In my opinion, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a burgeoning field in the education sector and earning a TEFL Certificate with credentials to teach English as a Foreign Language, all graduating English majors could enhance their career opportunities. Acquiring a TEFL Certificate has become even more significant now when, according to some sources “almost 1.5 billion people are learning English at this time.” 1
I became aware of the significance of a TEFL Certificate when one of my students asked me for some advice about possibilities of teaching English in Japan. Usually, as someone who primarily focuses on training my students for graduate school, I would have not been able to answer his question, but because of my own unique experience of having lived in Japan and having learned about teaching English in Japan, I was bale to give him some useful advice. Part of my advice to this student was to become a member of Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT). I knew of JALT through my ex-wife who was one of their certified teachers and who had advised me to join the organization.
While looking at JALT’s job ads, it struck me that while most of the jobs required a TEFL certificate, most job ads were also aimed at people with Bachelor’s degrees only. I immediately saw this as a great opportunity for my undergraduate English majors, especially those who might not be interested in going to graduate school but still sought a career in teaching. With a TEFL Certificate not only could they apply to TEFL programs all overt he world and teach, but this would also provide them with the unique opportunities of living abroad and experiencing and learning other cultures!
My student, thankfully, was hired by a Japanese school and is happily teaching English in Japan and is also having a wonderful time in the serene environments of Southern Japan, and, besides other things, a TEFL Certificate made it possible for him to do so.
Should you get a TEFL Certificate?
My short answer is Yes, absolutely! If you are not planning to go to graduate school, even if you are a TEFL Certificate couldn’t hurt, but still want a teaching career, you need not spend extra money and time to get a regular teacher certification. You can, instead, register in an online TEFL Certification program and graduate with your degree as an English major and with a TEFL certification. I must admit that during my undergraduate education, I myself had taken a three hour course on TEFL and got a basic certification to teach English as a foreign language, but at that time no affordable online options were available to obtain an advance TEFL Certificate.
But the world of teaching English as a Foreign Language has expanded drastically in the last twenty years and so has the need for TEFL Certified teachers. This implies that those of us working in higher education must also change to serve our students’ needs better. Just last week, another of my students informed me that he had just recently interviewed for an online teaching company that brings online English teaching classes to over two million Chinese high school students. Having a TEFL Certificate would automatically open opportunities such as these to any English Major.
Consider The TEFL Academy for your TEFL Certification
As you might have noticed, I have linked to The TEFL Academy at various points in this post. For full transparency, please know that my site is an affiliate of The TEFL Academy, but I would have not recommended them if I had not done my research about their reputation and trustworthiness. You can check their online rating HERE. If you want to work on your TEFL Certification while still taking courses at college, or even after graduation, The TEFL Academy could be a good place to start. According to their website, they are are “the world’s only TEFL course provider that has received official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies both in the US and the UK,” and it seems they could provide you with an affordable and workable schedule and, of course, certified knowledge in the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
I understand that we college professors have an idealistic view of English Studies and automatically assume that all our English Majors are interested in getting graduate degrees. My conversations with most of my students, however, have revealed to me that majority of our students want to start a career as soon as they have a bachelors degree. I think if we advised our students to consider teaching English as a Foreign Language and to acquire TEFL certification along with their bachelors degree, then our students would graduate with more options for their teaching careers.