What’s The Difference Between TEFL, TESOL, and TESL?

There is absolutely no difference between TESOL, TEFL, and TESL courses. These acronyms mean the same thing and any institute trying to differentiate their courses based on acronyms is very misleading. Some organizations say that if you want to teach English abroad, you should go with a TEFL course, but you should take a TESOL course if you want to teach English immersion programs at home. This is not true, so this page will present more information about TEFL, TESOL, and TESL.

TEFL, TESOL, and TESL Mean the Same Thing!

  • TEFL: Teaching English as  a Foreign Language
  • TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language

International TEFL, TESOL, TESL Accreditation Overview:

The TESOL, TEFL, and TESL accronyms do not infer any meaning on quality. For example, TESL Canada is the leading accrediting organization in Canada and one of the most reputable organizations in the world. They have set standards all the way from standard 120-hour courses to master degrees. TESL Canada recognizes institutes and universities that offer TESOL, TEFL, and TESL courses. Course providers are free to choose the accronym they want and a wide range of TESOL, TEFL, and TESL courses meet the same TESL Canada standard, regardless of the acronym the course provider has selected for their program. What matters is meeting the standards set by TESL Canada and providing quality training.  TESL Canada is equivalent to the UK-based CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL certification, so you can use your TESL Canada certification to teach English abroad or in a native-speaking country.

Trinity CertTESOL is the renowned certification course accredited by Trinity College London. You can use your Trinity CertTESOL certification to teach English abroad or teach English at home. As with TESL Canada, Trinity accredits TESOL, TEFL, and TESL courses all over the world. For example, some Trinity CertTSOL courses in Europe run by the name of TEFL, while the 5-week on-site course offered in Toronto by Coventry House International is a TESOL course. Moreover, the same TESOL course offered by Coventry is recognized by both TESL Canada and Trinity CertTESOL.

Any organization saying that there is a difference between TEFL, TESOL, and TESL is not telling the truth. What matters is the quality of the program, the tutors, and the accreditation.

So, Which TEFL, TESOL, TESL Course is Right for You?

The Answer Depends on Your Career Goals:

Entry-Level Courses for Gap-Year Teachers

OnTESOL developed entry-level certification courses for gap-year teachers who want to teach English abroad. These courses cover core grammar, phonology, and methodology modules for teachers interested in going to countries where there aren’t strict requirements for certification. If you want to get certified quickly to teach English abroad, the 100-hour TEFL certification course is enough to meet job and visa requirements. If you are going to teach English to young learners in a public school program, we recommend the 120-hour TEFL certificate course.

Advanced Courses for Professionals

OnTESOL also offers advanced TESOL certificate courses developed by Coventry House International and recognized by TESL Canada for their Professional Standard 1 and 2 certification. The syllabus of the 120-hour Advanced TESOL certificate course is very similar to the Trinity CertTESOL / TESL Canada on-site course offered in Toronto by our parent school Coventry House International. The syllabus of the 250-hour Advanced TESOL Diploma program is more comprehensive than the 5-week Trinity CertTESOL / TESL Canada course offered by Coventry House International.