TEFL Certificate FAQs
The certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) provides students with appropriate skills and a credential that will enable them to teach EFL abroad. The TEFL certificate is awarded to students who successfully complete a series of five undergraduate courses offered by the Department of Applied Linguistics & ESL. The TEFL certificate is an entry-level credential for those who plan short-term stays overseas. Students who are interested in a career in teaching EFL/ESL will need to have more extensive education and certification at the master’s degree level.
Students who are likely to be interested in the certificate program include those in disciplines where an extended stay abroad would enhance their skills, employment or graduate school admission possibilities upon their return. Some individuals are simply interested in the adventure of living in another culture and gaining knowledge of the world. Other individuals who would take the certificate courses are post-baccalaureate students who are interested in working abroad but do not want to make the long-term professional commitment entailed in a graduate degree in the field. (Note that Georgia State now also offers a graduate certificate, however, which is also only five courses and is a better choice if there is a chance that you might be interested in continuing on to earn an MA. Finally, majors in Language Studies interested in further graduate study in applied linguistics would be able to earn the certificate as part of their undergraduate degree requirements, thus enhancing their graduate school potential.
The TEFL certificate is intended for Georgia State-admitted students who take the required courses as part of their undergraduate coursework, or as post-baccalaureate students. It is not available as a continuing education program.
Students can usually earn the TEFL certificate in a year or less. It is not possible to take all five courses in a single semester because some courses build on others. AL 3021 is a prerequisite to all the other courses and should be taken first. In the case of post-baccalaureate students or undergraduates beginning the coursework late in their programs of study, we can make exceptions to this prerequisite rule, allowing students to take AL 3021 simultaneously with AL 3051 and/or AL 3101. Taking AL 3021 and AL 3051 simultaneously should allow these students to finish the certificate within two semesters (dependent upon course offerings).
Teach English as a Foreign Language overseas, primarily. Some graduates do ESL work locally with refugee programs, adult education, or volunteer programs, but most university ESL jobs require an MA.
Yes—that’s the specific goal. Most countries require a certificate of 100-150 minimum hours in the classroom. This one is 250.
Yes—you’ll be exposed to language and culture issues, as well as teaching methods and then ultimately have a practicum experience. You’ll get to know easily if this is for you.
AL 3021 Introduction to Linguistics (3 hrs.) *NOTE: this course has a prereq of AL 2021 or an exam
AL 3041 Second Language Acquisition (3 hrs.)
AL 3051 TEFL I: Methods and Approaches (3 hrs.)
AL 3101 English Grammar in Use (3 hrs.)
AL 4161 TEFL II: Practicum and Classroom Practices (3 hrs.)
Most people finish in one academic year. NOTE: Because some courses build on others, it is impossible to complete the TEFL certificate in a single semester by taking all 5 courses at the same time.
We offer every course fall and spring semesters. Some courses are also offered during the summer when enrollment allows. There is a two-year schedule projection available on our department website to help you plan.
You must take AL 3021 Intro to Linguistics first. If you need to, you may take a couple of the other courses concurrently with AL 3021, especially AL 3051 TEFL I (AL 3041 cannot be taken concurrently). You must take AL 3051 TEFL I before taking AL 4161 TEFL II
Forever and ever.
Yes, but you must apply and matriculate to Georgia State. Most people earn the TEFL Certificate as part of their undergraduate degree. If you already have an undergraduate degree, you should consider our graduate TESOL certificate instead—it doesn’t require a previous background in TESOL/applied linguistics, yet it can be folded into an MA degree if you end up really liking it and want to make a career of it. Another alternative if you already have an undergraduate degree is to apply for post-baccalaureate status and register for the undergraduate TEFL courses. If you are a former Georgia State student you would be classified as reentry. Information on applying as a post-baccalaureate or reentry student can be found at Undergraduate Admissions.
No. However, we do offer the courses in the evening on a rotating basis, usually one per semester.
There could be—but not at Georgia State. Online and/or accelerated programs are not very reputable and are not well accepted by high-status employers in the TEFL industry because preparing to be a classroom teacher takes time and practice. There are many great programs like ours, so you would be competing against these types of students for the best jobs.
Our department is one of the most well-known in the world so our faculty have many contacts and often help students with job searching (so it’s wise, of course, to get to know your professors well). Our department also maintains a webpage Career Links with great links for job-hunting.
You’re right—all countries/situations are different, and a lot of it depends on supply and demand. You can always live alone and support yourself, but may not save much money. You just have to decide what’s most important to you: money, experience, language, a particular area of the world, etc. Then you can start looking at all the details. But yes, you should be able to support yourself—if not (like “volunteer” positions that require YOU to pay), we would strongly encourage you not to go.
It depends on how long it takes you. Figure up (15 hours x current undergrad tuition rates) plus (the number of semesters it takes you x current undergrad fee rates) at Student Financial Services. HOPE and Pell grants do cover TEFL coursework for undergrads. If you are over 62 years old and a GA resident there is no tuition.
It changes all the time. Europe is hard, but otherwise, demand is good.
If you major in Applied Linguistics, you can take all five required courses for the TEFL certificate as either required or elective courses that count towards your major. If you minor in Applied Linguistics (5 courses) three of those courses would overlap with the TEFL certificate so that 7 courses total would give you both the minor and the certificate.
YES. (If you are not currently a Georgia State student, you must first apply to take classes through the university.) Once you are taking 3051 TEFL 1, fill out the application (https://cas.gsu.edu/casugradcerts/) to add the certificate program. (It’s like declaring a major.) You will then be added to the email list for TEFL related opportunities and when you apply to graduate the TEFL certificate will show up as an option for you.
Your TEFL certificate will be mailed to you by the registrar like your diploma when you graduate (though usually after your diploma, since degrees are processed before certificates).