TEFL India

Are there any differences between TEFL & TESOL courses?

So now that you have decided to do a certification program for teaching English abroad, you are to choose or get confused among the two commonly used certificate courses – TEFL & TESOL courses. But after the whole browsing got over you look so confused! Questions sprang up – Will they fill your requirement? Which one to select from, and should be best for unsettling professional teaching career aboard? Are they distinctive from each other or whether they are identical with different acronyms? Whatever is running inside your mind is quite natural. Both the courses are well inclusive to serve the teacher training programme. And definitely, the life experiences will be amazing thanks to the overseas lifestyle. But before making it permanent, let’s try to figure out all the stated questions at a time by arguing on the differences and accepting on the similarities.

  • What do the acronyms stand for?

It is important for you to have a grasp of the core terminologies. This way it would help you cut through the jargon while you are exploring opportunities for a fabulous career abroad. Henceforth, you must quickly take a note of the two acronyms – TEFL & TESOL. In a way, this would help you navigate your research properly for teaching English abroad.

  • TEFL Courses: The commonly perceived acronym is used to refer ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’.
  • TESOL Courses: The given acronym is noted as a reference for ‘Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages’.
  • Who is benefitted?

TEFL Certification:

  1. This also stands to refer the training courses and certification programme held by premier institutes. This would suit the hiring process in foreign schools and educational centres because given the demand for English (acclaimed as the internationally spoken language) employers are in search of certified trainers.
  2. Moreover, a TEFL certified person (assuming any experience level he/she may possess) can plan to teach English. Considering that he/she has a stronghold in English but lack formal degree to teach English to the non-native speaking countries. By non-native speaking countries, we mean where English is not considered as the first language but is taught as the second language.   
  3. It is equally important to note that the TEFL acronym is used by the industry professionals and that is not directed by any unitary body, school, firm or enterprise. The length and cost structure of doing the course another relevant area of hiring an individual by the recruitment bodies. Training institutes, thus offer varying lengths (hourly basis). And the more is the number of hours the more qualified you are. This increases your chance of getting hired.

TESOL Certification:  

  1. As per the acronym, the very certification is meant for people who willed to teach English in the non-English speaking countries.
  2. Typically, North American states prefer to certify people with a TESOL certificate. Again, people staying people in the Latin American states – like Italy, Spain, and Argentina, where English is not the most spoken language are also taking up English training courses seriously, generating job opportunities. Or in areas where the non-English speakers have outnumbered the English speakers.
  3. For example, if you need a TESOL certificate you should consider where you plan to unsettle. Geographical location becomes the queue in this case. According to the specific location, you will be awarded a TESOL certificate. The practice is common in Britain, Canada and Australia – which is both accepted by public regulated bodies and local education units.
  • What should be the focus?


  1. Basically, it is the teaching sector which entirely proves to be the focal area. That is to say, it trains educators who can communicate in English but lack a mandatory ticket for pursuing a teaching career. The course will highlight instructional techniques which you help you deliver the language English more promptly. This is specifically for students who have little or no effort to use English in their homeland.
  2. The curriculum will include grammar, writing, reading, speaking, avoiding syntax errors,  structuring of sentences, choice of words, resume writing etc. Above all, the course would significantly consider the cross-cultural perspectives.


  1. TESOL programme will help trainers teach English to non-native English-speakers.
  2. Also, you can unlearn teaching strategies for teaching the English language. However, Strategies learnt are useful in any of the ESL (English as a Second Language) and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) classroom.
  • What to explore in the job opportunities?


  1. Opportunities are in bulk, especially in the non-native English speaking countries like Korea, China, and Brazil etc.
  2. Jobs are in bulk for authentic certificate holder who can use their teaching skills in various paid and volunteer teaching positions.
  3. Suitable positions will be – an ESL instructor, certified teacher and in the administrative units for different administrative roles.


  1. You can find jobs in Canada or choose from the Latin American nations. As they offer the certificate for those who can use the teaching tips both for native English-speaking nations and also for private coaching institutes.
  2. Perhaps, the two teaching jobs certification courses share a common position with respect to the job offerings, TESOL certified holders are noted as the competitive ones for teaching domestically.
  3. One should keep in mind that TESOL courses are addressed much by the member organisations like that of TESOL International. The same is applicable to universities who offer the certificate courses to facilitate the graduate degree programs (Master of Arts in TESOL).
  • What are the things you should consider?

Some important considerations must be addressed before making a final call on either of the courses. Let’s see what these are,


  1. Accreditation of the TEFL certification is not done by a single international governing body.
  2. As a result, one should select a TEFL course which has earned recognition among international hiring bodies/ employers.
  3. Thereby it is better to select one which is conducted by a reputed university or institution deemed to be reputed.


  1. Though the two certified courses are interchangeably be used, the certified TESOL courses are not always widely recognised by the international employers.
  2. This may cause ambiguity and can be incompatible with the curriculum planning by some foreign institute.

Again, prior to the interchangeably used acronyms, United States does not domestically hold any regulation involved in teaching English at any privately run language schools. Thus, US and European training would, mostly use the training terms TEFL courses for overseas teaching.

One Comment to “Are there any differences between TEFL & TESOL courses?”

  1. I always had a mind thinking whether these courses are different and who would be favourable. Now am in a clear frame of mind. Thanks for this well-curated content post. 🙂

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