TEFL for Beginners: Top Tips to Know
Here we describe some of the most basic features of TEFL and TESOL courses and how they can be used to gain teaching positions worldwide.
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TEFL stands for teaching English as a foreign language and TESOL stands for teaching English to speakers of other languages, so it it's very similar. The training that's involved for TEFL or TESOL is typically the same. The term TEFL is most commonly used within the UK and Europe the term TESOL is usually preferred in Australia and the USA and Canada. The courses are the same for a TEFL course and a TESOL course; you will learn the same material.
Some people get confused with what TEFL is and what is TESOL is and then there's further confusion with another acronym, TOEFL. That stands for something completely different. TOEFL is the test of English as a foreign language, so this is an English proficiency test and has no connection to TEFL or TESOL. If you are a non-native English speaker, you may want to consider getting a TOEFL score or another form of English proficiency certificate like an IELTS or a Cambridge proficiency exam.
The requirements for teaching English vary from place to place just like the requirements for any other job vary from company to company, city to city and country to country, so it's really there's no one answer.
We often see in the requirements for TEFL English teaching jobs abroad that they want a bachelor's degree, so a four-year degree. However there are also many teaching jobs where a degree is actually not required. The main requirement is a TEFL or a TESOL certificate and this is almost always required. Again there are also jobs that don't require a TEFL or a TESOL but the situation has just become so competitive nowadays that TEFL or TESOL certificate is pretty much the standard. People who are TEFL or TESOL certified definitely have an advantage and are preferred most of the time; they also earn a higher salary.
You can also earn more money if you have teaching experience, although most of the time not a requirement it depends on where you want to teach. Typically in Asian countries such as, South Korea and China most people are first-time teachers. If you're interested in the Middle East which tends to be the highest paying TEFL teaching region they have tax free salaries, but it's incredibly competitive and you can earn a lot of money there. You will definitely need teaching experience most of the time there.
You will also find places where you need to be a Native English Speaker, though the majority of places will also accept non-native English speakers, but in that case in addition to the TEFL certificate they usually want some kind of English proficiency certificate on top of that, so that you can prove you that you are fluent in English. If you have lived in an English-speaking country or maybe you went to English-speaking University and things like that will also help. Other things recruiters will be looking for include, personal traits, so if you want to teach English abroad you need to have good adaptability to the new culture, new countries etc and an eagerness to learn new things.
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