What Level Should My English Be For A TEFL Course?
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Doing a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course can be the beginning of a whole new life for many people. Having a TEFL certificate opens the doors to travelling and teaching wherever your itchy feet want to take you.
Can anyone complete a TEFL course? Well, sort of.
The question you need to ask yourself is what level should my English be for a TEFL course? If you are a native English speaker then chances are that you have nothing to worry about. If English is not your native language, it is a little bit more complex. The best way to explore whether or not you are eligible is to complete a TEFL English exam. But we’ll get to this shortly.
What does it take to complete a TEFL course?
A lot of people out there believe that because a Level 5 TEFL course is 168 hours that it isn’t a “real” qualification and anyone can do it. There are other people out there that think that if you can speak English, you can simply teach English. We think it is fair to say that anyone who has spent an hour in an EFL classroom will be quick to point out that both of those are far from the truth
The truth is that a TEFL course is a legitimate and well-regarded teaching qualification needed to teach English as a foreign language. As with any qualification there are a few requirements you must satisfy to be accepted on a TEFL course.
What requirements do you need to do a TEFL course?
There are a variety of different factors that different TEFL providers can have as minimum requirements to complete their TEFL courses. Some TEFL courses require you to have a Bachelor’s degree. Others only require a school-leaving certificate. The majority of TEFL courses only accept TEFL trainees who are older than 18 years old. You will need to find out the specific course requirements of the TEFL course you want to do. However, there is one TEFL course requirement which all TEFL courses have.
What level should my English be for a TEFL course?
To be able to teach English as a foreign language effectively you need to have a solid foundation in the theories of teaching and learning, a good grasp of the English language, and a certain skill set, all of which are dealt with on the TEFL course. Consequently, there is a language level requirement to sign up for a TEFL course.
This is where native speakers of English will naturally be above the minimum standard of English needed for a TEFL course while non-native speakers should have an English level of C1. Taking a TEFL English exam is the best way to examine whether or not you are at this level of proficiency in the language.
What does C1 mean?
A person’s level of English is commonly measured by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which describes language ability on a 6-point scale. If a language learner measures as a Beginner or Elementary learner they are classified as A1, Pre-intermediate as A2, Intermediate B1, Upper Intermediate B2, Advanced C1 and Proficiency C2. Or, to put it more simply:
(Don’t get your knickers in a knot over the levels just yet – you’ll learn more about them on your TEFL course).
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. A certain mastery of the language is needed to deal with the course materials and texts. Besides, you can’t teach a language if you can’t speak the language!
How do I know what English level I am?
In order to test any language learner’s level, there are a number of language tests that can be taken. A C1 according to the CEFR is equivalent to the following:
Score equivalent to C1
The Pearson Test of English (PTE)
Trinity ISE III
6.5 – 7.5
95 – 120
If you haven’t taken a formal test and would like to gauge your level, you can do a quick level test on any of these websites:
When you apply to do a TEFL certificate and you are a non-native speaker, you may be required to provide proof of your English language ability. This can be done with a certificate from one of the TEFL English exams above or through an interview with the TEFL school.
Is being a non-native speaker a disadvantage?
Absolutely not. Don’t let this requirement put you off doing the TEFL and becoming a TEFL teacher. There is no reason why a native speaker would be a better teacher than a non-native speaker purely through the fact that English is their mother tongue. In fact, because non-native teachers have learnt English as a foreign language themselves, many argue they have an advantage over native teachers, in that they have been through the same process their students are going through.
Non-native speaker TEFL jobs
Sadly, the reality is that even though being a non-native teacher won’t affect your teaching ability, you still might find it a bit challenging to find a job in some countries as they prefer native English-speaking teachers. There are many other opportunities out there, but you will just need to find them.
These days schools, companies and recruiters are more understanding of the fact that being a native speaker doesn’t necessarily make you naturally better at TEFL.
Read more: TEFL Opportunities for Non-native Speakers
Teaching English online
The growing trend of teaching English online, for example, is a great avenue. There is such a huge demand for online English teachers that it is relatively easy to find work online. Being a native speaker of another language (besides English) can be particularly helpful when dealing with students’ parents who may not speak English themselves.
The bottom line, then, is that you do need a certain level of English. If you can’t speak and understand English at at least an Advanced level, you won’t be able to pass the course let alone teach learners. But if you can and you would like to teach English abroad, there’s nothing left for you to do but sign up for a TEFL course and get certified! Good luck!
The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.
Terms and Conditions
1. Our Contract with you
- These are the terms and conditions upon which The TEFL Academy will provide one of the following TEFL
courses to you (the “Terms”):
Name of course Description Online Level 5 TEFL Course 168-hour Online Level 5 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Online Level 3 TEFL Course 120-hour Online Level 3 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Top-Up Courses 30-hour Online Teaching Young Learners, Teaching Business English and Teaching Online & 1:1 Courses 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours of webinar teaching practice course (Learn about classroom management and Q&A with a TEFL expert) Observed Teaching Practice Course 40-hour observed teaching practice course
- Details of the TEFL Courses can be found here.
- Please read these Terms carefully before you submit your order for enrolment in a TEFL Course to us. These Terms
tell you who we are, how we will provide services to you, how you and we may change or end the contract, what to do
if there is a problem and other important information. You must indicate your acceptance of these Terms before you
can submit your order for a course with The TEFL Academy.
- Our acceptance of your booking will take place when you receive a confirmation email from us to accept your order,
at which point a contract will come into existence between you and us.
- Once you have received an email acceptance of your order, these Terms will form the basis of the contract between
you, the student, and us The TEFL Academy, to the exclusion of all other terms and conditions. Any variations to
these Terms shall have no effect unless agreed in writing.
- All students studying the combined course option must print their confirmation email and bring it to the first day
of their course or have the confirmation email accessible on a smartphone.
2. Information about us
- We are ELEARNING FUTURES LTD (trading as The TEFL Academy) a company registered in the United Kingdom.
Registered company number 13725845, Palmeira Avenue Mansions, 19 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2FA.
- Our USA address is: The TEFL Academy, 954 Lexington Ave, #1135 New York, NY 10021, USA.
- You can contact us by telephoning our customer service team at +1 347 434 9694 or by emailing us at [email protected].
- These Terms shall commence upon the date you receive a confirmation email from us to accept your order and
shall continue for the duration of the TEFL Course or until cancelled pursuant to these Terms.
- You will be obliged to comply with these Terms for the duration of the TEFL Course you are enrolled in unless
the course is cancelled early in accordance with these Terms. Any terms expressed to survive termination shall
so survive and shall be enforceable by us for a period of 6 years after termination.
- The duration of the TEFL Courses shall be as follows:
Name of course Duration Combined Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 3 TEFL Course 6 months 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours Top-up courses 6 weeks Observed Teaching Practice Course 2 years
- If you need a course extension, this can be arranged at a fee. Please contact [email protected] or call +1 347 434 9694
for more details and information on how to apply for an extension.
- The fees for extensions are set out below.
Extension type Extension fee pre-expiry Extension fee post-expiry Level 3 & 5 TEFL Course 30 day extension $66 $84 Level 3 & 5 TEFL Course 90 day extension $96 $114 Top-up Course 30 day extension $36 n/a Observed Teaching Practice Course No fee No fee
- The prices for the TEFL Courses are as follows:
Name of course Price Combined Level 5 TEFL Course $988 Online Level 5 TEFL Course $563 Online Level 3 TEFL Course $413 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course $220 Top-up courses $195 Observed Teaching Practice Course $275
- The TEFL Academy reserves the right to change our course prices or other services on our website at any time
at our sole discretion, and such amended prices or services shall be kept up to date on our website and
available here. Our website shall also maintain up to date details of our special offers here.
- The fees for extensions or cancellations can be found at clauses 3.5, 6.2 and 7.
- For classroom-based courses. transport to and accommodation at the venue is not included in the price of the
combined TEFL course. Food and other related costs are not included in the combined TEFL course price.
- All payments can be made by credit or debit card through our payment processor WorldPay or through Paypal. The
TEFL Academy does not process any card payments directly on our server. The payment page on the website will
direct you to a separate Paypal or Worldpay page depending on the payment option selected by you. We do not
store or process personal financial information.
- If the date for your chosen course is more than two weeks away, you have the option of paying a
deposit. You will be invoiced for the remaining balance with a payment link to the email address used to make
your booking. The remaining balance must be paid in full no longer than one week before the course date. All
balance payments are non-refundable. Access to the online course is provided on receipt of the full balance
6. Changing or Cancelling your course
- If for whatever reason you wish to change the date of your course, you must notify us of the change at least
seven days prior to the course date. Any changes requested will only be accepted for available dates within the
next three months from the original course date and must be at the same location. All changes are subject to
availability and only one change per booking will be accepted.
- Please note: Subject to clause 7, under no circumstances whatsoever will changes or cancellations be accepted
less than 7 days before the course date. Any student who wishes to change course or cancel within the 7 days of
the course date, for whatever reason, will forfeit their course fee.
7. Right of Withdrawal
- You shall have a period of 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract to withdraw from the
contract (cancelling your enrolment) for no reason, and without incurring any costs other than those provided
for in clause 6.2 where applicable.
- If you wish to exercise your right of withdrawal, you must inform The TEFL Academy of your decision to
withdraw from the contract within this 14 days by making a request in writing via our refund form (found here), or by making a statement in
writing setting out your decision to withdraw from the contract.
- The exercise of the right of withdrawal shall terminate the obligations of the parties to perform the
contract. The TEFL Academy will reimburse you in respect of all payments received from you within 14 days of
withdrawal using the same means of payment as the you used for the initial transaction.
8. Course Cancellation by The TEFL Academy
- Where a course cannot take place due to trainer illness or other circumstances beyond our control, the course
may be cancelled by us. The TEFL Academy will endeavour to provide an alternative trainer but this is not always
possible. We will try and arrange an alternative date, but if any new arrangements are not suitable, a full
refund will be offered. In these circumstances we accept no liability for any loss or expenses incurred by you
including, without limitation, any travel, accommodation costs or loss of earnings.
- In the event that a classroom course cannot take place as a result of, or connected with, delay or
interruption to travel services, adverse weather conditions, civil disturbance, industrial action, strikes,
wars, floods, sickness, pandemics, epidemics or any other commonly accepted event of force majeure, The TEFL
Academy will endeavour to offer a classroom course at an alternative date or will seek to transfer your booking
to the online course or failing these options will transfer your booking to the reserves list (where you will be
placed on a list until you select an alternative suitable classroom date and can continue with the online
element of the course). A refund (including the difference in cost between different course options, if and
where applicable) will not be permitted in any of the above circumstances, unless the cancellation of the course
for these reasons occurs within 14 days from booking.
9. Access to Course and Materials
- The 6-month enrolment on the online course starts from the date that full payment for the course has been
received by The TEFL Academy.
- All assignments must be submitted no later than 2 weeks before the enrolment end date. Students who wish to
apply for an extension to the enrolment end date, may incur additional fees. An extension will run from the
previous enrolment end date or if you are paying the post expiry fee, from the date the full extension payment
is received by The TEFL Academy.
- Access to the online course materials will cease upon expiration of enrolment.
- All online courses require a computing device and stable internet connection. The full requirements can be
- All course data, including test scores and assignments, will be stored no more than 12 months from the final day of enrolment on the online course. Students will be notified by email of this deadline 30 days before deletion. Students who wish to retain their online course content beyond the 12-month storage date will be required to purchase an extension as per clauses 3 and 4.
10. Assignments and Exams
- As part of some TEFL Courses you will be required to prepare and submit assignments. If you do not pass an
assignment you can resubmit an assignment in accordance with clause 10.2.
- You can submit each assignment up to three times. (i.e. after the first submission of an assignment, you may
re-submit the assignment a two further times up to a total of three submissions for one assignment).
- If you do not pass an assignment, you will not receive a grade, but you will be given feedback as to why you
have not passed and you shall be given the opportunity to re-submit your work up to a total of 3 submissions per
assignment in accordance with clause 10.2. You will not be able to resubmit an assignment which you have been
awarded a pass grade in.
- If you have a basis to believe your work has not been fairly assessed, you can request a re-mark via the tutor
support ticket platform. Due to the high number of students we cannot look at any assignment in advance of an
- You should submit your final assignment 2 weeks before your end date to allow time for marking and the
possible need for re-submission.
- Please be aware that if you have not completed all required assignments and allowed sufficient time for
marking before your end-date, you will need to apply for an extension.
- You are entitled to sit exams as many times as you need to in order to pass the exam. If you pass the exam you
cannot thereafter seek to resit the exam.
11. Failing the Course
- The TEFL Academy offers a guaranteed pass, or your money back guarantee. You can retake the exams as many times as needed in order to pass. If you fail to achieve a pass on any assignments after your third attempt we will provide you with a full refund. A full refund will not be provided in accordance with clauses 11.4, 11.5 & 11.8.
- Native speakers of English will typically be above the minimum standard of English for this course.
- Non-native speakers should have an English level of C1 (Advanced), as a minimum to commence the course.
Students may test their English level here: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/content.
- Students found not to have a C1 level of English will likely fail the course and not complete the
qualification. However, it is up to each prospective student to determine for themselves whether or not they
wish to commence a course even where they do not have a minimum of C1 level English. For the avoidance of any
doubt no refund will be provided for a student failing the course in any circumstances.
- Any student who fails or is removed from the course as a result of confirmed plagiarism (in accordance with
clause 11.6) will be removed immediately from the course without refund.
- Where an assignment marker finds evidence that indicates that plagiarism may have occurred within a submitted
assignment, this will be escalated to an Internal Quality Assurance Manager for investigation who will compare
the submitted assignment to the source it is believed to be plagiarised from. The Internal Quality Assurance
Manager will make an assessment as to whether they consider plagiarism to have occurred. In the event the
Internal Quality Assurance Manager decides that plagiarism has occurred, they will prepare and provide to you a
detailed report outlining the reasons for their decision along with a letter explaining your removal from the
course. Should you wish to dispute this decision, you can do so in accordance with The TEFL Academy’s Appeals
policy for students which can be found here.
- If you do not pass an assignment after submitting it up to three times in accordance with clause 10.2 you will
be deemed to have failed the course. Should you wish to dispute this decision, you can do so in accordance with
The TEFL Academy’s Appeals policy for students which can be found here. If you fail the course due to not passing your assignments you will be provided with a full refund.
- In order for you to legitimately fail the course, a clear attempt to answer the assignment requirements must be made. This requires uploading the required assignment templates for each submission, and an attempt to address feedback and recommendations provided by the tutor for the second and third attempts. If we deem your attempts at the assignments to not be genuine a refund will not be provided.
- The TEFL Academy accepts no liability, nor shall it have any liability whether in contract, tort, under
statute or otherwise, for any loss, damage, costs, liabilities or additional expense arising from, or in
connection with, any delay or interruption to travel services, weather conditions, civil disturbance, industrial
action, strikes, wars, floods, sickness or other events of force majeure. Such losses or additional expenses are
your responsibility. Force majeure (for the purposes of this clause) means any unusual and/or unforeseeable
circumstances such as war or the threat of war, riots, terrorist activity, civil strife, pandemics, epidemics,
industrial disputes, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, flood or adverse weather conditions.
- The TEFL Academy accepts no responsibility, nor shall it have any liability whether in contract, tort, under
statute or otherwise, for death, bodily injury or illness caused to you or any other person included on the
booking, except where it arises from any negligent act or omission of The TEFL Academy.
- The TEFL Academy accepts no liability, nor shall it have any liability whether in contract, tort, under
statute or otherwise, any technical or IT issues arising from or connected with the usage of the online courses
such as systems crashing.
- Our internship/volunteer opportunities and the jobs posted on our jobs board are provided by third parties.
Although we will endeavour to assist students, we accept no liability for the actions or conduct of any
- The TEFL Academy endeavours to ensure all assignments are marked promptly. However, there can be delays in
busier times or due to moderation requests from our accrediting body. The TEFL Academy accepts no responsibility for any loss or other circumstances resulting or arising from such delays.
- The TEFL Academy accepts no liability, nor shall it have any liability whether in contract, tort, under
statute or otherwise, for any loss or additional expense arising for students where they fail the course whether
such failure is alleged to be due to trainers allegedly lacking competency, for plagiarism or for any other
13. Complaints Handling Policy
- If you have any questions or complaints about the TEFL Course, please contact us. You can telephone our
customer service team at +1 347 434 9694 or write to us at [email protected] or The TEFL Academy, Suite 101b, 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL, United Kingdom.
- If your complaint is not dealt to your satisfaction with you may make a complaint to the course accrediting
body. You can find the contact details for the accrediting body in the The TEFL Academy’s Appeals Policy which
can be found here.
- Our staff have the right not to be subjected to aggressive, abusive or offensive language or behaviour,
regardless of the circumstances. Examples of this behaviour include but are not limited to; threats of physical
violence; swearing; inappropriate cultural, racial or religious references; rudeness, including derogatory
remarks. The TEFL Academy practises a zero-tolerance policy in relation to such behaviour. All students are
required at all times to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner including in their dealings with other
students, staff and external organisations. Disruptive or antisocial behaviour could result in being asked to
leave the course.
- Any student who fails or is removed from the course by failing to meet the academic standards or through being
found guilty of plagiarism will be removed immediately from the course without refund.
15. Data Protection
- Any use which we make of your personal data which you may provide in using The TEFL Academy site will be in
Academy uses your personal information.
16. Governing Law
- This Agreement is governed by the laws of England & Wales.
- Any claims made in connection with these Terms shall be subject to English law and all proceedings shall be
within the sole domain of the English courts.
17. Acceptance of these Terms
- By verbally agreeing on the telephone or having clicked ‘Enrol Now’ on the website you accept these Terms
including all payment obligations and you are acknowledging that placing an order creates an obligation to pay
for the services ordered and confirms that you have read, agreed to and accepted these terms. The person who
agrees to the enrolment agreement, does so on behalf of all the individuals included on it, so that all are
bound by the enrolment conditions.
LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2023
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- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.