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The Best 2 TEFL Certification Programs for ESL Teachers Abroad

Learn how I made a killing teaching ESL abroad and retired early.

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With all of these crazy acronyms like TEFL, TESOL, TESL, ESL, EFL, ELL, CELTA, and many others… it’s easy to get lost in the sauce. Here is my honest opinion about which are the best two programs out there for ESL teachers overseas. Keep in mind that a CELTA is a TEFL, but a TEFL is not a CELTA. I don’t have a CELTA, but I know it’s widely recognized as the best and that’s the reason I advise some people to get one. There are a million different TEFL programs of varying quality–the majority of which I’ve probably never heard of…. but this my $.02.
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10 Comments

  • Bradley Redmond

    Are some CELTA schools better than others? What should I look for when choosing a CELTA school? I know that many schools in many countries offer CELTA courses.

  • Nick Barnets

    I very much agree with the CELTA. I got my CELTA earlier this here in Athens (they have schools in many places and the one here in Athens is an especially great one!). I had not had any teaching experience before that but the intensity of the CELTA course and how they emphasize teaching for real make it pretty useful (and fun!) for me and I seriously have no idea how I would have started teaching had I not done it. It is pricey but if you're serious about teaching ESL then it's a worthy investment. Besides its widespread recognition around the world, you have tremendous amounts of job opportunities you'll find out about through your CELTA school that you're not going to find by just googling "teaching jobs in…"

  • Ian Hollis

    I neither love nor hate teaching ESL, but it's currently my only option, and given that it's the most prominent thing on my resumé, I'll probably be doing it for a while longer.

  • A Million Toms

    Completely agree, Ben. I don't have a CELTA, but a few years ago I applied for a job with British Council. Their online application requires you to declare all teaching experience POST CELTA. Since I don't have a CELTA, I obviously had to put "none". The same was true for my colleague who had 20+ years experience and a MA TESOL. Subsequently, neither of us were hired. At the end of the day, these companies (CELTA providers) have to make the qualification seem more important than it actually is, so I'd completely agree it's better to just play ball early on if you're gunna be teaching for a good chunk of time.

  • Aquarian Christianity

    By the way, sir, is it relatively safe in Asuncion? I'm not sure I want to teach English, but I definitely want to live in a foreign country.

  • JuniorXEastNY

    I had a joint masters in international affairs and law degree. I flunked the bar exam twice. I was unemployed for over a year and facing homelessness (unemployment benefits would run out in five months, already defaulted on students loans). I needed an escape plan. Overseas was my best bet but ngo'ss were not hiring and I wanted something that would guarantee employment once I landed abroad. I begged and borrowed enough money to pay for a one month intensive CELTA course. Got a job offer to teach in a Balkan country two weeks before my last benefit check, and hightailed out of the USA. The best damn thing I ever did, cuz that CELTA has kept me constantly employed and TURNING DOWN work for 4 years while I figure out what my next move will be.

  • Isaiah Roe

    Hey Ben. I recently finished a 120 hour online TEFL course from itoi. I get my bachelor degree and teaching credential in about a year and then would love to try teaching abroad.
    South Korea is the first place I'd wanna teach. Is that a good start or could there be better options?
    Thanks!

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