Earning your certification in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) can be a great way to see the world while pursuing a career as an educator. TEFL certification programs can help you gain the skills and qualifications you need to begin your teaching career abroad.
Reputable TEFL programs are accredited by government agencies or external bodies, such as the International TEFL Accreditation Council. The best programs are academically rigorous, employ highly qualified instructors, and help students secure TEFL teaching jobs.
Best TEFL Certification Programs of 2021
Best Overall : International TEFL Academy
International TEFL Academy (ITA) courses are consistently rated highly by both students and independent reviewers. ITA's academic rigor and international reputation are why it earned our top spot overall.
Most instructors hold master's or doctorate degrees
Many overseas locations
Strong international reputation
ITA offers an 11-week, part-time, online course for $1,449 and a four-week, intensive, online course following the same curriculum for $1,999. Both are level 5 TEFL courses, which means the United Kingdom's Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) has recognized them as meeting a high standard of academic rigor.
ITA also offers classroom courses available in select cities across the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. ITA's most expensive class, in Barcelona, Spain, costs up to $5,000 and includes language instruction and student visa support.
Qualified instructors teach all ITA courses, and all certification courses include opportunities for students to practice teaching in-person or online. Online courses feature live lectures, webinars, and chats. ITA also provides students with lifetime TEFL job search assistance.
Best Online Program : Premier TEFL
Premier TEFL was one of the first companies to offer online and hybrid TEFL courses. The program's wide range of online classes earned it our spot for the best online program.
Good selection of specialization courses
Teaching practice only with 250- and 300-hour courses
Premier TEFL's online fast-track courses are great for beginners and take 120 to 250 hours to complete. The 120-hour course includes personal tutor support and 24/7 access to study materials. The 250-hour course includes several additional features, such as 10 hours of virtual teaching practice and a grammar guide. Premier TEFL's 120-hour course is currently available for $195, and its 250-hour course is available for $315.
Premier TEFL also offers level 5 courses. Like its fast-track courses, these Ofqual-regulated courses are appropriate for beginners but are more challenging. However, earning a level 5 TEFL certification may make you a more competitive applicant during your job search. Premier TEFL's 300-hour course includes online teaching practice and costs $385.
Students use Premier TEFL's app to study online. Each lesson is divided into short blocks and includes video lectures and short quizzes. Premier TEFL provides letters of reference and other forms of support to students during their job search.
Best Budget-Friendly Option : ITT
If you want to get paid to travel the world, becoming TEFL-certified can be a great way to do it. However, the cost of enrolling in a reputable course can be a little daunting. For would-be TEFL teachers on a budget, International TEFL and TESOL LTD (ITT) offers quality courses at affordable prices.
Earn your certification in less time
Online teaching practice only
Teaching practice only included in Professional Plus
ITT's 60-hour online TEFL/TESOL course starts at $139, but as of May 2021, it was available for $52. However, since many overseas employers require instructors to have at least 100 hours of TEFL training, students seeking certification should opt for ITT's longer advanced, professional, professional plus, or level 5 courses. ITT's advanced online class includes 120 hours of course content and usually costs $199. However, as of May 2021, the class was available for $72.
Each ITT course module features assignments, quizzes, and videos. Students receive personalized tutor feedback and can reach out to their tutor for help via email or online chat. Most ITT classes do not include a final exam.
Those who enroll in ITT advanced, professional, or level 5 courses can find teaching positions on ITT's job board. Former students say ITT's job placement services are excellent, and several reviewers say they earned their certifications quickly. However, students can take as long as they need to finish their coursework.
Best for Student Support : TEFL Org
All TEFL Org courses include full tutor support and lifetime access to the program's job center. Additionally, TEFL Org's website provides detailed information about the TEFL certification process, helping students make informed decisions about which programs to choose.
Good selection of U.S. locations
Provides detailed information about TEFL certification process
Some classroom sessions only available online
TEFl Org offers both online and hybrid TEFL certification courses. Its online, 120-hour course is TEFL Org's most popular and covers standard TEFL subjects, such as English grammar and teaching methodologies. The course usually starts at $509 but was on sale as of May 2021 for $245.50. The program also offers a 168-hour, online level 5 class featuring a 79-hour English language teaching methodology module. Although it normally costs $729, students were able to purchase it for just $579 as of May 2021.
U.S.-based students interested in classroom training can attend classes in five different cities nationwide. Students enroll in either the 120- or 140-hour hybrid course, complete the first phase of the course online, and then attend class sessions in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Boston, or Chicago for two to six days, depending on location. TEFL Org's upcoming courses in Miami cost $695. Students can also access select classroom sessions online.
TEFL Org's instructors are all qualified EFL teachers with hands-on experience teaching English abroad. Online courses include access to the TEFL Org learning platform and downloadable PDF resources, and every student receives personalized tutor support.
Best Hybrid Program : ITTT
International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) combined TEFL courses offer both the flexibility of online learning and the immersive experience of in-person teaching. ITTT's courses allow students to gain overseas teaching experience without spending several weeks abroad.
Many in-person classes in the U.S.
Courses are moderately priced
Charges extra for tutor support
Fewer overseas locations for hybrid courses
Career support only for one year
Students enrolled in ITTT's hybrid courses complete phase one of their training online and then begin phase two of the class at a training facility in the U.S. or abroad. They can choose among five-day, eight-day, and 10-day on-site course options.
Those interested in observed teaching training can complete their studies in 10 days in Phuket, Barcelona, Rome, or Bangkok. Alternatively, they can complete the program in eight days, choosing between centers in New York and Paris. Those who want to complete the second stage of their course in five days can attend classes at one of several locations across the U.S. The five-day option does not include observed teaching practice.
Students can access ITTT's course materials online or download them. ITTT offers graduates one year of job guidance, including help preparing for interviews, downloadable lesson plans, and information on TEFL vacancies. Although ITTT's hybrid courses cost $1,295 to $1,550, its online-only certificate courses start at $249.
Best for Specializations : Teach Away
Teach Away/University of Toronto's international reputation and unique specialization modules can help students take their TEFL skills to the next level.
No standalone specialization courses
The University of Toronto OISE/Ontario Institute for Studies in Education teamed up with Teach Away to offer 100-, 120-, and 150-hour TEFL courses. Students who enroll in either the 120- or 150-hour course must complete two specialization modules. Teaching English to young learners and teaching business English are among the most popular specializations. However, Teach Away also offers modules in teaching English to Arabic speakers and teaching English to Mandarin (Chinese) speakers, which few other programs provide.
Teach Away/University of Toronto's online courses are self-paced. However, students who study two to three hours a day typically finish in six to 12 weeks. Teach Away/University of Toronto provides graduates with assistance during the job search, and over half of the program's graduates receive job offers within three months of completing coursework.
Best for Overseas Job Placement : TEFLPros
TEFLPros does more than help students refine their resumes and prepare for interviews. Graduates leave the program with a portfolio of lesson plans, which can help them during their job search.
Sample module available without purchase
Lifetime job assistance
Only one course option
No teaching practice
Unlike some other TEFL programs, TEFLPros includes instructional material on how to prepare for the job search. The program's interview and resume guide offers students tips on crafting their resumes and details what students can expect during job interviews.
TEFLPros offers one 120-hour online course. The course's 10 modules cover lesson planning, student interaction, grammar, and more. At the end of the course, students take a final exam and submit a portfolio of the lesson plans they developed throughout the course. Students can then use their professionally vetted portfolio as evidence of their teaching skills when applying for jobs.
TEFLPros course modules include discussion sessions, video slides, and 17 hours of in-class observation videos recorded in real EFL classrooms. Instructors grade students based on 10 quizzes, final exams, and final portfolios.
Best for Online Teaching : i-to-i
TEFL certification provider i-to-i offers several different course options for students who want to hone their online teaching skills.
Different course options for online teaching
Affordable online courses
Significant time commitment for TEFL plus courses
Expensive specialization courses
If you want to specialize in teaching TEFL online, you might consider i-to-i's TEFL diploma and technology course. This course provides instruction in educational technologies to help you plan lessons, teach, and administer course evaluations online. You'll boost your knowledge of online learning platforms while earning an internationally recognized, level 5 TEFL certification.
The diploma and technology specialist course costs $1,072. Students seeking a more affordable option might consider i-to-i's 300-hour online TEFL course instead. This course is currently available for $385 and includes two specialist modules, one of which focuses on teaching English online. The other specialist module covers teaching business English, which is a skill in high demand.
i-to-i offers TEFL study support, jobseeker support, and a job interview guarantee for students who enroll in its 300-hour course. Online course materials include e-books, e-flashcards, lesson plans, and more.
International TEFL Academy is one of the world's most respected TEFL certification providers. Students enrolled in the program's in-person and hybrid courses can develop their teaching skills in classrooms worldwide. International TEFL Academy stands out among other certification providers for the rigor of its courses and the expertise of its instructors, which is why it is the best TEFL certification program on the market.
Compare the Best TEFL Certification Programs
|Company||Locations||Program Format||Cost||Program Length|
|International TEFL Academy
|New York City and Chicago (also in Asia, Europe, Latin America)||Online, in-person, or hybrid||$1,449-$5,000||170 hours|
Best Online Program
Best Budget-Friendly Option
Best for Student Support
|5 locations in the U.S.||Online or hybrid||$245.50-$729||120-188|
Best Hybrid Program
|New York City Locations (also in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, U.K.)||Online, in-person, or hybrid||$249-$1550||120-550 hours|
Best for Specializations
Best for Overseas Job Placement
Best for Online Teaching
|6 cities in the U.S. (also in Africa, Australia, China, Europe, U.K.)||Online, in-person, or hybrid||$385-$1,072||120-300 hours|
How to Choose the Best TEFL Certification Program
When choosing a TEFL certification program, determine your budget, career goals, and the amount of time you can invest in coursework. If you hope to get a job teaching English abroad, consider a course that lets you try out your skills in a classroom in another country. If, instead, you plan to teach English as a foreign language online, find a course that provides training in using online educational platforms.
Be sure to choose a reputable TEFL program that is independently accredited and internationally recognized. Programs that offer job placement assistance can help you secure your first teaching position, either abroad or online.
TEFL vs. TESOL vs. CELTA: What’s the Difference?
TEFL instructors typically teach English-language courses in non-English-speaking countries. A certificate of English language teaching to adults (CELTA) is a type of TEFL certification. It qualifies instructors to teach English to adult, non-native English speakers.
The University of Cambridge moderates all CELTA courses that provide graduates with level 5 TEFL certification. CELTA courses are more intensive than other TEFL courses, and some overseas employers require teachers to be CELTA-certified. However, you may not need to pursue this typically more costly and challenging credential, especially if you want to teach children.
While TESOL stands for teaching English to speakers of other languages, employers and programs sometimes use TESOL and TEFL interchangeably. However, TESOL is an umbrella term that encompasses TEFL, CELTA, and TESL (teaching English as a second language). Earning a TESOL certification may be a good idea if you are interested in teaching English to non-native speakers in an English-speaking country.
|TEFL||Teach English to speakers of other languages in a non-English-speaking country||Minimum 100 hours for certification||$200-$2,000|
|TESOL||Teach English to speakers of other languages, either in an English-speaking or non-English-speaking country||Minimum 100 hours for certification||$100-$2,000|
|CELTA||Teach English to adult learners who speak other languages||120 hours + 6-hour teaching practicum||$1,500-$4,000|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Do You Learn in a TEFL Certification Program?
Most TEFL certification programs provide instruction in three areas: English language grammar and syntax, teaching methods and lesson planning, and classroom management skills. Many programs include opportunities for students to teach an EFL class and receive feedback from instructors. Some programs provide additional training in specialty areas, such as teaching English online and teaching English to young learners.
Is It Worth Getting a TEFL Certificate?
Earning your TEFL certification qualifies you to teach English language courses around the world. Some programs do not require instructors to be TEFL-certified. However, earning your certification will likely make it easier to find a well-paying teaching position in the country of your choice. It can also help you develop the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective teacher.
How Much Do TEFL Certification Programs Cost?
TEFL certification programs generally cost $200 to $2,000. Online courses are usually more affordable than in-person classes. Some programs offer TEFL courses that cost less and include fewer hours of training. However, courses with fewer than 100 hours of instruction do not provide TEFL certification.
How Long Do TEFL Certification Programs Take to Complete?
TEFL certification courses provide at least 100 hours of training, and the best programs offer students opportunities for observed teaching practice. Usually, full-time students can complete these courses in 4-6 weeks, but some programs take longer to finish.
We reviewed over a dozen TEFL certification programs to identify the best in each of the above categories. The programs we chose have been accredited by government bodies, such as Ofqual in the United Kingdom, or by independent organizations, such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Employers generally require TEFL instructors to have completed 100 to 120 hours of training. For this reason, we only considered programs with courses that met this requirement.
All of the TEFL certification programs on our list have strong reputations internationally, employ knowledgeable and experienced instructors, support students in their studies, and help graduates find jobs after earning their certification.