When I first began teaching English as a foreign language all you needed was a TESOL Cert. to get a good job with a higher salary. However, a great deal has changed since then and the EFL/ESL industry has grown in both professionalism and popularity. Many jobs at universities in China, and most jobs in Japan and Korea require an MA in TESOL, linguistics or a closely related field. Universities in English speaking countries like the UK, Australia and the US have started ESL programs for foreign students, driving demand for qualified teachers. There are also a growing number of college graduates getting involved in teaching English overseas. So the question bestowed before us is “do you REALLY need an ESL Certification”?
The answer is YES!
My cert. TESOL got me very far in my career because at that time the industry was still very much in its infancy. But since then more people have been getting into teaching English as a second language and driving up competition for jobs. The more qualifications and experience you have, the more appealing you will be to a prospective employer.
Besides helping you get a job, the qualifications will also help you become a better teacher. When I began my MA program, I thought I knew most of what I needed to know to be a good teacher. I could not have been more wrong. The biggest thing I realized after I was knee deep into my courses was that I was grossly ineffective in my teaching. The MA program taught me to be more effective in my lesson planning, how to properly assess my students, how to transition from activity to activity, the best ways to organize my classroom environment to maximize student learning, and so much more.
If you are teaching English and would like to become a better teacher I highly recommend furthering your education. It will be of great benefit to you and your students. Start with a TEFL qualification, a Trinity TESOL Certification or a Cambridge RSA/CELTA. You will be glad you did once you see the difference it makes.