What’s the difference between TESOL/TESL and TEFL courses?
English language teaching is a very gratifying profession, but, it must be admitted, not one with a great deal of consistency in its terminology. If you started your quest for English teaching certification by doing your own research, you very likely encountered a wide and puzzling variety of acronyms. As a starting point, we will clarify the most common of these.
- TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
- TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language
- TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
These designations are the most widely used to describe a professional certification of some sort in the field of English language teaching. For the most part, there is no significant difference among them: it is often a matter of personal choice on the part of the institution offering the certification.
Some employers will require certification before considering any candidate as a teacher. For others, certification is a plus, but not mandatory, and candidates will be judged on a case-by-case basis. Should a prospective employer require certification, the source of the certification is far more important than the acronym used on the certificate. A teacher training school accredited by a recognized examining body will yield the best responses from employers.
Rounding out the overview are some other acronyms that you might encounter as you do additional research on the profession:
TESP: Teaching English for Specific (or Special) Purposes can include: Academic Purposes (EAP), Science and Technology (EST)
TEAL: Teaching English as an Additional (or Alternate) Language
TEYL: Teaching English to Young Learners
TEIL: Teaching English as an International Language
ESL: English as a Second Language
ESOL: English for Speakers of Other Languages
EFL: English as a Foreign Language
Are your courses accredited?
Yes. The 100-hour TEFL Certification and the 120-hour Specialized TEFL Certificate programs are recognized by ACTDEC UK for their Level 2 and 3. The 250-hour TESOL Diploma program is accredited by ACTDEC UK for their Level 5 and recognized by TESL Canada for their Professional Certificate Standard 2 (250-hour TESOL Diploma + Practicum). The Advanced TESOL Certificate program is recognized by TESL Canada at their Professional Standard 1 (Equivalent to CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL worldwide).
What qualifications do I need to work in Canada?
Most private language schools in Canada, require ESL teachers to have a TESOL certificate accredited by TESL Canada and to hold a university degree.
In which countries am I likely to find a job as an English teacher? Is there a demand for ESL/ESOL teachers?
For more information on the most popular ESL destinations, visit TESOL Jobs
The ESL industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today. The drive for globalization has made the world a more accessible place. Whether it is for business purposes, academic reasons or just travel and leisure the race is on to learn English.
The demand for ESL instruction by far outweighs the supply of qualified teachers and our school is committed to delivering quality training programs for those interested in a career teaching English either in Canada or abroad.
The following is a list of the most popular destinations. These countries offer plenty of opportunities for teaching English:
European countries: UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Slovenia.
Asian countries: South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia.
The Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, Pakistan.
Central and South America: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile.
Africa: Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, South Africa.
Where are your students working? What type of jobs did they get after graduating from the course?
Our students are working all over the world. Some decided to stay in Canada and they are currently working in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, but most of our students are working abroad. Some of our graduates have written TESOL Expert blogs with tips for new teachers.
The most common destinations are Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa.
Many of our graduates work in language schools in the private and /or public sector, as our courses are suitable for teaching all levels and ages. Some are working in primary and secondary schools. Others are teaching adults in companies and even at university level.
What is it like to teach English in a foreign country?
Teaching English to foreign students can be very rewarding in many different ways. Opportunities vary for every teacher, but some of the greatest assets to teaching are never realized until you actually experience the customs, culture and language. Every teacher comes back changed in some way. They may have pursued further education while teaching or just immersed themselves in the ethnicity of the people. Either way the teacher learns a great deal more than a traditional classroom could ever administer.
It is important to discuss your choice of countries with OnTESOL and do extensive research before making your decision. Our staff will provide you with resources upon request.
General job descriptions
The policies of each school vary to some degree. Most jobs provide adequate housing, transportation allowance, health insurance, return flight tickets and a bonus equal to one month’s pay at the completion of the contract.
The pay can range from $ 700 to $ 3,500 a month depending on location. A job in the Galapagos Islands, for example, is paying $ 700 a month, whereas, a job in Saudi Arabia is paying up to $ 40,000 annually.
Realistically, you can expect to make from $ 20,000 to 40,000 during your first year of employment. These rates are dependent on having an internationally recognized TESOL/TESL/TEFL certificate. In addition to this, your choice of location can marginally affect these numbers. In general, the economy of the country is the controlling factor. For instance, very few countries in Africa employ teachers other than on a volunteer basis, whereas, in Japan the lowest paying job is $ 25,000 annually.
What kind of qualifications and teachers are employers seeking?
The minimum qualification acceptable to teach English in most countries is a 100-hour TESOL certificate. If you are a native speaker of English and you hold a degree there are more opportunities available. As the profession is becoming more and more competitive, teachers wishing to advance their careers are usually expected to gain higher qualifications such as TESL Canada, CELTA, Trinity CertTESOL, or equivalent.
Do I need a university degree to do your course?
No. We welcome applicants from a variety of backgrounds. Most of our students have a degree but others are either at College or University or they do not have any formal qualifications beyond a high school diploma. However, most employers require applicants to have a degree and in most countries a degree is necessary to obtain a work permit.
It is important to highlight that if you are interested in applying for the TESL Canada Professional Certificate Standard 2, you must hold a university degree.
I completed a degree in another country. Will TESL Canada accept my foreign educational credentials?
All applicants with university degrees completed outside Canada must provide a Canadian equivalency assessment of their university degree(s) as part of their application with TESL Canada on completion of the TESOL course. Assessments may be completed by a recognized credential assessment service which are available across Canada. Examples of recognized assessment services are ICES, CES, and WES.
Please note, applicants do not need to provide TESL Canada with a copy of their foreign degrees (translated or not). It is the documented Canadian university equivalency that is the required document. We require the standard, document by document assessment, and not the comprehensive assessment. For further information on educational credentials please contact TESL Canada at (1) 604-298-0312.
Do I need to be a teacher?
No. You do not need to be a teacher to take any of our courses. However, it is strongly recommended that if you want to take the TEYL course (Teaching English to Young Learners), you either have experience teaching or have taken at least the 100-hour TESOL Certificate with us or another course provider.
Will your school offer any ESL/ESOL career guidance?
Yes. We have established a relationship with several recruitment agencies that provide free job placement assistance and your student account will have a job board and a list of schools and information on how to access over 10,000 monthly job openings.
Furthermore, the module called ‘The World of ELT” (English Language Teaching) contains information on: types of certifications and qualifications in the ESL world; accrediting bodies; tips for further professional development; ELT associations, organizations, journals, publications and materials in UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia; guidance on finding employment; how to start; writing a cover letter and a résumé/CV; tips on personal and phone interviews. Your tutor will also write a reference letter, if required.
Visit TESOL Jobs for more information on the countries included in OnTESOL’s free job placement assistance program.
Do I need to be a native English speaker to enroll in any of OnTESOL’s courses?
No, absolutely not. Non-native speakers are more than welcome to apply. In fact, a large percentage of our online student-teachers in the various courses we offer are non-native speakers of English from a variety of countries : Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, India, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, The Philippines, Malaysia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.
Non-native speakers should possess a high standard of both written and spoken English. Graduates who wish to pursue TESL Canada and/or ACTDEC UK accreditation after the TESOL course with OnTESOL, need to meet proficiency requirements set by the respective accrediting body.
I am a non-native English speaker. What are the Language Proficiency Requirements to be accepted to the course?
English Language Proficiency scores will now be a requirement, not only for entrance into a TESL Canada Recognized Teacher Training Program, but also during the application process for individual TESL Canada Certification. All applicants for TESL Canada Certification, who are non-native English language speakers, are required to submit one of TESL Canada Recognized English Language Proficiency scores when applying for Certification. Please see list below for acceptable English Language Proficiency scores.
|English Language Proficiency Tests||Score – Program Trainees|
|TOEFL||Computer based 213 / Paper based 550|
|and TWE or Writing score on CBT||5 recommend 5.5|
|and TSE||55 recommend 60|
|or iBT||80 overall with a minimum score of 20 in each area|
|or IELTS||6.5 overall|
|or MELAB||85 / with a speaking test score 4|
|or CAE, CPE, BEC Higher||Cambridge Advanced English (Grade A), Cambridge Proficiency English (Grade C or higher), |
Business English Cambridge Higher exam (Grade A)
|or CanTEST||Listening, reading, writing 5, speaking 4.5|
|or CAEL||Band 60 overall, with a min. of 60 in each of the writing and speaking subtests|
|or High school graduation from a high school in Canada , including minimum English Grade 12 score of 70%|
|or Completion of an undergraduate degree from an English-speaking university|
|or Common European Framework||C1|
|or Canadian Language Benchmarks||CLB 9 in each area|
Are all the courses online or will I receive the course material by mail?
All the course material is online. Your tutor will contact you after your course has been activated and will guide you through the course material. You will be able to read the material online, and download the material if you so wish to.
How do I contact my tutor? Do I have access to a tutor online, or by phone or in person?
After your course has been activated, we will provide you with the name of your online tutor. Your tutor will contact you within 24 hours and will introduce himself/herself as well as the course material, expectations, assignments, final tests, the marking system and all information pertaining the course.
If you have any queries and questions on the course material, have trouble with an assignment or quiz or just want some kind of help, you can always contact your tutor by email from Monday to Friday and he/she will quickly respond to help you deal with the problem.
How important is observed, supervised teaching practice?
Teaching practice is very important for you to feel more confident especially when you are new to the ESL/ESOL field. Employers prefer new graduates to have some teaching experience after graduating from a TESOL course. Most importantly, if you are taking our 120-hour Advanced TESOL Certificate or 250-hour TESOL Diploma, the 20-hour practicum is compulsory to obtain TESL Canada’s accreditation. The 20-hour Practicum can be completed at any TESL Canada centre that offers the Stand-Alone Practicum or at any ESL school in the world with the help of a qualified supervisor. (See Practicum for more information)
Why is teaching practice optional for Ontesol?
There are many teachers who already have experience and others who are planning to teach abroad and teaching practice or experience is not required by their future employers. For this reason, ONTESOL has separated this module from the FULL Course. However, if you are planning to apply with TESL Canada to obtain the National Professional Certification Standards For Instructors Of English As A Second Or Foreign Language In Adult Programs, teaching practice is a must.
Where can I complete the teaching practice hours?
If you are interested in completing your teaching practice and you cannot do it at Coventry House International in Toronto, we will guide you through the process so you can complete the Practicum anywhere in the World. We will also supervise that your practicum meets TESL Canada`s standards. Teaching practice fees are determined by the stand-alone practicum provider and are to be paid directly to them, not to Ontesol. (See www.tesl.ca) It is also possible to take the Practicum for free (See Practicum for more information).
Which course will be right for me?
This is a very important question to be asked before deciding which course to enroll on. However, there are other questions you also need to consider: “What do I plan to do with this qualification”; “Am I planning to make this a career?”; “Will I just teach for a year or two?”; “What country do I want to teach in”?
Please read through the section Online TESOL Courses for detailed information on each course.
Who takes TESL/TESOL/TEFL courses?
The following are profiles of some of the types of students who took our courses and who are currently working or worked on completion of their TESOL program:
- Canadian ESL teachers
- International ESL teachers
- Gap-year teachers
- People who love traveling around the world and who want to make a living by teaching English while doing so.
- Those who are looking for a career change
- Teachers interested in working with immigrants
- Experience teachers without a TESOL/TESL/TEFL or TEYL certificate
- People who are moving overseas or who plan to retire overseas
- ESL teachers who are teaching overseas but who do not have a certificate and need one to teach in Canada.
- International ESL students of an advanced level of English who either want to teach ESL in their home countries or want to improve their English skills
- Non-native English teachers who want to obtain an internationally recognized TESOL certification from TESL Canada or ACTDEC
How long will it take me to complete a course?
OnTESOL online courses were designed for people who need to study at their own pace. You can access the material 24/7 and submit assignments when they are ready as long as you complete the course within the maximum period given to complete the course.
Minimum and maximum period to complete each course:
What kind of certificate will I receive at the end of my course? What information will it provide for future employers?
At the end of the course you have completed you will receive a TESOL certificate from Coventry House International-OnTESOL and the transcripts of all your course assignments. You can also choose to apply for the respective TESL Canada and/or ACTDEC accreditation. Go to TESOL courses for more information.
What does the course fee cover? Will I have to buy any textbooks?
The course fee covers all online study material. You will have access to all the reading material online or through your tutor. There is further reading for tasks and assignments but your tutor will provide you with all the necessary material or guidance on how to complete your tasks. You also will be able to download all study material from your student account. The course material is very comprehensive and on completion of any of our programs you will have files to refer to when you start work. The modules also provide you with reference material in case you want to buy any of the textbooks in the bibliography section or refer to them at a later stage in your career.
Are there any registration, assessment or moderation fees to pay?
Yes, there are.
For TESL Canada applicants: an application fee is to be paid directly to TESL Canada when applying for their Professional Certificate Standard 2 on the TESOL course completion. (See www.tesl.ca)
For ACTDEC applicants: a registration fee is to be paid directly to ACTDEC when applying for their certificate (See http://actdec.org.uk)
ACTDEC Registration Fees
Level 2 course Pre-Cert.(ES)TESOL: £15
Level 5 course Cert.(TM)TESOL: £25
When can I start a course?
You can start any time. Courses are activated within 24 business hours of registration and payment
How do I enroll in a course?
Click on apply now. You will be taken to a screen with a list of all the courses we offer. Choose the course you want to take and then follow the instructions on the screen. Your course will be activated upon receipt of payment.
How can I pay my course fees?
You can pay
- by credit card (Online or Phone)
- by bank transfer
I do not have a degree. Can I still get work without one?
Many of our graduates who do not have a degree are working as ESL teachers in a wide variety of countries, but teachers must have a degree to obtain a work permit in most countries.
Are there any age restrictions to take one of your courses?
There is no upper age limit to take any of our courses, but teachers over the age of 54 should contact embassies for more information on work visa requirements. The lower age limit depends on the course you enroll in. The 120-hour Advanced TESOL Certificate is a good course for gap-year students who are taking a year out before starting university. The minimum age for this course is 18. For the 250-hour TESOL Diploma, the minimum age is 21.
How will I be assessed on my course work?
Your work will be assessed throughout the course. There are assignments you will complete and submit to your tutor for marking and feedback. Depending on the course you have enrolled in, assignments include writing reflective essays, writing essays showing understanding of specific methodology topics, demonstrating what techniques you would use to teach a particular topic or skill, writing lesson plans, and final grammar and phonology exams. All of these assignments are to be sent to your tutor by email or through the OnTESOL website. There are also tasks, which need to be submitted to your tutor to receive feedback, but will not be marked.
We hope that this has answered most of your questions.
However, please feel free to contact us for more information and help