If you are considering becoming an ESL teacher then you need to think about getting ESL teacher certification.
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If you are lucky, you may be able to find a job in some parts of the world without certification, but this is getting more and more difficult.
Most employers want certification and often they want a college degree too. There are so many courses available so how do you choose the right one for you?
Choosing the best ESL teacher certification
The first thing you need to be aware of is that online teacher certification courses are not worth the money you pay. They may give you an idea of what the job involves but most good English language schools will not employ people who have only taken an online course.
Why is this?
The online courses include no practical classroom practice or assessment. This is the most important part of any ESL teaching course. Theory is important, but you can't get all the skills you need simply by reading about them.
Are weekend courses any better? Well, they are better. But only just. Many employers specify that the course you take must be a minimum of 60 hours long, including classroom practice. Elementary math can show you it would be pretty tough to do 60 hours of training in one weekend!
You need to consider where you want to study. If you study in the US, most colleges now offer TESOL (or TEFL) teacher training programs. Some are as an addition to a college
degree, some are separate courses. Many can be studied full-time or part-time. If you want to study in the UK then you should take the Cambridge CELTA course. Again, this can be studied full time or part time. Obviously, the CELTA course will focus on British English.
The third option is to study abroad. There are many programs all over the world where you can get teacher certification and practice with local students. This will give you invaluable experience of living in another country. This is very useful if you are considering working abroad.
If you choose this option, be sure to take into account living costs such as accommodation and food when working out your budget. Some schools offer help finding accommodation and others expect you to find somewhere yourself.
Any reputable ESL teacher certification course will include some grammar work, some teaching theory and a lot of practice. Usually you will be in a group of 8-16 trainee teachers and you will give each other feedback after teaching sessions. Assessment is through teaching observations, written assignments, and in some cases, an exam.
The courses are usually pretty intensive and can be stressful, so be prepared to lose any social life for a while until you finish the course!
When you choose which ESL teacher certification course to take, you may want to consider if they can offer any help in finding employment. Many schools employ their graduates, and others have job finding services.
Whichever option you choose, good luck!
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