TESOL, or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, is a blanket term for both the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language).

Although many different schools offer TESOL certification courses, the main accreditation body is called Trinity TESOL, which runs certification courses that help English teachers in every stage of their career. Trinity's teaching qualifications are accepted by the British Council as well as many English learning centers worldwide.

From teaching young learners to getting a master's in TESOL, a certification course could help you take the next step in teaching English as a foreign language abroad. Not quite ready to move overseas? A TESOL course will also qualify you to start a career teaching ESL online!

There are several different types of TESOL courses abroad. Getting a TESOL certification means you'll be qualified to teach all over the world. This opens the door for exciting new opportunities abroad. These courses are offered in many different countries, including Spain, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Russia -- just to name a few -- so you can start your journey abroad while you're getting certified.


The Trinity CertTESOL is an initial teaching qualification for teachers looking to start their first job. Full-time and part-time trainees will complete five units with a minimum of 130 hours in teaching skills, language awareness and skills, learner profile, materials assignment, and unknown language.

This is the most basic certificate and the one you'll likely start with to get all the fundamentals down. The following certificates are like "add-ons" that will help you specialize. You can get CertTESOL certified with programs like The Global English Teaching (GET) Academy and English for Asia .


The Teaching Young Learners Extension Certificate (TYLEC) is an in-service qualification designed for teachers of 7 to 16-year-old students. Trainees get to experience workshops and tutorials, assisted lesson planning, and teaching observations with an emphasis on teaching English as a second language for children and adolescents.


This qualification is for experienced teachers who want to take the next step in their English education careers, focusing on individual professional development and personal research interests. Trinity DipTESOL carries credits for U.K. Level 7 master's degrees and is best for teachers who want a highly personalized approach. Career opportunities with this TESOL certification include language center managers and directors


The Certificate in International Business English Training is a specialized certificate for those interested in planning and teaching business English to adults. Job opportunities after completion of this TESOL course include working at international schools and academies worldwide.


The Certificate in Teaching Languages with Technology is designed for teachers looking to improve their Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills so that they can more effectively educate their students. This TESOL course ranges from six to nine weeks.


The Diploma in English Language Teaching Management is a professional development qualification for language center managers, consisting of 10 face-to-face sessions that go over routine, tactical, and strategic management tracked through written assignments and a project.

The Best Time to Get a TESOL Certificate

The best time to go for your TESOL certification is before the hiring season in your desired teach abroad country starts. This will vary, but typically your TESOL school is a good resource for this. Thankfully, you can start your TESOL course almost anytime. It's more typical for a course to start at the beginning of the month and last several weeks to a few months, depending on if you decide to complete your TESOL by studying part-time or full-time.

Where are TESOL Courses Offered?

You can choose to take a TESOL course almost anywhere in the world. English speaking countries, like the United Kingdom and Ireland, offer quite a few options, but you also have the choice to take the course in the destination you'd like to eventually teach in.

If Asia interests you, head to Japan, Thailand, or China to take your course. These countries have many jobs available every year, so you'll have a good chance of landing a job right away. If you live in a smaller city, the cost of living can be cheaper as well.

Many countries in Europe offer it, including the Czech Republic, Italy, and Spain. This will give you a taste of Europe, and you can decide to head to different countries afterward to teach.

However, you don't have to go overseas to study or receive a TESOL certification. There are online TESOL courses that provide the same training including weekly assignments, group projects, discussions of case studies, virtual classroom hours, observed teaching time, and more.

What are the Visa Requirements?

The visa requirements will be different in every country, so check with a TESOL counselor or look on the government's website to see what it is where you're going. It's very important to pay attention to how long you're allowed in the country as a tourist or student -- you may have to exit and reenter the country in the middle of your course to avoid getting in trouble.

Is Housing Provided?

Typically, housing isn't included in the fees for TESOL courses. However, you can usually find affordable apartments or share-houses. Some programs provide suggestions for where to find housing with fellow TESOL students.

After your TESOL course is complete, the program may be able to help you find a job through their extensive career network. Once you're an experienced teacher, they may even hire you themselves to help out with running or teaching one of their TESOL courses. Networking is very valuable, as it can lead to potential jobs in the future.

The average salary with a teaching certification will depend on where you teach. In countries like Thailand, the pay is less, but the cost of living is also cheaper. Teaching in places like the U.A.E. or Saudi Arabia can pay quite well, with an average salary of up to $4,000 USD per month and a housing stipend in some cases, but the cost of living is can also be quite high.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a TESOL?

    TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This certification is best for educators who want to teach English to foreign students where English is the native language.

  • How much is a TESOL course?

    The course price can vary due to the location, but generally, the average cost of an in-person TESOL course will range from a few hundred dollars to $2,000. When considering your course and location, take into account the prices for housing, flights, visa, and groceries.

  • How do you get a TESOL certification?

    TESOL programs can be taken either in-person or online over a span of 120 hours. Courses can be taken part-time or full-time and will take students about 10 - 12 weeks to complete.

  • What's the difference between TESOL and TEFL?

    TEFL certificates are best for those looking to teach abroad where the main language is not English. TESOL is for those looking to teach students who are living in an English speaking country, but are not native English speakers.

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