is that if you decide to become an English teacher, you will have to solve problems at some point. Keeping your cool under pressure is a massive plus for any employer. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help from a superior, but everyone wins if you can solve a problem independently. This can include dealing with language barriers or technology in another language in the TEFL field. Whatever you do next, finding solutions to these problems will be invaluable.

Whatever you do in the workplace, you will encounter significant issues that require immediate resolution. As a TEFL teacher, you will face various daily challenges and inconveniences that you must overcome. If you’re already good at problem-solving and want to be a TEFL teacher, mention it in your application. You can count on us. If you’re a TEFL teacher looking for work in another field, how you overcame challenges will almost certainly come up in any job interview. 


The skills required for office management are similar to those needed for successful teaching. They are, in fact, extremely transferable skill sets. If you are in management, you must designate tasks, understand the workload, demonstrate leadership skills, delegate to those capable of handling charges, maintain a positive attitude, and, once again, be organized.

You’ll need all those skills as an EFL teacher and more if you’re in charge of a classroom. After all, you’re in control of a class. If you want to manage in another industry, those qualities are precious and will prepare you well for the rest of your career. If you’re in a management position and want to teach abroad, emphasizing these aspects of your role will impress any employer. Are you understanding the abilities of those around you, being able to lead, and being organized enough to keep everyone motivated and task-focused? It’s a very important skill to develop. 

Skills aplenty!

We know that a TEFL certificate, teaching experience, and many transferable skills will help you find work. Similarly, your work experience will bode exceptionally well for a successful career in English teaching. Don’t think you can’t do it because you don’t do it now. TEFL is all about opening doors to the rest of the world, doors to a more extensive CV, and, most importantly, doors to your potential. Your adventure begins with a TEFL certification, but who knows where it will lead?

Are you interested in finding out more about TEFL? Why not complete our quick TEFL quiz that will show you your perfect course? 

Also Read –

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and it’s a certificate you need if you want to teach non-native speakers English. With a TEFL certificate, you can teach students of all ages – from young learners to adult business language learners – anywhere in the world. It’s recognised globally and is the key to kick-starting your English teaching career abroad, home or online.

To get a TEFL certificate you must take an accredited TEFL course. The minimum training required by employers worldwide is 120 hours. You can choose between accredited, government regulated Level 5 or combined TEFL courses. You’ll find TEFL courses are either online or combined in-class and online experiences. 

Getting a TEFL certification from a recognised, trusted provider is essential when it comes to receiving high-quality training and finding a job. Always go for a globally recognised accredited certification. It’s also worth double checking company reviews to make sure customers are satisfied with their training.

What’s the difference between accredited and government regulated Level 5 TEFL courses?

The Accredited 120 Hour Premier TEFL Course is what we call one of our fast-track courses. This is the minimum recognised worldwide.

  • You have 10 modules to complete usually taking 4-6 weeks.
  • Each module has a multiple-choice test at the end, and you need 80% to pass.
  • You’ll get your digital certificate on completion and can buy a hard copy from us if you’d like one with an embossed logo.

Level 5 Ofqual-regulated courses offer more in-depth training. If we look at the 180 Hour Level 5 TEFL Diploma in comparison: 

  • Learners typically spend 12 – 14 weeks to complete 11 modules.
  • The pass mark is 100% and assessments are multiple-choice plus open-ended answers. Don’t worry, you can redo quizzes to get 100%. Our academic team will review your answers at the end of your 11 modules and may ask for some questions to be reattempted. Some questions may require you to provide academic references.
  • You’ll get your digital coursework completion certificate from us after module 11. Following successful assessment from our academic team, we’ll be able to claim the licence for your Ofqual (government) certificate from our accreditation body Highfield.

The Ofqual-regulated Level 5 course range is for those who want to gain a higher-level, more recognised qualification.

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers teach English in non-native English speaking countries. TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) teachers teach English in native English speaking countries. CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is a separate qualification you can get to teach English.

TEFL: One of the most accepted certificates worldwide, this allows you to teach English to non-native speakers across the globe. 

TESL: As a TESL teacher, you would likely be teaching English in your home country to students who have moved or live in an English speaking country. In other words, they are continuously surrounded by the language and will be using it every day outside of the classroom, unlike TEFL students who are likely learning in their home country.

CELTA: A very prestigious certification that follows a strict regulation created by Cambridge University. You must complete a 120-hour TEFL course and six hours of teaching real ESL students. Most of the programmes are held over a month and are full time. However, you may be able to find some courses that are part-time and are spread over three months. Due to its intense nature and requirements, the cost tends to be much higher and can be up to €1700!

Yes! Teaching English as a foreign language – online or in-class – will give you an abundance of transferable skills. From time management to problem-solving and communication, you’ll have plenty of experience to impress future employers. As your TEFL certification never expires, you can get back into TEFL whenever you wish, too.

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