Strictly speaking the answer is no, you do not have to possess a TEFL certificate in order to find work as an English language teacher. In some countries around the world it is still possible to secure employment simply by being a native English speaker. However, there are several reasons why we would strongly recommend that you complete a TEFL training course before you set off to teach English abroad.
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In recent years many popular destinations for EFL teachers have begun to tighten the requirements necessary for teaching English in schools and language centers. A recognized TEFL certificate is now required in order to secure a work permit in many countries, whilst the ever growing number of teachers with a TEFL qualification means that employers in the majority of countries will no longer accept unqualified teachers. Put simply, if you want to live and work in any popular destination across the world, you are more than likely to need a TEFL qualification. Another important factor to consider is the salary, benefits and overall working conditions that each job has to offer. This varies considerably from one country to the next but one fact remains consistent, the jobs that offer the best packages in most situations will require a TEFL certification.
As well as official requirements and personal benefits, there is one other very important reason why we consider it necessary to earn a TEFL qualification before you enter the world of English language teaching.
The ability to speak a language does not mean you are equipped to teach it!
Teaching a language requires certain specialist skills and knowledge which allow you to pass on what you know to your students. Completing a reputable TEFL course will ensure you are clear on the structures of English grammar such as the tense system, conditionals, modals and passive voice, and how to teach them effectively. You will also learn essential teaching skills including how to plan your lessons, methodologies for effective teaching and how to manage your students. Not only will this knowledge help you to secure a good teaching position, it will also ensure that your students have the best chance of improving their English abilities.
If you want to earn a competitive salary in a professional environment and you consider it important that your students are given the best opportunities to progress, then we think the answer is YES!