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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!


TEFL course to teach English


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



Sunday 9th of July 2017

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!

Claire Summers

Wednesday 12th of July 2017

So glad it's helpful!

Madhurima Maiti

Sunday 9th of July 2017

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 :)

Claire Summers

Wednesday 12th of July 2017

Thank you :-)

My Travelogue by Bhushavali

Saturday 8th of July 2017

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.

Claire Summers

Wednesday 12th of July 2017

Yes it's not for everyone that's for sure!


Friday 7th of July 2017

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

Claire Summers

Wednesday 12th of July 2017

thank you :-)


Friday 7th of July 2017

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.

Claire Summers

Wednesday 12th of July 2017

So great to hear you agree with all your experience thank you for your comment :-)