How to Augment and Enhance Your TEFL Certification

Many people think of TEFL jobs as temporary or short-term, something for University students or gap year travellers but not necessarily a career path with any substance.  But there are plenty of opportunities for advancement within the TEFL sector, it just lacks the definitive and obvious career structure of some other industries.  TEFL’s strength lies in its flexibility.  So, if you have a good quality CV with an accredited online TEFL course certification and solid teaching experience, what opportunities are out there if you fancy a move away from mainstream teaching and also want to step up?

  • Become a teacher of TEFL courses – this is a route many experienced teachers take when they have finished travelling although of course, the door is always open with TEFL to travel overseas at any time. Experience in the field makes for a great TEFL tutor as you have probably faced all the challenges there are to face and can share a wealth of experience with your students.  Despite an impressive and lengthy CV, you will need to have an advanced TEFL certificate to consider applying for posts as a teacher of TEFL students

  • Exam preparation – this is a notch up from tutoring TEFL students and could embrace things like preparation for IELTS – International English Language Testing System – which is the high-stakes English test for study, migration and work or TOEFL – the Test of English as a Foreign Language – which is a similar exam to IELTS and used to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers who wish to come to the USA to study or work

  • Become an examiner – both IELTS and TOEFL require examiners to assess and mark the tests. These positions can be based in an exam centre but some of them offer remote working opportunities from home

  • Course and materials developer – there is a huge demand amongst TEFL students for hard copy and online resources to both assist with their studies and also provide practical help for when they enter the classroom. Online and physical language schools are always seeking to steal a march on their competitors and get ahead of the curve with the latest resources for their pupils.  If you are tech orientated then this could suit you really well as there is a particular demand for developers who are skilled in multimedia and able to  create blended traditional and digital resources which can augment new and existing courses

  • CLIL – this stands for Content and Integrated Learning and is a popular rung up on the career ladder for those TEFL teachers who already have the skill and qualification to teach in a specialist subject. Take Science for instance.  The students are taught Science wholly in English with no reference to their mother tongue.  The lesson is primarily a Science lesson and should adhere to the Curriculum in all aspects.  The language learning is interwoven into the lesson and so both elements need to be present with a degree of counterbalance.  For many qualified teachers, this clearly marks a step up from straight TEFL teaching but if you do not have a specialist subject, why not study and qualify in something which interests you and which you can then combine with your TEFL certificate to offer specialist learning?

  • Director of Studies (DOS) – this is the next stage on the ladder after a role as a teacher of TEFL students usually within a language school or other educational institution. A Director of Studies is involved in the planning and administration of courses rather than teaching and frontline teaching experience could make you the perfect candidate for the job.  The DOS role is very varied and will involve the recruitment of new staff, course development and the day to day smooth running of the college or school.  Some teachers look for short-term roles as the DOS in a summer school which can give you a useful taster of what’s involved and will look really good on your CV if you then go on to apply for a full-time permanent role later on

  • Go freelance – promotion and advancement don’t have to be linked to a fixed role. You could teach online or freelance for language schools or do a mixture of the two.  Starting your own business can be very exciting and TEFL is so varied that you can incorporate a whole range of functions without limit, best of all, you will be your own boss

  • Open your own language school – the appetite for students to learn English does not diminish and although there are already plenty of language schools in the marketplace, don’t let this put you off. Starting your own school will allow you to be your own DOS as well as your own boss and to stamp your identity and flair on the business.   You will be able to build and diversify in any way you want to without the restrictions of working for someone else

Landing top TEFL jobs will often require a degree or a teacher training qualification in addition to TEFL accreditation and a solid track record of teaching.  These are the types of requirements employers will look for in mainstream DOS positions with prestigious academic institutions.  But you could take a different route and acquire or use an existing subject specialism and go down the road of CLIL. A combination of skill within a subject and the ability to teach it in English to foreign speakers will make you much in demand.

The great thing about TEFL is that you can write your own career advancement and there are loads of senior-level options available both employed and self-employed for those who want to put away their passport and base themselves in just one location.  TEFL is varied and flexible too so promotion and seniority don’t have to come with a reduction in horizons if you still want to retain the ability to travel or want a permanent role abroad in a foreign language school or institute.  With TEFL the world literally is your oyster.

New to TEFL? See our below infographic with some useful info!