It’s no secret that English has become one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. According to a study conducted by the British council, there are currently more than 1.5 billion English-language learners worldwide in 2020, and those numbers are expected to increase. It’s no surprise then that the ESL world has seen an explosion in growth over recent years, with online education platforms such as VIPKid offering lessons to over 700,000 students online - and that's within the borders of China.
This rapid growth has ignited an increase in the demand for English teachers, both online and in-classroom. However, this high-demand has also sparked a need to ensure that qualified teachers are placed in front of students. Because of this, many schools and online companies are now demanding that ESL teachers have their TEFL certificate.
Aside from this obvious upside of obtaining your TEFL certification, there are plenty more reasons to pursue this qualification in 2020. Here are just a few added benefits to pursuing TEFL:
Teaching a foreign language is never easy, and perhaps the most vital benefit of obtaining a TEFL qualification is ensuring that you're prepared when you step in front of your students (virtual or in-classroom). Not having the proper training can be detrimental to you and your students, resulting in them not being able to get the most out of the lesson, and leaving you frustrated. By pursuing your TEFL qualification, you’ll be able to learn how to communicate and manage your classroom - making your life a lot easier!
2020 Has not been a fantastic year for avid travellers, as many countries have shut down their borders thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic. But if the thought of never being able to travel again has only kicked your wanderlust into overdrive, then obtaining your TEFL or TESOL certificate is a wonderful option to work, earn money and explore various parts of the world.
Most of the options to teach English abroad are classroom-based, but depending on your school or contract, you’ll have more than enough time on the weekend to travel the country of your choosing. Over the years, Asia and South America have become popular TEFL destinations, offering Foreign English teachers the chance to explore every inch of these fascinating continents. Teaching abroad is also a great way to immerse yourself within culture, allowing you to learn new and interesting customs.
If you love the idea of learning Korean and eating bibimbap every day after school, then grab your TEFL and why not have a little fun exploring.
Whether you choose to teach within a classroom or online, your TEFL qualification can help you earn more money. While numerous factors contribute to your earning potential, many language schools are looking to hire qualified teachers - and they're willing to pay good money for it. If you'd love to start teaching English online, you can expect to earn between $10 - $25 per hour. Teachers who find themselves abroad may be able to snag a few extra dollars and additional benefits, including accommodation and flight reimbursements. Many times well-established schools and large government-funded programs require you to have a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. But if you meet the requirements, you could earn between $800 - $2000 per month, along with plenty of vacation time and those extra benefits. Various schools and countries may have different requirements, so make sure you do your research.
You can always find teaching jobs abroad at teach.fm - https://teach.fm/en/teaching-jobs
One of the perks of teaching abroad is meeting new people from all walks of life. Stepping into a culture that’s unfamiliar and vastly different from your own can leave you feeling isolated and misunderstood. But having individuals in a similar situation, such as your fellow TEFL teachers, can help create a bond that’s not easily forgotten or broken. This is an incredible experience that will allow you to meet individuals that could end up being life long friends. This experience is not only limited to teaching abroad, but online English teachers often create support groups that help each other out, creating a support system that transcends distance.
Obtaining your TEFL is a great career builder! Packing your entire life and moving abroad will present plenty of challenges. But it also allows you to develop invaluable skills that you can apply to your future career. A few skills that you may pick up along the way include:
If there’s one thing the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us, it’s that having a backup plan is a great idea. Thankfully, your TEFL certificate will never expire. This is perfect if you find yourself needing to dive back into the ESL world, as you know that this qualification will allow you to apply to in-person and online positions with confidence. If anything were to happen to your current income stream, you know that you can always switch things up and apply elsewhere.
Speaking English remains a crucial factor when working internationally, with many large corporations requiring English as a skill. Thanks to this, the online ESL market has exploded, especially in China, with many online schools eager to get in on the action. While many take the time to obtain their TEFL and travel the world while teaching, many would prefer to remain closer to home.
As the world slowly begins to realize the benefits of working online, the demand for online English teachers has drastically increased. But as China remains one of the largest markets for online English learning, the government has started implementing new regulations for the online ESL industry, and more companies are requiring prospective English teachers to have their TEFL or TESOL certificate. No matter which company you decide on, having the right qualifications will ensure that you receive a higher salary when teaching online.
Using your TEFL certificate to teach online doesn’t mean you have to give up your love for travel. On the contrary, working online means that you can work from anywhere in the world. If you’re able to create a schedule that works, you could find yourself teaching along the beaches of Greece or Bali. There are plenty of legitimate companies that hire teachers regularly depending on the time of year, including DadaABC and VIPKid.
It might sound cliché, but being a teacher can be a rewarding experience. For many students (especially in impoverished countries such as Cambodia) this could be the first time they’re face-to-face with an English speaker. No matter how brief your time with a particular set of students is, there's no question that your time will have an impact on them. It’s your responsibility to make sure it's a good one. This not only applies to in-classroom TEFL teachers but online teachers too!
Whether you’re trying to escape the grind of the 9 to 5 or looking to take a gap year after completing your bachelor’s degree, obtaining your TEFL and starting a new career is a great way to gain perspective and step outside of your comfort zone. If you’ve just graduated, this could be an excellent opportunity to gain work experience before you officially begin your preferred career field. It’s also an amazing opportunity to challenge yourself, learn a few new skills and gain clarity on your next steps.
What you can expect when pursuing your TEFL certificate
Obtaining your TEFL certification is simple and easy, with most courses being self-study and online. All you’ll need is a reliable laptop and a stable internet connection. Most course options range from 100-hours to 250-hours. However, most online companies or schools will require you to have a minimum of 120-hours behind your name. A few courses do offer the option to have 30-hours in-classroom practice, which can be valuable in practising and gaining experience alongside fellow TEFL students. The material is divided into numerous modules, which includes classroom management, how to use TPR and lesson planning.
Investing in your TEFL career doesn’t have to break the bank. Many reputable companies offer great deals that allow you to reap the endless benefits of having a TEFL certification. Whether you’re looking to boost your confidence, meet like-minded people, or increase your income stream; there are plenty of upsides to pursuing your TEFL certificate in 2020!
Previously: Top tips for first-time TEFL teachers