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Do you need to do a TEFL course to teach English

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Thinking of teaching English abroad? Wondering if you need to do a TEFL course to teach English? Or maybe you want to know the best TEFL course to do. I have been teaching English online for a while now so in this post I’m going to guide you through some of your options. 

Do you really need a TEFL course to teach English?

Firstly ask yourself this question

Would you want to be taught by an unqualified teacher?

I hope the answer is no if it is then you have your answer. Teaching is a skill and it needs time and dedication to nurture that skill.

Maybe you fit into one of these categories:

I have excellent English, I got an A* at A-Level, I’m sure I’ll do fine 

OK maybe your English is great BUT have you ever taught before? And do you have any idea HOW you would even begin to teach someone when you can’t speak the same language as them?

A TEFL course trains teachers not just on the theoretical knowledge of grammar you will need but also how to teach a group of students without knowing a single word of their language.

I already have a teaching qualification, I’ve been teaching for years. I don’t need another qualification.

Sure I totally understand. I also hold a teaching qualification and I have been teaching for 10 years when I did my TEFL course. But how much do you really know about English grammar?

Being a native speaker isn’t enough

What I quickly discovered is as a native speaker I just did so many things ‘naturally’ but I didn’t necessarily know all of the rules. So without knowing ‘why’ I was doing something, how could I know how to teach someone else? Also, my generation was not taught these rules in our education. Nowadays in UK schools, they do teach children the rules thankfully, but that doesn’t help those like me who were never taught the why…

The TEFL course will go through EVERYTHING. In detail and even if you think you know it all, you will at best learn some new stuff and at worse have a good refresher and reaffirm your knowledge.

So now I hope I have convinced you that you need to do a TEFL course, your next decision is what course to do? How many hours? And should you do blended learning or just online?

How to choose a TEFL course

I decided to do a 150 hour blended learning course. This was mostly online with 3 days in a classroom with a group of 20 and an experienced TEFL teacher. If you can I really recommend doing a blended learning course as that classroom time learning with others really was invaluable. But I do understand this isn’t always practical.

The course I would recommend is Premier TEFL for the following reasons:

  • Lots of options from 90 -200 hours
  • Blended and Online only courses
  • Internships
  • Jobs Board

 premier- Tefl - teach-abroad-teach english-tefl courses - when in doubt - travel -

They always have lots of offers so I would sign up for their newsletters so you can be the first to know when they have a sale on!



Online, Blended of 100% classroom

If you do a course that is just online and you are unable to do any classroom time then I would recommend trying to find a teaching assistant job or voluntary position on Workaway or Job Search so you can do some on the job training. This is the perfect way to get some experience without the pressure of diving completely in at the deep end!

If you have the time and the money, of course, the classroom course would be the best option.

Looking for a job abroad? Take a read of my guide here.

This post was proofread by Grammarly


Book your trip now

Are you ready to book your trip?  To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.

  • Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with. 
  • – I LOVE especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections. 
  • Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on
  • Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there. 
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  • Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
  • RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals. 
  • Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
  • World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review. 
  • SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here
  • Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration. 
  • Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Wendy

    Does this kind of programm also excists in French?

  2. Lydia Smith

    Your blog posts have always come in handy for my friends who intend relocating abroad and needs to work. Thumbs up.

  3. Ania Travels

    These are great options. I never thought about teaching english but it’s such a great way to travel and see the world. I have so many friends that do it. I wouldn’t know where to begin if I wanted to take a course. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Flo

    A few of my friends have done this and it seems like many language centers require, at minimum, a TEFL certificate in addition to whatever Bachelor’s Degree you have. Did you find the course to be reasonably priced?

    1. Claire Summers

      I paid about $400 for mine, but I have quite a lot of classroom time. So I think that it was a good price for what I got. If you just do the basic one it’s a lot cheaper. It’s almost impossible to get a position in Asia now without one but here in Latin America, it’s still really easy. I think this will and should change though.

  5. Megan

    Ok, I don’t think I would ever teach English abroad. However, I have a couple of friends who have, and I’ve heard them mention ‘TEFL’ classes – but I had no idea what that meant! Thank you, now I do. Excellent description!

  6. Eve Kay

    Will definitely pass this on to anyone who is interested in teaching abroad. You made a good point that English comes so “naturally” to people that it’s hard to put themselves on the shoes of a foreign student who has no English background. I can see why a course like this would be helpful and necessary. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  7. Zoya

    I have been teaching English in Taiwan for 6 years now and I totally agree, a TEFL course is an absolute must. Especially, if you don’t come from an education background. Teaching abroad is great fun, but it does have it’s challenges and being properly prepared before you go, is essential. So, like you said Claire, courses conducted in an actual classroom setting with some practical hours are totally the way to go.

    1. Claire Summers

      So great to hear you agree with all your experience thank you for your comment 🙂

  8. Katalin

    Love your post that you point out the difference between being fluent/native or teaching the language!

  9. There are quite a few bloggers who have completed their TEFL Course and are exploring Asia along with teaching side by side. It is an excellent option. Though it may not be the right option for me. Thanks for this detailed guide.

  10. Madhurima Maiti

    Thanks a lot for this post. I have come across a lot of people with questions and concerns regarding TEFL. I am going to recommend your post 🙂

  11. Leigh

    These are great tips! Lots of my friends have considered and gone over to teach – I think this would be so helpful for so many people!

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