“TEFL” is the acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, or simply, English language instruction for non-native speakers.

A Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification is an internationally recognised qualification to teach English abroad and a critical component of your international teaching job application.

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language): This will allow teachers to teach English in a country where English is not the native language.

What is the difference between a TEFL/CELTA/TESOL course?

TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language): This will allow a teacher to teach in an English-speaking country to students whose first language isn’t English.

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages): This encompasses both TEFL and TESL and can mean either one or both. This will allow a teacher to teach a student whose native language isn’t English.

CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages): This is a specific brand of course operating under Cambridge University, similar to a TESOL. This course is usually taught full-time over 4 weeks or part-time over 6 months.

What is the difference between a TEFL and TESOL?

TEFL and TESOL are both acronyms for teaching English to non-native speakers. Both acronyms can be used to describe qualifications which certify you to teach English as a foreign language. 

To a larger extent both "TEFL" and "TESOL" are used interchangeably.

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

What is a TEFL teacher?

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) teacher refers to teaching the English language to adults and children whose first or main language is not English. TEFL can occur either within the state school system or more privately, at a language school or with a tutor. So, if you're fluent in English, want to get paid to travel the world and have creative planning skills, consider a career teaching English as a foreign language.

Related article:

Which qualities make a good TEFL teacher?

What do you learn on a TEFL course?

A TEFL course covers topics including teaching language skills, grammar, lesson planning and classroom management. A TEFL course will teach you how to:

  • Teach English Language Skills. Teach the five major elements of language learning: reading, writing, speaking, listening and pronunciation.
  • Simplify English Grammar. Simplify complex English grammar concepts for ELLs (English Language Learners).
  • Plan Lessons. Plan and deliver effective lessons that meet class learning objectives and promote productive learning.
  • Manage a Classroom. Manage your classroom and student behaviour to create a welcoming and safe learning environment.
  • Identify Learning Styles. Identify different learning styles and adapt lessons to suit students and their needs.
  • Build Effective Learning Materials. Find, adapt and personalise a wide variety of text-based and digital materials for use in the classroom.

How quickly can I get TEFL certified and begin teaching abroad?

Our average student takes 4 – 6 weeks to complete our Level 5 TEFL Course and our students have 6 months to complete the course.

Do I need to be a native speaker of English to study a TEFL course?

You do not need to be a native speaker to study our course. Roughly 20% of our students are non-native speakers.

What level should my English be?

Native speakers of English will naturally be above the minimum standard of English for this course. Non-native speakers should have an English level of C1 (Advanced) as a minimum.
If you are not sure what level your English is there are several websites where you can test it yourself, for example:




C1 is the level represented by the following public exams:

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) General Level 4
Trinity ISE III
Trinity GESE Grades 10 and 11
Cambridge CAE (Grade A, B or C)
Cambridge Business Higher
IELTS score 6.5-7.5
Michigan ECPE
TOEFL score 95-120
TOIEIC Listening: 490-495 Reading 455 Speaking: 180 Writing: 180

Top TEFL destinations for 2019

Do I need to speak a foreign language to Teach English Abroad?


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"Teaching English in a foreign country is, in my view, a true life experience!"

My name is Leeroy, I am 23 years old and, as you can see, I love to travel I graduated from university in 2012 and found it hard to find work in the field that I studied in for 3 years. So I went back to work in retail, the job I worked at before I went to university. Read More

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"My advice to those who are thinking about teaching abroad is just go for it!"

When I finished university in July 2013, I was all for getting a graduate job and settling down into a 9-5 lifestyle. However, due to the evident current job climate, this didn’t happen. After graduation, I moved back in with my parents and found a temping job for the next 6 months in the countryside where I grew up. Read More

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