How do I become a TEFL tutor?

There are a number of EFL teaching scenarios that involve tutoring. The most obvious is that of one-to-one teaching. This can take place in a school, a language center, at a business or privately. Regardless of the teaching scenario, the route to becoming a TEFL tutor is basically the same as becoming a TEFL teacher.

In general there are three ways to gain the certification required to become a TEFL tutor. They all involve a course with a minimum of 120 hours of training.

Online TEFL certification

This can be done from anywhere in the world with a computer and an internet connection. Typical 120-hour courses give you up to six months to complete the course, working at your own pace. These courses will cover the main aspects of EFL teaching, those being, learning about teaching methodology and learning how to teach English grammar.

Onsite TEFL certification

These courses are taken from a fixed location, available all over the world and typically require attendance of four weeks for a 120-hour course. These courses will cover the main aspects of EFL teaching, those being, learning about teaching methodology and learning how to teach English grammar. The added benefit of an onsite course is that you will be able to undergo some observed teaching practice with real students of English. Some employers prefer that your qualification includes such teaching practice experience.

Combined TEFL certification

Combined or hybrid courses offer aspects of both the previous examples. You generally complete the theory section of the 120-hour certification online, from anywhere in the world. This is followed by a shorter attendance at a training center (typically 10 days) to gain your teaching practice experience.

Costs for the three different TEFL course types vary, with the four week onsite course being the most expensive and the 120-hour online course the least expensive.

All these courses provide you with the minimum certification to begin your tutoring career. Most tutors start by teaching for an online teaching company, of which there are many. Once you gain some experience you can start to look for positions within a school or language center that offers one-to-one teaching. Many companies also require one-to-one tutors for their senior staff, particularly in Asian countries where senior staff members prefer to be taught privately.

Two other areas of EFL teaching where one-to-one teaching is often required are in the areas of teaching young learners and teaching business English. If after completing the 120-hour TEFL course you are able to add these two components to your certificate resume, you will increase your opportunity to take up a tutoring position. As many tutor positions are online teaching positions, a specialized course in teaching English online would also be a very useful addition to your CV or resume.



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