What is a TEFL Certificate? | Department of English | Kent State University

What is a TEFL Certificate?

What is a TEFL Certificate?

A Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certificate is an internationally recognized entry-level credential for teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in schools and communities.

TEFL Teacher

TEFL-certified individuals are qualified to teach English to non-native English speakers around the globe. With certification, you might teach in a private or public school, a company language training program, or in a preschool in Asia, Europe, Africa, or South America. ~The possibilities are endless.~


TESOL, TESL, or TEFL?

Girl With Questions

TESOL, TESL, and TEFL all include teaching English to people whose native language is not English. In TEFL, there is a focus on teaching in international contexts where another language is spoken. TESOL is a general term for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and TEFL and TESL fit under this category. Also, TESOL International Association (http://www.tesol.org) is our field’s professional organization with annual conventions, publications, and professional opportunities, and it is open to all TESL-TEFL students and professionals.

Kent State University offers complete degree programs in TESL/TEFL including the TEFL Certificate, the BA TESL, and the MA TESL, each contributing to different career goals. The TEFL Certificate is especially suited to students in any bachelor’s degree program who want to explore the field and teach in a practicum overseas, in this case in Florence, Italy.


What other certificates or degrees do I need to teach English Internationally?

TEFL Student Teaching in a Classroom

There is no single degree, certificate, or license that authorizes an individual to teach in all parts of the world. Job requirements are specific to the job, the location, and the employer.

At a minimum, jobs teaching English internationally typically require a certificate or academic background and teaching/tutoring experience in TESL/TEFL. Some employers require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in TESL while others simply require any bachelor’s degree plus the TEFL Certificate.


What can I do with a TEFL Certificate?

TEFL Student Instructing Elderly English Learner

There are many benefits to getting a TEFL Certificate:

  • You will be more competitive in the job market.
  • The jobs you’ll find without a certificate may be low paying or volunteer work.
  • Kent State’s TEFL Certificate provides hands-on practicum training where you teach real English learners, so that you will gain experience and confidence in the classroom.
  • Competition is stiff, and some places (including most of Europe and parts of Asia) won’t consider hiring you without TESL/TEFL credentials. The skills you obtain in the certificate program will immediately apply to the workplace as the certificate prepares you to develop language lessons with communicative and locally defined goals.

Where to Find TEFL Job Opportunities

  • Gain experience and confidence as an educator.
  • Our TEFL Certificate program, partly completed at Kent State and partly completed in Florence, Italy, is taught by experienced professors, who balance theory and practice in language learning and teaching. Learn More About Coursework and Practicum

Where can I work with a TEFL Certificate?

At Kent State University, you complete your practicum in Florence, Italy, but with the TEFL Certificate you receive, you can teach anywhere in the world.

People Pointing at Various Places on a World Map

English speaking teachers are sought worldwide. Work can be found in almost any part of the world; job offerings in East Asia are especially common. If you are not ready to teach abroad this year, no worries; the TEFL Certificate does not expire.