Heard about TEFL Certificates but not sure what they are or about? TEFL is an acronym that stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. In plain terms, it is teaching English to non-native speakers. Other acronyms can be used such as TESOL, meaning Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Heard about TEFL Certificates but not sure what they are or about?

TEFL is an acronym that stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. In plain terms, it is teaching English to non-native speakers. Other acronyms can be used such as TESOL, meaning Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. To become a TEFL/TESOL Teacher and to teach English to non-native speakers you have to gain certification. 

TEFL/TESOL Certification and Requirements 

A TEFL Certification is globally recognized and is a lifetime certification. There are different options to gain this certificate but most opt to study online and gain their qualification. When choosing a TEFL Course Provider you should check out if their courses are accredited and recognized worldwide. Avoid buying TEFL Certifications from sites such as Groupon as they will not be accredited.

Most employers look for a minimum of 120 hours of TEFL training. TEFL Courses range in how many hours you study and the level of certificate you can gain. For example, you could do a 120 Hour TEFL Course or a 300 Hour Level 5 Course. With a Level 5 Course in TEFL, it is a government-recognized certification. It would also be considered on the same level as the CELTA qualification. A CELTA qualification is highly upheld in the TEFL world. 

How many hours you do depends on what you need and what you plan to teach. If you have a degree, a 120 Hour TEFL Course could be enough. If you don’t have a degree, consider going for more hours of study on your TEFL Course to help your resume stand out to employees. You can become a TEFL teacher without a degree but there could be some difficulties depending on the country you plan to teach in.

What can I do with my TEFL Certification when I’m done? 

There are endless opportunities with a TEFL Certification under your belt! Many people who gain a TEFL Certification take the opportunity to work and live abroad. There are countless schools abroad looking for TEFL Teachers. There are also TEFL internships available in different countries where you have support as you live and work abroad.


Another opportunity you could have with a TEFL certificate is to teach English online. Online TEFL Teachers are in demand and there are numerous sites available to teach on for example Cambly https://www.cambly.com/en/tutors?lang=en

You can also set up your own business or become a freelancer with TEFL. The opportunities are endless! 

While you begin to immerse yourself in the TEFL world there are plenty of new terms and acronyms you wouldn’t have heard of before. Check out the list below to learn more about the TEFL world: 

Auditory Learners 

This is a type of learning style. If you are an Auditory Learner you learn better by hearing and listening. An example of this is learning through listening to a lecture or getting instructions read out to you. 

Business English

This is a specific type of TEFL Teaching. Students for Business English are generally adults looking to learn English skills for careers and other opportunities. 


This stands for Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. It is an internationally recognized certificate teacher training program provided by Cambridge.

Direct Method 

This is a type of teaching method used within the classroom. Students can’t use their native language in the classroom, this allows for full immersion of the English language. 


English for Speakers of Other Languages 


English for Specific Purposes 


These are short activities used in the classroom. They can be used to fill time during a lesson or at the end of it. An example of a filler would be playing a game.

Grammar Translation

This teaching method was formerly known as the classical method. It is a type of teaching method that focuses mainly on grammar rules, vocabulary, and translating large texts into English. 


Stands for International English Language Testing System. This exam is taken by students for different purposes such as applying for higher education, training programs, work, or migrating.

Jet Programme

JET stands for The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. It allows teachers to live and work in Japan. It is a good option for first-time teachers as there is more support available. 

Kinesthetic Learners 

Being a Kinesthetic Learner is another form of learning style. Kinesthetic Learners learn best through hands-on experience. An example of this is learning through games or experiments. 

Lesson Plan

A lesson plan is a structured breakdown of what you are going to teach in the classroom. It gives purpose to your lesson and would be based on your student’s goals for learning English.

Mother Tongue

A term used to describe your student’s native language. 

Needs Analysis  

A process of finding out what your students need and want to learn. You can ask questions or have your students fill out a form. It is also a good way to find out why your student is learning English.


PPP stands for presentation, practice, and production. It is a type of teaching method used in the classroom. 


Realia is using different types of objects and materials that can be used as teaching aids. Examples of realia could be restaurant menus and photographs. 


A syllabus is a required document for teaching in that it serves to outline the basic elements of a course. They help structure lesson plans.


TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language while TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. 


TOEIC stands for The Test of English for International Communication. TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. TOEIC is used to test a student’s English proficiency within the global workplace while TOEFL measures academic communication skills. Non-native speakers would do TOEIC and TOEFL tests. 

Visual Learners

One of the three learning styles. Visual Learners learn best by seeing the information they need to learn. An example of this is learning through different types of media or graphs.

Young Learners

Another niche area you could focus on with your TEFL Certification. From the age of 4 to 16 there are plenty of children learning English as a second language across the world.

Gaining a TEFL Certification can lead to many opportunities including travelling the world. If you would like to gain your certification check out our range of online courses: https://teflinstitute.com/ 

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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