Teaching English to speakers of other languages is open to all graduates, but the following subjects are particularly useful:
There are various qualifications that can allow entry into teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) and most employers will expect you to hold one of them. For entry level, the following are the most recognised worldwide:
If you wish to specialise in teaching children and young learners (ages 4 -18) you could take either the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Young Learners (CELTYL) awarded by Cambridge ESOL or the Certificate in Teaching English to Young Learners (Cert. TEYL) awarded by Trinity College London.
The above qualifications are available in numerous centres in the UK and around the world and the courses can be studied on a full or part-time basis. Entry requirements for the courses may vary but usually include being 18 years old or over (in some case it may be 20 or 21), having qualifications that would allow you to enter higher education in your home country (in the UK this would be A-levels or equivalent), and an excellent standard of English.
An important aspect of these courses is the teaching practice in classrooms, which many employers will look for. Most employers tend to favour courses that have a minimum of 100 hours input and are validated by a reputable examination body or university. You should look into all of this before deciding on a course.
Distance learning courses are also available, although they do not usually include teaching practice and so you will need to arrange that aspect yourself so that you have some relevant experience. Cambridge ESOL does offer an online CELTA course, however, that incorporates teaching practice into the distance learning.
The type of qualification you choose to take may depend on the length of time you plan to work in TEFL. If you are only interested in short-term work rather than a career in TEFL, you may prefer one of the shorter, cheaper courses but make sure the qualification you take will be accepted in your chosen profession before committing to it. For more details of available courses, see:
If you intend to work in state schools in the UK, you will usually be required to have qualified teacher status (QTS). The most common route to achieving this is through a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) (or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in Scotland). For further information on entry requirements, see primary school teacher and secondary school teacher.
To work in further education colleges, you will usually be expected to have qualified teacher learning and skills (QTLS) status. See further education lecturer for how to achieve this.
Teaching in universities may also require further qualifications such as advanced diplomas and substantial experience. Be sure to check individual job advertisements for details of requirements.
Pre-entry experience, for example as a language assistant in a summer school, home tutor, or voluntary work abroad, is helpful and may be necessary for certain roles. Some short-term TEFL jobs are available even if you have little or no experience.
As well as having a good command of English and the relevant qualifications, candidates will need to show evidence of the following:
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