Okay, so you decide to see what this ESL thing is all about and you look at the certifications. The most common ones are TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). What’s the difference? Well, most people will claim that there is no difference. They’ll say that they’re pretty much the same. Except for one minute detail; getting a TEFL takes about a month and getting a TESOL takes about a week.

While working towards a TEFL, you’ll take tests, read linguistic reports, and you will probably be given some contact hours in front of a classroom. As far as a TESOL is concerned, you’ll get those sort of things condensed into a week and the degree of effort made by the teacher will depend on the location of the class and the amount of students attending. Both certificates generally run about $1000-1200 for the course.

My only option was a TESOL it was the only class offered in Arizona and I wanted to arrive in Thailand ready to look for work. My teacher was late twice, had us end class early almost every day, and showed us an instructional video displaying the exact same things she had just taught us. She rushed us through our last class quickly so that she could go to a recording studio and finish making her music. Complaining to her superior with one of the two other students in this class to her superior earned me a discount, but the truth was that I wanted a real education in ESL.

I have been told by several Canadian co-workers (the company originates in Canada) that they had much more positive experiences with TESOL. I wish I had gone to a better class myself, but hey, live and learn. Regardless, there are many unprofessional English schools that function similarly to the one I attended, so I suggest an official TEFL school for a sure shot. Truth be told, most schools just want to see the certificate.

As for the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), it can take one month to one year, depending on the pace one wishes to learn it. The way I understand it is that most schools will honor a CELTA and that it’s a more rigorous course than either TESOL or TEFL. Just like attending a university or a private school, it never hurts to do some research before you get started.

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