How to earn TEFL certification while still in school

Earn TEFL while still in school

A TEFL certificate is increasingly becoming a must-have for anyone who wants to teach abroad. Country regulations are changing and schools are upping their requirements as the applications continue to flood in. But here’s the good news: earning a TEFL certificate can be completed over your summer break!

You may not have realized but you don’t need a Bachelor’s degree of any kind to enroll in a TEFL course and complete your certification. (This fact helps to set the TEFL apart from TESOL and TESL certificates. Neither of those certifications can be obtained without a post-secondary degree.)

So, if you’re still a student but you know you want to jump into teaching abroad as soon as you graduate, this is your big chance to become fully qualified to work internationally as an ESL teacher.

Benefit from no (or few!) prerequisites

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Believe it or not, you can earn a TEFL certificate from a reputable provider without having a university degree. In fact, signing up to take an internationally recognized TEFL course is often as simple as enrolling online!

In place of post-secondary requirements, enrolling in some TEFL courses may require the following prerequisites:

  • Have a completed high school degree or General Education Development (GED) certificate.
  • Demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the English language.

Before registering in any TEFL course, we recommend researching the provider. As a general rule of thumb, if a university is affiliated with the certification program, then that TEFL course is reputable and a good choice to make. It’s also a good idea to look at online reviews from past participants.

In instances where a TEFL course isn’t associated with a university, we recommend contacting a reputable independent accrediting body—like WTEFLAC, IATEFL, or the British Council—to confirm the course’s legitimacy. There are fraudulent TEFL programs floating around on the internet, so you can never be too careful!

Don’t try to skimp and save when it comes to TEFL, because the courses can vary drastically in terms of quality. If you see a course listed for $150 USD, your inner alarm bells should be ringing. That old saying “You get what you pay for” really holds true in this instance. Even on the off-chance that $150 USD course is legitimate, the program standards might be quite low, and you could end up in an ESL classroom feeling completely unprepared to teach your new students.

Most reputable, accredited certification programs cost around $1,000. Just some numbers to keep in mind during your search!

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Get TEFL certified fast online

While some ESL teachers-in-training prefer learning in a classroom setting, an online TEFL course is the ideal option for students or full-time employees who have tight schedules. Indeed, most in-person TEFL programs require your presence during regular daytime hours, much like an office job would. These constraints on your time can be difficult to juggle with the obligations of school, work, and home life.

Luckily for you, online programs provide a viable alternative. Many online programs can be completed from the comfort of your home. Certain courses may require you to meet in-person on predetermined dates for tests or assignments, but otherwise, you’re in control of your learning schedule. This flexibility allows you to learn to teach English when and where you want.

During your TEFL course, if you’re able to devote full-time hours to your studies, you can earn your certification in as little as four weeks! In general, international employers look for someone with 120-hours of TEFL training as this is the industry standard.

That being said, you can still snag a job at an exceptional school. But steer clear of TEFL course providers that claim they can certify you in less than 100 hours! 100 hours is the minimum benchmark for full TEFL certification. Anything less means the program can’t provide a certification that all international schools would recognize as valid.

If you’re a student who can’t treat their TEFL course like a 9-to-5 job, don’t get stressed out. Like we’ve said, with so many self-paced online programs, your schedule is 100% up to you. So, if you need a few months to finish your TEFL program, that’s totally cool. Keep a pace that’s realistic for you and your lifestyle.

Complete your TEFL over the summer break

Complete TEFL over the summer

With summer break fast approaching, now is the perfect time to enroll in a TEFL certification course. After all, balancing your university schoolwork and a TEFL course? Probably not going to happen!

However, as university winds down for the year, we also understand that many students are scrambling to find steady summer employment to fund their next year of studies. Keep in mind that online TEFL courses are completed at your convenience! If you’re committed to the certification process, we’re confident that you can find 100 or so hours in your summer to complete it.

As a closing note, earning your TEFL certificate before you finish your university degree is an excellent idea, especially if you’re hoping to have a job lined up at graduation time. Students in the last year of their Bachelor’s program, who are set to graduate that semester, can begin applying to teach English abroad. Potential employers are often happy to gauge your academic merit from your most recent transcripts.

If you apply early to teach English abroad, you could be flying off to an exciting country—such as South Korea, China, or Mexico—before the ink even dries on your diploma! When you have a TEFL certificate in hand, suddenly the world becomes yours to discover. Just think of the adventures that await you if you register in a TEFL course today.

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