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Certification to Teach English Abroad

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
To teach English abroad, one must typically complete a certificate program covering techniques for teaching English as a second language. Read on to learn about the program options available and explore course curricula for these TESOL and TEFL certificates.

Certificate Options for Teaching English Abroad

While there is no definitive training or education standard to teach English abroad, most employers require teachers to have a bachelor's degree and complete a certificate program in either Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). TEFL and TESOL programs are essentially the same and can be earned through private organizations as well as universities in the United States and abroad.

Tips for Choosing the Right Program

When considering certificate programs, students should look for those that are approved by an accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (accet.org). Accredited programs typically require students to complete at least 100 hours of instruction and six hours of hands-on teaching. Courses may be offered in-person, online, or through a mix of the two formats. Depending on the program, certificates can be earned in one to four months.

Certification Course Curriculum

Along with a practicum or other in-class experience, the curriculum of a certificate program usually includes courses on ESL pedagogy and English language arts fundamentals. A typical curriculum covers such topics as:

  • Second language literacy development
  • Language and linguistics
  • Educational theory
  • Classroom management techniques
  • Teaching and assessment strategies

Supplemental Teaching Courses

Study.com offers several online courses to help students enrolled in TEFL or TESOL programs master the skills and concepts they'll need to earn their certificate and succeed when they're teaching English abroad. Each course is broken down into short, engaging video lessons and includes self-checking quizzes and practice tests. Explore some of the resources for teachers of English abroad:

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