What does TEFL stand for?

“What does TEFL stand for?” is a question that I often forget people new to teaching abroad ask, as I have been in this field for over 16 years. It’s a valid question as, when I think about it, I didn’t know what TEFL stood for or meant when I first started.

TEFL is an acronym that stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. It is used worldwide, but is commonly found in the UK and Asia. It refers to teaching English to non- native speakers of English usually abroad, but sometimes for immigrants in an English speaking country.

There are many other acronyms as well as the above. These include TESL which stands for Teaching English as a second language. There is also TESOL which means Teaching English as a Second or Other Language. TESOL is common in North America and Australia.

How to become a TEFL teacher

To become a TEFL teacher is a process that almost anyone can do if the are a native or near native speaker of English. The general rout people take is to sign up for a TEFL course either in-house or online. Most employers are looking for teachers who have completed at least 120 hours of study. You don’t need to worry about the acronyms as once you are certified in either a TEFL. TESOL or TESL you are qualified to teach English to any non-native speaker of English.flag globe

Where to Work

Once certified the world awaits you. You can use your certificate to work in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe. A lot of people gravitate to Asia as there is a high demand for English teachers and they definitely know what TEFL stands for there! Learn more about the best places to teach English abroad.

How much can you earn?

How much you can earn varies widely from country to country. You have to keep  in mind that a salary that seems quite low, can be a tremendous amount in that particular country when you factor in the cost of living. So don’t discard a place for just monetary reasons. The big boys when it comes to TEFL salaries are in the Middle East with countries like, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea not far behind.


The benefits of teaching abroad are almost too numerous to name. Obviously the satisfaction of seeing your students learning is immense, but being able to live like a local and immerse yourself in the culture will truly enrich our life. If you haven’t really travelled or lived abroad before it will open you up to new horizons which you will be able to keep with you for years to come. The friends you make will be lifelong and when (or if) you return to your home country you will see it through new eyes.

The experiences you receive will also make you more valuable to future employers when you return home as most employers want to hire people with a depth of experience.

“What does TEFL stand for?” It stands for a once in a lifetime experience that should be compulsory for people of any age. Start your adventure today!

May 18, 2015

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