The time it takes to become an ESL teacher can vary depending on individual circumstances, but the process typically begins with obtaining a TESOL certification. This certification course equips prospective teachers with the necessary skills and knowledge to plan and deliver high-quality lessons in various classroom settings. The duration of the journey to become an ESL teacher largely depends on the type of TESOL course chosen. Some intensive courses can be completed in a matter of weeks, while part-time courses may take several months.
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The quickest TESOL courses to complete are typically short-course options that can be around 50 hours or less. These courses are designed to provide a basic qualification in a relatively brief period. However, it is important to note that while they enable quick certification, they may not always be preferred by employers looking for more comprehensive training. Most ESL teaching positions require candidates to have completed a TESOL course of at least 100 hours. Courses like the popular 120-hour TESOL certification offered by ITTT, which is entirely online and self-paced, strike a balance between thoroughness and expediency. Highly motivated trainees with ample time can complete such courses in as little as two weeks, though the average completion time is usually between six to eight weeks. This makes them an optimal choice for those seeking a balance between speed and quality in their TESOL education.
An in-class TESOL course typically follows a fixed schedule, usually completed in about four weeks of full-time study. This format is more intensive than online courses, as it requires consistent daily engagement over the month-long period. The advantage of an in-class TESOL course is its structured timeline, ensuring that trainees are prepared to start job applications immediately upon completion. Additionally, many trainees opt for training centers located in or near their desired work locations. Such centers often have established connections with local schools, enhancing the likelihood of securing a teaching position shortly after qualification. The focused and immersive nature of in-class TESOL courses makes them a viable option for those looking to quickly transition into the ESL teaching field.
Although your TESOL course will provide all the information you need to get your teaching career started, you shouldn't expect to know everything right from the start. The road to becoming an experienced ESL teacher who can easily navigate any issues that come up in the classroom will be much longer than a single training course. In order to reach that level of professionalism you might want to consider taking additional training courses to build on what you learned in your initial TESOL course. Popular options for additional training include courses that focus on specialized areas of language teaching such as young learners, business English, and teaching online. Another option is an advanced-level course, such as our online Diploma in TESOL.
By adding one or more additional courses to your portfolio you will gradually grow your understanding of the complex world of English language teaching. On top of these additional courses, the main thing you can do to further develop your teaching abilities is to actually teach. When it comes to a teacher's ability to produce effective lessons that will really push their students towards their study goals, there is no real substitute for experience. Your skills and knowledge will grow with every lesson you teach and within a few weeks or months you should start to feel like the professional ESL teacher that you set out to be.