Taking a TEFL course in Romania can result in a life-changing experience that will lead you down many new and exciting roads. You may soon find yourself teaching English to kids in a Romanian school or teaching conversational English to adults -- and perhaps soon settling down as an expat in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries.
Romania is a country rich in breathtaking natural wilderness and picturesque landscapes. Many people know Romania because of the spooky-sounding region of Transylvania, where the idea for Bram Stoker's Dracula was inspired, but there's so much more to Romania: beautiful beaches on the coast of the Black Sea, huge green forests, charming villages where life carries on at a slower pace, and the snow-capped Carpathian Mountains.
After completing your TEFL course, you can experience Romania's astounding beauty while also making a living and embarking on an exciting professional path.
You know you want to teach English, but you're not sure which course to choose -- TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, or TESL? The differences can be subtle and confusing. You can think of TEFL, TESL, and TESOL as terms used to refer to where and to whom you’ll be teaching English. You can think of TEFL as a product and CELTA as a brand. What can make things confusing is that the titles are all often used interchangeably.
In general, keep in mind that European TEFL programs are generally more demanding than TEFL courses in other parts of the world, such as Asia, which is important to remember when choosing a course in Romania.
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This is by far the most common acronym used to refer to teaching English to non-native English speakers. TEFL courses are most popular in countries where English is not the primary language, like Romania. When choosing a program, be sure to check if it’s accredited by an independent body, such as QDLQC.
Options for TEFL programs include short and intensive weekends combined with online courses, to courses consisting of as much as 300 hours of study. For employment in Romania, a typical 120-hour online course with at least 6 hours of practice teaching is the minimum requirement.
TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Despite being spelled differently, there’s really no difference between TEFL and TESOL, though the term TESOL is more popular in North America. Just like taking a TEFL course, a TESOL certificate qualifies you in a similar manner with similar flexibility and similar pricing.
TESOL is more of a general name for the field of teaching that includes both TESL and TEFL. In general, TEFL is more for teaching in non-native English countries, TESL is more for native English countries, and TESOL can be for both. Most employers will consider the quality of the training you received over the particular type of certificate.
TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. If you’re planning on taking an English teacher training course in Romania, it likely won’t be TESL, as these are generally programs geared toward teachers who plan to teach English to speakers of foreign languages who are living in a native English-speaking country.
Mostly, the courses offered in Romania will be TEFL or CELTA. CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, and this course is considered by many people to be the Holy Grail of all English teaching certifications.
The Cambridge CELTA is a specific type of TEFL certificate that differs from TEFL, TESL, and TESOL. Unlike the others, it is standardized and its courses are offered in centers all over the world. It’s known for being an incredibly intensive course since it's full-time, lasts four to five weeks, and costs thousands of dollars. It has stricter requirements compared to other TEFL courses, such as participants needing to be at least 20 years old to apply.
Given the more rigid structure, it’s very useful if you're interested in making teaching English a real part of your career. However, unless you’re really planning to teach seriously over the long-term, it might not be worth your while financially speaking, as many employers do not require a CELTA certification. You may sometimes see in descriptions that a CELTA certificate is required to teach, but this is usually false -- the company is likely just referring to a high-quality certificate in general. Another thing to remember about the CELTA course is that it’s specifically geared toward teaching English to adults only, not children.
Planning Your Trip
Planning your trip to Romania can be a daunting task but it can also be a fun learning experience at the same time. Be sure to consider where exactly you want to take your course, how long you want the course to be, and when is the best time to study in Romania.
When to Take Your TEFL in Romania
Courses are typically offered between spring and fall in Romania, mostly in Bucharest. If you only plan on taking a four to ten week TEFL course and then heading to a different country, you’ll likely want to take the course during the summer so you can experience Romania when it's the most beautiful and inviting. Romania experiences very distinct seasons with hot summers and long, cold winters. Regardless, the country’s varied landscapes are always beautiful.
If you plan on staying and teaching in Romania after receiving your certificate, it’s totally up to you when you decide to take the course since you’ll be sticking around. Dates vary according to the course type, organization, and demand. Many organizations primarily offer courses between March and August. In-person courses generally range from full-time for four weeks, or part-time for ten weeks.
Popular Destinations for TEFL Courses in Romania
Bucharest is the main destination for TEFL courses in Romania. The country’s most populated and ethnically-diverse city, Bucharest is modern, but it still offers glimpses back in time with its medieval architecture. Although Bucharest is the only city to consistently offer high-quality accredited TEFL courses in Romania, there are still plenty of opportunities to get out of the city to experience rural life.
Many programs may have you complete your practicum in a smaller city, or your placement might be in one of the country’s quaint, culturally-rich cities, such as Brasov or Sibiu. Romania’s job market for teaching English is increasingly growing inside and outside of the nation’s capital.
What to Look For in a TEFL Course in Romania
One of the first things you need to decide is whether you want to do a solely in-person course, or whether you’d like the core component of the course to be online. On top of that, there are multiple things to look for to ensure the course is high-quality. The universal standard, which is recognized by accrediting bodies, is that a professional level TEFL certification for teaching English abroad must have at least 100 hours of training and classwork. Anything less than that won’t meet international standards.
Another thing to look out for is wherever or not live practice teaching toward. Any reputable school will include at least six and up to twenty hours of English teaching practice. Directly working with ESL students is vital in order to provide you with hands-on experience teaching English, which enables you to become comfortable as a teacher, gain confidence, and succeed as a professional. You can take online classes that also incorporate a practicum.
In order to find a job teaching English in many areas of the world, not only is it necessary to have a TEFL certification, but it’s also crucial that the course is accredited by a recognized, independent body in the field. Major accrediting bodies include ALTE, English Profile, QuiTE, British Council, NCFE, ACCET, IATEFL, ODLQC, ACTDEC, and the University of Cambridge. Be sure to look out for fake claims of schools suggesting they are accredited.
Another important factor to consider is if your instructors are highly qualifed. To ensure your success as a teacher, as well as the success of the students you’ll be teaching, you’ll need to receive the best professional training possible.
One more major thing to look for when choosing a TEFL course is whether there’s job placement assistance, which is a critical part of any TEFL program. Most reputable courses will have experts to help with navigating job markets and interviews, which will greatly enhance your chances of landing your dream job. Be wary of cheap courses, and be sure to read personal reviews before committing to a course.
Health & Safety
Romania is a very safe country, but there are still normal health and safety concerns to take into consideration, like anywhere else in the world. Petty theft occurs in larger urban cities, particularly in Bucharest, so keep your belongings close and be aware in crowded areas.
Consult your travel doctor before leaving for Romania as you may be suggested to take vaccines, and to make sure your routine vaccines are up to date. Generally, Romania is a safe and welcoming country.
Now that you’re officially certified, what are you going to do with your expertise? Here are a few ways to make the transition from student to teacher easier.
When to Apply for Jobs in Romania
Try to beat the rush of eager students looking for a position. Many students will be applying well in advance of the start of the next school year, whenever they finish their TEFL certification. Your program instructors may be able to suggest the best course dates that will allow you to find employment more easily. Course dates generally range from March to September, so you might want to consider taking a course as early as possible if you want to try to find a job at the start of the school year in September. If you don’t want to teach in schools, this may not be as necessary.
Average Salary of Post-TEFL Jobs in Romania
Average monthly pay varies significantly depending on your experience, length of the contract, and the reputation of the organization where you’ll be teaching. Expect your average monthly salary to be anywhere from as low as $300, but generally ranging from $500-$1000 when teaching in schools. Saving money is a possibility while teaching English in Romania, but you’ll probably just be breaking even.
Given that you’re a native English speaker with a relevant university degree and a TEFL certification, you may have a greater chance of making a larger salary than other teachers, even more so if you already have teaching experience. There is room to increase your income if you choose to teach privately in Romania, as well.
Tips for Finding a Job in Romania
While the demand is quickly growing for English teachers in Romania, there is also more competition for teaching positions. One way of trying to ensure you get a job after completing your course is to look into whether the organization you earned your certification from hires graduates. In general, one of the best online resources for navigating the ESL teaching world is Dave’s ESL Cafe -- the forums are filled with valuable information to make your life much easier.
While about 40% of Romanians speak semi-fluent English, it will be worth your while to learn as much of the local language as possible, which will allow you to communicate more effectively with potential employers as well as with your students. Having a university degree in an English-related field and previous teaching experience, on top of having an accredited TEFL certification, will put you at the top of the prospects list.