Is a TEFL Certificate Worth It? How TEFL Can Advance Your Career at Home and Abroad | CIEE TEFL (2023)

If you're at the beginning of your teach abroad journey, a TEFL certificate can give your application as an English teacher a competitive edge. Although not every position or teach abroad destination requires it, a TEFL certificate is a surefire way to increase your employment prospects, earn a higher salary, and feel comfortable in the classroom.

Not only that, but a TEFL certification provides essential professional skills that are useful in any career. Couple what you learn from a TEFL course with actual teaching experience, and you have a recipe for success.

Whether you're trying to advance your career as an ESL teacher or are looking to pivot to a new field, the skills you gain from a TEFL certificate are invaluable. Here's how TEFL can help you kickstart your international career as an ESL teacher and beyond.

Read more: Why Get TEFL Certified When Your Job Doesn’t Require It?

Is a TEFL certificate worth it?

Getting TEFL certified can absolutely be worth it. That’s because the best TEFL certification:

  • Makes you more employable as an English teacher,
  • Can help you earn a higher salary,
  • Provides valuable resources and support throughout the move abroad process,
  • Shapes you into a better teacher,
  • And ultimately equips you with valuable professional skills that are useful for any career.

Read more: 10 Life-Changing Benefits of a TEFL Certification

(Video) FINALLY TEFL Certified: Was It Worth It??

Is a TEFL Certificate Worth It? How TEFL Can Advance Your Career at Home and Abroad | CIEE TEFL (1)

What do you learn in a TEFL course?

At its core, a TEFL course is designed to prepare you as a teacher of English as a foreign language. A reputable TEFL course teaches you:

  • How to effectively plan lessons
  • How to select and create engaging teaching materials
  • How to successfully manage a classroom
  • Essential language teaching methodologies and principles
  • English grammar, structure, and vocabulary
  • Intercultural competency for cross-cultural communication with students and coworkers

ESL Jobs For Those With a TEFL Certificate

One of the most commonrequirements to teach English abroad is to have a TEFL certificate.And once you've completed your TEFL training, there are many different TEFL career paths to choose from, such as:

  • Private language schools
  • Public schools, typically with a government teaching program
  • Universities
  • Examination centers for IELTS, TOEFL, etc.
  • Non-profits that work with refugees and asylum seekers

Read more: Ways to Use Your TEFL Certification (That Isn’t Teaching Abroad)

Is a TEFL Certificate Worth It? How TEFL Can Advance Your Career at Home and Abroad | CIEE TEFL (2)

5 Essential Professional Skills You Gain from a TEFL Course to Highlight on Your Resume

You may be surprised to learn that even outside the realm of teaching and education, the skills you gain from a TEFL certification and ESL experience can help you go far professionally. And in general, international work experience will help you stand out as an applicant.

Here are some of the best professional skills you gain from teaching abroad and earning a TEFL qualification.

1. Confidence in your communication and interpersonal skills

At its core, teaching is a form of public speaking and will instill a deep confidence that will help you better communicate and deliver ideas clearly. And for those new to teaching, a hands-on TEFL certification allows you to develop and practice these skills in a safe environment.

(Video) Can you be too old to TEFL?

The confidence and communication skills you gain in a TEFL course not only prepare you for your first day in the classroom but can help you excel in job interviews so you can impress future employers.

2. Time management and organization skills

As a TEFL teacher, you're typically responsible for teaching many students of various ages and language levels. Not to mention, you only have 30-45 minutes per class to deliver lessons effectively. This means teachers must be masters of organization and time management.

While this ultimately comes with practice and depends on your school, a TEFL certification shares helpful tips for managing a classroom to prepare you for your first day.

3. A deeper understanding of the English language

As an English speaker, you've likely got the basics down. However, you may be rusty when it comes to the specific rules and terminology of the English language.

A TEFL certification provides a crash course in essential English grammar and linguistics, so you know how to deliver your lessons in a way that makes sense to your foreign language students. That knowledge is useful for many fields outside of teaching English abroad too.

Is a TEFL Certificate Worth It? How TEFL Can Advance Your Career at Home and Abroad | CIEE TEFL (3)

4. Adaptability and an ability to problem solve

The ability to adapt and effectively problem solve is crucial as a teacher. That’s because even the best-laid lesson plans don't always work out, which means teachers need to be able to think quickly to adjust activities in the moment. Additionally, moving to a new country requires teachers to have an open mind, be able to adapt to cultural differences, and take them in stride.

The right TEFL course provides aspiring ESL teachers essential resources and management tips to become better prepared for the unexpected. In addition, a course with an in-class practicum allows trainees to put these critical thinking skills to use in a real-world classroom before the first official day of school.

(Video) What can you do with a TEFL certificate?

5. Cultural awareness

Cultural awareness is the understanding that there are differences across cultures but that these differences aren't inherently good or bad. A high-quality TEFL course also teaches you the importance of cultural awareness and provides ways to deal with culture shock when moving to a new country.

In today's ever-connected world, understanding cultural differences and engaging with others without bias is extremely important, especially in a field such as teaching, international relations, business, and more.
Is a TEFL Certificate Worth It? How TEFL Can Advance Your Career at Home and Abroad | CIEE TEFL (4)

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Writing a Resume

Crafting the perfect resume can be a challenge. These essential tips will help you put all you’ve learned into a resume that’ll turn heads and help get you the job.

1. Format your resume to be clear, concise, and easy to read.

The basic format of your resume is as important as its content. If it's hard to read or too long, an employer may take one look and pass it over. When in doubt, it's best to rely on a template to see how to format your resume and how much to write. There are many templates for ESL resumes online that showcase CV best practices, providing an excellent place to start.

2. Highlight your previous education and TEFL certification as a professional qualification.

Most teaching positions require aspiring teachers to have a bachelor's degree and/or a TEFL certificate, so it's crucial to showcase these qualifications proudly on your resume. It's typically best to list your educational background and qualifications near the top of your CV. And remember to include essential details like the school, TEFL provider, number of hours of training, and any specialties you have.

3. Read the job description carefully for buzzwords and include them in your resume.

Job descriptions not only share information about the position but also clues about what to include in your resume! Carefully scan job listings for "buzzwords" or phrases that specify the exact skills and experience the employer wants. Then think about all you've learned from your TEFL certification and frame it to match the job description.

Doing so helps hiring schools and employers quickly identify your resume as one that meets their requirements while also showcasing your careful attention to detail. This applies to any job you apply to after teaching English abroad.

Is a TEFL Certificate Worth It? How TEFL Can Advance Your Career at Home and Abroad | CIEE TEFL (5)

(Video) How useful is a TEFL qualification and is it worth pursuing? Let's talk about it!

4. Share specific examples that demonstrate you can walk the talk.

Saying you have relevant experience and professional skills is one thing, but sharing specific examples that demonstrate those skills is another. For example, instead of merely stating you have "teaching experience," it's better to share examples of your teaching experience and what it taught you. Quantifying your accomplishments can also make your resume sound more impressive.

5. Edit your resume and check that it isn't missing any critical information.

You risk being overlooked for the job if there are glaring spelling errors or missing information in your resume. That's why it's crucial to take the time to read and edit your finished work carefully. It's also helpful to ask another person to proofread it or to use a copy processor like Grammarly to ensure you haven't missed anything.

When writing an ESL resume, be sure to include:

  • Personal info: Your full name and contact information such as email, phone number, and address.
  • Education: Any degrees and diplomas earned.
  • Professional qualifications: TEFL certification and teaching license (if applicable).
  • Objective: A short but engaging sentence sharing your job goals and expertise.
  • Work experience: Framed in a way that relates to the job you're applying to.
  • Related hard and soft skills: Such as English proficiency (if not a native speaker), communication, leadership skills, technology, etc.
  • Hobbies and interests: To show off your personality and demonstrate any other related skills like creativity.

Read more: 10 Ways Teaching English Abroad Can Improve Your Resume

Is a TEFL Certificate Worth It? How TEFL Can Advance Your Career at Home and Abroad | CIEE TEFL (6)

Ready to advance your career? Learn More About CIEE TEFL’s 150-Hour TEFL Certification

CIEE TEFL is an internationally trusted brand recognized for being one of the best TEFL providers in the industry. CIEE has a proven track record of helping graduates secure teaching abroad, adding valuable professional and life experience to any resume.

CIEE TEFL's 150-hour TEFL certification makes it easy to complete your TEFL training online in just three months. This comprehensive course includes:

  • 130 hours of ACCET accredited coursework
  • A 20-hour TEFL practicum
  • Instruction by highly qualified TEFL tutors
  • Lifetime job placement assistance.
  • Discounts on CIEE TEFL tuition for those eligible

Learn more

(Video) The Truth About Cheap Online TEFL Courses - What SHOULD You Look For In A TEFL Certification?


Is it worth getting TEFL certified? ›

Is TEFL Certification Worth It? Yes. If you want to get a good teaching job and be an effective teacher for your students, then it is definitely worth it. Remember, most schools worldwide require a TEFL certification; and once you're certified you can the ball rolling on applying and interviewing for jobs.

Can I teach abroad with just a TEFL? ›

Yes. With an associate's degree and a TEFL certification, you can teach English abroad in more than 50 countries, from Costa Rica to Taiwan. Some countries like South Korea & Japan require a 4-year degree, but you still have many options.

How do I turn my TEFL into a career? ›

Can you make a career out of TEFL?
  1. Carry on teaching. Why not? ...
  2. Become a senior teacher or Academic Coordinator. ...
  3. Become a Director of Studies. ...
  4. Open your own language school. ...
  5. Become a TEFL teacher trainer. ...
  6. Get involved in ELT publishing.

Can TEFL be full time career? ›

#2 – Teach EFL online

When you complete your TEFLPros online certification, you're qualified to teach online. You will find a wealth of online teaching jobs with online EFL schools. This is a top option if you're looking for a solid full-time or part-time job with a regular salary.

Can you make a living with TEFL? ›

Yes. Teaching English online provides great opportunities to earn a good salary on either a part-time or full-time basis. While it isn't the most lucrative profession, it does offer great flexibility and convenience, including the ability to make money from home while impacting the lives of others.

What is the success rate of TEFL? ›

A student failing an ITTT TEFL certification course is extremely rare, as we have a 90% pass rate across our range of courses (one of the highest passing rates of any TEFL school worldwide).

Can I teach in USA with TEFL? ›

Yes, you can teach English in the United States with your TEFL certification. There are millions of non-native English speakers living, working and studying in the United States and the demand for English language instruction is huge.

Does TEFL expire? ›

Do TEFL Certificates Expire? A TEFL certificate is a lifetime qualification and doesn't require any additional training or coursework to renew it. It does not have an expiration date and you can start work immediately after receiving your TEFL certificate.

How much does a TEFL course cost? ›

How Much Does TEFL Certification Online Cost? The cost of a TEFL certification online can vary from $99 to $3,000 USD. However, cheaper courses under $1,000 typically do not meet recognized international standards and often do not include live practice teaching, which is required by most employers in the field.

How long do TEFL jobs last? ›

Different schools offer TEFL contracts of varying lengths depending on their business or academic calendar. Many offer contracts for one academic year, which is typically 10- 12 months, and renew contracts for teachers in good standing. Some schools and summer camps hire teachers for shorter periods.

What is the life after TEFL? ›

Some paths to consider for your life after TEFL include:

Finding a TEFL job at home. Considering a higher-level position in the field of education. Pivoting to a career where your TEFL skills are transferable. Using TEFL and your experience abroad to go back to school or advance your career in a different field.

Is there a demand for online TEFL teachers? ›

There's a particular need for online TEFL teachers, as there's a huge demand for English language learning in Asia, especially in China. You'll be able to earn an income while building your experience interacting with international students and maintaining the flexibility of an online job.

Where are TEFL teachers paid the most? ›

Now that you know where the best places to make money with TEFL are, let's take a look at the teaching abroad salary by country:
  1. South Korea ($1,850-$2,650 USD a month) ...
  2. China ($1,200-$2,600 USD a month) ...
  3. Japan ($1,700-$2,600 USD a month) ...
  4. Taiwan ($2,000-$3,000 USD a month) ...
  5. Gulf Arab States ($2,000-$5,000 USD a month)
Mar 28, 2023

Is 30 too old to do TEFL? ›

Is 30 too old to be a TEFL teacher? As you can see, 30 is most definitely not too old to be a TEFL teacher. There are no hard and fast rules about how old you need to be as a TEFL teacher. As a minimum, the majority of TEFL courses and TEFL jobs require you to be 18 years old.

How many hours a week do TEFL teachers work? ›

Typical teaching hours would be around 25 hours per week but again you will be expected to plan and create materials for your classes, which could typically add an additional 10 hours a week to your schedule.

Is there a demand for TEFL teachers? ›

It is estimated that over 100 000 positions open up for TEFL teachers all over the world EVERY YEAR – and that's not even considering online teaching. But there is still a need for more TEFL teachers. The nature of teaching English as a foreign language is that teachers are constantly moving.

Is there a demand for TEFL? ›

There's a huge demand for online English teachers all over the world right now and that demand is growing day by day! English is the international language of business and in certain countries, it's essential that locals can speak English as well as their native language.

What happens if you get a TEFL certification? ›

You're TEFL Certified. Now What? With an accredited TEFL certification, an English speaker can get paid to teach English in up to 80 countries worldwide from Costa Rica to South Korea. You can also get hired to teach English online, start an English tutoring business, and teach locally or abroad on a volunteer basis.

Is the 120 hour TEFL worth it? ›

120 hours is considered the baseline for a professional-level TEFL certification for teaching English abroad or online. Not all 120-hour TEFL courses meet international standards, so it's essential to seek out those that are accredited and include live practice teaching.

How much is a 120 hour TEFL course? ›

Course overview
Course Fee$429.00
With70% off$129.00
Add ons
Total to pay$129.00
1 more row

What is the most Recognised TEFL course? ›

1. International TEFL Academy. International TEFL Academy is one of the most prominent accredited TEFL programs in the world, offering courses in 25 locations around the world. They also offer accredited online TEFL courses for prospective teachers who feel comfortable with self-learning.

Do you need to speak another language to be a TEFL teacher? ›

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers do not necessarily need a second language. While knowledge of a second language can be beneficial, it is not a requirement for teaching English as a foreign language.

What level of TEFL do I need to teach abroad? ›

You usually need a native-level (C1 or C2) fluency in English. Your training and experience. Finding a job will be easier if you have a university degree, TEFL certification, or prior teaching experience.

Can I teach in Europe with an American degree? ›

Can Americans Teach English in Europe? Yes - An American with a TEFL / TESOL Certification from International TEFL Academy can realistically find great opportunities to teach English in Europe. There are thousands of Americans successfully finding employment in Europe every year as English teachers.

Is 35 too old for TEFL? ›

Am I too old to TEFL? While, sadly, it's true that some countries and their visa requirements can be an obstacle, we can't stress this enough: no, you are not too old to TEFL.

Am I too old to do a TEFL course? ›

Are There Age Restrictions for TEFL Courses? Anyone aged 18 and older can take a TEFL course from International TEFL Academy (ITA). However, know that more teaching opportunities will become available to you as you move in your 20s and beyond.

Is there a final exam for TEFL? ›

The final test will cover all units and must be completed after students have finished all the units.

Is Celta or TEFL better? ›

CELTA is certainly a widely recognized and respected type of TEFL certification. However, that doesn't mean it's the best TEFL certification for you. If you're interested in teaching children, for example, a TEFL certification is better since CELTA is specific to adults.

How many months does TEFL course take? ›

Typically, a fully accredited TEFL certification course will last anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months. Shorter, 4-week long courses will generally run full-time (30-40 hours per week) and are very demanding.

Can you do TEFL for 3 months? ›

The BENEFITS of short term TEFL contracts

On the other end of the teaching abroad timeline spectrum, one of the major benefits of choosing a short duration (three to six months) is that you can dip your toe in the (often unpredictable) TEFL job waters to see if a particular experience fits your needs.

How much money can you make with a TEFL? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $72,500 and as low as $11,500, the majority of Tefl Teacher salaries currently range between $27,000 (25th percentile) to $48,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $72,500 annually across the United States.

How many attempts can I have for TEFL? ›

You can attempt a quiz an unlimited number of times. There is no penalty for resitting tests. This will not affect your final grade and the number of attempts will not be recorded on your certificate.

Is the TEFL market saturated? ›

While the demand for ESL teachers is evergrowing, the TEFL industry is still saturated with general English teachers (myself included). This is why you need to reevaluate what you can offer.

Which teaching subject is most in demand? ›

According to the Department of Education, the past few years have shown an increased shortage of teachers in certain subjects and an oversupply in others. High demand jobs exist in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and local languages.

Is teaching English online a good side hustle? ›

Teaching online is one of the most flexible side gigs that exist! You can teach before or after work or on weekends, and you can ramp up your bookings during summer breaks or holidays if you want. Not only can you set your own schedule when teaching online, but sometimes you can even set your own pay rate as well.

Which country needs teachers the most? ›

China. Based on many studies, China runs at the top of the list. China has continued to be the most sought-after teaching destination right now because it has almost 300 million English learners.

What country pays teachers most? ›

Luxembourg. According to an OECD report, Luxembourg (a European country) has the highest-paid teachers in the world. Another source indicates that a bachelor's degree holder is entitled to an initial salary of €67,000 (US $70,323.20) per annum at the start of their teaching career.

Where is the best place to get your TEFL? ›

Best TEFL Certification Programs of 2023
  • Best Overall: International TEFL Academy.
  • Best Online Program: Premier TEFL.
  • Best Budget-Friendly Option: ITT.
  • Best for Student Support: TEFL Org.
  • Best Hybrid Program: ITTT.
  • Best for Specializations: Teach Away.
  • Best for Overseas Job Placement: TEFLPros.
  • Best for Online Teaching: i-to-i.
Mar 30, 2023

Is 60 too old to become a teacher? ›

Can you be too old to teach? The short answer is no. Teaching takes focus, dedication, and a degree of stamina, but some teaching jobs take more energy than others – particularly jobs in early childhood education or physical education.

What level of English is required for TEFL? ›

Someone who wants to do the TEFL course will need to measure at a C1 or Advanced level of English. This is similar to any other course of study that is conducted in English.

Is Level 3 TEFL worth it? ›

A Level 3 TEFL qualification is equivalent to an A Level in the UK. This course is perfect for getting a good TEFL job whether you want to work online, work abroad in non-native English speaking countries or volunteer around the world.

Is it hard to get a TEFL job? ›

Generally, finding employment as a TEFL teacher is quite easy. The demand for English teachers (and particularly native English speakers) is high. However, achieving a well-paid position in a quality, respected establishment can prove more challenging, especially for new teachers.

How much can you make a month teaching English online? ›

What are Top 5 Best Paying Related Online Esl Teacher Jobs in the U.S.
Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly Pay
Work From Home Esl Consultant$99,357$8,279
Work From Home Esl Lab$91,927$7,660
Esl Consultant$88,652$7,387
Esl Content Writer$76,194$6,349
1 more row

What is the minimum TEFL hours? ›

Generally 120 hours minimum is the most common requirement, but some countries only require 100 hours or have no preference at all. Most employers prefer to hire English teachers with an internationally recognized TEFL certification from a 100-120-hour course.

Is TEFL worth it for online teaching? ›

Teachers with TEFL certification earn higher salaries than the uncertified. Online TEFL courses allow students to work through the materials on their own time. Accreditation is an essential feature of any TEFL course. Teaching practicum is not a required component of a TEFL course.

Which one is better TESOL or TEFL? ›

In short, a TEFL course will suit you best if you want to teach English online and abroad to students who aren't native English speakers, for example, Chinese students. A TESOL course will be better if you want to teach English in an English-speaking country.

How long does it take to earn TEFL? ›

Typically, a fully accredited TEFL certification course will last anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months. Shorter, 4-week long courses will generally run full-time (30-40 hours per week) and are very demanding.

What degree do you need for TEFL? ›

This one's easy. To teach English abroad, you'll need a bachelor's degree in any subject/major, and an ESL teaching qualification (such as a TEFL certification) at the minimum! For more on getting TEFL certified to teach English abroad, check out the following: TEFL FAQ.

How long does it take to complete TEFL online? ›

Online TEFL courses are usually 120 hours plus in order to meet the benchmark required by employers. You can add on specialist modules and even combine with a classroom course to give yourself a really rounded learning experience. The great thing about online TEFL courses is that they're so flexible.

Do TEFL certificates expire? ›

Do TEFL Certificates Expire? A TEFL certificate is a lifetime qualification and doesn't require any additional training or coursework to renew it. It does not have an expiration date and you can start work immediately after receiving your TEFL certificate.

Which is better CELTA or TEFL? ›

CELTA is certainly a widely recognized and respected type of TEFL certification. However, that doesn't mean it's the best TEFL certification for you. If you're interested in teaching children, for example, a TEFL certification is better since CELTA is specific to adults.

Can you teach English with just a TESOL certificate? ›

A TEFL certificate is primarily for teaching English in non-native English speaking countries, while a TESOL certificate is a better choice for those who may want to teach English in both non-native AND/OR native English speaking countries.


1. Teach English Online: Everything You Need To Know - International TEFL Academy
(International TEFL Academy)
2. 20 Factors to consider when applying for TEFL jobs
(The TEFL Academy)
3. Is TEFL Certification Worth It?
(Ian Leahy)
4. Do TEFL certificates expire?
(ITTT International TEFL & TESOL Training)
5. ITTT FAQs - Everything You Need To Know About TEFL & TESOL Jobs
(ITTT International TEFL & TESOL Training)
6. Benefits You Can Get if You Obtain a TEFL Certificate | ITTT TEFL BLOG
(ITTT International TEFL & TESOL Training)


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