8 Crucial Certifications For ESL Teachers: How To Prepare Yourself

8 Crucial Certifications For ESL Teachers: How To Prepare Yourself
Summary: 8 Options of certifications for ESL teachers. Make your choice!

Crucial Certifications For ESL Teachers

Being an English teacher is one of the most profitable professions that exist today. There are a lot of job opportunities (especially in Asia, in countries such as China, India, or Saudi Arabia) and the salaries are really good, but they will vary according to the certifications that the teacher has and the experience. So, are you thinking about certifying yourself?

The best thing about being certified is not just the certificate or diploma and the higher salary, but also the experience itself. Having a certificate will give you powerful tools for teaching and to see the profession from another perspective. If you mix your previous experience with the course, you'll feel ready to rock the world! And if you don't have experience at all, you'll obtain a very good guide to start with the right foot in your new career.

So, have you thought about the better options of certifications for ESL teachers that are in the market and what are the differences between them?

Choosing The Right Certification

First, you need to know that there's a difference between being certified as an English Speaker and being certified as an English Teacher. To accomplish the first, you can choose to have a certification or diploma from the institute or school where you learned English (if you are not a native-speaker), or you can take one of the two famous tests:


IELTS's name is the acronym for “International English Language Testing System” and it is very popular in the UK. The test has two versions, one that is called “IELTS Academic” and another one that is called “IELTS General Training”, so you choose the one that’s better for you. In case you’re looking for a job, the second version is the one that you need. They will evaluate your listening, reading, writing and speaking before giving you a score between 1 and 9 for each section.


TOEFL's name is the acronym for “Test of English as a Foreign Language” and it is practically the same as the IELTS, but it is more popular in the USA or in the countries where American English is mainly spoken or taught. They have different types of tests, and each one of them evaluates the same aspects as IELTS: Listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

So, after having these certifications, you need to choose one of the following courses, which will make you a certified ESL or EFL teacher. At the end, all of them will qualify you as an English teacher, but they will differentiate in the methods that they teach and in the system that they have to finish the courses.


TESOL Certification's name is the acronym for "Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages" and as we said before, it will provide you with tools and skills to use in the classroom. It has different levels and you can choose to do a longer or a shorter one according to your experience teaching and/or your needs. This course is very popular in the USA and Australia, and it can be used to work in both non-native and native English speaking countries. This certification can prepare you to teach English to business people or even to immigrants or refugees who need to adapt to their new country.


TEFL's name is the acronym for "Teaching English as a Foreign Language”. It is very similar to the TESOL certification, but this one is more popular in the UK. It is a certification accepted anywhere in the world, and it is used mainly for teaching in non-native English speaking countries. You can always do it if you have a native-level capacity to speak English. There are different institutions that offer the courses, so it is up to you to choose the one that you like the most.


TESL's name is the acronym for "Teaching English as a Second Language", and it gives teachers the tools to teach to immigrants or people who live in a country where English is the native language. So different to TOEFL and TESOL, TESL is more related to teach in English speaking countries. As a result, the test is more popular between native-speakers who are looking to work in their home countries.

6. TKT

TKT's name is the acronym for “Teaching English Test”. It is considered a start point to take an advanced qualification such as the CELTA or the DELTA. The TKT has three modules: the first is called “Background to Language Teaching”, the second is called “Planning for Language Teaching” and the third is called “Classroom Management”. You can choose to take them separated or combined, depending on your availability and requirements or needs.


CELTA's name is the acronym for “Certificate for English Language Teaching to Adults”. It is an advanced qualification provided by The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), and it is highly required by important institutions such as the British Council, for example. For doing the CELTA, you’ll need an English qualification and to be at least 20 years old. They offer two options to study it: you can do it online (13 to 14 weeks with internship periods) or you can do it In-Class (4 weeks with an internship period too).


DELTA's name is the acronym for “Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults”, and it is the advanced qualification that TEFL Organization has. The test has three modules: the first one is about the language comprehension, methodology and teaching resources. The second is about developing a professional method, and in the third you choose if you want to learn about a developing a better professional method or about English teaching management.

Final Word

Of course, you can find more options to be certified as an English Speaker and an English Teacher, but these 8 are the popular ones. You should evaluate them to choose one and get certified. Remember that is it worthy because your profession is one of the best professions around the world: You have the benefit of having a job that can be done while you travel, but you can also stay at home and teach from there as technology lets us connect trough the internet. Choose one certification according to your schedule, needs, and requirements. Start walking the way to be a certified English Teacher!