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5 Ways to Set Yourself Apart as an English Teacher

online english teacher takes notes

If you’re looking to work as an English teacher, you’ll soon realize that it’s a very competitive environment. International academies and schools and online companies are looking for the best. To snag a coveted position in an international classroom or online, you have to set yourself apart as an English teacher. Here are five ways you can do that.

1. Choose an advanced-level TEFL/TESOL certification course

How do English teachers stand out? First of all, by completing the most advanced TEFL certification they can. This will show hiring managers that you have comprehensive training, and you’ll undoubtedly stand out in competitive markets such as the Middle East.

One of the most advanced online TEFL certifications is the Bridge International Diploma in English Language Teaching (IDELTOnline™), which will enhance your resume with 150 hours of accredited training. The IDELTOnline™ is different from other certifications in that it’s interactive, so you’ll be part of a cohort of trainees from around the world. Similar to other university-level online courses, you’ll have the opportunity to attend live sessions and participate in classroom discussions.

This course is unique in that it can not only be taken for graduate-level college credit (more on that in the next section) but it may also be taken as a first step toward a master’s degree in TESOL through Bridge’s university pathway partners.

Want to know more? Find out how the IDELTOnline™ can help you stand out in the most competitive markets.

Bridge alum Johanna poses with her TEFL certificate.

2. Earn college credit and CEUs through your TEFL/TESOL course

Some TEFL/TESOL programs may be taken for college credit, and such programs are another way to set yourself apart as an English teacher. Many Bridge TEFL/TESOL courses are eligible for college credit. For example, the IDELTOnline™ has been recommended for nine graduate-level credits by ACE CREDIT®. Those credits are transferable to more than 1,600 universities.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs), which are nationally recognized units of measurement for participation in education programs, are often required for professional teachers. They’re a great way to stay up to date with the latest English Language Teaching (ELT) developments. Plus, they will catch a hiring manager’s eye when reviewing your TEFL resume.

Reputable online TEFL/TESOL certifications will help you earn CEUs. For instance, you can earn one CEU for every 10 hours of Bridge course instruction.

TEFL teachers at a TESOL event in Colombia
Teachers pose while attending a TESOL Colombia event.

3. Prioritize and highlight professional development

There are many TEFL professional development opportunities out there. Here are some examples of things that will grab employers’ attention.

TEFL/TESOL webinars

Always keep an eye out for TEFL/TESOL webinars. Not only will you learn about the latest trends in the industry, but you’ll also impress your future employers if you bring them up, as it shows your continued commitment to growing as an educator.

Bridge Expert Series webinars bring ELT industry experts together each month for a live interactive webinar to discuss topics ranging from professional development to teaching methodologies to 21st-century teaching. Register for live webinars or join the community to access over 75 on-demand videos. Earn a certificate of professional development for every completed lecture while learning new teaching strategies, staying abreast of industry trends, and finding valuable teaching and career resources.

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Specialized certificates

Whenever you’re applying for an ESL teaching job and want to stand out from other teachers, make sure you talk about any specialized TEFL/TESOL certifications you have. For example, if you’re applying to an elementary school abroad, highlight your Specialized Certificate in Teaching Young Learners. Or, if you want to work for an online company, get a Specialized Certificate in Teaching English Online. Showing that your credentials are geared toward the job to which you’re applying will help you stand out.

Micro-credential courses

Micro-credential courses provide short, targeted training in specific areas of teaching. For example, you can take a 20-hour course in Teaching English Using Podcasts or a 10-hour course in Games and Activities for the Online Classroom (Young Learners). These courses are a great way to continue earning new credentials, and they aren’t time-consuming. Plus, you can choose a topic you’re already interested in!

4. Choose a TEFL/TESOL niche

Employers and students will really value your skills when you’re a specialist in a certain type of ESL teaching. For example, do you want to focus on teaching business English? Or, maybe you’d like to teach IELTS exam prep classes. Perhaps you’d like to just focus on offering English lessons to teenagers.

Whatever your interests are, choosing one or two TEFL niches to target can:

  • Increase your chances of getting hired by employers looking for specific skills
  • Help you stand out from other teachers on ESL marketplaces
  • Potentially help you earn more, as you’ll be a specialist in your chosen topic
  • Reduce the time it takes to prepare lessons since they’ll all be related
After retiring from the tech industry and moving to Colombia, Bridge alum Ken began teaching English, eventually completing the IDELTOnline™️ and becoming an independent online teacher for adults and professionals in business and medicine.

5. Gain relevant experience

It’s no secret that past professional experience is a big factor when applying for jobs. To set yourself apart as an English teacher, try to get as many lessons under your belt as you can before you reach out to hiring managers for a coveted position.

Even if you’ve recently completed a TEFL/TESOL certification course and are brand new to teaching ESL, you can still get valuable experience through a Guided Teaching Practicum. This certification incorporates hands-on teaching practice in a real EFL classroom (plus you’ll spend time observing other teachers in action). There’s even a Practicum for Teaching English Online that will leave you with a portfolio of recorded classes that you’ve taught to show to potential employers or students.

Of course, you can also always scout for private students in different social media groups or volunteer to teach at refugee centers or local churches.

Following these five ways to stand out from the crowd will certainly help you land the teaching job you want. So, get certified, polish that resume, and apply away!

Ready to stand out to TEFL/TESOL employers and potential students? Start by earning an international diploma with the graduate-level IDELTOnline™ certification.

Rashmi is a culture vulture who hopes to travel the world. News is her second love, after coffee.