What is TESOL certification and how can I get it?

What is TESOL certification and how can I get it?

Every year the number of English language learners is growing rapidly. The British Council estimates that in 2020 the number of English speakers and learners worldwide will reach a staggering 2 billion. As this number increases, so does the need for qualified TESOL teachers.

TEFL/TESOL online certification is by far the most popular option for those who are time-limited and want to adapt their training to their existing schedule and commitments.

The difference between TESOL and TEFL

TESOL is an abbreviation for teaching English to native speakers of other languages. This applies to teaching English to non-native English speakers both abroad and in English-speaking countries.

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL are terms that are commonly used interchangeably. The only slight difference is that TESOL includes the training of English language learners who live in English-speaking countries, but this by no means applies only to this. When it comes to applying for a job, it doesn't matter if your qualifications meet TESOL or TEFL, employers will treat them equally. These two abbreviations are common terms for training courses offered online or face-to-face (or combining both options) that train English teachers. Although technically these terms have slightly different meanings, when it comes to obtaining a certificate for teaching English as a foreign language or hiring as a teacher, TEFL and TESOL are used interchangeably.

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What are the benefits of TESOL certification?

The TEFL/TESOL certificate is recognized by employers around the world as an international certification standard for English language teachers. It is accredited by the UK government and is licensed to teach English everywhere.

Also, this certificate gives such advantages as:

  • the opportunity to work abroad, especially in Asian countries;
  • a certificate can replace a bachelor's degree and neutralizes the lack of work experience;
  • the opportunity to teach students of different ages (children, teenagers, adults);
  • the ability to teach face-to-face and online;
  • the opportunity to teach general English and for specific purposes: business English, for IT specialists, etc.

TESOL program

The TESOL program includes a large number of general and narrowly focused topics, among which the following are the main ones:

  • grammar, listening, reading,
  • methods and motivation of work,
  • offline and online training,
  • teaching children and adults,
  • business English,
  • teaching competent resume writing and job search, etc.

It is also worth noting that any of the courses can be completed both full-time and remotely at an accredited center or abroad.

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How do I get a TESOL certificate?

The most common way to get a TESOL certificate is to enroll in an online course. Online courses are designed for 40, 60, 100, 120 or 150 hours and usually provide flexibility in completing coursework when it suits you.

You can also take full-time courses in a traditional classroom, either locally or in the country where you plan to teach. These courses usually last four weeks and often follow an intensive full-time schedule. However, face-to-face courses are less common nowadays, as most people prefer to get certified online, especially since COVID-19 has changed the way TESOL courses are conducted by moving them to a virtual space. In fact, there is no difference in the quality of certification in full-time and online courses. These courses usually last four weeks and often follow an intensive full-time schedule.

Once you complete your studies and receive a certificate, you will be able to start teaching ESL around the world in various formats. From teaching young children in elementary school or extracurricular activities to working with English-speaking professionals to improve their accents, ESL teachers are in great demand all over the world, helping to seamlessly facilitate communication in the 21st century. Many schools also offer lifelong employment assistance, supporting a network of schools and programs in many regions of the world.

Which TESOL certificate is better?

There are many different TESOL certification courses, so this can be a bit confusing. Here's what you should pay attention to:

  • accreditation from external organizations;
  • duration of the course;
  • international reputation;
  • support of tutors.

Let's take a closer look at each of these points.


Accreditation is a quality assurance, and it really plays a key role in choosing a certification provider. TESOL does not have an authoritative accreditation body, so although many course providers may qualify for accreditation, it is important to dig a little into yourself.

When you apply to an accrediting body, you want to easily find two things:

  1. a list of suppliers that they accredit,
  2. and information about their criteria and processes.

Most good certification program providers request accreditation from reputable organizations that will accredit a wide range of different course providers.

Course duration

Since most employers – both abroad and online – require teachers to have 120-hour TESOL qualifications, it is recommended to take the course with at least these hours. Accordingly, if you want to improve your resume, the best way to do this is to take a 120-hour course and add specialized training in the areas you are striving to delve into. There is no need to take a course consisting of hundreds of hours of training if it does not meet your goals.

International reputation

This is very closely related to accreditation. If the supplier has the appropriate accreditation, his qualifications must be recognized internationally.

You also want to check how long the course provider has been running. New courses are constantly appearing (often at extremely low prices) and may not be highly trusted by employers abroad or online. Choosing a supplier that is well-known in the industry will give you the best chance of finding a job.

Support of tutors

A good course should be accompanied by the full support of the teacher. And these teachers should be highly qualified English language teachers.

It is very important to be able to receive feedback throughout the course from those who know their business. And if you're studying online, it couldn't be more important; without that support and feedback, you won't have guidance throughout the course and a faint idea of whether you're on the right track.

Is there a difference between online and offline TESOL courses?

Classroom courses can be expensive, some of them require you to devote a month to full-time study! Online training - provided it is conducted with a reputable, accredited service provider – may be the most ideal way to get started at TESOL. It is cost-effective, allows you to adapt your training to existing commitments, and you can study wherever and whenever it is convenient for you. Contrary to the claims of some vendors, the vast majority of teaching jobs do not require classroom or workshop training.


Qualified TESOL teachers can find teaching opportunities all over the world. And there is a wide selection of vacancies here! You can work with children and adults, with beginners and advanced native speakers, in language schools and universities, online and in classrooms – opportunities are expanding.

As mentioned above, currently 3 courses have been developed: Pro, MASTER, EXPERT, each of which lasts 120, 150 and 250 hours, respectively. Some people complete the course in a couple of weeks, others in a couple of months. It depends on how much time a day you are willing to devote to training. If you study for 5 hours a day, you can complete the course in a couple of weeks, if you study for 30 minutes a day, then in a couple of months. Access to the course for the PRO and MASTER packages will be available to you for 6 months. For an EXPERT package - for 8 months.

After receiving the certificate, you will be able to find a decent and well-paid job that meets your expectations. At the moment, online TEFL/TESOL course has a 50% discount on each course - an excellent investment in personal growth!

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