When searching for a TEFL course, many students ask 'is a 120-hour TEFL certificate enough to teach in a classroom or online?'. It may not feel like enough time to become a qualified teacher, but we can assure you that it is. 120 hours is the bare minimum that most ESL employers will ask you to complete.
Of those 120 hours, many ESL companies will ask that you have some classroom experience. There are several TEFL courses that include a number of hours that are classroom-based and can be perfect for applications that require experience.
By completing a TEFL course that includes classroom hours, you gain highly sought-after teaching experience without ever having taught a class of English students.
Where can I find a course?
You’re unlikely to find any TEFL/TESOL/ESL courses at your local educational facilities. Most of these courses are found online and are largely completed online, with a few hours in a nearby establishment for courses that include classroom-based study.
There are plenty of online TEFL courses that can be found through a large number of providers. The challenge is finding a provider to trust. When in doubt, check the reviews of the company – and not just the student testimonials that are plastered all over that company’s website. You should try to locate reviews from recent course attendees. Social media is a good place if you want unfiltered views from previous or current students taking the course.
By researching these providers you will see many offer courses of a similar length showing that a 120-hour TEFL certificate is enough to begin an English teaching career.
Do I need a TEFL/TESOL certificate?
In most cases: Yes. It’s highly unlikely that you are going to find a position with a reputable ESL company that do not require some kind of TEFL/TESOL or other ESL qualification.
Companies that don’t ask for their applicants to prove that they are qualified ESL teachers are usually tutoring or chat companies that aren’t looking for structured teaching from their employees. There’s nothing wrong with signing up to become an English tutor. However, the skills required to become an ESL teacher are slightly different and the jobs are more competitive.
Unsure whether or not you want to become a teacher of English as a second language? Then it might be a good idea for you to try tutoring in English first.
Alternatively, you could sign up with a company that offers their teachers a TEFL course through their partner. These employers are great because you won’t need to pay out for your course before you start teaching. Though, there is usually a deadline for completing the TEFL course that these companies send you off to do.
Are there other courses available?
Certainly! The ESL course that you end up attending will be one that you feel is right for you. 120-hour TEFL/TESOL courses are the most popular because they’re so easy to come across. Best of all, they’re inexpensive when compared to more in-depth courses.
We’ve already mentioned combination courses – those being online courses that have a small classroom-based element – but there are also TEFL courses that are taught entirely in-person, as there are the ones that are taught entirely online.
The shortest courses that you’re going to find will be the classroom modules of larger TEFL courses. You can just pay for and complete these classroom modules, but the majority of ESL companies looking for teachers will want a minimum of 120 hours for your TEFL course.
There’s very little point going back and forth between courses. This is because a lot of TEFL course companies offer huge sales and discounts throughout the year. You could end up taking a 120-hour TEFL course for half price if you book at the right time.
If it’s not a shorter course that you’re looking for, you might be happy to know that TEFL courses come in all shapes and sizes. There are many companies that also offer courses that are 200+ hours long. Though, these are fairly expensive and probably shouldn’t be your first choice if you’re new to ESL teaching.
Is a 120-hour TEFL certificate enough? To begin a career as an English teacher, the short answer is yes.