After College Alternatives

Wanna do more than landscaping this summer? Or are you a newly-minted UVM grad, looking to do something other than the Peace Corps? Ever heard of TEFL/TESL?

What TEFL/TESL is: TEFL stands for ” Teaching English as a foreign language”. TESL stands for “Teaching English as a Second Language”. TESOL is an umbrella over the previous two covering any student that is not a native speaker of English. It stands for ” Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages”.

And why it might be a cool job: As the learning and teaching of English has become more essential to international communication, there is a worldwide need for ELT [English Language Teaching]. Earning a TEFL Certificate that will provide you with the basic skills needed to teach your way around the world. Now that the demand for English has evolved, so has the demand for qualifications. Schools are popping up everywhere and the competition is refining the field. Once you have completed a TEFL/TESL course and have gained a certificate, you are qualified to teach English nearly anywhere in the world. Some certification programs may even place you in foreign posts, as well as provide an income and housing there.

Do I need to know the language of the country I wish to teach in? NO! The ESL classroom is a monolingual classroom. Only English is spoken. The programs selected below will teach you the Communicative approach to teaching English. The majority of schools do not want you to speak the local language in the class as only speaking English accelerates the learning process. That said you might want to learn a phrase or two to get along in your new environment! Note that a bonus to teaching English in a foreign country is that you can learn a new language for free. You also often don’t need to have any teaching experience whatsoever.

What are the prerequisites to get a certificate? In most programs, the only prerequisites are that you must be 18 years of age with a grade 12 diploma and are a native English speaker, or possess a first language proficiency in English. Non-native English speakers may gain certification as well. If you do have a college or undergraduate degree or any special diploma, you can acquire a more lucrative contract. $$$ The certificates are often valid for a lifetime.

How much can I expect to earn? It is difficult to say because the payment differs with every certificate and in every different job or school you will be teaching at. In Japan, for example, TESL teachers can earn up to $20,000 a year. The costs of obtaining a certificate also vary.

If you think these programs and experiences sound like something that might interest you and you’d like to check it out go to:

For a complete listing of sites within the US where you can receive TEFL/TESL certification, go to:

And for those of us sticking around Burlington this summer, St. Michael’s College offers a summer course where you can obtain a TESL/TEFL certificate. St. Mike’s also offers a master’s degree in TESL/TEFL. To get more information, go to: