Frequently Asked Questions about teaching abroad & TESOL/TEFL Certification courses

Here are answers to some of the questions we hear from people like you. For more in-depth responses and our graduates' personal stories and experiences, take a look at our resources page. And of course if you don’t see your question answered here, contact us! We’re happy to help.

Who should apply to this program? +

TESOL Certification is great for…

  • People ready to travel abroad, explore a new culture, and teach English in another country.
  • Current English language teachers who want to upgrade their skills.
  • Recent college graduates looking to increase their marketability in the international arena.
  • People interested in teaching ESL to adults in the United States but need more experience or training to get that kind of job.
  • ESL program administrators seeking a comprehensive, practical training program for themselves or their staff.
  • Individuals faced with the task of creating and implementing an ESL program in their communities and are uncertain how or where to begin.
  • Anyone who wants a career that gives them opportunities to meet fascinating people, be their own boss, travel, and experience the worlds’ diversity.
Why do I need this TESOL Certificate? +

If you are going to teach abroad, most schools require at least a TEFL, TESL, or TESOL Certification. English for Life Academy’s TESOL Certification is more comprehensive than many other TEFL or TESL certificate programs available today, with a 30-hour teaching practicum and graduate credit through our approved agreement as a university partner with the College of Charleston (please see below for details).

Currently, there is not a national standard for certification for a position teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to adults in the United States, and international standards vary greatly.

If you want to teach English to internationals and a Master’s degree seems like too big of an investment, English for Life Academy’s TESOL Certificate program is an excellent option.

If you’re planning to teach overseas, you can be assured that our program goes beyond the basic requirements of most TEFL/TESL/TESOL certificates.  With our unique combination of class, practice teaching, and career coaching, our program adheres to the highest standards for teachers both within the United States and internationally.

Will this certificate be recognized by schools overseas? +

Yes. A TESOL or TEFL Certificate is the basic requirement for teaching English in most countries around the world. Most reputable schools require at least a TEFL certificate as well as practical experience.

The English for Life TESOL Certificate goes well beyond the basic certification requirements and will open up a wide range of opportunities for teaching overseas, and we have 100’s of graduates teaching around the world. Search specific schools (or schools in a specific country) to learn what teaching credentials each is looking for.  Just see where our graduates are teaching!

Can I take this course in a distance learning or online class format? +

You asked for it, we’ve got it. Our TESOL Certificate course is now offered in a blended format.  That means you get the full 130-hour program, learning experience, and college credits, but fewer number of hours in class for you. Classes are held via interactive lessons on our course website, conference call classes, and about 6 days of face-to-face class in Greenville and Charleston, SC.

That means you can complete most of the course in your own home, and 1 week or 2 weekends in face-to-face classes in lovely Greenville or Charleston, South Carolina.

<<<See the times and dates for the next courses here>>> 

<<<More details about the blended format here >>>

If I don’t meet the course completion requirements, will I still get my certificate? +

Just like in any university or reputable school, you will be accountable for meeting the requirements of the course in order to receive certification. Graduate credits are graded on The College of Charleston letter grading system. A letter of attendance will be issued to those unable to meet course requirements.

Are there jobs available? Will English for Life help me find them? How much can I expect to make? +

As English continues to grow as global language, English teaching positions become more and more available around the world.

Are you looking for a job in your home community? We will help you connect with local positions.  Our graduates are working at private language schools, literacy organizations, and community ESL organizations around the USA.

Looking for work overseas? Use our collection of international employment resources and our database of international schools to get you started, or connect with our graduates to find out about their current overseas jobs. Ask us for a letter of recommendation. And even after you’ve graduated, stay connected with us through our private EFL graduate facebook page for continued job updates and community connection.

Our graduates have found jobs teaching all around the world. So can you.

Will we GUARANTEE that you get a job? No. And if you see programs that do, be sure to read the fine print.

We DO guarantee that you’ll have access to the information and training to get a teaching job and do it well. But we have no control over what you will do with that training.  Even if you are a great teacher, showing up at a job interview 45 minutes late won’t land you a job.

So like universities and training programs everywhere, we prepare, encourage, and train you.  We also make sure you have a transcript, certificate, and a professionally-written resume.  We write letters of recommendation and we talk with your future employers if they have questions about your training.  The rest is up to you.

All of our grads who have looked for jobs and were flexible about options are teaching around the world. There are thousands of jobs to choose from, and we’ll work with you as you find options that are right for you.

As to how much you can expect to earn, we can’t really give you a good estimate. After all, positions are available around the world, and pay will vary depending on your location, job, and hiring institution.

I keep seeing programs that say they are accredited. Are you accredited? +

First, a little bit about accreditation.

Accreditation is a process a school can decide to undergo to get outside validation on the quality of the school and program. It’s not something that is automatically granted, it is a process that a school decides to undertake. The process takes roughly 5 years to complete, and costs about $10,000.

At English for Life, we believe that reputation, recognition, and the quality of our program is everything. AND we want to offer you the best value for your money by keeping our costs low while paying our teachers what they’re worth. So instead of opting for starting an accreditation process, we have forged partner agreements with 2 colleges, Greenville Technical College and The College of Charleston.

Offering our TESOL Certificate course through them gives us the accountability that our offerings are of the highest quality and up to par with university requirements. And it gives you the peace of mind that accreditation gives: that our courses are recognized by schools and employers around the world.

Isn’t this a lot of money? Haven’t I seen a similar certificate for less money? +

When you start looking around, you’ll see ALL kinds of options out there in the TESOL/TESL/TEFL Certificate world from new car prices on down. Yeah, you may be able to get the piece of paper for cheaper, but is it really saving you money in the long run?

A cheaper certificate course won’t get you very far if employers won’t accept it. And it’s also not a big help if you don’t learn anything. You don’t want to spend your time abroad stressing out over doing a job you don’t know how to do.

Make sure the courses you’re looking into offer:
–face to face classes, at least part of the time
–an accessible, professional faculty
–a practicum component (employers really want to know that you’ve stood in front of a classroom before)
–a solid reputation
–a good balance of theory and practice

I can tell you of at least one employer locally who no longer hires teachers with TESOL/TESL/TEFL certificates. Only teachers with Masters degrees…or a TESOL Certificate from English for Life. That’s how qualified our graduates are. That’s how much you’ll know coming out of the program.

Plus, you’ll earn 6 hours of graduate credit by completing our course, which alone is valued at $5000 – $8000. We’ve worked hard to be able to offer a graduate level TESOL Certificate course at the price of a short course. And we are confident that we offer the most comprehensive, practical teacher training around.

Tell me more about the Graduate Credits for this course. +

When you complete English for Life’s TESOL Certification course you are also earning graduate-level professional development credits at the College of Charleston. We keep our courses at accredited university standards, and you deserve the credit. Through our university partner agreement with the College of Charleston you will earn 6 graduate-level credits through the Department of Professional Development in Education.

What does this mean?

Upon completion, you will receive your TESOL Certificate from English for Life Academy AND a transcript from the College of Charleston listing each of the following graded, 3-credit courses:

EDPD 818-I:    English for Life TESOL Certification part I of II: Language Teaching Principles, Practices, and Methodologies

EDPD 818-J:     English for Life TESOL Certification part II of II:  Methodologies, Materials, and Instructional Design in the English Language Classroom

In order to be eligible to earn Graduate Credits, you must have completed an undergraduate degree in the US or have a valid SC teaching Certificate, and you will need to send your official transcripts to the College of Charleston along with course registration. All of this will be taken care of on your first day of class.

If you are not eligible or interested in earning Graduate Credit, don’t worry, the TESOL course is still open to you, and you can still earn your TESOL Certification with the following requirements:

  • a college degree and/or ability to do college level work
  • fluency in English (we also have a unique program for you in English is not your first language!)
  • a strong interest in learning, teaching, culture, and language
  • the self-discipline to complete all designated course assignments and practicum requirements

Why would you be interested in earning Graduate Credits for your work?

  • If you are currently a teacher, you can count your work in this course toward your professional development or re-certification requirements.
  • If you are not currently enrolled in Graduate School but plan to attend one in the future, you may be able to apply these credits to your study. This has saved some of our graduates $1000’s of dollars!  Disclaimer: These professional development credits do NOT transfer into the College of Charleston curriculum programs. If you are interested in attending a Master’s level program at another university, as always, you must consult an advisor in your school of choice to determine if any course work taken at a different school or in non-degree status may be credited toward your degree.
  • Finally, with the name and quality of an accredited university behind us, you can be assured that an English for Life TESOL Certificate will be accepted around the world.  Our courses are evaluated and board approved every 3 years, and are aligned with College of Charleston Teaching and Learning Standards. We maintain this partner agreement so that you–and your future employers–can be completely confident of the quality and accreditation of your TESOL Certificate program.
Can I teach in a public school in the U.S. with this certification? +

You may be able to work in a public school depending upon the district’s need for ESOL teachers.

Although the content is similar, this program is not the same as state K-12 endorsement or add-on certification.  Check with your local school district for what qualifications it requires in order to teach in a public K-12 classroom.

I’m already an experienced teacher. What will this class offer me? +

What does English for Life offer trained and certified teachers? To name a few advantages, as submitted by India Dennis, French teacher, pastor, and English for Life grad:

  1. English for Life enables you to understand the issues in teaching English as a Second Language, which most likely are different from the primary issues in teaching other content areas. As a certified secondary foreign language teacher, I realized that the many cultural and linguistic issues that those teaching or learning English as a Second Language face made this course an absolute MUST for me!

  2. English for Life prepares you to teach in a diversity of settings (formal classroom, volunteer settings, or one-on-one tutoring) and at a diversity of levels (children-adult) better than any class I ever took on teaching methods.

  3. KIM CARROLL and her coterie of teachers are the best I’ve ever had in terms of demonstrating in every class the highest quality pedagogical standards and approaches. As an experienced teacher, I benefited enormously and learned so much from watching Kim and participating in her classes. YOU WILL LOVE YOUR TIME WITH ENGLISH FOR LIFE!

India Dennis
How do I know which TESL, TEFL, TESOL certificate or degree program is right for me? +

Confusing, isn’t it? The field of English Language Teaching sometimes feels like alphabet soup. TESL = Teaching English as a Second Language. TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language. TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

The point is, the acronyms are often used interchangeably, and are not as important as the contents of the training program being offered. Both overseas and in the United States, the most important criteria in the eyes of employers is experience.

Make sure the program you choose includes a supervised teaching practicum of not less than 20 hours, and that you will be taught how to create your own lessons and write lesson plans.

If you are not sure what to pick — a college degree, a 2-year certification program, an intensive shorter course, or a quickie “my-plane-leaves-in-3-days-maybe this-will-come-in-handy” weekend course — get our free Teach Abroad Starter Kit and get your feet pointed in the same direction as your career expectations.

I don’t speak any other languages and I’ve never taught before. And I don’t remember ANYTHING about English grammar. Can I still teach English? +

Having experiences with other languages and cultures helps. So does teaching experience. But relax! Most ESL/EFL teachers are teaching students from around the world, and we certainly don’t speak the languages of every student in our classes!

With the techniques taught in the TESOL Certification Program, you will learn how to teach students from anywhere at any level without speaking a word of their language.

I’m not a native English speaker and my English isn’t perfect, but I plan to teach English in my home country. Can I still get a TESOL Certificate through English for Life? +

If you’re a non-native English speaker (English is not your first language) and you don’t meet the language requirements to earn our TESOL Certificate, please come and talk with us. We offer a modified course in which you can earn a TEFL Certificate for Internationals. You will learn all the same information, methods, techniques as your colleagues in the regular TESOL Certificate program, but your assignments and practicum will be modified to meet your language needs.

So are you ready to let the adventure begin?

The whole world is waiting for you.

Are you ready to teach English abroad now?

We created the Teach Abroad Starter Kit just for you. Learn about the process and complete the tasks in the Starter Kit, and you’ll be on your way to teaching abroad in no time.

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English for Life Academy

Kim Carroll