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March 10, 2009


One of the main attractions of teaching English is the abundance of positions available and the ease with which you can get a job. For many positions, the only requirement is an undergraduate degree (an English or education degree is usually preferred but not required) and possibly a TEFL (Teacher of English as a Foreign Language) certificate. TEFL certificates can be obtained in as little as four weeks (100 to 120 classroom hours) from a growing number of centers around the country and globally. You can take the courses in practically any location in the world.

What do you learn during the TEFL certificate course? You learn the basics of teaching techniques and material development, the fundamentals of grammar and writing, and how to motivate and involve students. You'll get lesson plan ideas. In some cases the programs put you through a foreign language course so you can have the experience of being a language student yourself. Unless you're taking the course online, there will also be a "Teacher Practice" component, which teaches you to run a class in a real setting.There are hundreds of accredited schools that offer the TEFL. Most courses are affiliated with local language institutes and potential teaching positions, so taking the course in situ is a good way to scope out jobs and make contact with potential employers. Once you have your certificate, you can either accept a job in the country of study, or go elsewhere - the certificate is good all over the world.

Another option is to take the TEFL course online. This is often a cheaper option, and allows you to take the course part-time while continuing your day job. The main downside of taking the course online is that you miss out on the Teacher Practice component of the classroom certificate.

The cost of the certificate ranges from a few hundred dollars for the online option to a few thousand dollars on site, if meals and accommodation are included. Other than your BA and a TELF certificate, what else makes a successful teacher? There is no one formula, but it's safe to say that a certain amount of confidence is necessary, as well as creativity, flexibility and a genuine interest in helping others succeed.


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