Teaching English is a flexible, versatile job or career choice that, in many cases, can be undertaken without specific education or training. Many overseas destinations will hire English teachers who simply have a bachelor’s degree in any subject. So what are the benefits of TEFL certification? Aside from the possibility of increased pay and another feather in your teaching cap, getting certified can provide additional tangible advantages.
So when asking yourself, “should I get TEFL certified?” consider the following points to help you make your decision. A small investment up front can provide you with a large return on your future career in the long run.
Teaching English is in Demand
English has established itself as an international language and is being introduced as a compulsory second language in classrooms all over the world. In 2015, around 1.7 billion people were learning English worldwide, including 300 million in China alone. Fast forward to 2019, the Chinese-based VIPKid learning platform had around 100,000 contracted teachers giving lessons to some 700,000 students online. This shows just how much the market has grown in four short years.
This rapid growth has sparked an increasing demand for teachers both in-person and remotely. The International TEFL Academy, a respected training provider, estimates that around 100,000 physical jobs are available for English teachers every year worldwide. The job security that comes along with being an English teacher makes it an attractive career choice.
You’ll Learn Practical Information
You may think being a native English speaker makes you an automatic authority on the language. But if someone asked you to explain the second conditional, could you remember which structure it is and when to use it? Even though you can accurately use all of the grammatical structures in English, knowing what they’re called is probably another story. Getting TEFL certified is a good way to brush up on the mechanics of the language in addition to a wealth of other valuable information to make you a more effective teacher.
Courses like the UNI-Prep 120-Hour Online TESOL Certification Course will not only teach you English grammar and usage but classroom management skills, lesson planning, proficiency testing, and phonetics. You are bound to come away with something new and useful to use in the classroom.
Certification Can Get You Higher Pay
While it depends on the school, academy, or company you’re hired by, being TEFL certified can get you a higher starting wage or a pay raise. For example, the government teaching program in South Korea, EPIK, has a pay differential of about 200,000 KRW (around $200) per month for applicants with only a bachelor's degree versus a bachelor’s plus a TEFL certificate.
If you seek employment through a school rather than a company or organization, having a TEFL certificate may be a negotiation point when discussing salary. Experience is important but relevant training and education can help you to stand out among your prospective colleagues.
It Can Also Get You A Job
Several companies include job search assistance or go as far as to provide a placement with partner organizations. If you are new to the field of teaching English and aren’t sure how to begin looking for your new position, your TEFL organization could help make the process a lot easier.
Organizations like TEFL International Prague offer personalized career counseling to help you find jobs around the world. Additionally, some companies like Premier TEFL offer a letter of reference upon completion which could impress future employers. The security of such support could make taking the leap into teaching overseas seem much less daunting.
Many Companies And Countries Require It
Although you can get away with teaching English without a TEFL certificate, countries as well as online companies are increasingly asking for one. Top English teaching destinations like China, Japan, and South Korea all require a TEFL certificate in addition to a bachelor’s degree in any subject. Rather than being school or academy-specific, this requirement is laid out by the country itself.
If you wish to teach online, major platforms such as Magic Ears, DadaABC, and English First list TEFL certification under their minimum qualifications. Teaching English online has become a major source of income for college students, stay-at-home parents, and those teaching in-person in the US or overseas. In general, the salary of online English teachers will range from $12-$25 per hour with classes lasting between 25 to 50 minutes.
Read more: Tips for Becoming an Online English Teacher
As the field of international English teaching grows, training standards will likely increase for prospective teachers. Having a TEFL certificate under your belt could help you stay ahead of the curve.
It Can Be More Affordable Than You Think
Getting TEFL certified doesn’t have to break the bank. Although TEFL certifications like the CELTA or Trinity TESOL can run several thousands of dollars, there are more affordable options with teaching practice included. If you’re on a budget, consider an online TEFL course rather than traveling to a far-away destination. Distance learning options can be self-directed or contain live sessions and more often than not are cheaper than in-person options.
Read more: The 11 Best Online TEFL Courses
A TEFL Certificate will Benefit You...and Your Students!
Although pursuing a TEFL certification isn’t mandatory to begin your teaching journey, it can help you to enter the field a little more seamlessly. Extra support, added confidence, and a widened skill set await you after completing this specialized training. The benefits of TEFL certification are clear: not only do you stand to benefit monetarily and professionally but your students will reap the rewards of your hard work.