Top 10 Reasons to Get TEFL Certified

This guest article was written by Bridge Education Group. With over 35 years of industry experience, Bridge’s goal is to empower a global community of English teachers and support excellence in English language teaching. In addition to our accredited portfolio of TEFL courses, Bridge offers articles, teaching resources, webinars, and more!

Embarking on a journey to teach English as a foreign language opens up a world of opportunities and enriching experiences. Earning a TEFL certification can be a transformative step for those aspiring to teach English, broaden their horizons, and make a positive impact on global education. Let’s explore 10 compelling reasons to get TEFL certified.

1. Qualify for TEFL jobs

Teaching English as a foreign language is a booming industry, with flexible employment options ranging from teaching in public or private schools to teaching English online. EFL teachers can teach locally or abroad, and many pursue a digital nomad lifestyle, teaching online while traveling.

For any of these pathways, TEFL certification is a requirement. Most employers will require at a minimum a 120-hour TEFL certification from an accredited organization, and even for those who teach English online independently as business owners, private tutors, or marketplace tutors, a TEFL certification prepares you for the classroom and establishes the professional credentials needed to market your services.

Quality TEFL/TESOL certification like the 120-hour Master Certificate should provide a solid background in English language teaching methodology and effective lesson planning. The 120-hour Master Certificate is an online, self-paced, interactive course that is tutor-supported and includes job advising modules.

If you’re looking to stand out from other job applicants or apply to TEFL jobs in competitive regions, the 150-hour Bridge International Diploma in English Language Teaching (IDELTOnline™) provides graduate-level online certification and can be used as a pathway to an advanced degree in TESOL. This university-affiliated course is led by a master’s level instructor and focuses on an in-depth study of English language learning theories and methodologies while providing practical training in curriculum design and effective teaching practices.

2. Start your journey abroad

One of the biggest reasons to get TEFL certified is access to the global opportunities that arise from certification. For teachers looking to live and teach abroad, there are several lucrative options. You can work for a public school, an international school, private and government language programs, or a language institute. Schools, institutes, and programs, which offer the stability of contract work as well as the opportunity to teach in a classroom environment, typically require a TEFL certification, as do online programs.

Another option for ESL teachers is to become a digital nomad, teaching online while traveling and immersing yourself in new cultural experiences. Digital nomads teach English online in several ways: You can be an online marketplace tutor, freelance with online language companies, or teach online independently as a teacherpreneur. An online TEFL certification helps teachers stand out in online marketplaces and programs and provides independent teachers with the credentials to market their services. Many countries offer digital nomad visas for qualified remote workers who want to live and work in a foreign country.

3. Adequately prepare for the classroom

The ESL classroom can be challenging due to language and cultural barriers. A quality TEFL certification equips teachers with the tools needed to maintain rapport with students while helping them meet their educational goals. Among the myriad topics teachers will learn from a TEFL course are:

  • Classroom management skills
  • How to motivate students
  • Effective ways to track student progress – and how to remedy a lack of progress
  • How to create lesson plans
  • How to provide feedback and correct student errors
  • The top methodologies for teaching EFL

These skills are essential to ensure that your students are meeting their language learning goals.

4. Increase your confidence

Earning a TEFL certification is a great way to ensure a strong educational foundation in EFL learning theory, so you are confident in your instructional strategies.

David Leach, originally from the U.S. and now teaching English in Japan, completed Bridge’s 120-hour Master TEFL Certificate.

“I was looking for a general, all-purpose certificate that is widely accepted,” he said. “The course gave me a lot of ideas for presenting new material to students at various levels, and a lot of good ways to review previous material so the students don’t forget it. Additionally, thanks to the writing assignments, I have a new collection of lessons I can use in adult classes. Finally, it also gave me insight into why the textbooks are organized the way they are. Now, I can look at the textbooks we use and understand some of the thinking and philosophy that went into designing them.”

5. Continue your professional development

If you’re already an EFL teacher, you know the value of continuing professional development.  Professional development courses help teachers hone their existing skills while also introducing new industry concepts and materials. Targeted training certifications like Bridge’s Specialized Certifications and Micro-credentials provide instruction and resources to further develop your skills in niche topics.

Showcase your skills to potential employers with the Teaching English Pronunciation Micro-credential or break into a new TEFL industry with the Teaching Business English Specialized Certification. Find higher-paying jobs in niche EFL subjects with certifications like the Teaching IELTS Exam Prep Micro-credential or Teaching TOEFL Test Prep Micro-credential. If you’re a marketplace tutor or run your own online English teaching business, highlighting this type of specialized training with a digital badge helps you grow your portfolio of private students.

Beyond the employment benefits, targeted training will improve your instructional skills and strategies, making you a more effective teacher and better able to support your students’ language learning journeys.

6. Improve your cultural awareness

A TEFL certification will also prepare you to optimize the cultural exchange opportunities you’ll find within any EFL classroom. Whether you’re teaching online or in person, being able to identify, collaborate with, and embrace many cultures is a key part of the job. Students who want to learn English can be found all over the world. A quality TEFL certification program will explore cultural competence, build self-awareness, and provide teachers with practical knowledge and strategies for teaching cultural competence to their students.  

7. Better understand the motivations of your students

Language learners come with a wide variety of experience levels and reasons to learn. Young students are often supplementing their regular schoolwork. Adult learners tend to seek TEFL instruction to make career advancements. Many students take ESL courses to pass a language proficiency test and obtain a visa or get accepted into a degree program. TEFL certification will familiarize you with the different reasons students seek to learn English and help you identify which teaching strategies are best to use in each case.

8. Connect with other teachers and industry professionals

Joining a TEFL program means gaining access to a community of teachers and educators all over the world. The benefits of a TEFL network may include finding jobs, gaining teaching advice and ideas, locating accommodation in a foreign city, or simply enjoying the support of others working in the same industry. These communities of practice are an incredible resource for teachers of all experience levels.

9. Build an independent teaching career

As previously mentioned, the online English teaching market is booming and provides opportunities for teachers to become their own bosses. For teachers ready to build an independent online English teaching career, membership to a program like the Teacherpreneur Academy provides resources and support through workshops, info sessions, and the Succeeding as an English Teacherpreneur Specialized Certification. Academy members learn the practical skills needed to thrive as business-minded educators through continuous learning and mentor support and instruction.

10. Make a difference in the lives of your students

Have you given thought to what your legacy will be? Teaching English, whether in person or online, has a lasting impact on the lives of your students. And you’ll learn and grow from your experiences as well. A TEFL certification opens doors to new professional and personal experiences, making it a worthwhile investment.

Savannah Potter

Savannah is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience as a content creator, editor, and journalist. Currently specializing in culture writing with a focus on the digital nomad revolution, she enjoys finding where culture, business, and technology meet. Early adopter, coffee aficionado, people person.