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Thread: TEFL vs. TESL

    • Join Date: May 2009
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    TEFL vs. TESL

    Are both of these accepted by employers or do they prefer one over the other? I'm thinking taking a TESL certificate class but it seems like several employers state they are looking for CELTA or TEFL.


  1. Newbie
    English Teacher
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    Re: TEFL vs. TESL

    Most employers are looking for a certificate course where you have at least 120 hours classtime with 6 hours supervised teaching. Although the CELTA and Trinity are considered the best, the number of hours and supervised teaching is what most reputable employers care about.

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    Re: TEFL vs. TESL

    Actually our experience is entirely different. We place our certified ESL teachers in English schools around the world and know for a fact that a teaching practicum is not an essential requirement for many positions.

    Of course, it depends on where you want to teach and at what level. CELTA has a high profile in Europe and is undoubtedly a popular qualification that will open many doors however it is also true that in most places around the world the basic requirements for entry level teaching positions are a degree plus a TESL/TEFL certificate - not necessarily a CELTA.

    As for the amount of hours attached to a certificate the general perception is that the less hours a course is worth the less is the value of the certificate. It’s got to be said though that employers rarely specify how many hrs a TESL/TEFL Certificate should be worth. What matters to them is that you are certified.

    Personally I would recommend that more than the number of hrs attached to a certificate you look at the course content. Start by asking a few providers for their course syllabus and compare them. Check their tutors’ credentials. Make sure the course requires some actual work on your part and it is not based on “Yes or No” answers or “Read This Unit and Summarize It” type of coursework. Try and find out what other students who have taken the course say about it. Basically do as much research as you can.

    You could start by taking a look at TEFL Course Review. This is a site where TESL/TEFL courses and course providers are independently reviewed and rated.

    Hope this helps

  3. Editor,
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    Re: TEFL vs. TESL

    There are many courses springing up that do state that they are 120 hours long, presumably for a favourable comparison with the CELTA. The terms TEFL and TESL don't refer to qualification levels, so having a TESL qualification is not a block to EFL teaching. The most important thing is the quality of the course and employers' perceptions of it value. There are so many duff courses out there, so check accreditation and recognition very carefully- especially with the internet and distance learning courses, many of which have dubious self-accreditation.

    BTW, ICAL_Pete, I had a quick look at the Course Review site- do you know who's doing it? The Whois is anonymous, but the independence angle looks a bit strained here with the flood of people at the same time: Review of BridgeTEFL | TEFL Course Review, shortly after the site opened, followed by a long silence.

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