When looking for a teaching position, many teachers wonder if a 120-hour TESOL certificate is sufficient to teach in a classroom or online. It may appear that it is not enough time to become a competent teacher, but we assure you that it is possible.
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Most ESL employers and schools will require at least 120 hours of training before you can apply for teaching positions. Some employers may even require classroom experience in addition to the 120 hours of study. There are several TESOL courses that include this number of study hours as well as some level of classroom practice, making them ideal for jobs that require experience.
A 120-hour TESOL course is a training program for English speakers who want to teach English abroad or online. The term "120 hours" refers to a 120-hour combination of academic coursework (100 hours or more) and actual teaching practice (at least six hours).
120-hour TESOL courses are typically taught in a four-week intensive program in a traditional in-person classroom setting. However, online TESOL courses have grown in popularity in recent years, making TESOL certification more widely available. Part-time online TESOL courses are now common (ideal for people who are working or studying), but intensive online TESOL classes are still available.
Even if you have no prior experience or training in English language education, a 120-hour TESOL certification course is widely accepted as the global standard for finding work as a paid English teacher abroad or online. However, in order to receive professional level accreditation and be recognized in the field (including by most employers), a 120-hour TESOL course must meet at least the following fundamental criteria:
- Include between 6 and 20 hours of practical experience (live practice teaching).
- Taught by a competent instructor with substantial teaching and training experience and a university degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or linguistics.
- Have accreditation from a reputable TESOL organization to ensure that the course meets international standards and covers a wide range of topics.
It is critical to remember that just because a company or TESOL school labels or advertises its courses as a "120-hour TESOL course," this does not imply that they are accepted by accrediting organizations or employers.
When considering 120-hour TESOL courses, look for the following red flags:
- There is no option for hands-on experience (live teaching). Some employers will refuse to accept or recognize TESOL certifications that do not include a practicum component. Whether required or not, getting some real-world classroom experience before venturing into the world of teaching is a good idea.
- There is no accreditation from an independent authority in the field of education. The majority of employers will not accept TESOL certifications that have not been authorized by a recognized certifying authority. A lack of accreditation is usually indicative of a low-quality TESOL course.
- TESOL classes taught by non-university-level instructors without extensive experience. We believe that if you are studying to become a professional teacher, you should be taught by one as well. Believe it or not, many online TESOL courses are not taught by qualified instructors.
Cheap TESOL courses are usually cheap for a reason, and you generally get what you pay for. As a result, any low-cost or free TESOL courses should be avoided. A good TESOL course costs money because it requires qualified instructors, accreditation, real-world job counseling, and the creation of a professional-level curriculum. If you want professional-level training and exceptional assistance in areas such as pre-enrollment guidance and job placement assistance, it is worth the extra money.
A 120-hour TESOL course can be completed in two ways: full-time for four weeks (eight hours per day plus homework and practice teaching) or online over a longer period of time.
Most accredited 120-hour TESOL courses available online allow you to study at your own pace. Most of our courses at ITTT can be completed in six months. This is ideal for people who have a full-time job or other obligations. If someone claims in an online forum that they completed their 120-hour TESOL course in a matter of hours, a weekend, or just a few days, this is usually a sign that the course is not authentic.
A longer course with more hours will typically include more content, which is a good thing in general, but the number of hours in a TESOL course is not the only factor that determines its quality. If a TESOL course has more than 120 hours but does not meet accreditation requirements, it is not worth taking because you will be unable to find teaching jobs without a valid certificate.
If you intend to teach English as a foreign language in the long run, or if you want to specialize in a specific field of teaching (such as business English or teaching English to young learners), longer TESOL courses can be beneficial.