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How To Get Certified with ESL Certification

How to Get Certified with ESL Certification

How to Get Certified with ESL Certification

Are you thinking about applying for an ESL certificate for teaching? In general, the three types of ESL certificates are:

  • TEFL Certification: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • TESOL Certification: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • CELTA Certification: Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

TESOL and TEFL are almost interchangeable and both are certificates for teaching ESL. But CELTA is a bit more of a higher quality. Today, let’s unlock your full potential on how to get certified with ESL certification.

How do I become ESL certified?

If you’re thinking about teaching English online or abroad, then this is when you should consider enrolling in an ESL certificate program.

Looking to enroll in a TEFL course? Check out our list of the best 15 TEFL courses

First, you should look for an accredited TEFL certificate course. Other than that, job placement, teacher practice, and partner recruiters are major advantages.

Becoming ESL certified is as simple as enrolling in a course and completing the requirements. Here are some of our top picks for teaching ESL certificate programs:

Remember that just because you can speak English doesn’t necessarily mean you can teach it. These types of ESL certificate courses help you become a better English teacher. They help you find teaching jobs through recruitment agencies and overall with job placement.

Our Top 3 Picks

The TEFL Academy
The TEFL Academy
Best all-around TEFL certification
ittt logo square
International TEFL and TESOL Training
Best in-classroom TEFL program
ITA Logo
International TEFL Academy
Best TEFL certificate for job support

How long does it take to get an ESL certification?

The industry standard to get an ESL certification like a TEFL or TESOL certificate is 120 hours. So if you can put full-time hours into it, you can finish it in 3-4 weeks. This is typical for a fast-track ESL certificate course.

You can take the same course load and spread out the duration. Instead of 3-4 weeks, it can take you 3-4 months. Depending on your schedule, only you can know which option works best for you.

We don’t suggest enrolling in anything less than 120 hours because we suspect it will be a sub-standard teaching ESL certificate course. Keep in mind that this is an investment for yourself and it ultimately matters what you get out of the course.

How much does it cost to get ESL certified?

It varies significantly based on the cost of ESL certification from one provider to another. It differs based on the number of specializations, the type of program, and if you are willing to travel for a paid internship.

Here’s a breakdown of the cost estimate for an ESL certificate:

  • 120-hour TEFL course (200$-500$)
  • Level 5 Ofqual-regulated TEFL Course (300$-1000$)
  • Online/Blended TEFL Course (200$-1000$)
  • Onsite Paid Internship (500$-2500$)

Basically, if you don’t want to invest too much into the English teaching profession, then pick the 120-hour TEFL course. But if you are from the United Kingdom and you want to teach in your home country, the Level 5 Ofqual-regulated TEFL course is an ideal choice.

Can you be an ESL teacher without a degree?

It depends on where you want to teach and whether or not you can teach without a degree. On top of that, visa requirements are constantly changing so you’ll have to double-check with country criteria.

Make sure to do your research. But we’ve listed below which countries where degrees are and are not required for teaching abroad. These are not all 100% confirmed and are just general guidelines you can follow where ESL teachers don’t need a degree to teach.

CountryDegree RequirementSalary
Argentina Flag ArgentinaNo Degree Required$600-1,200 USD per month
Bhutan Flag BhutanDegree Preferred. Not Required$400-750 USD per month
Bolivia Flag BoliviaNo Degree Required$500-900 USD per month
Brazil Flag BrazilNo Degree Required$700-1,500 USD per month
Cambodia Flag CambodiaDegree Preferred. Not Required$800-1,300 USD per month
Colombia Flag ColombiaNo Degree Required$800-1,300 USD per month
Costa Rica Flag Costa RicaNo Degree Required$600-1,200 USD per month
Ecuador Flag EcuadorNo Degree Required$500-1,000 USD per month
Egypt Flag EgyptNo Degree Required$800-2,500 USD per month
India Flag IndiaNo Degree Required$250-1,200 USD per month
Indonesia Flag IndonesiaDegree Preferred. Not Required$600-1,200 USD per month
Jordan Flag JordanDegree Preferred. Not Required$600-1,400 USD per month
Lebanon Flag LebanonNo Degree Required$900-1,500 USD per month
Madagascar Flag MadagascarNo Degree Required$500-1,200 USD per month
Mexico Flag MexicoNo Degree Required$500-1,200 USD per month
Morocco Flag MoroccoDegree Preferred. Not Required$1,000-2,200 USD per month
Panama Flag PanamaNo Degree Required$900-1,500 USD per month
Poland Flag PolandDegree Preferred. Not Required$600-1,300 USD per month
Romania Flag RomaniaDegree Preferred. Not Required$600-1,200 USD per month
Russia Flag RussiaNo Degree Required$800-1,500 USD per month
Slovakia Flag SlovakiaDegree Preferred. Not Required$500-1,000 USD per month
Spain Flag SpainDegree Preferred. Not Required$800-1,800 USD per month
Sri Lanka Flag Sri LankaNo Degree Required$200-1,000 USD per month
Turkey Flag TurkeyDegree Preferred. Not Required$500-1,200 USD per month
Uruguay Flag UruguayNo Degree Required$800-1,400 USD per month

Teaching English Online

Anyone can teach online without a degree. But the qualifications completely depend on the online teaching company. While some require a Bachelor’s degree, others don’t need any type of degree at all.

Check out our 100+ free ESL worksheets to use in your online classes today

Now that we’ve experienced the effects on education systems of the global pandemic, online learning is here to stay. Even after the pandemic is all finished, there will still be a demand for English teachers online.

But there are still things you have to consider before becoming an online English teacher, as shown in the video below. It will teach you about working for multiple online companies, it takes time to get students, and using Canva for online lesson graphics.


Asia Map

If you want to teach in Asia, most countries require a Bachelor’s degree. That means if you want to teach in some of the highest-paying TEFL destinations such as Japan, South Korea, and China, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree.

But still some countries allow English teachers without a degree such as Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Even though it’s not a requirement, these countries still prefer a Bachelor’s degree.

Asia hires the most English teachers compared to any other continent. According to our study on 13,000 ESL jobs, a whopping 41% of global TEFL job postings were for China. Based on these job postings, 64% of them preferred or required to have a TESOL or TEFL certification.

Central/South America

South America Map

Central and South America are not as popular as TEFL destinations compared to Asia. But we see a bit of a resurgence in English teacher demand in countries like Colombia, Chile, and Argentina.

One of the disadvantages of working and teaching here is a lack of online job advertisements. There are not as many job postings compared to in Asia, and it’s not uncommon to have to be already in your chosen country and knock at a couple of doors.

Even though wages are higher than the national average, you won’t be able to save a significant amount of money. This is partly because schools don’t cover housing and flights. Although it’s recommended to have a degree, one of the advantages is that you can teach English here without one. You can also try out Maximo Nivel to get started teaching today.


Europe Map

Europe is a bit of a unique situation in TEFL because it can vary significantly from country to country. Any resident part of the European Union has options to teach English in Europe even without a degree.

If you are not part of the EU, some of your options may include:

  • Working holiday visas
  • Student visas
  • Freelancing visas

While most English schools in Asia will cover the costs of your flights and accommodation, Europe does not follow the same tradition. Despite being able to teach English without a degree, employers still prefer it if you have a Bachelor’s degree. Countries include France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Poland.


Africa Map

Popular destinations to teach English in Africa include Tanzania, South Africa, and Ghana. However, the official languages in these countries are already English so the demand is not terribly high.

There are also English teachers that enjoy volunteering with organizations like Peace Corps. One of the best parts about the Peace Corps is that it’s mostly all covered for you such as flights, medical, monthly living allowance, and housing.

If you want to work in North Africa, countries like Egypt and Morocco hire English teachers. But most of these positions at least require a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

How To Get Certified with ESL Certification

If you’re seriously interested in teaching English as a foreign language, then getting certified with an ESL certificate may be a smart decision. This isn’t just a career choice; it’s a way to build a solid foundation for a successful teaching career in the future.

Depending on the type of ESL certification course you choose, the amount of time it takes you to complete it, and the length of the course you select, you can get certified with an ESL certificate in as little as one month or as much as one year.

It’s important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting certified as an ESL teacher. It all depends on your learning style, goals, and target learn­ing level.

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide on how to get certified in ESL certification. Now, it’s your turn. What are your plans for ESL certification? Do you plan on going with a TEFL or CELTA certificate? Please let us know with a comment below.


  1. Hi Jason. There are lots of options out there to get started. If you want to work online, you will likely work for several different companies. For example, you might work for Preply, VIP Kids and Magic Ears to have enough students for a stable income.

    Really, the best way to start is to apply for the companies mentioned above. Here are some great ESL games to get started too – https://allesl.com/esl-worksheets/

  2. Hello. I am looking for an easy first step toward teaching English as a foreign/second language online to students across the globe. Please help me discern the best and most effective routes.

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