Alright, so my blog has been pretty vacant but I promise big things are coming. Obviously, by the name of this post, you might have a slight hint as to what is coming but shhhh.. it’s not official and the title of this is merely a perk of what I will really be doing. If you do not know what these are, perhaps you won’t be able to help me. But I think a lot of the traffic involved in this blog will be of some help.I have spent hours researching and I can’t seem to get a clear answer, so I figured someone knows someone who knows someone with one of these Certifications and can help me. In advance, thanks guys :)

So, my question to you is this TEFL, TESOL, TESL or CELTA.

My understanding is follows:

TEFL– Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Applies where English is not the primary language, supposedly the highest degree of worldwide compatibility. Cheapest Course and Cheapest Certification from what I can see. Available both online and in course form.

TESL- Teaching English as a Second Language. Applies in areas which English is considered a primary language. Example, Teach English to foreign students within the United States. To qualify, educators must speak English as their native language. 

TESOL- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. In Canadian and American terminology, a TESOL certificate may apply as either a TESL or TEFL certificate; however, the designation is subject to restrictions based on country. No uniform designation exists across different areas. Outside of North America, TESOL often replaces the term TEFL. (That is from this website, which has been the clearest answers I have found thus far.)

CELTA– Certificate in Teaching English Language to Adults run by Cambridge University. 4 intensive weeks and $3000-$4000. Yeah, that is not happening, however it is one of the available options and seems to only be the very best in the UK. (Again, this is from my research, if that is wrong please let me know.) 

This website has broken down the TESOL vs CELTA. 

TEFL and TESL are both intriguing to me because the TEFL seems most widely recognized next to the CELTA, however the TESL seems better in the US, ya know.. after my adventures. 

It seems to me that all of the courses are offered both online and in person. TEFL seems to be the cheapest, but why? Does anyone have any idea if anyone with only a TEFL has had issues or successes in finding employment with that certification alone? Or have they gotten the TESOL, since apparently TESOL sometimes replaces the TEFL. This is where it gets confusing. I would hate to waste money on one cert, to find out I need another. 

So, now I need your help. Pleaaaaaasseeeeee :) 

comments and concerns and advice and jokes are all welcome.



4 thoughts on “TEFL, TESOL, TESL, CELTA

  1. Amelie says:

    Hi Hanley,

    You have a good grasp of what each one of them mean, so here are my two cents. :P

    It all really depends on where you are planning on teaching. If you are planning on staying abroad for a very long time, you would most likely be teaching English as the student’s secondary language (or TEFL), so CELTA would be okay. It’s expensive, but it’s widely accepted. CELTA is also, an actually professional certificate (or brand name? :P), as opposed to just a type of certification you can get. There’s a lot of prestige attached to it, and a lot of people will tell you that it is the only way. Here are my problems with CELTA: one, it’s sold as one of the most practical teaching courses around, and I don’t find it to be so. They rely on methods that, I feel, produce artificial sounding speech, and there’s very little wiggle room for creativity. It assumes that all students learn the same way, and we know that’s not true. And two, unless you’re working for a small private language school in a large metropolitan city, with lots of impermanent residents, like Miami ;), Celta is mostly useless in the US. It won’t qualify you to teach publish school ESL (you’d need a BA in education, English, Linguistic, AND and ESL endorsement of some sort offered by the department of education in your home state), and it’s definitely useless for university teaching. I would recommend TESOL, since it covers, both, instruction in TEFL and TESL. Or perhaps just the TEFL, and plan for an advanced degree later on, in something like Linguistics or TESOL education. I feel like I have to disclaim again that none of these programs are super-useful or a guarantee when it comes to getting a professional, full time job in the US as a teacher (in a public school or a university, for example), so start slow and plan for a MA later on.

    Now, I don’t hold any of these certificates. I have an MA in applied linguistics, and ended up being a teacher. :) I teach ESL, so my students (one would hope :D), will eventually use English as their primary language. I would recommend doing tons research on the EFL system in your host country before you embark in one of these programs. Also, if your local library or YMCA offers language classes for ESL students, ask about volunteering to teach or watch the classes. The only thing that will really make you an awesome instructor is getting into the classroom.

    I hope this helps. :)

    • pinkparliament says:


      Thank you so much! My plans really are up in the air, however I don’t see myself being over for extremely long periods of time at all. Although teaching English local back home would be cool, if I’m practical the only jobs are probably in downtown Chicago, which isn’t too far to commute, but like you said, probably requires a degree. The whole thing is, I have an opportunity to do this ideally for free, because my host family has offered for me to study while I am there and they will pay for it, should I choose to omit the German courses and instead do this. I may do both, however. So, I think I am going to look into the TESOL, since it seems to be pretty versatile and combines the education of a TEFL. They definitely don’t make this very easy, its so confusing to research. Even harder when its in a totally different language! :) Thank you so much for the insight, I REALLY appreciate it!!

  2. Dana (@WantedAdventure) says:

    Wow. Wish I could help, but actually, it is ME who ended up learning a few things from this post. BUT I can tell you that I went for the TEFL certification and, first of all, it was really great (did TEFL Worldwide in Prague) and, it served me well. It taught me a lot of foundation information, really left me feeling prepared to be a teacher, and I landed several jobs with it on my resume! Best of luck to you in your decision!

    • pinkparliament says:

      Awesome! I will look into that. Life is currently taking me another direction but I am totally okay with it. However, this is still on the back burner! Did you enjoy your teaching experience? Any advice you would offer to get the most out of it?

say something

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s