How important is a TEFL certificate?

i will first give a little bit of information about my situation, that might explain things. iam currently in my final year of studies for my economics degree. i have been wanting to go teach english for years, and now its close to happening. i wont be going till around the begining of november since i want to work and save up some money first. since my degree is economics and not teaching how hard will it be to teach?
this brings me to the TEFL certificate. i can take a program to get it which lasts about a week. i wonder how good that is, how practical is it and relevent to teaching english. i dont want to take the course if its a waste of time and money. i read peoples posts about having to do lesson plans etc and it makes me think i should take the program so i will learn what to do. after all, these people pay good money to learn and i dont want to be some bum walking off the street just wanting to make a quick buck at their expense. but how much is on the job learning and how much do you learn from the course? i ask these questions because i know of some people who have gone to teach without a TEFL certificate or even a university degree. thanks for your help with this, hopefully i wont get too many negative responses.

Your questions and concerns have been discussed thoroughly in this forum. Mostly, it depends on … what sort of teaching you want to do, whether you believe being credentialed makes you a better teacher, how long you plan to be an English teacher here and elsewhere…

I haven’t found any consensus here that points to a definitive answer about credentials. As you pointed out, there’s people who teach English here who haven’t a whole lot of credentials and they do alright. Then you have those who take a more professional and long term view on their teaching careers and find credentialing an important consideration. YMMV.

Hi Troy,

I did the month-long CELTA course and thought it was very good. TEFL courses are a useful introduction to the world of language teaching, give you some confidence and peace of mind, and the necessary skills for self-improvement once you

Hi Troy Westpoint,

I have a TESL certificate, but I can’t say it’s very useful. I remember bits and pieces from the course, but really when you think about it, you are paying $1000 for a piece of paper.

However, Chinese employers love pieces of papers. (Think percentage of Chinese people in Canadian universities). If you have a BA and a teaching certificate, you will have a better chance of getting the job you want over someone without the cert.

You won’t become Super Teacher with a certificate, but if you have a few extra grand, it could be worth investing in.

Best regards,

I’d say save the money. The main prerequisite here is the degree. Even people without that much are working here, although often illegally. Get it for your own reasons, if you feel like you need some kind of a primer in English teaching or something like that. You don’t need it to get a job here, though.

Definately listen to the advice people have here, it has helped me in the month I have been here. I got a TEFL certificate before I came from some cheesy online place (although the best I could find, called “i to i”) and actually i am glad I did. I had no experience teaching and although I had a BA, I was not confident in my knowledge of English especially grammar, and dropping $300 US on the course gave me the insentive to learn the stuff, the course wasn’t great but it did help me to get started (I did my own research on teaching techniques as well…which is always a good option.) It also didn’t hurt to have the piece of paper when it came to landing a job which I got within a few days of being here. But as others have pointed out, it is not a requisite for teaching here so weigh the benifits and costs for yourself.

According to what I’ve seen here in Taiwan:

Tesol and TEFL are just a little garnish on your CV should anyone bother to read it.

CELTA and DELTA however, can get you some nice work. I know a couple o0f people who got jobs with the British Council what were paying over 90k a month for 25 hours per week. These people can also go home with a very credible and checkable employer on their CV.

where would you get a CELTA or DELTA and how long does it take to get them? i was thinking about the TEFL just so i have some idea of what iam supposed to do. i tried taking an online course, but i stopped that since i found it hard learn when iam not actually being taught by someone. my reasons for taking a course is not financial, i work for a mining contrator so i make lots, but i want to be able to actually teach.
someone mentioned training courses offered at schools. do many do this? i just have a thought in my head of coming to some school getting a job and being thrown into a class full of bright eyed little kids looking at me and me not knowing what to do.
do i need to buy a return ticket? i was thinking that after a year i would just go take a vacation somewhere close rather than have to come back here.
thanks for all the help

The best thing you could do before you get here is take a stab at learning to speak Chinese. Personaly I wouldn’t dream of hiring a second language teacher who had not been a second language learner himself.

Get a grammar text such as “Betty Schrampfer Azars Understanding and Using English Grammar” and study the daylights out of that. An English teacher should at least be able to discuss grammar even if in some situations he isn’t asked to very often.

You should know both the IPA and KK phonetic symbols.

Any texts promoting a communitive approach will probably provide at least some useful info but remember that most experienced teachers would probably describe their approach as being eclectic.

I would also suggest that you try doing a few language exchanges in your hometown.

Oddly enough (with Taiwan having such a huge TEFL industry) there is no outfit offering CELTA and DELTA here.

Last time I looked, the closest is Bangkok, and the CELTA takes about a month.
Be aware, that if you do a web search for CELTA you will end up at a number of sites that offer TEFL/TESOL, but are not CELTA.

Here is a good link about CELTA, straight from the source:

I tried searching first but can’t really find an answer:
Which certification is the most recognized/useful in Taiwan. TESL, TEFL, CELTA, or something else? I’m currently an ESL certified teacher in the USA with over 5 years experience in public schools. Will that be recognized? I also have experience long ago in Taiwan teaching at a buxiban and adults
Thanks for the help.

I plan to move to Taiwan in a few months. I I have a bachelors degree and three years experience in Korea. I was wondering if I should get a TEFL also. I know I don’t need it to get a job, but would i make me more attractive, or help me get higher pay.

Also, do they care about what kind of TEFL. Like if I went to would they except that?

There is absolutely no such thing, and trust me, I’ve done my research, as an attractive ESL teacher.

CELTA or similar would help you clean up your English a little.

I got a job here fresh off the boat in 2007 without any training or TEFL certification.

Things might be different now. I guess anything to make you more attractive to the employer would be a good thing…

TEFL is not really important for working in Taiwan. You can teach at any cram school or other kind of private school with just your BA degree. If you want to teach in a PUBLIC school, a teaching certificate from your home state, plus the BA is required by MOST public schools with rare exceptions here and there. However, that being said, TEFL might be critical for jobs in OTHER countries besides Taiwan. For example, many Thailand schools require it, plus the BA. If you want to work in the Middle East, something called a CELTA or DELTA (depending on if its children or adults) is critical. So it just depends. For Taiwan, don’t worry about TEFL. I don’t know about Korea or Japan. You can always get here first and at some point down the road, for more marketability, get a TEFL degree here on the side.

Hi. Both are adult teaching quals. There aren’t really any ‘stand-alone’ children’s teaching courses.

There is absolutely no such thing, and trust me, I’ve done my research, as an attractive ESL teacher.

CELTA or similar would help you clean up your English a little.[/quote]

Typo… …but would it make me more attractive.

My first job in Taiwan was at Shane English School, they prefer teachers with English qualifications, I started on a higher salary than my colleagues as I have the CELTA qualification.

Even if the school in question doesn’t require a TEFL qualification, I still think it would be worth it. Personally, I found the CELTA most practical as it taught me valuable lessons about class and time management, how to utlise materials, how to thoroughly evaluate a student’s abilities and so on… all within the space of a month, the alternative would have been a good few years of ineffective teaching at my students costs.

It’s more important to get a TEFL if you want to teach in places aside from Taiwan, China, or Japan.