TEFL/TESOL Qualifications

In-class courses

In-class TEFL courses are 100% based in the classroom and as a result you get the opportunity to practice teaching real students of English during the course. In-class TEFL courses are intensive and the course duration is usually 4 weeks, Monday through to Friday with the weekends for free time and revision.

As in-class courses are classroom based they require 4-week attendance at a training centre. These centres can be located throughout the world. The most popular locations for taking a course are Thailand, France, Spain, Italy, USA, Australia, England, Costa Rica, Argentina, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Egypt, Brazil, Greece, Japan and the Czech Republic. These are locations seem to be the most popular either because there is a wide variety of teaching jobs available in that country or for ease of access.

In-class TEFL certification is ideally suited to people that wish to learn the theories, principles and methodologies of TEFL but also wish to gain practical teaching experience in a supervised environment. This teaching practice is an important aspect of the course and is what separates in-class courses from distance learning options.

During the teaching practice part of the course you will have the opportunity to teach real students of English. During these classes you will be observed by a qualified trainer and you will therefore get constructive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher. As a result in-class courses tend to be a bit more expensive than the distance learning option but are generally more highly valued by employers.

You can find more detailed information on in-class courses at

Online courses

Online TEFL courses are offered 100% by distance learning and can be taken with or without the support of a personal online tutor. Some courses offer the option of downloading the course materials so you can work offline, while other courses you need to be online in order to access the materials. Courses can vary in duration but you should really be looking for a minimum of a 50-hour course, though most employers would prefer you to have a 100-hour course.

As it is an online course there is no classroom time and no teaching practice component. You will however, usually have the opportunity to see actual lessons taking place through CD-ROM and some courses are now offering the option to study almost completely by DVD so it is even more like being in the classroom.

Online TEFL courses are primarily designed for those people who wish to train to be an English teacher but have time and/or budget constraints which don't allow them to attend an in-class or combined course. The advantages of online courses are that you are able to study at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home/office or anywhere else you have access to the internet. You can literally take the course from anywhere in the world and online courses are usually priced very reasonably.

You can find out more information about online courses at

Combined courses

Combined TEFL courses are named as such because they combine the best of the online and in-class TEFL courses. You study the principles and theories of TEFL online at your own pace and then go on to attend a training center (usually for one or two weeks) to gain classroom teaching practice. These courses are ideal for those people that wouldn't enjoy the intensive nature of an in class TEFL course but would like to gain some teaching practice. As the combined TEFL course only usually requires one or two weeks of attendance at a training centre, it is also more suited to those who aren't able to attend an in-class TEFL course for 4 weeks. The cost also tends to be slightly lower than an in-class course so it can be the best of both worlds. The only downside is that combined courses aren't as common and so the number of locations available for teaching practice is more limited.

The combined course features all the same components as an in-class course and therefore results in equivalent TEFL certification.

More information on combined TEFL courses can be found at

Specialized/advanced courses

A range of more specialized or advanced qualifications is available for teachers that already have, or are studying for, TEFL certification. Most popular in specialized courses are certifications in teaching business English and specialist certification in teaching English to young learners. Both of these are usually 50-hour online courses and therefore no classroom attendance is required. These are useful qualifications for anyone who wishes to specialize in either of these areas as well as providing additional useful qualifications to a teacher that has just completed a TEFL/TESOL course.

The most advanced TEFL/TESOL qualification is the diploma in TEFL. This course is a very high level, 250-hour course that builds upon knowledge gained from the TEFL certificate course. The TEFL diploma course again is a 100% online course without any requirement for classroom attendance but you must already possess an internationally recognized TEFL certificate in order to be accepted onto a TEFL diploma course. Beware of courses claiming to be diploma courses but which offer less than 200 hours of study. These qualifications are not true diploma courses and most employers will not recognize them as such.

You can see more information on specialized and advanced courses at