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How to get TEFL certification? TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certification usually comes at the end of a course when you have completed it correctly. There are basically 2 different ways to do this:

  1. Take a course online
  2. Take a course in a classroom

Should you take a course online?

Well, that depends on you. If you are a self-directed learner then maybe.

Why not take a course online?

If you want to meet and interact with people then maybe not.

Should you take a course in a classroom?

Maybe or maybe not.

Here are some recommended articles for further reading on whether you should take a course online or in a classroom.

But before you start chasing that "carrot" (TEFL certificate)

I have taken a classroom course, an online course and I have created my own courses and materials.

The TEFL certificate is the reward you get for completing a course, but if you are in it for just a certificate you probably won't be happy in the long run.

For many courses out there it's not that hard to get a certificate. You can cheat your way through it or just put in the time, but if you don't enjoy the process of learning about how to teach English then you are not going to remember what you learn.

To learn you have to enjoy the process and...

Getting a job is just the beginning.

There are 2 basic reasons to take a TEFL course

  1. To get a certificate
  2. To learn how to teach

If you found this article by doing a search for "how to get TEFL certification" then you are focused on the first reason. Maybe you think you need it for a job or it will help you get a job. 

It could...

But it depends on the school.

I taught English in China, Korea, Taiwan, currently live in Japan and I can tell you that you can teach in all of these places without a TEFL certificate.

So if you don't necessarily need it why take it in the first place? Good question. You don't have to, but the value of a good course is that it will help you to do your job.

So wouldn't any course work?

Well, it depends on the course and on who you teach. Most courses out there like CELTA focus more on teaching adult learners. That was like the first TESOL course I took, but I didn't end up teaching adults. I taught mostly kids for my first job in Taiwan.


I wasn't prepared because the course I took was just too general and focused on teaching adults, English grammar and other teaching theory. I needed to know more activities, how to manage kids and create fun lessons.

So here are a few tips:

  • Take a course focused on teaching who you are going to teach
  • Take a practical course
  • If it's online make sure it includes a lot of classroom instructional videos or you won't remember it (see the research)

If you just want TEFL certificate

Then I guess you can go to Groupon now and get a cheap certificate. You'll save money now, but probably pay when you get there and realize you don't remember much about the course and that teaching is difficult.

"I finished the entire program in 3 days and retained like 5% of the information." - woobv

So here is an online TEFL course that uses a lot of instructional videos shot in the classrooms of Korea that is focused more on teaching children.