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Aren't all TEFL courses the same when it comes down to it? Yes and no; there are a few subtle and not-so-subtle differences that you should bear in mind...
If you’re muttering this question to yourself, the chances are you’re serious about teaching English abroad, but you’ve spent so much time scouting TEFL sites and eavesdropping on forums that you’re more baffled than ever about the training you need. All you want to do is find a decent course so you can get out there and teach, right?
The truth is, although TEFL and Trinity courses have their differences, their fundamental similarity is more important: they offer the same end result. Complete a reputable TEFL course or a Trinity course and you’ll gain a golden ticket to the best teaching jobs across the world - it’s that simple.
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses are designed to train you with all the skills you need to teach English to foreign students.
A Trinity course is a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) qualification that’s validated by the one of oldest examinations board in the world - Trinity College London. The Trinity TESOL course is often referred to as a Trinity CertTESOL, short for The Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Only you can decide which course is best for you. We understand that it’s hard to make the right choice without all the facts, so to help you make the decision that suits you, here’s a rundown of the most important considerations when choosing a course.
The good news is that neither course has ridiculous requirements. You do need to be 17 or 18 or older for TEFL courses and at least 18 to do a Trinity course, while both courses require you to speak English fluently. However, Trinity courses also ask that you prove you have qualifications for entry into higher education within the UK (or the equivalent if you're not from the UK).
A Trinity course provider will also invite you along for an interview to confirm that you meet the above criteria and to ultimately decide whether you’re suitable for the course. Unfortunately not all Trinity course applicants are successful, so if you’re looking for an easier application process, TEFL courses can be more lenient.
Inevitably TEFL and Trinity courses do differ, but the handy thing is they’re both designed for all levels, whether elementary or advanced, so whichever course you choose you’ll have the tools to teach your first class.
Most weekend courses include:
Find out more about weekend TEFL courses.
Most comprehensive online courses offer more in-depth training than a 20-hour weekend course (but it's often better to combine the two):
Find out more about distance TEFL courses
The Trinity course consists of written assignments and at least six hours’ real teaching practice with students. You must complete the following five units successfully to pass the course:
Find out more about Trinity's TESOL qualifications
This is the biggest factor in differentiating between the two courses.
If you’re in a real hurry to get qualified, a TEFL course would be a better option as you can get trained in as little as 20 hours through an intensive weekend TEFL course. This will focus on practical teaching tips and arm you with all the skills you need. Did you know, since 1998 our intensive weekend TEFL courses have qualified over 40,000 TEFL teachers?
If you want to take your theoretical knowledge further, there’s a range of online TEFL courses that last up to 100 hours and can be done in addition to a weekend course. Or if you’d prefer to do distance learning over a longer period, you can take an online course on its own and still gain all the training you need.
Trinity courses last at least 130 hours, so they take longer to complete. This can be spread over a few weeks full-time or up to a year on the part-time course. Bear in mind: it’s a common requirement to have to complete an extra 15 hours’ private study on top of these 130 hours.
An important thing to check before taking any TEFL course is whether it’s internationally recognised. This will save you a wasted journey when you get to your teaching job abroad only to find you’ve got a certificate they’ve never even heard of! The good news is that whether you choose a reputable TEFL qualification or a Trinity course, you’ve got it covered.
A Trinity CertTESOL is as widely recognised as a Cambridge CELTA because it’s accredited in England by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and approved by the British Council.
Our TEFL qualifications are internationally accredited by the OLDQC (Open and Distance Learning Quality Council), making them instantly recognisable to employers across the planet.
Find out more about accredited qualifications.
The world in all its glory, that’s what! Once you have an internationally accredited TEFL certificate or Trinity CertTESOL tucked into your rucksack, you hold the key to teaching jobs in many parts of the globe. From the majestic marvels of Japan to the lush landscapes of South America, you’ll be accepted with open arms into reputable language, state and private schools in the world’s most desirable destinations.