Student Advice


Ben Maples  · Aug 15th 2023

More and more people are looking into the possibilities of TEFL, with figures rising every single year, but what is TEFL?


Here we’ll break down exactly what TEFL is, how it works and what it involves for you as a student and whether or not you should consider TEFL either before, during or after university, how TEFL works, the TEFL meaning, how companies like i-to-i TEFL work, how to prepare for TEFL lesson plans, the best way for you to enjoy TEFL, how to choose which TEFL course to take and how to book a TEFL online course.

TEFL Cambridge

What does TEFL stand for?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).

What is TEFL?

TEFL is an internationally recognised qualification. A TEFL course is a qualification for all teachers that wish to teach English as a foreign language abroad. The TEFL works in much the same as the Certificate of Higher Education or a Diploma of Higher Education, in that the qualification you receive will be applicable anywhere in the world.

The TEFL will allow you to qualify for more varied teaching roles both home and abroad, gain the skills in order to facilitate working abroad and will increase your chances of earning a higher salary at different schools or universities around the world.

If you have a TEFL certification have possibly done an apprenticeship abroad and a PGCE degree, then you stand a really good chance of having your pick of the litter for jobs when it comes to applying!

Who knows, you might even look into some TEFL jobs, online TEFL jobs, TEFL internships or some TEFL jobs abroad afterwards as well.

The cost of the TEFL UK course will usually cost somewhere between £99 and £419 depending on the method of your studying.

What is a TEFL course?

A TEFL course can be studied both online and in person. While you can study TEFL courses online, it is recommended to study this in person where possible, since a number of different learning institutions are offering this as a viable option for students looking to teach English abroad.

The course will cover a number of different areas of study. Though you will most likely already have a basic to masterful grasp of the English language already, you will need to demonstrate this and even learn how to teach it. Knowing English and teaching English are seldom the same thing!

A TEFL course will cover:

  • Teaching English Language skills: This will require you to teach reading, writing, speaking, pronunciation and listening skills to students.
  • Plan lessons: You’ll need to be able to deliver lessons that meet your objectives and meets the curriculum in front of you.
  • Simplification of English Language: You will have to simplify complex English grammar concepts and statements for those learning English.
  • Manage the classroom: Make sure you are capable of managing your pupils and can deal with inappropriate behaviour from students as well.
  • Identify and teach different learning styles: Identify the different learning styles that different students react to and implement them within your own lesson plans.
  • Build your own learning materials: Whatever materials you are planning on using for students, you will most likely need to find, identify or build them yourself.

The TEFL Academy and course will teach you what you need to know about teaching and will also make sure that you have the correct approach to teaching when in the classroom.

TEFL jobs London

How much is a TEFL course?

The cost of the TEFL UK course will usually cost somewhere between £99 and £419 depending on the method of your studying, unless you have something like a Groupon TEFL deal, although, you will need to be careful that your TEFL Groupon deal hasn’t run out and that you are still getting the best TEFL courses.

Those looking to study the TEFL online will have cheaper options that those who study in the classroom or as a combined course, but the course choices will be a little more limited.

For those that have previously studied the TEFL course, there are specialist courses that are also offered for students as well, these will allow you to teach Business, English and general subjects to young learners and these usually cost between £99 and £119.

A TEFL course can be studied both online and in person.

How do I book a TEFL course?

You will need to book your TEFL course online on the on the TEFL website, which will also allow you to look into the possibilities of studying an online TEFL course, as well as being able to look up testimonies from any TEFL graduate, if you're not totally convinced.

If you want book any TEFL courses UK or become a TEFL teacher or look up The TEFL Academy reviews, their website will always be the best shout for you.

You have the choice of how you pay for it though, you can pay for the whole thing upfront if you wish, or you can put down a deposit, you will have to put down a deposit of £50 if you go for the latter.

If you pay a deposit online, you will be required to pay for the whole course in full before you can access any of your online work (just make sure you remember your TEFL login) and if you are studying in the classroom, it will need to be paid in full two weeks before any classroom work begins.

How long does a TEFL course take?

This depends on you and how you work. It is technically possible to complete the course in four weeks!

We don’t recommend this however, it’s an awful lot of work to take on in a very short space of time and you can basically say goodbye to whatever social life you plan on having.

The most common time for a TEFL certification to complete is around six months, this gives you time to not only study the course properly but also to become familiar with teaching techniques, especially if you've never taught before.

What is TESOL?

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

The TESOL qualification is designed to help you teach English in countries where English is not the native language, but the key difference is that this is a certification that also helps those who wish to teach in countries where English can be the native language, such as the UK, or the US and Canada, although, with the latter two, you will need to look into the possibilities of a J1 Visa or an F1 Visa first.

TEFL jobs Spain

What is TESL?

Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).

TESL allows you to teach English to non-English speakers. This may sound similar to either the TESOL or the TEFL, however, the difference is the geography if your certificate. TESL allows you to teach English to speakers of foreign languages who are living in countries where English is the native language.

For students who are thinking of looking into teach TEFL in China, then they may need to look into the TESL.

What is the difference between TEFL, TESL and TESOL?

The best way to differentiate is like this:

  • TEFL Courses: Teaching English in countries where English is not the native language.
  • TESL Courses: Teaching English to speakers of foreign languages in English speaking countries.
  • TESOL Courses: Teaching English in countries where English is the native language and countries where English is not the native language.

The TESOL courses combine both TEFL and TESL courses together, while they have their own disciplines.

TEFL is an internationally recognised qualification.

How to get TEFL certification

Your TEFL qualification will be sent out via the post.

If you live in the UK, it will be sent out by First Class Royal Mail. For those of you studying the TEFL abroad, a scanned copy of the TEFL certificate will be sent to you via email (the one you used to sign up with) and then the hardcopy of the certificate will be sent out by AirMail and no, the TEFL certificate does not count towards your UCAS Tariff Points.

Do I have to have a TEFL certificate to work abroad?

It’s not a necessity to work abroad without a TEFL certification, but it does help your application process and it very much depends on what it is that you want to do.

Some companies, such as i to i TEFL and Premier TEFL exist for this reason too.

For example, you don’t need to have studied any French Studies courses or studied in France to live or work in France or be a native speaker, but it will make your life a hundred times easier. If you wish to teach English as a foreign language, then having a TEFL certification is a necessity.

It is also a great way for you to earn more money as well, you will be a more attractive employment prospect for companies and you will also have a better chance of gaining job experience as a result of having the TEFL.

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