Teaching English In Asia - TEFL, TESOL, Or CELTA?


You may be thinking about getting yourself trained up and embarking on a stint teaching English in Asia. If that's the case, then you're probably also wondering which qualification you'll need, or if you even need one at all. 

In today's post, this is exactly what you'll learn.

Do You Need A Qualification?

In some Asian countries, you can get hired easily without any sort of teaching qualification, as long as you are a native English speaker. In other countries, you still don't necessarily need a qualification, but it's advisable.

For the vast majority of places, all you need from a visa point of view is a bachelor's degree, and a passport from a native-English speaking country. This is usually a requirement for getting a work permit (which in turn leads to a resident visa).

While you can qualify for a permit without a teaching certificate, can you actually get hired? Teaching English is a popular and competitive job in Asia, the more qualified you are, the more desirable and therefore hirable you are.

Additionally, many of the better schools with the best positions make it policy not to hire anybody without at least a basic TEFL qualification.

If you want to make your life a lot easier, get hired sooner, and for a better job, you definitely ought to consider getting qualified. Also, check the visa/work permit requirements for the countries you're interested in.

Learn more about the qualifications required for Taiwan in particular here.

Which Qualification Is Best For You?

The CELTA is probably the most highly regarded qualification, as it involves observed teaching practice (totaling at least 6 weeks) before you receive your qualification. This is usually done in a language school to foreign students.

Not only does this make you more qualified, it also gives you some teaching experience and helps you settle in more easily to your new job. Both of these factors put you in a great position.

As well as the CELTA, the Trinity CertTESOL is another highly regarded qualification that comes with hands-on observed teaching experience. Though less well-known than the CELTA, they are still well regarded, and more importantly give you a great foundation.

A lot of recruiters will ask you some questions about your qualification and will likely test your teaching knowledge as well. Having a more thorough training will put you in a good position for impressing in your interview.

After these two, the most well known qualification is the TEFL. Not all TEFL certificates are equal though. There are many courses that only offer online TEFL training, and these are not as highly regarded as ones where you attend a real center.

You can definitely still get hired with an online TEFL, but bear in mind that it is the bare minimum of qualifications. Unless your location or budget restricts you from doing so, it's always going to be better to receive a qualification that trains you in person.

If you're doing an online course, it would be advisable to select the additional modules that are usually offered. These include teaching young learner modules, grammar modules, and business modules. To keep it simple, the more modules you have under your belt, the better your qualification will be.

Some good online TEFL courses are run by TEFLOrg UK and I-to-I.

How Long Does It Take To Get Qualified?

This really varies and depends on the type of qualification. Your best bet would be to contact the center or course organizer that you're thinking to join, and find out directly.

Some courses will take a few weeks, some much longer. Online courses have flexibility in that you can log-in and complete them when you get time, this is ideal for people who work busy jobs.

We're definitely not talking about months here though. Depending on enrollment and course commencement dates, you could definitely get started and finished within a few weeks if you really wanted to.

After that, you could get in touch with a recruiter (like us) and start looking for that dream teaching job!

Finding The Right Course

You can find a list of recommend training centers on our "What is TEFL" page here. As well as that, you can search for your location + TEFL/CELTA/TESOL into Google and see what comes up. 

If you're going to choose an online course, make sure it's a well known one, such as one of the ones mentioned earlier.