Difference Between TEFL and TESOL

There are many professional courses to be a qualified English Teacher. TEFL and TESOL are both courses that are studied to obtain the necessary certification to work as a competent English instructor. They provide tremendous career chances to proficient and native English speakers who obtain certificates all around the world.


The main difference between TEFL and TESOL is that Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) refers to programmes in places where English is neither the native language nor a language variety. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, or TESOL is a broad term for the subject of education that encompasses both TESL and TEFL.


A TEFL certification is a certificate for teaching English as a Foreign Language. It is internationally recognized and permits bearers to teach English in other countries. It is also required in any foreign teaching job application. TEFL is primarily oriented toward instructors planning to transfer temporarily or permanently overseas.

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is an approved teaching professional certification that permits the bearer to teach English to non-native English speakers. After completing some courses, the certification is granted. This certification is approved by authorized and recognized institutions and is published on the UK Ofqual qualification Register.

Comparison Table Between TEFL and TESOL 

  Parameters of Comparison  TEFL  TESOL
PurposeFor teaching English as a Foreign LanguageFor teaching English to non-native English speakers
RegionIn the countries where English is not the native LanguageIn English speaking countries where English is a native Language
UseMore internationally compatibleLeast Required
Educator EligibilityNon-native English SpeakersNative English Speakers
Course Duration 30 Days 30 Days

What is TEFL?

TEFL courses are designed to give teachers the skills they need to teach English to pupils in nations where the language is not their first language. As a result, you will learn how to manage a classroom of students learning English as a second language in a region where English is not widely spoken throughout TEFL courses.

A TEFL certificate is the most generally accepted form of teaching qualification in non-native English speaking nations throughout the world due to the large number of countries where this type of Teaching the English language is required and relevant.

Furthermore, the TEFL certificate earned from renowned organizations, such as prestigious colleges and universities, is more well regarded than TESOL courses. TEFL is almost always applicable to education systems in non-English speaking countries across the world.

Once you have a TEFL certification, you can choose from a variety of non-native English speaking nations to call home. TEFL certified English teachers are always in demand in China, Japan, and South Korea. A large number of schools and academic institutes throughout East and West Asia, portions of Africa and the Middle East, as well as Europe and South America, demand skilled English teachers regularly.

A TEFL certificate is useful when applying for a variety of teaching positions. It may even be a necessary certification in some cases, while it may be a substantial resume addition in others. ESL employment, entry-level licensed teaching positions, senior licensed teaching positions, and administrative responsibilities are all available for TEFL teachers working overseas.

What is TESOL?

TESOL courses were developed more recently than TEFL and TESL courses. A TESOL course builds on the basic components of each of the previous teaching certifications to prepare instructors to teach in both non-native English speaking nations and English-speaking countries.

This certification is approved by authorised and recognised institutions and is published on the UK Ofqual qualification Register. The course can be taken part-time or full-time, and some schools even allow students to study it concurrently with other courses.

The course is available at more than 100 accredited and recognised institutions. However, the subject is only offered at five higher education institutions. The American College of Greece, the University of Manchester, the University of Exeter, Keele University, Sheffield University, and the University of Manchester. The course requires a minimum of 200 hours to complete; 130 scheduled hours and 70 unscheduled hours.

For those who are undecided about their future job choices, obtaining a TESOL certification may be the best solution. TESOL might be an excellent place to start for individuals interested in teaching English both at home and abroad.

However, certain job seekers may face obstacles if they have a TESOL certificate. Because TESOL is a newer qualification, it may not be as well-regarded as a TEFL, as international curricula prefer TEFL-qualified individuals. A TESOL certification may not be accepted as a genuine ESL teaching credential by some institutions and organizations. The courses require around 120 hours to complete and may be finished in a year.

Main Difference Between TEFL and TESOL 

  1. TEFL is an acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, whereas TESOL is an acronym for Teaching English to Speakers of a Native Language.
  2. TEFL is more widely accepted across the world than TESOL.
  3. In English-speaking nations, TEFL is not accepted while TESOL is.
  4. The education criteria does not apply in TEFL while the educator criteria for TESOL necessitate that they are from an English-speaking nation.
  5. TEFL is considered to be a better certication in comparison with TESOL.


TEFL is the most commonly acknowledged and highly valued credential in the international community, and TEFL certification courses are more specialized and customized than TESOL certification courses.

All of these certificates will provide teachers with an identical level of English teaching qualification; the only differences are the locations and topics covered.

Hiring organizations, on the whole, prefer applicants who have completed at least a 100-hour course. When you want to improve your chances of being employed, a 120-hour (or more) course is typically the best option. Remember that TEFL and TESOL courses are available in both in-person and online versions and that both formats include extremely recognized courses.


  1. https://www.goabroad.com/articles/tefl-courses/tefl-tesl-tesol-whats-the-difference
  2. http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/career-education/difference-between-tefl-and-tesol/
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