Weekend? Master? 20 or 300 hours? Add a specialism?
Feeling confused? I don't blame you. It can be daunting from the outside looking in and the "which course for me?" email tops our list of frequently asked questions.
Why is there so much choice?
If you’re baffled as to why there’s so much choice, then quite simply, the TESOL market made it that way. What private language schools want from their teachers will vary according to local demand. So, the course generally recommended for a tiny, neighbourhood school in rural Mexico is not what we’d generally suggest for central Paris. Hence, the variety of courses reflects the world TESOL job market in all its rich and varied form.
Great, so where do I start?
It’s best to work backwards. Where do you want to go? Head over to our destinations pages, browse locations and see the courses we recommend for each in the right hand column.
In some regions finding good, well paid jobs is really competitive, so we suggest a higher level qualification if you are heading for Southern Europe, Our 150 hour TESOL Premier Plus course, and then adding on a specialisation in Teaching English to Young Learners. Elsewhere in Europe, to teach English in France, Germany and Sweden in particular, our TESOL Premier Plus with an additional specialisation in Teaching Business English is most popular and highly recommended.
Be aware that in English speaking countries especially, many private language schools will prefer a CELTA or Trinity TESOL qualification, which are taught in-class, normally intensively over four to five weeks and contain a minimum of six hours of observed teaching practice. These courses are quite an investment, especially when you consider that most of the private language school work in the UK at least is seasonal. Although our online TESOL trainees are teaching English in the UK they have often had to be creative about finding work, by seeking their own source of students and freelancing and teaching English online.
For many countries in the Far East, a degree will be the most important qualification you possess and demand is very high, particularly in China and South Korea. Even so, some employers are requesting a 120 hour TESOL as a minimum and as a result, our most popular course for Asia is the 120 hour TESOL Premier course.
A short, practical weekend TEFL course might even be sufficient for certain schools, for volunteering or for most countries in Latin America.
Which course should I take if I’m already a teacher?
Teaching experience will certainly help any application but interestingly, a TEFL/TESOL is still a prerequisite for many private language school positions. However, if you have lots of teaching experience, then a short course such as our 70 hour online TESOL or weekend TEFL course could be all you need to formalise your experience and give you that vital TESOL certificate.
And if I’m not a native English teacher?
There is no denying strong bias towards native English teachers in the TESOL job market. To stand out, you may have to be better qualified and ‘bring something else to the table.’ This might be your ability to speak (and maybe teach) other languages, your empathy with learners, or even your strong grasp of English grammar, as we natives have often only formally learned our own grammar on TESOL courses. When we asked our non-native TEFL teachers about how they were making their qualification work for them, we were surprised at how many continued to learn and take courses. If you are non-native English teacher, the advice seems to be to get as qualified as you can.
I can only afford a short course
Sometimes our course choice is constrained by budget. That’s fine but highlight your other skills to give you as many options as possible especially if you have worked in business, with young people or have a specialist background. If you are already in the country where you want to teach, apply for jobs by dropping in. You will have a huge advantage over those applying from abroad and access many jobs that aren’t advertised on the internet. So see our advice on this here and check out our guidance on creating a top TEFL CV.
If you would like more individual advice about your particular situation, contact us and we would be more than happy to help.
If you’re still not sure about which course is for you, the best advice we can give you is to invest in the most advanced TESOL qualification you can afford; it will stand you in good stead and, let’s face it, no-one ever regretted being too qualified!
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"For the past two years I have worked here in Tuscany teaching all levels. I have already recommended your courses to one of my prospective teachers..."
— Alison Salmon, English World, Italy