I came up with this FAQ on TEFL courses and TESOL/CELTA certification, by searching Google. They have been divided into these categories.

What is a TEFL course?

TEFL=Teaching English as a Foreign Language. A TEFL course typically provides training to teach English abroad. These courses can be taken in a classroom, online or possibly combined.

Can I take a course if I am not a native English speaker?

Usually you can, however if your ability to speak and write in English is not very good then maybe you shouldn’t be taking a course to begin with. Also one of the qualifications of teaching abroad is usually to be a native English speaker.

Can I take a course if I don't have a degree?

Yes. However, you should know that most jobs require a degree which is for your work visa. If you can obtain a visa another way then that may enable you to teach for a limited amount of hours. Teaching without a degree can also be illegal.

What's the difference between CELTA, TEFL and TESOL?

TEFL and TESOL refer to the same thing. TEFL refers to teaching English as a foreign language and TESOL refers to teaching English to speakers of other languages. CELTA refers to Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults. TEFL, TESOL and CELTA are all "TEFL" courses.

Is a TEFL certificate enough?

Enough for what? I am assuming you are talking about the requirements to teach abroad. If so then that depends. You usually need to be a native English speaker and to have a degree. Those are for visa purposes Some schools may prefer or require TEFL certification. It depends on the country.

How long does TEFL certification last?

Forever. In that sense it is like a degree. A certificate is a certificate and it is not dated. The courses themselves may have a time limit though. Or some may be dated too. Some come and go.

How long will you last might be a more appropriate question. Most ESL teachers only teach abroad for like a year or two.

How/where do I get a TEFL certificate?

You have to search online to find a provider. You can take an online course or a course in the classroom. Some courses combine the two.

Will getting certified help me get a job?

Each school has different requirements and preferences for teachers. If an employer is choosing between two applicants with relatively similar qualifications such as a degree then the employer will probably choose the one with certification.

What’s the best course?

That depends on what you call the best. The best for you may not be the best for someone else. I’d say the best course is going to prepare you for your job. Some courses focus on teaching adults others business English and others children. Take the course that’s going to best prepare you for who you want to teach.

How do you know?

First know who you want to teach. if you want to teach kids don't take a course that specializes in teaching adults. Most courses do focus on teaching adults. It is hard to know without actually trying a course first. You can read reviews of other courses and see if they have one that you can try out or see what kind of resources they offer.

You should also decide whether you should take an online course or an in-class course. You can also consider the cost of courses, location, timeline, etc.

What’s the cheapest course?

The cheapest courses are online and usually on Groupon. Other than that you can search Google for cheap TEFL.

What’s the most reputable TEFL course?

The most reputable TEFL courses are usually CELTA, DELTA and Trinity TESOL. These courses are intensive, time consuming and expensive. They can cost upwards of $2000. Learn more.

Is TEFL certification worth it?

That depends on what you mean and the course that you take. For some people it wasn’t. Usually this question has to do with money. So if you are asking yourself this question then maybe you shouldn’t spend much money on it.

The benefits of certification are being able to put it on your resume. In the eyes of the employer this will only add to your qualifications and experience. You may make more money or you may not. It might help you get a better job or not. It depends on where you are planning to teach.

How to become TEFL certified?

You can search Google for TEFL, TESOL or CELTA courses. After you successfully complete the course you can get a certificate.

How long does it take to get a TEFL certification?

It depends on the course. There are 20, 60, 120, 150 hour courses. The more hours the more time it can take. However, course hours don’t always mean that it will take that long to complete.

Different providers have different standards and a 120 hour course does not mean that it will take you 120 hours to complete. It could take you longer or be considerably shorter.

Courses like CELTA can take a month (8 hours, 5 days a week) or more to complete. Classroom based courses have a set timeline. On the short end they could be just a weekend course and on the long end it could be a month or more.

Online courses tend to be shorter.

How many TEFL course hours do I need?

As mentioned before there are 20, 40, 60 on up to 150 hours or so. As far as TEFL courses go hours greater than 100 tend to be more recognized by employers who care about TEFL certification.

Is TEFL certification necessary?

No, it isn’t always necessary. It is possible to teach without certification. These schools typically require teachers to have a degree and to be a native English speaker.

These schools typically do not offer any or much training.

Should I get TEFL certified?

If you ask a TEFL provider that question most will say yes. Taking a course should better prepare you for your job. Although keep in mind that all courses are not the same and some will better prepare you than others.

How much does it cost to get a TEFL Certificate?

They don’t typically sell certificates. They are usually issued at the completion of the course. As far as courses go…

On the very low end I have seen online courses on Groupon going for like $39. On the high end you could pay more than $2000.

How hard is a TEFL course?

It depends on the course. CELTA courses are usually considered pretty difficult.

Some courses have extensive grammar sections which can be difficult for even native speakers.

How much are TEFL courses?

It depends on the course. Some as cheap as $40 and others over $2000. Why is there such a big price difference? Well, the cheaper courses usually offer less.

Classroom or online TEFL course?

That depends on you and what you want. If you want to learn in a classroom and possibly get feedback on your teaching then a classroom based course of 120 hours typically offers 6 hours of in-class training where you may get observation and feedback from your instructor.

There are some schools out there that don’t accept online courses. These are usually higher end schools that will usually prefer experience or may have additional requirements such as related degrees, master’s degrees or teaching licenses. These kinds of schools can be found more often in Europe or the Middle East.

Classroom courses tend to be more expensive and online courses cheaper.

Are online TEFL courses valid? Are they accepted?

It depends on the school. For many schools in Asia they are. Some of the higher end schools may not accept them especially if you do not have experience. This may be more common in Europe or the Middle East.

Find out if they are worth it.

How much does an online course cost?

Online courses typically range in price from about $40 to $500 or more dollars.

Is an online TEFL course hard?

That depends on the course and you. Some online courses can be challenging, but it depends. One of the benefits of an online course is that you can work on it when you want. There is less pressure. With a classroom based course such as CELTA there can be a lot of pressure.

What are the benefits of an online TEFL course?

They can be more convenient and cheaper than classroom based courses. Read more about the benefits.

What is the fastest online TEFL course?

Those are usually on Groupon. It depends on the length of the course.

What is the content of a online TEFL course like?

That depends on the course. Good online courses will include video, assignments, Q&A and be interactive. Here is an example of an online course's content which includes the syllabus.

Is an online TEFL course enough?

It depends on the course and it depends on what you mean by "enough". Online TESOL/TEFL courses can be a good start especially if you are not sure how long you would like to teach for. You can get a good taste and start to TEFL training with an online course. 

But it does depend on the course. Some can be low quality. Some may be pretty basic. Some may not have any tutors. 

In most of Asia they are fine in terms of job requirements. Most schools will accept them. All TEFL courses (online or in-class) are usually second to real teaching experience though.

CELTA or TEFL which is better?

CELTA is more reputable especially in Europe and the Middle East. It is less popular in Asia. It is a TEFL course that focuses primarily on teaching adults. There is a great deal of variety for TEFL courses. No two CELTA or TEFL courses will be the same.

When should you apply to take a CELTA course?

It is generally recommended to sign up 6 weeks in advance.

How difficult is a CELTA course?

There is a lot of lesson planning, writing assignments and class work. You can have a lot of pressure to complete assignments and some people do not complete the CELTA. Also some can fail and not receive a certificate or get their money back.

How much does the CELTA cost?

Prices can range from as little as $1,600 to $3,000. According to this CELTA provider $2,795.

Can you take CELTA online?

Yes, partly. There is a blended course.

Parting words

ESLinsider offers practical and affordable online TEFL courses. If you have any questions about those courses you can probably find them here. How about you? Do you have any questions about TEFL courses?