By the time you have found a provider that you feel confident about, you need to choose the right TEFL course – What is the right one? How long do you want to learn? This is the next hurdle, so here we go:

Which course is the right one for you to choose is depending on many factors, for example, what is your previous experience, where do you want to be teaching, and what is your budget. There are lots of options available and there really is no one-rule-fits-all solution.

TEFL qualifications

TEFL qualifications vary and may range from a simple and practical weekend course up to an extensive and long-lasting online TEFL course.

2- or 3-day practical TEFL courses
A short weekend course is the most popular course of new EFL teachers and attracts more students than any other TEFL certificate program in the US and the UK. These courses provide everything you require to get going, and they offer a similar curriculum as the more extensive four-week programs described below, but they obviously do not get as deep into the matter. The short courses are usually including small teaching practices and are offered in a 3-day format on weekdays or in a 2-day format over weekends. Be aware, though, that teaching TEFL/TESOL abroad is possible, but there are many challenges.

Why take a 2- or 3-day course?
In case you just began in TEFL, have already some teaching experience, or think of traveling and a job abroad, these short courses may be your ticket. The certification qualifies you for jobs in quite a few schools all across the world, though not at all schools. If you have never been teaching before, attending such a course is a relatively small investment to discover if teaching English in a foreign country may be something for you, and most educated school teachers already have their experience as their key attribute, so they just require an alternative methodology on their CV’s.

Online programs
Correspondence programs in TEFL have already existed from long before the internet changed delivery methods, but today, online TEFL courses have become highly interactive options. The quality of web-based education has drastically improved over recent years, and students now can interact with their peers and tutors online, they can benefit from video observation and presentation, and can get immediate teacher support. There are, however, still schools that require other than purely online education, so the majority of providers offer online education in combination with practical classroom lessons.

Why take on an online course?
For many potential TEFL applicants, online programs offer a convenient and affordable method to see if teaching English abroad is their ticket. Some others are using online education to enhance the knowledge they’ve already acquired in classroom courses, and there are also those who attend an online course for their first overseas position. Having a TEFL certificate (obtainable online) is the only prerequisite in countries like South Korea, China, and other portions of Asia.

Career development TEFL courses
Longer TEFL programs are available in class-based and online formats, or in a combined form. There are applicants who attend a longer TEFL program as their first source of education, but these programs are pretty demanding in terms of money, time, dedication, and brain power. It may be advisable to first take a shorter course, and take on a longer course if you are sure teaching English abroad it is right for you.

4-week programs
In the UK, TESOL and CELTA are the main 4-week programs available for persons interested get optimally trained for teaching English abroad. CELTA is offered by Cambridge (CELTA), and TESOL by Trinity College (TESOL), but there are also a number of self-accrediting organizations that offer these more extensive TEFL programs.

Four-week programs offer more in-depth insights and study material than shorter courses and include many hours of teaching practice, more assignments, and other teacher observations. Due to the fact that these programs are more demanding and rigorous, the pass rate usually is much lower compared to shorter courses.

Why take a 4-week program?
There are applicants who want to attend a four-week program as their first qualification in order to be more competitive once they enter the job market, but most applicants follow a CELTA/TESOL program to boost their ELT teaching skills and experience and to brighten up their CV’s. Most UK schools require at least CELTA/Trinity qualification.

Diploma courses
Diploma courses are designed for individuals wishing to take their EFL career to the next level. Many of the UK top schools want to recruit Diploma-qualified and highly experienced teachers for their management positions.

Diploma courses are geared toward written work and research. These programs are aiming to enhance teachers’ practical educational skills and applicants need to come with substantial instructional experience before they could be successful. These programs require at least eight weeks of full-time study, but they are also available in part-time and distance learning formats, but in these formats, applicants will require more like a year of intense study. The Trinity DipTESOL program and the Cambridge DELTA program are the nation’s most popular options.

Why take a Diploma course?
If you are a well-experiences teacher of English and you wish to qualify for a job at one of the country’s top schools, be it as a teacher trainer or a Director of Studies, you are required to attend a diploma course. Beware though, that this study course requires some pretty serious investment on your side in both money and time.

MA in TEFL
A Master’s degree in TEFL /ESOL or Special Education is usually something for the EFL teacher with a more academically-orientated mind. There is a lot of discussion as which is more worthwhile, the DELTA or the MA degree, but in general, the DELTA is more practically orientated whereas an MA program doesn’t generally come with practical teaching elements.

Your choice of study program will likely be determined by in which direction you expect or wish your career to be going. As you see, there’s an enormous variety of options available there, but bear in mind that some programs can get very time-consuming and expensive. Please ensure that you fully research exactly what you can expect before you sign up for a course that in the end may prove to be too advanced for your needs or too costly for your wallet. If you begin with taking on a shorter program and then, if you realize that TEFL is what you want, you can always move on a more extensive course.