The Benefits of TEFL / TESOL Certification for Job Hunting
Finding a job is about proving your value in the eyes of your potential employer. You want them to look at you (or your application form) and think ‘yes, this is somebody I want to work for me.’ Getting TEFL / TESOL certification helps with this issue in terms of job accessibility (where you can work) and job suitability (in the eyes of your employer). Thus, concerning job accessibility, the benefits of TEFL certification include the following:
- Available to All: Anybody can study for TEFL / TESOL certification, from any part of the world, because courses are available online. It doesn’t matter where you are from, what your level of English / education is, or anything else – if you have access to the internet, you can study. As online courses are studied independently, you will be given a window in which to complete the course (typically 3-24 weeks for a 120-hour course), allowing you to study at your own pace. Available online to anyone, obtaining TEFL / TESOL certification is probably the single easiest and most effective course of action that you can take in order to help you find a teaching job.
- Job Accessibility: Whilst employers will consider applicants on an individual basis, many will have their black and white rules for hiring which could include the stipulation that a successful candidate must hold some form of teaching qualification. By completing a TEFL / TESOL certification, you immediately widen the pool of jobs available to you.
- Visa Accessibility: Visas are granted on a country by country basis, but there are certain places where teaching certification is necessary. By obtaining the certification, you once again widen your opportunities.
- Calibre of Teacher: When an employer is looking at a collection of CVs / resumes, having a teaching certification is going to look favourable – especially when compared to an applicant who has no such certification. It tells the employer that the teacher is likely to have a better understanding of the English language, classroom management, and everything else that being a teacher involves.
- Commitment of Teacher: Obtaining TEFL / TESOL certification costs time and money, thus potential employers will see you as more committed to teaching if you have willingly undertaken a teaching course. Hiring someone (especially when hiring from overseas) is a big commitment and an employer will want to be hiring an employee who is equally committed.
The Benefits of TEFL / TESOL Certification for Teaching
Once you have acquired your teaching certification, the benefits don’t stop. When you step into that classroom for the very first time you will (hopefully) be better prepared to deal with classroom management and with teaching as a whole. I have never done any form of teaching certification, so my teaching experience was somewhat a ‘trial by fire’ – I learnt on the job, as I went along. I have friends who have decided to undertake teaching qualifications after years of teaching and many of them have told me that they were still able to learn. As with everything in life, I feel that it is vitally important to strive to learn all that we can, and just because you are a teacher, it doesn’t mean you can’t still learn.
Holding a teaching qualification may also turn out to be more financially lucrative than not. It varies between countries and companies, but when I was in South Korea my annual salary would have been about ₩1,300,000 higher (over US$1,000). One of the main reasons I didn’t do the teaching certification was because it would have cost me money at the beginning – ironically it would have turned out to be a sound investment, actually making me more money than it cost if I had completed a certification.
Are There Any Negatives?
As I see it, the only two negatives with regards to obtaining TEFL / TESOL certification are that it will cost you time and money. I didn’t do a TEFL / TESOL certification because I was working as a ski rep when I was applying for jobs in South Korea – working as a ski rep involves a lot of hours, a lot of time on the mountain, very little sleep, and very low pay. As such, I felt that I didn’t have the time / money resources to get certified. In hindsight, I think that I would have done a certification if I had been in a different situation. The investment of time would have made me more confident when I first walked into a classroom and would have helped prepare me for the daily occurrences that manifest themselves in the life of an English teacher. The investment of money was a misunderstanding on my part because I would have actually made more money (in the long run) if I had forked out some cash to get certified before starting teaching.
Whilst getting certified will definitely help your chances of getting a job and your understanding of a classroom, it is important to remember that it is not a magic pill to make you a perfect teacher. A TEFL / TESOL certification is designed to give you a good grounding as a teacher, but it will be up to you to always push yourself and strive to be the best teacher that you can be.
I have a lot of content on my site related to teaching English overseas, most of which can be found either by using the search bar at the top of the page or by clicking hyperlinks within articles, but here are two pages that you might find particularly useful:
I am soon to depart on a long long travel around Asia and Oceania and having TOEFL would be great for me should I want to get a job, but I was wondering if you maybe know what is a desirable score on the test? I don’t really have much time to prepare and can’t seem to find much information regarding appropriate results for teaching kids online so your advice would be much appreciated! (Your blog is a total gold mine btw) All the best!
Hi Zofia. Unfortunately I haven’t been involved with TOEFL enough to know what scores would be asked for. I think the best think to do would be to reach out to specific online schools and see what they are looking for. Good luck.