If you want to teach English abroad, the benefits of getting a TESOL certification are numerous. Apart from making you a more effective educator, the certification will definitely give your resume/CV a boost in employers’ eyes. However, a simple internet search will show that there are innumerable course options out there. How do you know which one to choose? Which one can you afford? Which countries accept which courses? Can you study online? How long does it take? It’s certainly a case of information overload.

Lucky for you, I’ve been there and am here to make it a bit more simple for you. Below, I’ve included descriptions of the four most common TEFL and TESOL courses and a link at the bottom to help you get started with one. Good luck!

100-Hour TEFL

A 100-hour TEFL course is perfect for beginners, and it’s accepted in many countries in Asia and South America. Whether you’re taking a gap year to see some of the world or fresh out of university without a clue what you’d like to do, the basic TEFL course will teach you the basics of how to teach English to non-native speakers. Using the communicative approach, this course focuses on the core studies of English and includes an in-depth grammar review and a study of phonology to help you with lesson-planning. At the end, certificate holders also have access to exclusive international job boards. This is the perfect introductory course to kickstart your teaching gears and allow you to transition smoothly into your new job.

120-Hour TEFL

This course is a copy of the 100-hour course with the addition of the TEYL (Teaching English to Young Learners) module, which focuses on teaching English at a more primary level. The inclusion of the 20-hour TEYL will give learners a massive advantage in the Asian and Latin American job markets, where school-aged children present the most demand for ESL teachers.   It’s typically more preferred by employers, as it proves you’ve done a bit more work. Graduates of this program get access to more than 1000 schools in addition to specific contacts with several programs that are well-known in the ESL teaching world.

120-Hour Advanced TESOL

You probably noticed a bit of different lettering here, but don’t panic. While TEFL specifically refers to teaching English in a country where it is not the primary language,  TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) refers to the general field of teaching English as a foreign or second language. This course is academically equivalent to the highly-revered four-week CELTA that is offered by the University of Cambridge. However, it allows you to get it online from the comfort of your own home- a luxury most CELTA companies do not offer. In fact, this is the only online course in North America that was developed by Coventry House International, who design the TrinityCertTESOL syllabus and course.  An advanced course is more relevant and practical for those who want to start a professional career, as opposed to just going abroad to teach for a year or two. The course material enables students to learn and apply a wider range of teaching strategies, such as testing and grading techniques. Graduates of this course should then enroll in a separate 20-hour practicum, which can be completed anywhere in the world.

250-Hour Advanced TESOL Diploma

This course is designed for people who want to advance further in the field of ESL teaching and is even more comprehensive than the acclaimed CELTA/Trinity CertTESOL. People with this diploma are working across the globe as Directors of Study, curriculum developers, and other high level positions. Previous teaching experience is not necessary, although you should certainly be committed if you take on this course. Teaching methods and approaches, lesson planning, and administrative and training techniques are just a few of the perks of this course. After completing the online course, newly certified teachers have the option to complete a separate 20-hour Practicum anywhere in the world or take advantage of the various recruitment resources offered by the company.

Not so overwhelming after all, right? Good. After you complete your course, the fun part begins: browsing the best locations and choosing a job.

The following page has links to TESOL requirements in different countries and which OnTESOL course is best for each country: http://www.ontesol.com/tesol-certification