CIEE TEFL Certification



CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange – world leader in international education and exchange – is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization. For more than 70 years, CIEE has helped thousands of people gain the knowledge and skills necessary to live and work as a global citizen.

At CIEE TEFL, we believe that English teachers are essential to bridging cultural gaps and breaking down barriers both at home and abroad. As a TEFL-certified ESL teacher, you can put your skills to use teaching English to non-native speakers in your local school or community center, or abroad in countries and communities around the world. Whether you're fresh from college and seeking adventure, or ready for a change after a long career in another field, a TEFL certification will make you eligible for employment in almost every country across the globe.


300 Fore St.
Portland , ME 04101
United States


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Yes, I recommend this program

I took this TEFL certification through CIEE to go with my teach abroad program in South Korea, Spring 2020. At first, I really thought the course was a little overwhelming, it did seem like there was always so much to do and working full-time did leave me a little nervous. Fortunately, you develop a routine with this course incredibly quick and the tutors are always understanding and supportive. Before you realise it, you've already completed the course and you're closer to your next destination!

What would you improve about this program?
Useful info for MGAs are always in the next module!
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Yes, I recommend this program

The beginning of the course was easy and light to get you settled in the first week. They help you will the function of the website and process you will go through. I had an excellent class who were involved in the chats. I would say the hardest part was to remember to go back into the discussion board and do a follow up on the you classmates comments. If you truly want to get help with teaching ESL this course will help you with all of the basics and has a great community to assist you. I wish you all the best and Join CIEE.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Brush up on objectives of a lesson before taking the course.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I thought that it was an excellent program, especially for those that have no teaching experience. This program helped me to create lesson plans, and introduced me to some problems that I could face as a future ESL teacher. I think that this program allowed me to learn more about myself, and what kind of methods that I gravitate towards. It also taught me what some of my weaknesses are and how to improve them. As a beginner ESL teacher, I found thus very useful, and it set me on the right track for my ESL career.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked more lessons on grammar, i thought that this covered a lot of basics but I would like more help on specific, common grammar issues that people face.
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Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE's online modules were entertaining and fun. They were very well designed, by people who really understand how to teach. There was a good mix of readings, videos, quizzes, conversations, and interactive challenges.
My tutor was passionate about producing good English teachers, and she pushed each of us to challenge ourselves and become the best teachers we could be.
This course includes a practicum, and there was a lot of support provided to help us find a great practicum that suited our needs. CIEE TEFL has connections with schools all over the country that are familiar with TEFL trainees, and happy to host you. This is a great connection to have, as schools can sometimes be hesitant to take on a TEFL trainee if they aren't familiar with the TEFL program.
I also liked the emphasis on the many varied challenges of teaching abroad, and how you can rise to them! So overall, a great experience that I would definitely recommend to any aspiring English teacher!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Make sure that you keep up with the work, and study gradually! If you fall a few days behind in an online class, it is very difficult to catch up, because each module takes several hours to complete.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I was a bit skeptical about taking this class. I've never taken an online class, so I was a bit nervous going into it, but I'm now in week eight of the course and am happy with my decision to go through with it. I have an already busy schedule, so being able to plan when I take my class around my existing schedule has made my life significantly easier than it would have been if I'd taken a traditional in person class. I wasn't so sure how it would work out being in contact with classmates and my tutor when I was having difficulty, but my tutor, Lynn, is EXCELLENT and in constant communication. I don't believe I've ever once sent her a message that she didn't respond within a few hours. Even from far away, she is incredibly present.
In February I will be joining CIEE and a few of my classmates in South Korea where I will be teaching for a year. It's been exciting to get to know them, if only virtually. Comparing and contrasting what my experience may be like with others going to different countries reminds me of just how far this work can go!

What would you improve about this program?
I wish that the course were organized just a bit better, and I wish it gave clearer practical examples of the concepts. Sometimes it feels like less important things are thrown in, out of no where, into a module, which sometimes throws me off. And like I said, I wish that the course gave more concrete examples for all ranges of age and ability. Sometimes it feels very limited.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Grania Power

Grania is always on the hunt for a new skill to learn and a new place to see.

Why did you choose this program?

I knew that I wanted to get TEFL certified and try teaching abroad, and for me, it was a no-brainer to do it through CIEE.

CIEE is based in my hometown of Portland, Maine, and when I was in high school, they sent me abroad to South Korea on a pilot summer program for free! That program was extremely well-run, organized, educational, and fun, and needless to say, I've been a die-hard CIEE fan ever since.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

CIEE provides an online TEFL course with fun, interactive modules, and a tutor who guides you through the course and provides feedback to help you become a better teacher. The coursework and expectations are very straight-forward.

It will be up to you to reach out to schools and organize your 20-hour teaching practicum. However, CIEE provides you with a list of schools that are receptive hosts, familiar with TEFL trainees. Your tutor will also be there to support you and answer your questions about finding a good host school.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Make sure you keep up with the modules! Do a little bit of work each day, and make sure you are on pace with the syllabus. If you fall behind in an online class, it is much harder to catch up than it is in a traditional class. You will have to wade through hours of modules, and it might feel overwhelming.

If you do fall behind, be sure to communicate with your tutor about it. They are there to help you succeed!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You should do at least an hour or two of online classwork each day. For me, that usually meant coming home from work and then doing about an hour of the coursework on weekdays. On Saturday and Sunday, I tried to do about 3 hours of coursework in the mornings. That kept me pretty well-paced with the class.

When it came time to study for the final exam, I recorded myself reading to my notes and listened to the recording on my commute to and from work. So even with a busy schedule, it is possible to keep up with and enjoy the course if you pace yourself in a way that makes sense for you.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

You should do at least an hour or two of online classwork each day. For me, that usually meant coming home from work and then doing about an hour of the coursework on weekdays. On Saturday and Sunday, I tried to do about 3 hours of coursework in the mornings. That kept me pretty well-paced with the class.

When it came time to study for the final exam, I recorded myself reading to my notes and listened to the recording on my commute to and from work. So even with a busy schedule, it is possible to keep up with and enjoy the course if you pace yourself in a way that makes sense for you.

Has your training from the CIEE 150-hour TEFL certification course made a difference in your experience teaching abroad?

Yes, absolutely! The online course provided me with loads of ideas for games, activities, and strategies that I use every day. I flip through my class notes whenever I am trying to make a lesson plan because there is always something there to inspire me or help me along.

I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to improve upon, but my TEFL course gave me a great start and a great solid groundwork that I can build off of as I strive to become a better teacher, this semester in Thailand, and beyond.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Samantha Erwin

Job Title
Samantha has proudly worked for CIEE since 2017 with the Teach Abroad and TEFL department. Prior to her time at CIEE, she studied in Granada, Spain for a year, received her TEFL certification in Peru, and taught English in South Korea for two years. Samantha is passionate about helping others gain the skills to bridge cultural gaps around the world.

What is your favorite travel memory?

That's a difficult question to narrow down to just one. At that moment, it might not have felt like it, but the best memories have been the ones where I was stuck in a tricky or awkward situation and was forced to work my way through it by stumbling on the few words I knew in that language, using finger puppets to explain things, or just going with the flow.

Those experiences really taught you to think on your feet and gave you something to laugh about looking back on them!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

CIEE gave me a job where I leave every day feeling fulfilled. It's helped me to grow as a person, learn even more about cultures around the world without having to leave the office, and given me opportunities to gain skills that will no double help me continue to succeed. I know that I'll only continue to grow!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

My favorite stories are when students are able to use the skills they've gained from our courses or from going abroad and apply them to their every day lives in their home country. It truly shows how we're helping bridge cultural gaps. We all know how we've felt from these experiences and it's exciting to connect with students over similar experiences!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would participate in our Teach in Italy Express program. I love the idea of a professional development opportunity that would allow me to travel internationally and fits within my annual vacation time. Two weeks spent helping EFL learners improve their English, learning new skills, and filling up on all that delicious food Italy has to offer - I don't see how it could get any better!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

CIEE TEFL and the entire company as a whole is built around the people that our programs serve. We're from diverse backgrounds and stages in life and all believe the same mission - to help create a more interdependent and culturally diverse world. Even better, most of us have been in your shoes. We remember the first time we went abroad and want to help others have that same experience!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

One of the biggest factors in being a successful company is listening to your peers, students, participants, etc. They are the voice of the company and their experiences and feedback are what allow us to continue creating relevant and quality programs.

It keeps us moving towards improving our programs and bridging those cultural gaps!