Frequently Asked Questions
about Teaching English Abroad
- What is the difference between ESL and EFL?
- What is the difference between CELTA, IDELT™, TEFL, TESOL, TESL and online certificates?
- How do I choose a good online TEFL course?
- Do I need a TEFL certificate to teach English abroad?
- Is it necessary to get my TEFL certificate through an accredited institution?
- Do I have to have a college degree to enroll in a TEFL course?
- Do I have to be a native speaker to enroll in a TEFL course?
- What is the profile of students in your training programs?
- Where can I teach with these certificates?
- Do these training programs enable me to teach ESL/EFL in U.S. public schools?
What is the difference between ESL and EFL?
English as a Second Language (ESL) is English taught to non-native speakers who live in an English-speaking country. This would be the case, for example, with a refugee living and studying English in the United States.
English as a Foreign Language (EFL) is English taught to non-native speakers who live in a non-English-speaking country. This would be the case with a Korean student studying English in his home country.
What is the difference between CELTA, IDELT™, TEFL, TESOL, TESL and online certificates?
Whether you choose a CELTA, IDELT™, TEFL, TESOL, TESL or online course, you should know that all six programs are internationally recognized, all prepare you for a teaching position overseas, and all are good for life. There are, however, several significant differences among them.
The Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is the most widely recognized international teacher qualification. The CELTA is a standardized teacher preparation program, so no matter where you take the course, it is more or less the same. If you have a CELTA certificate, prospective employers know exactly what to expect in terms of your training. CELTA requires a minimum of six hours teaching practice time, a minimum of six hours of observation, four assignments, a pre-interview task, an interview in the application process, and a pre-course task once you are accepted.
The Bridge IDELT™ (International Diploma in English Language Teaching) is BridgeTEFL's flagship certification course. It is standardized and only run at BridgeTEFL Authorized Training Centers. The program is recognized by the State University of New York's National PONSI, and is recommended for 6 graduate-level credits at over 1,500 American universities. The course is 140-hours over four weeks, and includes a minimum of six hours of teaching practice with real Enlish learners. The Bridge IDELT™ will qualify you for hundreds of teaching jobs worldwide.
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses are also teacher preparation certificate programs, but they are not standardized. Therefore, when evaluating an onsite or online TEFL course, it’s important to do your research.
First of all, you want to be sure that the institution is accredited and that this information is stated on your certificate. Another helpful check is to find out how long the institution has been in the language business. Bridge-Linguatec has over 20 years of experience and is accredited by ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training), a U.S. Department of Education-recognized agency. Our TEFLOnline.com and BridgeTEFL programs have been approved by ACCET.
Finally, the best way to be sure a TEFL course meets your needs is to ask the relevant questions, whether these involve practice teaching hours, the possibility of live or video observations, the amount of homework expected, or the number of written assignments required.
TESOL and TESL
TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) or TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) courses are not standardized either and are usually offered through universities.
Cost and convenience are the advantages of online TEFL certificate programs. The courses can be completed from any computer anywhere in the world and usually cost a fraction of on-site programs. However, the real-world experience of observing and/or teaching authentic language classes is not possible in most online courses.
If spending a month in another city or paying the tuition of an on-site course is not feasible for you, an online program is your best option. Online programs are likewise a good choice if you are unsure about teaching as a career and are not ready to invest the time and money in a regular TEFL course. Like on-site programs, online TEFL courses are not standardized and you need to do your homework. For help identifying a good online course, read the next FAQ.
How do I choose a good online TEFL course?
There are a number of things you should ask when evaluating an online TEFL course. Is the school accredited? Is the organization an established institution in the language business? Does the school have a physical location where you can contact program administrators? Are the tutors professionals with experience in the field? What kind of interaction do online students have with these tutors? Does the school provide testimonials or recommendations from program graduates?
Do I need a TEFL certificate to teach English abroad?
Although a few schools in some parts of the world may require only that you be a native speaker, most institutions prefer to hire teachers with a 4-year college degree and some TEFL training. In an increasingly competitive environment, it's an absolute necessity at some schools. In any case, having a CELTA or TEFL certificate on your resume will make the difference between you and another native English speaker, and can increase your chances of working at a better school and/or receiving a higher salary.
Is it necessary to get my TEFL certificate through an accredited institution?
Absolutely. As explained above, TEFL courses are not uniform in either content or quality. Any person or institution can offer a TEFL training program without regulation or standardization. Thus, one of the best ways to know that you are enrolling in a respectable TEFL course is to check that the institution is externally validated by a reputable accrediting agency. See our ACCET Accreditation page for more information.
Do I have to have a college degree to enroll in a TEFL course?
No. BridgeTEFL courses require only that students be academically prepared to enter a university. Students must also be at least 18 years old to enroll in the CELTA (20 is preferred) and 20-years-old to enroll in the IDELT™ and other TEFL courses (18- and 19-year-olds are accepted at the center’s discretion).
Do I have to be a native speaker to enroll in a TEFL course?
No. TEFL courses have different requirements for language proficiency. In order to enroll in a CELTA, IDELT™, or TEFL course at BridgeTEFL, you must have a level of English proficiency that enables you to follow the program and satisfactorily complete course requirements. This is a level at which the applicant makes few to no errors in English and is roughly equivalent to a score of 110 or higher on the TOEFL IBT.
What is the profile of students in your training programs?
Trainees in BridgeTEFL programs represent a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. Many students are young adults between the ages of 22 and 30 who have recently graduated from college or are changing jobs. We also have a significant number of students between the ages of 45 and 65, who are either recent retirees or are taking time off from the corporate world to travel abroad.
We have had trainees from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Holland, and India, but the large majority of our on-site students come from the United States and Great Britain. TEFLOnline.com students are from all over the world, including the USA, Canada, Italy, China, Korea, Turkey and Lebanon.
Where can I teach with these certificates?
The CELTA, IDELT™, TEFL and TEFLOnline.com certificates prepare you for a teaching job in any country abroad that you choose. You may end up teaching a business executive in Chile or a group of 40 high school students in China. EFL teachers are currently needed all over the world, with the highest demand in Korea, China, Japan, Indonesia, and other Pacific Rim nations.
Do these training programs enable me to teach ESL/EFL in U.S. public schools?
Most Amerian school districts require that you be licensed by the state in order to teach in public schools. Some districts, however, are in dire need of ESL teachers and will hire people with a 4-year college degree and a TEFL certificate provided that they are willing to work towards licensure. This often begins as a long-term substitute teaching position.