Is it necessary to have qualifications in order to get a job teaching ESL?
No, many countries welcome individuals who wish to teach English and do not have qualifications or experience. The greatest problem, however, may not be finding a job; rather, it may be access to the job market and employment permits.
Some countries only offer work permits to those teachers who have been officially invited.
Some countries have access to many qualified teachers and therefore the standard for these countries is for applicants to have qualifications; hence, there are fewer places for unqualified applicants.
What does it mean to be a qualified ESL/EFL teacher?
What is needed in the way of credentials varies greatly from region to region.
A ‘qualified’ ESL/EFL teacher usually holds some form of certification. ‘Certification’ is the formal recognition, in the form of a document or transcript, given to participants who have completed studies in degree, diploma and/or certificate programs focusing on Teaching English as a Second Language, applied linguistics, studies in second language learning, English for special purposes, ESL literacy, English for Academic Purposes.
What are the benefits of taking a certificate course?
Obtaining qualifications in TESL/TEFL is essential for those who wish to make a career of teaching in this area.
Many positions with non-governmental organizations, universities, public schools and nationally and internationally recognized language schools (e.g. British Council) are only open to those applicants who have qualifications.
It is easier to get jobs. Employers, while they may not require qualifications, recognize that applicants, who have taken the time to obtain them, may be more competent in the classroom.
Job satisfaction also increases, as one becomes more proficient as a teacher in the classroom. Increased experience and skill also go a long way to reduce job stress in difficult classroom teaching situations.
The course content of languages studies leading to TESL/TEFL certification often leads to a greater awareness of the cultural factors affecting the learner of English as a foreign language, and hence, can increase the teacher’s ability to engage the learner from a culturally appropriate context.
For a complete listing, refer to the English Language Teaching Guide (QUIC Resource Library ID# 686). Several universities offer programs at the Master’s level in TESL/TEFL and applied linguistics. Many of the same institutions also offer special diplomas in TESL/TEFL.
* Please note that information provided on certification courses is for reference purposes only. Please confirm specific costs, additional application/registration fees, dates, changes in programs, availability, specific requirements, etc. with the course provider.
English Language Teaching Guide. David Francis (ed.) The Burlington Press (Cambridge) Ltd, Foxton, 9th edition, 1999 (QUIC Resource Library ID# 686)
Teaching English as a Second Language: A Resource Guide. Carrasquillo, Angela L., New York, NY,1994 (QUIC Resource Library ID# 569)
Teaching English Abroad. Susan Griffith. Vacation Work Publications, Oxford, UK , 8th edition, 2005 (QUIC Resource Library ID# 44)
Transitions Abroad.com - Site providing vast resources for teaching ESL abroad. Includes a Teaching English Abroad Advisor and links to ESL training, certification, and job placement schools and programs; website users can search by region and by country.