What is TEFL?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. If you haven’t heard of TEFL before, then you might have heard of some of the other acronyms that it goes by. ESL Teaching (Teaching English as a second Language), TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or ELT (English Language Teaching).


Besides an acronym, TEFL also represents one of the fastest growing education sectors in the world. In fact, David Crystal OBE, claims that over 2 billion people speak English worldwide. It’s also estimated that 1 billion people are actively studying in English schools from Argentina to Vietnam. For learners worldwide, TEFL represents the chance to speak the world’s language. For teachers, TEFL represents the opportunity to live and work almost anywhere in the world and enjoy a rewarding career. 


Discover how you can get a free TEFL qualification with EF English First

TEFL jobs

In the last decade, the TEFL industry has grown dramatically leading to the development of TEFL programs for a wide variety of learners’ needs. Teachers now cover a wide variety of topics and specialities to meet the growing demands of the different sectors. As a teacher, you could cover a broad area of English, or you could specialise, teaching business English, academic English, or even teaching English to young learners.
Research from the British Council indicates that TEFL is currently the eighth largest source of income in the UK. The rapid expansion means that employment opportunities are year round and not only limited to teaching. Other areas of employment such as management, training, recruitment, marketing and product design are all areas that you can move into after teaching. With more and more opportunities opening up, now is the time to become a teacher.

What is TEFL Certification

How Do I Become A Qualified TEFL Teacher?

To become a qualified TEFL teacher, you would need to get a TEFL certification. TEFL certifications are often the minimum requirement (as well as a bachelor’s degree) for most English language teaching positions. The certification requires you to study the principles, theories and methodologies of teaching English to speakers of other languages. The course can be taken in person, or online, and can range in length from 40 hours to 150 hours.
A minimum of a 120 hour TEFL certificate is recommended for most countries, and this is often a government requirement. The cost of becoming a qualified teacher typically ranges from as low as a few hundred US Dollars, to a few thousand. If you’re thinking about starting a new job as a TEFL teacher, make sure you choose a reputable company and confirm whether the certification is verifiable online (some countries or companies may require online verification).

TEFL Experts


Within the field of TEFL, EF English First is the company with the largest reach in terms of quantity of ESL students and scope of EF locations. EF recruits over 1,000 TEFL teachers annually to teach English in foreign countries like China, Indonesia and Russia.
As part of our ongoing commitment to education in the TEFL field, EF offers TEFL certification sponsorship to all new teachers. EF’s TEFL sponsorship aims to improve the standard of teaching for students and help teachers overcome the financial barriers that may deter them from starting out in the industry. Other more advanced qualifications are also available for you to enrol in to help you take your career further should you choose to.

The world is waiting for you

Teach English, travel and work abroad with EF English First