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TESOL Certification: How To Get Started With A Career In TESOL?

Are there many career paths that are highly valued across the entire globe? If you think that there aren’t many, then you are right. But there are a few exceptions. And teaching English to speakers of other languages is a strong example of that. So if you have been wondering about TESOL Certification lately, then rest assured! There are many great reasons why you should be considering getting a TESOL Certification. 

Are you still having doubts, confusion and reservations about getting a TESOL Certification? Then here we are at your rescue. For helping you with your career selection, we have done the homework for you. Hopefully, this write-up will answer many of the questions that you might be facing while getting started. 

Table of Contents

What Is TESOL?

Toy plane over a world map

There’s actually more than one way we can answer this for you! So we’ll do them all here one by one. 

TESOL stands for ‘Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages’. The full form is quite self-explanatory. But, there’s definitely more to it when you want to learn about TESOL Certification in detail.

To be more clear, TESOL is a broad-extent terminology. In general, TESOL means the act and profession of teaching English to a specific group of students. The specific group here refers to the citizens of other countries or speakers of other languages

You probably have heard the terms TEFL and TESL before. TESL and TEFL have relatively more specific meanings. In contrast, TESOL gives us a more generalised idea. It covers the concepts of TEFL and TESL altogether. And there is more on the differences between TEFL, TESL and TESOL later in this article. 

Similarly, TESOL Certification is not related to any set institute or metric. But for teaching English, credibility is becoming more and more important every day. That applies more to the natives of other countries or people who primarily speak another language. And a TESOL Certification is a standard certification that ensures such quality.

What Makes TESOL So Important Today?

The increasing networking between nations makes TESOL so important. Because of Globalisation, cross-border co-working was already booming. And the current pandemic situation has dramatically sped up this shift. Alongside these new boosting factors, there were tons of other reasons from before.

miniature globe on a palm

Check Duolingo’s Global Language Report 2020 for reference. English is the most studied language in 121 countries (i.e., 61% of countries in the world). And while good English teachers are there around, there is still a large gap in the market. 

So TESOL is the bridge that fills this gap. Learning English is a matter of earning bread and butter for many non-native speakers. And they are looking for a teacher they can rely on. A credible TESOL Certification is what gives you that reliability to the employers. And a solid TESOL training also makes you genuinely capable of teaching English to non-native speakers.

Why Choose TESOL As A Career Path?

There are many reasons why you should think about TESOL. Particularly when you are making a career decision or a career shift. Here are some reasons why-

TESOL Is An Excellent Way If You Are Looking For A Career Change: 

TESOL Certification Programs often have students from many backgrounds and ages. And why do you think that is? It is often so because TESOL is a career path with many opportunities. Also, it’s relatively easy if you went to college. Usually, getting an MA in TESOL isn’t complicated, even if your undergraduate was in another field.

You Will Get To Work With A Diverse Group Of People

An ESL job can be a very tempting option if you love exposure to global culture.

Through your job, you have the chance to meet a classroom of diverse people. Your students will possibly have different languages, nations, and cultures. And getting to experience new and different colours every day at work- how exciting do you think that is?

TESOL class in a diverse classroom

There Is An Increasing Demand For TESOL Teachers Globally 

Because the global situation has changed, obviously!

Even before today’s pandemic and online era, English classes had their dominance. But the shift to the digital and the online has boosted this further. So much is happening today online- schools and offices. And that is making English even more demanded today. Wondering why?

Check out this data on languages of the internet by Statista. A whopping 25.9% of the internet is in English. And shifting things to the digital and the online is making a lot of across-the-globe work possible today. Therefore, it’s only evident that no one wants to be left behind. Hence, learning English is something that a lot of people are prioritising today.

Altogether, this is making the demand for English teachers rise every day. And unlike before, things are trickier now. Employers today look only for qualified teachers for teaching a global classroom. And the way to achieve such qualifications is to get a TESOL Certification.

It’s Not Just Travel-Friendly, But Sometimes It Even Requires Travelling

Are you the kind of person who’s fascinated by Travelling?

Being a TESOL teacher today does come with the flexibility of online teaching. So you can certainly opt for a remote teaching job.

But even in the traditional brick and mortar setting, TESOL teachers need to travel. Because a lot of the students you might need to teach can be from other countries. They might be the citizens with a strong need for learning English. In such cases, travelling might be a job requirement.

So if you love travelling, then it’s easy to find an ESL job that will need you to travel. Working and travelling all in one- who doesn’t love that?!

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Well-Compensated Jobs Are Easy To Find

According to Payscale, the average hourly pay for an ESL teacher is £14.32. And according to another source, Glassdoor, the average base pay for ESL teachers is £28,498 annually.

So, it is not hard to understand that well-paid TESOL jobs are available. And with the right TESOL Certification, you can easily get yourself onboard with a desirable teaching job!

There Is A Genuine Intrinsic Value In This Work

Well, they say that true work satisfaction comes from its Intrinsic values. The Extrinsic values, such as money and fame, last only for a short while. But when you see your work directly making an impact, that stays for the long haul.

Redhead TESOL instructor smiling

Learning English has the genuine potential to change someone’s life. Because English communication skills make people employable in this globalised world. And in some contexts, not knowing English can cause many hindrances. So by becoming an ESL teacher, you can help someone overcome such challenges.

And imagine the satisfaction you’ll feel when you’ll see your work changing someone’s life for good!


How To Become TESOL Certified?

The field of TESOL is starting to attract quite some competition. So for standing out, knowing what tools to keep in your box will better prepare you. Here is a breakdown of the academic qualifications and certifications you’ll need. How you might want to pick such a program, the challenges associated, etc., also have been covered in detail. Keep scrolling to learn more. 

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What Are The Required Qualifications To Become An ESL Instructor?

As mentioned repeatedly, much depends on the employer when it comes to TESOL. But we can easily talk about what employers most commonly look for. 

Generally speaking, an undergraduate degree is asked for as a mandatory qualification. Some employers might expect you to have a Bachelor’s in a related discipline. Examples of related disciplines are English literature, language, Education, etc. 

Some employers might not be too particular about your Undergraduate subject. But in that case, it will be expected of you to bring some legit TESOL Certification to the table. 

There’s more on the types of TESOL Certification later in this article.

How To Choose A Degree Or A Certificate Program?

There is a reason this question is asked so much. Teaching ESL or EFL has no certificate that acts like a silver bullet. In other words, you need to make an educated choice here. Because, there are rather tons of options, good or bad, to choose from. 

Whether the choice you are making is a good one will often vary situationally. Because the way TESOL Certifications are evaluated depends on the place, the purpose and the employer. 

But if you are willing to learn about the common demands, then there are some. Broadly speaking, there can be two types of TESOL Certification- Graduate certificates and independent certificates. 

Are you thinking of going to college the first time, and interested in a TESOL career later? Then doing a Bachelor’s in a related field, or in TESOL directly, would be a wise choice. If you already went to college, and want to make a switch now, look up for MA in TESOL options. 

Sometimes, if your undergraduate is not too related to this field, then getting admission in a graduate program can be challenging. In that case, completing independent certification programs is your best option. If credible, they can be very helpful and well-received by employers. On that note, it’s important to remember one thing. Most employers usually prefer a TESOL certification of a minimum hundred credit hours.

Things To Be Careful About

Today, TESOL Certification is a highly potent subject. And like any other talked-about field, it has attracted its fair share of counterfeits and shams. 

Be careful sign

It’s obvious that if you want to be an ESL teacher, TESOL certification is important. So being careful about the legitimacy of your TESOL certification is of utmost importance. Because a lot of certificate providers have mushroomed the market today. In exchange for your money, they might provide you with a certificate. But unless that certification is well-recognized, it might be of little to no use. 

So, how to recognise a legit TESOL Certificate? Check their course outlines, graduate history and accreditations. Are they showing an accreditation that doesn’t seem legitimate? Does their course outline seem insufficient? If things feel shady, not signing up is a good idea. 

Also, if things seem too good to be true, then it’s an obvious red signal. For example, extremely low cost, disproportionate free offers, superfast course completion, etc. On that note, usually, employers ask for TESOL Certifications with rigorous study hours (preferably not under 100 credit hours). 

120 hours TEFL (TESOL) Advanced Diploma
Boost your confidence and enhance the experience you give your students in a classroom. Gain the skills of improving class dynamics and atmosphere!
120 hours TEFL (TESOL) Advanced Diploma
Boost your confidence and enhance the experience you give your students in a classroom. Gain the skills of improving class dynamics and atmosphere!

How To Be An Excellent TESOL Professional?

Being a high-quality TESOL Professional is very achievable if you have the necessary qualifications. But this will certainly take some work. Over-estimating your teaching skills is one of the biggest mistakes that you can possibly make here. So here are a few things that you can do to achieve excellence.

Learning A New Language

They say that you can best teach something when you can empathise with the student. This is something worth remembering. And especially so if you are a native English speaker. Because it might be relatively hard for you to relate to your students as an ESL teacher. This also applies to English speakers who have learnt the language at a very early age. 

Learning A New Language

But there is a way to achieve a balance here. That is, investing in learning a new language yourself. By doing so, you will be yielding many benefits. For example:

  • You’ll achieve better empathy for the students. And that will make you more approachable as a teacher.
  • The grammatical principles for a new language will show up. This will help you discover better ways to teach English grammar to your students.
  • It will raise your linguistic competence and awareness. And that will ultimately benefit your students.
  • Learning a new language will enable you to make realistic lesson plans. Because you will remember what it’s like to be a newbie in a language class. And that will shape your understanding of the quality and quantity of lessons that your students can actually tackle. 

These are just a few to begin with. So learning a new language is certainly not mandatory, or highly necessary even. But learning a new language will help you build a robust foundation for your TESOL Career. 

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Working On Your Teaching Skills 

Working on teaching skills are often overlooked by professionals. And there is a reason. Even if you don’t do a great job at teaching, the stakes aren’t often too high for you. Moreover, most people presume that they are good at it. But that often proves to be over-confidence in the field of teaching. And such attitudes ultimately hurt the students’ learning time. 

Moreover, there is a better reason for working on your teaching skills. Being good at it is tremendously rewarding, more than most other jobs. So here are a few ways to consider if you want to boost your teaching skills as an ESL teacher: 

Keeping Your Lectures Easy, Clear and Simple: 

Well certainly! Why would you possibly want to make it hard for your students? But sadly, most professional teachers really don’t walk that extra mile to do something about it.

Whereas this is actually very achievable if you make deliberate efforts. For example, creating lesson plans according to your classroom’s average comprehension level. So it is all about putting that work into pre-planning your lessons accordingly.

Keeping Your Lectures Easy, Clear and Simple 

Improvising on the basis of your experience is another key part of it. It will ultimately guide you to design simple classroom activities that are effective. So, putting enough effort into observing the following might be helpful:

  • What activities and modes of learning are more popular among your students? What works better for each particular topic?
  • What sections of your lessons are more effective when communicated using visuals?
  • What activities result in better learning when assigned as homework? And what works better as classwork?
  • What activities are better suited for group work?

So apart from teaching, you’ll also need to design your pedagogy consistently. And that is how you can make your lessons simple yet super effective.

Ensuring Classroom Inclusivity 

In a classroom, the one who is always in control is the teacher. So it’s easy to get carried away and keep delivering lectures. As a result, the inevitable happens a lot of times. Students lose interest fast, let alone communicating their experiences and expectations. And the hardest part? By the time the teacher notices a disengaged classroom, it’s often too late. 

So knowing the importance of classroom inclusivity from the very beginning is key. And how can you ensure classroom inclusivity? By being approachable to as many students as you possibly can. And another important doable is to maximise student engagement in the classroom. 

Occasionally, do invest in talking to your students personally. That will give you precious insights into what they expect. And accordingly, you can bridge the gap between their expectations and the classroom. 

Knowing Teaching-Learning Troubleshooting: 

Did you ever get started with a diet plan with a lot of excitement? And later discovered that all the fuss amounted to nothing? Well, sad but true- that’s how a lot of students feel in the classroom. 

This issue requires troubleshooting and mostly from the teacher’s end. It’s you who will need to track what yields results in the classroom and what doesn’t. Taking anonymous feedback from students can be very helpful for this. And apart from that, smart observations and casual conversations with students are the most effective strategies

What Is The Difference Between A Certified And A Non-Certified TESOL Professional?

We can answer this in one simple word- competitiveness. 

There are many places where you can work as an ESL teacher without being TESOL certified. But will you be happy with the pay, recognition and facilities? No one can guarantee that. However, you are certainly a lot less likely to be fully satisfied with the returns. And there are good reasons why. 

Smiling woman wearing convocation cap

When you are part of a competitive institution, you are likely to enjoy better job security. To put it another way, why would someone choose a non-certified TESOL teacher over a certified one? The simple answer is for cost-cutting. 

So, can you get an ESL job without being certified? Sure! But your job placement is definitely going to be a lot harder. And your probabilities for lagging behind overall will be notable higher. That’s particularly true when it comes to acknowledgement, legitimacy, pay and recognition. 

So being a certified and a non-certified ESL teacher vary significantly in the professional experience. The initial investment might seem daunting in the beginning. But getting a legitimate TESOL certification can save you a lot of inconveniences later on. 

Parting Note

A TESOL Certification can truly be your gateway to new horizons. Because an ESL job lies at the intersection of some such factors that often don’t go together. To put it differently, an ESL job can offer you tremendous extrinsic and intrinsic values. And that is topped with great opportunities that you can access globally. 

So, if the prospects of earning a TESOL Certification seems promising to you by now, don’t let the boost go away. Get started with your preparations right away because the earlier you start, the smoother you run!

120 hours TEFL (TESOL) Advanced Diploma
Boost your confidence and enhance the experience you give your students in a classroom. Gain the skills of improving class dynamics and atmosphere!
120 hours TEFL (TESOL) Advanced Diploma
Boost your confidence and enhance the experience you give your students in a classroom. Gain the skills of improving class dynamics and atmosphere!
Learn without limits
Access to 1000+ premium courses including:
January 24, 2022

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