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A Myriad of Questions

With increasing frequency I receive e-mails with questions from people interested in dropping out of the “rat race” and into a more interesting, rewarding way of life. They want to teach English, their native or first language, as a foreign language in another country. Their reasons are as varied as the people themselves; executives who want stress-relief, bored homemakers, divorcees, retirees looking for new purpose where they can apply their hard-won experience and knowledge, recent grads who want some fun and adventure under their belt before “settling down” to a more permanent career. Then there are the travelers who can “see the world” – for free – by working their way around the planet as they see fit. (They hope) Finally, there are teaching professionals who simply wish to ply their trade on foreign soil while soaking up as much local color in the process as possible. They often become career expats, like me.

Are you interested and curious about the prospect of teaching English as a Foreign Language in a foreign country? What do you need to know? How do you get started? Do you have to know a foreign language? How can you choose a good training program? Where can you go to teach? How much can you earn? Will you be able to travel? How about health and other benefits? This second article of a series will continue to help answer these and other questions, and hopefully, keep you pointed in the right direction to get going in this fascinating, rewarding field.

Online TEFL Programs

First, many online TEFL programs are not internationally accredited so you may have problems in many countries if this will be your only teaching credential. An online program may also not have as stringent requisite for observed and graded teaching. As a matter of fact, some may not even have an observed class room teaching requirement at all. You simply won’t be prepared to walk into a class room to teach a group of learners whom you can’t talk to in their native language. Not only will you be (rightfully) scared to death, but may fall completely flat on your “whatchamacallit”. Any good CELTA or TEFL certificate program will provide you with immediate “hands on” experience in working directly with EFL learners.

Second, online TEFL certifications are NOT accepted in several Latin American, Asian and European countries. For example, the Colombian Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and most high-level schools, institutes and universities WILL check this out thoroughly. You very likely won’t be able to work legally with only an online TEFL certificate. Be sure to inquire about this first, before you plunk down hundreds, or thousands, of your hard-won dollars.

Think carefully on this.

Otherwise you may well be wasting your time and money.

Want More No-Nonsense Information?

In this article series I can barely scratch the surface. You can get some additional information by going to and doing a search there for my name, “Larry M. Lynch”. You will then be taken to my free article postings on English teaching. Finally, don’t get me wrong, I’m not “knocking” any organization’s TEFL program. You just need to scrupulously check and compare what you’ll be getting and if it’ll be accepted where you’re planning to teach. With more than 17 years in the field working on both sides of the interview table, I’ve seen far too many things go wrong which could have been avoided by a more careful scrutiny of TEFL training programs. Yes, most internationally certified CELTA or TEFL certificate programs cost more and are far more difficult to successfully complete to boot, but, as the saying goes, you usually get what you pay for.

Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with. Good luck.


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