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Frequently Asked Questions

The answers to your questions about TEFL certification courses.

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What is the difference between ESL and EFL?

English as a Second Language (ESL) is English taught to non-native speakers who live in an English-speaking country. This would be the case, for example, with a Korean student living and studying English in the United States.

English as a Foreign Language (EFL) is English taught to non-native speakers who live in a non-English-speaking country. This would be the case with a Korean student studying English in his home country.

What is the difference between IDELT™, CELTA, TEFL, TESOL, and online TEFL certificates?

Whether you choose a CELTA, IDELT™, or other TEFL course, you should know that all BridgeTEFL programs are internationally recognized, prepare you for teaching positions overseas, and last a lifetime. There are, however, several significant differences among them.

The University of Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is the most widely recognized international teacher qualification. The CELTA is a standardized teacher preparation program, so no matter where you take the course, it is more or less the same. If you have a CELTA certificate, prospective employers know exactly what to expect in terms of your training. CELTA requires six hours teaching practice time, six hours of observation, four assignments, a pre-interview task, an interview in the application process, and a pre-course task once you are accepted.

Bridge IDELT
The Bridge IDELT (International Diploma in English Language Teaching) is an intensive four-week, 140-hour course that prepares you to teach English anywhere in the world.

The IDELT is offered worldwide ONLY at BridgeTEFL Authorized Training Centers, which have been evaluated and recognized as meeting our rigorous standards and quality assurances. All IDELT graduates at any of our Authorized Training Centers worldwide are issued an official certificate from BridgeTEFL headquarters upon course completion.

Other TEFL Courses
Our other TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses are also teacher preparation certificate programs, but they are not standardized. Therefore, when evaluating an on-site or online TEFL course, it’s important to do your research.

TEFL certificates are offered by a variety of providers in training centers around the world. BridgeTEFL represents only select programs in order to provide a larger variety of TEFL training locations worldwide. Although the TEFL courses we represent may vary in content and structure, they all cover what are accepted as the essential topics in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Graduates of these programs will be issued a certificate of completion from the partner training center.

TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) or TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) courses are not standardized either and are usually offered through universities.

Online TEFL
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 on-site programs. However, the real-world experience of teaching authentic language classes is not possible in most online courses. Some programs, such as our IDELT Online course, do provide video observations or tutorials so that you can get a glimpse into the TEFL classroom before heading abroad.

Completion of an online TEFL certificate program qualifies you for many teaching positions overseas. While some schools in some countries prefer teachers with on-site experience, the most important thing for many language centers is that you be certified. If spending a month in another city or paying the tuition of an on-site course is not feasible for you, an online program is your best option. Like on-site programs, online TEFL courses are not standardized.

Can I receive university credit or continuing education units (CEUs) for Bridge IDELT™ ?

Graduates of our IDELT  programs are often eligible to receive credit. In the USA, Bridge is accredited by  ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training) and is recommended for credit at over 1,500 universities by National CCRS (College Credit Recommendation Service). This means that the IDELT was evaluated by a team of subject matter experts and found comparable to college instruction. The IDELT has been recommended for six graduate-level semester hours as an elective or as a teaching practicum in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

Please contact your academic advisor for more information. BridgeTEFL will be happy to provide any documentation requested by your school.

Do I really need a TEFL certificate to teach English abroad?

Although schools in some parts of the world may require only that you be a native speaker, most institutions prefer to hire teachers with some training. And in an increasingly competitive environment, it’s an absolute necessity at some schools. In any case, having an IDELT, CELTA or other such TEFL certificate on your resume can make the difference between you and another native English speaker, and will increase your chances of working at a better school and/or receiving a higher salary.

Is it really necessary to get my TEFL certificate through an accredited institution?

Absolutely. As explained above, TEFL courses are not uniform in either content or quality. 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.

Do I have to have a college degree to enroll in a TEFL course?

No. CELTA and BridgeTEFL courses require only that students be 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 TEFL (18- and 19-year-olds are accepted at the center’s discretion).

Do I have to be a native speaker to enroll in a TEFL course?

No. Please see the chart below for our fluency requirements:



 What is the profile of students in your training programs?

Trainees in BridgeTEFL programs represent a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. Many students are young adults between the ages of 22 and 30 who have recently graduated from college or are changing jobs. We also have a significant number of students between the ages of 45 and 65, who are either recent retirees or are taking time off from the corporate world to travel abroad.

We have had trainees from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Holland, and India, but the large majority of our on-site students come from the United States and Great Britain. TEFL Online students are from all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, Italy, China, Korea, and Lebanon.

Where can I teach with these certificates?

The Bridge IDELT™, Cambridge CELTA, and TEFL Online certificates prepare you for a teaching job in any country you choose. You may end up teaching a business executive in Chile or a group of 40 high school students in China. EFL teachers are currently needed all over the world, with the highest demand in Korea, People’s Republic of China, Japan, Indonesia, and other Pacific Rim nations.

Do these training programs enable me to teach ESL/EFL in public school?

Most school districts require that you be licensed by the state in order to teach in public school. Some districts, however, are in dire need of ESL teachers and will hire people with a TEFL certificate provided that they are willing to work towards licensure. This often begins as a long-term substitute teaching position.

For frequently asked questions about teaching abroad, see FAQs About Teaching English Abroad.

For frequently asked questions about Online TEFL courses, see FAQs About Online Courses.

For frequently asked questions about Paid TEFL Jobs, see FAQs About Paid TEFL Jobs.