Overwhelmingly, the answer appears to be yes. This might not be the case for everyone, but for me – definitely. Because I have no teaching experience, getting TEFL certified will go a long way in helping me get the experience I need to become a marketable teacher and obtain a higher paying position or at a better school. Because I have a bachelor’s degree in a non-education field, a TEFL certificate will push me into a larger pool of employment opportunities, and seems well worth the initial investment to me.
The other big reason to get certified also relates back to my lack of experience. At the moment, I have no idea how to teach. Throw me into a classroom right now and I’d be floundering at a loss for what to do. Getting certified is more than a piece of paper, it’s an education on how to teach – an education I really would like to have before jumping into my new life as an English teacher.
For those of you who do have experience teaching, everything I’ve read thus far recommends TEFL for you as well, especially if you’re looking for a new job. It will open up new opportunities for you in the job market, potentially increase your salary, as well as give you the chance to learn some new teaching techniques.
And it seems if you pick the right TEFL course, their impact on your career goes beyond a 4 week course. Many of them offer alumni networks where graduates can connect, and job assistance programs beyond the scope of the course. This network and job support is something I am hoping will aid me for at least a year or two after getting certified.
The real decision for me seems to lie in which course to take – there are many, many programs available just in Prague.
Note: I’ve used the acronym TEFL throughout this post, but there are many equivalent certifications with slightly different names (TESL, TESOL, ESL) – as well as CELTA certificates. From what I’ve read thus far, CELTA is a bit more expensive and it’s name carries more weight, but that most schools outside of Western Europe don’t have a preference.