So, you’ve decided to become an ESL teacher and you don’t know where to start! There is lots of information on the internet on how best to get off on the right foot. You do some of your own research for a while and end up in circles with more questions than answers. We’d like to break things down for you a bit and help you choose the best TEFL certification course. 

Which Certification is Best for English Teaching?

Your first choice is to choose which certification is best for you.

There is no right or wrong answer to this and it truly depends on your story and goals with the certification. The main certifications you’ll see will be TEFL, TESOL, Trinity TESOL and CELTA. As a whole, they ultimately have the same goal; to teach you how to teach English to non-native speakers. They all cover a variety of niches, such as one-to-one teaching vs group classes and online vs in-classroom and the techniques needed to carry out your lesson plans. However, there are some key differences between them. 

Both the TEFL and TESOL qualification are primarily self-study with flexibility and affordable options. The CELTA and TrinityTESOL qualification are for the most part in-classroom, tutor led classes that are intensive full time learning, which do end up being on the more expensive side.

Choose the online option if: 

  • You have prior commitments, such as a family or current employment and need flexibility whilst learning. 
  • You are on a budget, but still looking to get certified with the international standard (120 hours) or a level 5 qualification. 

Choose the in-classroom option if: 

  • You feel that you would thrive more by learning from a tutor directly and self-study is not for you. 
  • You have the time and money to commit to a full time course. 

A lot of people will ask us about the validity of an online certification. The answer is that nowadays you can obtain a level 5 qualification completely online. This is relatively new in the education world, but the matter-of-fact is that the Level 5 TEFL certification is level equivalent to a CELTA. This is on the UK framework. Employers used to look for CELTA only as it was the known qualification, but now as Level 5 TEFL and TESOLs get more popular and have a standard to them, they are looked at equally in most parts. 

Difference between TEFL and TESOL?

So, what is the difference between TEFL and TESOL?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, while TESOL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. What this means is that TEFL courses are geared towards teaching abroad or online when the student is in their home country and teaches more the grammar and vocabulary and how to speak properly in every English speaking country, while TESOL is geared towards teaching English in YOUR country to non-native speakers and focuses on a curriculum based on functional language, as going to the post office or bank. The main objective of the TESOL curriculum is to allow non-native speakers settle into life in a native speaking country as well as focusing on grammar. 

In saying this, the two are interchangeable as they both cover all aspects. However, TEFL is looked at more favourably in Asia and may even be asked for in terms of visa or employment. If you do already have a B.Ed. or CELTA, but need a quick certification, we recommend the 120 hour TEFL Course, which will be fast to do as you are already trained, affordable and will cover all visa requirements. For this reason alone, getting a TEFL certificate is worth it! 


Choosing a TEFL Course

Choosing your university or college after high school (or equivalent)  should be a tactical choice as the reputation of the school will help you with your future career. As we know, if you obtain a degree or diploma from a well known school, such as the Ivy Leagues in the US or universities in the UK such as Cambridge or Oxford, it will stand to you in the future with employers if they recognise the institution. This is even more true when looking to move abroad and find employment. Getting work domestically is a lot simpler, but when you decide to move abroad, having a degree or certification from a well known school will make a difference in how many interviews are offered. 

This mainstream understanding is also true for the world of ESL. There are many providers out there, some more known than others. When potential employers are sifting through CVs of candidates to find the perfect TEFL teacher, they will look at the education section and either know or not know the TEFL provider. Although it is not the end of the world, a good TEFL certification provider has its benefits, and here’s why: 

Reasons to choose your TEFL provider wisely.


High turnover

TEFL employers historically and statistically have a bigger turnover with staff in comparison to other industries. The reason being that recruitment normally occurs from abroad and over the internet. The majority of TEFL teachers do expect to come back home after their contract is over or even in a few years time. With this turnover, employers tend to see the same TEFL certificates in CVs year after year. To ease the application process and get faster results for interviews, having a reputable TEFL provider helps. As the TEFL Institute has been around for years with hundreds of students each year, we have a lot of alumni all over the world. You can be assured that program providers globally will recognize our certification.


One of the most important things to note is accreditation. TEFL Courses need to be approved by an accrediting body. These accreditations check TEFL providers content and credibility. When TEFL providers are approved, this means that their content and assessments are up to scratch. The TEFL Institute has multiple accrediting bodies, including TQUK, ODLQC, ACDL and Highfield Qualifications at the time of writing this blog. 

Multiple Courses

We advise you to choose a TEFL provider that has multiple courses to offer. Staying with the same provider will be much easier in the long run, so having options for upskilling in the future is a must! Think about it, we all love going to our local supermarket and knowing where each aisle and item is. The TEFL Institute has an array of courses and we are constantly developing and updating in the background. You will never need more than what we have to offer, as we cover everything from exam prep to teaching  young learners to teaching English online.


TEFL certification costs can vary and it does depend on the level that you choose also. When choosing a TEFL provider, you should compare costs. If the tuition fees look too good to be true, they might be! Double check their accreditation with the accrediting body. More expensive also does not mean more quality. The cost of a TEFL certification has a number of different factors, for instance, sales prices. Find the right balance between economic and quality. The TEFL Institute’s courses have been developed continuously by our academic team. We focus on the knowledge and guidance you receive for your career, as well as meeting the examination and assessment requirements. Our courses are also competitively priced, which is a nice bonus!


Lastly, make note to see if there is an expiration date for your certification. It can happen! The TEFL institute’s certifications (all of them) are lifelong certificates. You won’t need to do refresher courses years down the line. 

In conclusion

To sum up, why do employers want The TEFL Institute teachers? Due to our accreditations and reputation globally, employers trust The TEFL Institute and it’s alumni to strive for excellence. They can be assured that our teachers will conduct amazing and fun classes with use of our teacher resources. Most of the bigger program providers also know that we give job assistance. Know that they contact us if there is anything that they need from our side to help make your move and new job an enjoyable experience. For those who may not know us, our reviews and testimonials online will definitely fill in the blanks! 

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