TEFL qualifications

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TEFL qualifications are available for prospective teachers thinking of beginning a teaching career, as well as for teachers wishing to refresh their teaching skills.

Initial teaching qualifications[edit]

The two most generally recognised initial English teaching qualifications are:

  • The CELTA Certificate[1] (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults) awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). (Those interested in more information should look at this FAQ from the University of Cambridge.)
  • The CertTESOL[2] (The Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) awarded by Trinity College London. (Those interested in more information should look at this FAQ from Trinity College London.)

These are usually regarded as the minimum qualifications necessary to teach English as a Foreign Language. Both of these certificates can be studied either part time or full time, and they may be studied either in the UK or in any other part of the world.


You do not necessarily have to be a native speaker to take one of these courses, but you need to have a very good command of the language.

Many, though not all, schools require that students already have a university degree before taking these courses.

Course length[edit]

Course length is very flexible. Many students take a 4-to-6-week intensive course, others study part time over 6 months or more. The word "intensive" is not used lightly here. You should plan to have zero social life either in the evenings or during weekends during the course.


You will need to check with individual schools. Mid-2009 prices seemed to be a little under the 1,000 pound mark.

Choosing a school[edit]

It is sadly true that not all schools are equal. Ideally you should try to speak to other students who have completed a course at the same school.

TEFL Diploma[edit]

Teachers who already have an appropriate TELF Certificate and at least two years' teaching experience may continue on to obtain further TEFL qualification, usually a professional Diploma. Diploma courses include:

  • The DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults) [3] validated by University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). (Those interested in more information should look at this FAQfrom the University of Cambridge.)
  • The Trinity College London LTCL Diploma[4] A course summary in PDF format is available here from Trinity College.

Course length[edit]

Diploma courses may run part-time over one academic year, or full-time for between 8 and 10 weeks.

Other courses[edit]

Although these are the most frequent qualifications obtained by prospective teachers there are others available. For example there are quite a number of more specialised University of Cambridge TEFL Qualifications available.


See also[edit]

Advice for new teachers

External links[edit]