These terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between them.

English as a Foreign Language (EFL) is English taught to people who live in non-English-speaking countries and who speak a first language other than English. This would be the case with a Costa Rican student taking English classes in his home country. Certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is designed for teachers of this type of student.

English as a Second Language (ESL) refers to English taught in English-speaking countries to non-native English speakers. This would be the case, for example, with a person from China, living in the U.S. and taking English at a local language center. Most teachers who work with students in English-speaking countries, whether at an English language center or in a K-12 setting, have TEFL certification plus some teaching experience and often a degree in an education-related discipline.

The field of teaching English has many abbreviations and acronyms! TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) are often used interchangeably, although technically TESOL includes teaching both ESL and EFL (see above for clarification on these terms).

The Bridge IDELT (International Diploma in English Language Teaching) and Cambridge CELTA  (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) are particular “brands” of TEFL/TESOL and the training takes place in the classroom, over four weeks.

The main difference between these courses is that the CELTA was developed by University of Cambridge and the IDELT was developed by Bridge. The IDELT is offered at BridgeTEFL centers, and the CELTA is offered at authorized training centers worldwide, of which Bridge in Denver is one. The Bridge IDELT is also offered in partnership with Metropolitan State University of Denver. Upon successful completion of the program at any Bridge center, students receive a joint certificate from both MSU Denver and Bridge.

Both programs prepare you for positions teaching English to speakers of other languages and are intensive, internationally recognized, and result in certification that lasts a lifetime.

Cost and convenience are the advantages of online TEFL certificate programs. The courses can be completed from any computer anywhere in the world and usually cost a fraction of what classroom-based programs cost. Completion of an online TEFL/TESOL certificate program qualifies you for many teaching positions worldwide!

While schools in some countries prefer hiring teachers who hold classroom-based certification that included a teaching practicum, most employers welcome teachers who were trained online. Some programs, such as the Bridge IDELTOnline course, provide video observations or tutorials so that you can get a glimpse into the TEFL classroom before teaching your own students. Through Bridge, it is also possible to add a teaching practicum to any online course by enrolling in the Bridge Specialized Certificate: Teaching Practicum.

Although schools exist that only require teachers to be English speakers, most reputable institutions will have a list of hiring requirements, including documented TEFL training and certification of at least 100 hours and sometimes teaching experience or a bachelor’s degree. In an increasingly competitive TEFL market, having at least a general TEFL certification is going to qualify you for more jobs in more locations around the world.

Absolutely. TEFL/TESOL courses offered by various providers worldwide are not uniform in either content or quality. That means any person or institution can offer a TEFL training program without regulation or standardization! Thus, one of the best ways to know that you are enrolling in a respectable TEFL course is to check that the institution is externally validated by a reputable accrediting agency. See our Accreditation page for more information, and check out other factors to look for, below.

There are a number of questions you should ask when evaluating an online TEFL course:

• Is the TEFL provider accredited and can you verify that accreditation?
• Is the provider an established institution in the field of language training?
• Are any of the programs university-affiliated or offered for university credit?
• Does the provider have a physical location where you can contact program administrators to ask questions?
• Are the TEFL course tutors qualified professionals with experience in the field?
• What kind of interaction do online students have with these tutors?
• Does the TEFL provider offer testimonials or recommendations from program graduates?

A BridgeTEFL Advisor can assist you with these questions and any others you have. Contact Us!

No, BridgeTEFL online courses do not have any degree requirements. However, some courses are offered for university credit, and if you are interested in earning credit for your course, you will need to meet specific requirements in order to be eligible, which may include a degree. See this page for more information on BridgeTEFL courses that may be taken for college credit.

Our classroom-based courses require only that students are academically prepared to enter a university. This includes having excellent study skills, being able to write analytical essays with few grammatical errors, and knowing how to correctly cite direct and indirect sources. Students must also be at least 18 years old to enroll in the CELTA (20 is preferred) and 20 years old to enroll in the Bridge Classroom-based IDELT.

No, you don’t. Many students in both our online and classroom-based TEFL/TESOL courses speak a first language other than English. The chart below outlines our English proficiency requirements.*

  Fluency Requirement IELTS TOEIC TOEFL IBT Cambridge BULATS EU Framework BL English Test
IDELT/CELTA/Onsite TEFL Mastery 8.0 950 110 CPE 89 C2 (Mastery) 95
IDELTOnline™ Advanced 7.0 845 95 CEA 75 C1 (Proficiency) 85
BridgeTEFL Online Courses Intermediate 5.0 650 64 PET 59 B1 (Threshold) 69
*Equivalencies are approximate.

Trainees in BridgeTEFL programs represent a wide variety of nationalities, ages, and backgrounds. Many are young adults in their 20s who have recently graduated from college and are preparing for an adventure teaching abroad. We also have a significant number of students of all ages who are current teachers looking improve upon existing teaching skills or other professionals who would like to transition into teaching. A growing number of BridgeTEFL trainees are also retirees interested in teaching English post-career.

The Bridge IDELT, Cambridge CELTA, and Online TEFL Certifications prepare you for teaching jobs in your home country or in any country you choose. With BridgeTEFL certification, you could teach business executives in Chile, high school students in China, or young learners in Ukraine. Opportunities exist for TEFL certificated teachers all over the world! The jobs you can get depend in a large part on your other qualifications (such as a degree or teaching experience) and the country in which you are applying.

Most school districts in the U.S. require that you are licensed by the state and/or have a degree in education in order to teach in public school. Some districts in the U.S., however, are in dire need of ESL teachers and will hire people with a four-year college degree and a TEFL certificate (provided that they are willing to work towards licensure). Requirements to teach at international public schools will vary by location.

To get started, there are a few questions to consider.

The first is "Where do I want to teach?" When selecting a region or country, you’ll consider various job-related factors, including qualifications to teach there, demand for teachers, typical salaries and benefits, and cost of living. You’ll also think about other criteria, such as language, cultural, geographical attractions, climate, health issues, distance from home, social atmosphere, and local economic and political conditions.

Another question you should ask yourself is "How long do I want to stay?" Some schools will ask you to sign a 1-year contract, while others will ask only for a verbal promise that you'll to stay for a few months.

The final question to consider is, "How should I prepare myself to teach and qualify for jobs in this location?" BridgeTEFL offers a variety of options for teacher preparation, including our online and classroom-based TEFL certification courses. For a quick guide to job requirements in countries around the world and other basic info, refer to our Jobs at a Glance chart.

It depends on the location in which you choose to teach. In most countries in Asia, for example, a four-year degree can be a requirement in order to receive a work visa. However, other regions, such as Latin America, TEFL-certified teachers without degrees can qualify for jobs teaching English. You can refer to the Jobs at a Glance chart for a quick overview of typical degree-requirements by country and other information.

No, definitely not! While some schools do appreciate it if you know the local language, if for no other reason than to be able to handle yourself more comfortably in the environment, most jobs will not require this, and in fact the majority of teachers do not fluently speak the language of the country in which they teach.

Most foreign teachers who do not speak the local language are asked to teach classes that have a certain minimum level of English, so that the students are able to be 100% immersed in English. Also, if you've been trained in the Direct Method of teaching English (the method utilized in BridgeTEFL programs), you will be able to teach English successfully in any country in the world, whether you know the language or not. Furthermore, many schools offer language classes and social activities to help familiarize their teachers with the local language and culture, so that you can start learning!

Yes, you can. Online TEFL certification has become a standard in the industry, and is the type that most choose when planning to teach abroad. Accredited online TEFL certification, such as Bridge offers, meets TEFL qualifications for many of the thousands of teaching positions available at languages institutes and schools overseas. (Many schools require a minimum of 100 hours of certification.) The curriculum of our online courses is based on our rigorous classroom-based courses, and is designed to prepare teachers for all aspects of the international classroom, such as lesson planning, teaching grammar, and classroom management.

While the most important qualification for many language centers is that you are certified by an accredited provider with a comprehensive course such as BridgeTEFL, some schools require teachers without previous teaching experience to hold classroom-based TEFL certification (since this kind of training includes a teaching practicum). For information regarding our onsite TEFL programs in over 15 countries worldwide, please visit onsite courses page.

If you have questions about specific requirements to teach abroad in a certain region or country, please contact a BridgeTEFL advisor or refer to this chart, which provides an overview of typical TEFL requirements by country: Jobs at a Glance.

If you have questions about specific requirements to teach abroad in a certain region or country, please contact a BridgeTEFL advisor or refer to this chart, which provides an overview of typical TEFL requirements by country: Jobs at a Glance.

Yes. All graduates of BridgeTEFL receive lifetime access to the BridgeTEFL Job Board, where language institutes, K-12 schools, and teacher recruiters worldwide post open teaching vacancies to which you can apply. In addition, TEFL students also have access to the Resource Center inside their course, where they can find lists of schools, employers, recruiters, and websites for finding jobs abroad, as well as advice and resources for writing resumes, CVs and applying for jobs.

Our Bridge IDELTOnline and classroom-based TEFL course graduates receive our highest level of job placement assistance. This premium assistance is personalized and lasts a lifetime. Graduates of these courses can consult with a real, live Bridge Jobs Advisor after their course. Our advisors have experience teaching around the world and can support you in your own search by:

  • • Connecting you to jobs via the Bridge Job Board and other resources
  • • Facilitating networking opportunities with recruiters and schools
  • • Providing job advice specific to your location of interest
  • • Offering tips for vetting employers abroad
  • • Reviewing your TEFL resume

Yes, you can. A lot depends on the teaching location you choose, the cost of living in that location, and how you budget your money. The higher paying jobs are generally in Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Teaching jobs in South Korea also include housing for teachers, allowing you to save extra money.

Another high-paid teaching region is the Middle East, particularly the Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Kuwait. In this region, however, requirements for teachers tend to be higher as well. You often need a bachelor’s or master’s degree, several years of teaching experience, and often classroom-based TEFL certification.

Benefits are sometimes offered by schools in addition to the teacher’s salary and can include housing, airfare reimbursement, bonuses, paid holidays, medical insurance, transportation, and language lessons. These benefits tend to vary by region (refer to this chart to find out what typical benefits are by country: Jobs at a Glance) so this is an important consideration when choosing where to teach.

Some schools offer paid housing for their teachers, such as a shared or private apartment near school, while other schools may subsidize housing costs. Schools that do not pay for teachers’ housing costs usually provide assistance locating suitable accommodations, and often have a staff member dedicated to helping teachers set this up. In many locations, you will be expected to pay for your own airfare to and from the country, as well as health insurance. However, some employers, especially in Asia, will provide these perks.

The answer to this question is almost always yes, regardless of where you choose to teach. This will certainly be the case if you choose to teach in high-paid region such as Asia (where teachers are often able to save money), but even in regions without high salaries, such as Latin America, teachers can generally support themselves comfortably, since cost of living is lower, too.

Teachers who wish to supplement their salary by teaching private classes or working for more than one school can usually do so, as long as this is permitted by local visa/contract laws).

Most schools will require you to sign a teaching contract. Contracts vary depending upon the organization and on the labor laws of each country. The points covered by a contract may include the minimum number of guaranteed teaching hours, amount and frequency of pay, length of service, hours the teachers must be available to teach or do admin work, whether teachers can teach classes outside of the school, and conditions under which the contract can be broken. Be aware that schools in certain countries will ask you to teach on the basis of a verbal contract only. If this is the case, be sure that you and the administration are clear on the conditions of your employment, so there are no surprises later on.

These are answers to general questions about online TEFL certification. For course-specific FAQs, please follow this link to go the page for each course.

It is required that BridgeTEFL online course trainees are at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma, or equivalent. Trainees must also have sufficient English language ability (see chart below).

  Fluency Requirement IELTS TOEIC TOEFL IBT Cambridge BULATS EU Framework Bridge Online Language Test
IDELT/CELTA/Onsite TEFL Mastery 8.0 950 110 CPE 89 C2 (Mastery) 95
IDELTOnline™ Advanced 7.0 845 95 CEA 75 C1 (Proficiency) 85
International, Foundational, Specialized, and Micro-credential Courses (all online programs except IDELTOnline) Intermediate 5.0 650 64 PET 59 B1 (Threshold) 69

Most of our online TEFL courses do not require you to purchase a textbook. The tuition for BridgeTEFL Online Courses, including Specialized Certificates, is comprehensive and entirely online; nothing else needs to be purchased to complete them.

The IDELTOnline course tuition includes everything except the textbook, The Practice of English Language Teaching (4th Ed. with DVD), by Jeremy Harmer. This book costs about USD $50 and can be purchased from any bookseller before the start of the class.

The 40-hour Basic Certificate is perfect for someone who is just starting to explore TEFL and wants to get his or her feet wet. It is an introductory course meant to be a first step into English language teaching.

The 60-Hour Educator Certificate is a good choice for someone who would like to dig a little deeper and cover all English language teaching basics, as well as have more feedback on assignments from a professional TEFL tutor. This course is our core curriculum. 

The 100-Hour Professional Certificate, is perfect for anyone wishing to make him or herself more marketable in the TEFL job marketplace, since it meets the 100-hour minimum requirement of most English language schools abroad. This course includes video tutorials and Grammar Advisor, a grammar review course and teaching resource all in one– a must for any English language teacher.

The 120-hour Master Certificate is the most complete self-study online teacher-certification course we offer, including the core curriculum, tutor support, video tutorials, and Grammar Advisor, as well as two specialized endorsements: Teaching Business English Endorsement, and Teaching Young Learners Endorsement. The Master Certificate also includes access to a comprehensive library of lesson plans! This course is for people who want the complete TEFL package and the best value!

The 150-Hour IDELTOnline™
The Bridge International Diploma in English Language Teaching (IDELTOnline™) is a popular choice for people who are serious about their career teaching English a Foreign Language and want the highest-level online certification. It is an interactive course in which you’ll join a group of trainees who work through content together, week-by-week, under the guidance of a master’s-level instructor.

This 12-week, university-level training not only qualifies graduates for the best jobs, but can be taken for college credit. Graduates of this course receive personalized job placement support from Bridge Jobs Advisors, including phone and email consultation and resume review.

Bridge Specialized TEFL Certificates
Specialized TEFL Certificates are designed to take general training to the next level and boost your resume. They are popular with current teachers who are looking for professional development in order to qualify for higher pay or a better job, or new teachers who plan to teach a specific group (i.e. the teacher who would like to teach in China may take a Specialized Certificate in Teaching Young Learners). These certifications can be added to the IDELTOnline™ Teaching Diploma or any other TEFL course.

We offer the following Specialized Certifications:

Yes! If you would like to add an in-person teaching component to any of our online TEFL courses, you can sign up for our 20-hour Specialized Certificate: Guided Teaching Practicum.

Our courses are written in American English; however, any English speaker may take this course! The focus of the course is on how to teach English, and all dialects/spellings of English are recognized and accepted.

Online TEFL certifications are recognized and accepted worldwide, particularly in regions such as Asia and Latin America. Keep in mind that TEFL certification is often just one of the typical requirements to teach English as a foreign language, and some schools may also require a bachelor’s degree or teaching experience. For more information on country-specific requirements for teaching English abroad, please review our Jobs at a Glance chart or contact a program advisor

Each state has its own requirements for becoming a certified ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, but generally TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) in the U.S. is an occupation that requires a minimum of a four-year university degree and, more commonly, a Master's in TESOL. Instructors in accredited Intensive English Programs (IEPs) in the US typically must have at least a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 6 months of full-time ESL or foreign language classroom teaching experience, or a bachelor’s degree along with a certificate in teaching ESL or EFL that include a practice teaching component.

BridgeTEFL Online certification can serve as a supplemental certificate to someone who meets the aforementioned standards.

Absolutely! You may upgrade your BridgeTEFL Online course from 40 to 60, 100 or120 hours at any time by clicking on the "Upgrade" button from inside your course. If you are a student in the IDELTOnline, you may upgrade your course by adding Specialized Certificates or a Teaching Practicum.

You may access your certificate after you have completed and passed all of the components of your course. You will be assigned a unique certificate code which may be entered into our secure Certificate Verification System by you or any employer you share it with. There, it is possible to download and print your certificate as well as read a summary of each course component's content, and see the grade that you received for each component. The link to the certificate system is:  https://bridge.edu/tefl/certificate-services .

You may also order a hard copy of your certificate (notarized or with apostille authentication) on that same page or from inside your course.

No, your TEFL certificate does not expire. However, some employers may be wary of certificates that were earned too far in the past, so if you are applying to your first teaching jobs a year or more after getting certified, you may want to consider adding an upgrade in order to freshen up your skills. Classroom TEFL/TESOL Course

These are answers to general questions about classroom-based TEFL certification. For course-specific FAQs, please follow this link and select a course.

The Bridge IDELT and the Cambridge CELTA  are both accredited, internationally recognized TEFL/TESOL courses that prepare you for teaching positions worldwide. The difference in these courses is that they were developed by different organizations, Bridge in the U.S. and Cambridge in the U.K., so they vary slightly in structure and content but are considered equivalent certifications. The Bridge IDELT is also offered in partnership with Metropolitan State University of Denver. Upon successful completion of the program at any Bridge center, students receive a joint certificate from both MSU Denver and Bridge.

The CELTA tuition is higher than IDELT tuition at Bridge because the CELTA is a Cambridge English (U.K.) course offered at authorized training centers around the world. Centers that receive this authorization pay royalty fees to Cambridge, which affects the course cost. The Bridge IDELT, on the other hand, is a Bridge proprietary course, so no additional fees are required, making tuition lower.

The IDELT and CELTA are very intensive courses. The daily schedule normally runs from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily, and each day is divided into two parts. In the mornings, trainees attend “input sessions,” in which the trainers facilitate workshops on language, methodology, theory, techniques, etc. There is an hour lunch break mid-day. In the afternoons, there is time for lesson planning and preparation, followed by teaching practice.

Due to the rigorous schedule and the time required after class for reading, researching, planning lessons, and completing homework and written assignments, it is not recommended that trainees have other obligations, such as work, during the four-week classroom-based courses.

In the US, the Bridge IDELT is accredited by ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training) and recommended for 3-9 graduate-level credits by ACE CREDIT (The American Council of Education’s Credit Recommendation Service). Please contact your university academic advisor for more information. BridgeTEFL will be happy to provide any documentation requested by your school.

The Bridge IDELT may also be taken for direct university credit or as a pathway to a graduate-level program at one of our many university partners worldwide. Learn more about the IDELT as a pathway to a master’s in TESOL.

If you are not a native English speaker, you must demonstrate English proficiency at a minimum of a C1 level (according to the Common European Framework (CEFR), or have earned the equivalent to an IELTS test score of 7.0.

University Affiliations

Alissa Berdahl
International Program Advisor

Do you still have questions?
Find more specific FAQs on each course page, or contact a TEFL Advisor directly!

Accreditation and Affiliations

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