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How important is a TEFL qualification for teaching English abroad?

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) are often seen as important qualifications for UK teachers working overseas. How important are they in Spain and are they worth the study and expense?

Qualified teachers looking for work in Spain are best advised to look for work in a British/International school. These schools will value the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) from the United Kingdom and the work expected will be familiar to teachers used to working as a class teacher in the United Kingdom.

If you are not a qualified teacher then the work market is a little more uncertain. Some independent schools, including British and International schools, may well consider unqualified teachers and in addition may have teaching assistant positions available.

So, what are the advantages of being TEFL qualified?

A TEFL qualification improves your employability and may well improve your salary.

If you are a qualified teacher and you are looking to teach the  National Curriculum or an International curriculum abroad then a TEFL qualification will not be as important as your teaching qualification and experience. However, if you are looking to schools that have a high proportion of students for whom English is not their home language then you are going to need to demonstrate knowledge and confidence in how these students learn English. Working in Spain I quickly realised that Spanish students have a theoretical knowledge of their own language that is significantly above the knowledge possessed by English students of their own language. Helping these students move forward in their learning then requires a strong understanding of grammar. If you don’t know your past participles from your gerunds or struggle to identify a predicate then perhaps a course to boost you grammar knowledge might be extremely useful.

Teacher who are not qualified and are looking for work as a language teacher or looking to work as assistants in international schools would certainly benefit from a TEFL qualification.

Anything you can do to add to your CV and demonstrate that you have prepared for the work for which you are applying can only be a positive. A high quality TEFL qualification teaches valuable strategies to help students with meaningful learning. It should give a strong grounding in the rules governing the English language whilst also providing ideas or materials to help in classroom. TEFL courses range in length from 20 hour introductory courses through to 140 hour intensive courses providing all the tuition and materials you would ever need to teach English as a second language. The important point is to ensure that your TEFL qualification comes from a reliable provider. There are a huge number of providers and many of them offer qualifications that sound on paper equal and yet in practice may not be recognised.

Are you considering a TEFL qualification? Would you like to complete your study and gain you qualification using professionally developed online resources?


i-to-i are an internationally recognised provider of TEFL qualifications and are currently offering a 50€ discount on some of their top selling products. They offer a free taster to help you decide which course is right for you and also offer a free consultation with an advisor. Their aim is to ensure that you have a worthwhile training experience and that your TEFL qualification equips you effectively for teaching English.  Click below for a list of courses that i-to-i can offer online.

Happy New Adventure

Click here for TEFL Courses Home

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Filed under Teaching English to Spanish speakers