TEFL, TESOL or CELTA - which is better?

If you have done some research and made the decision to teach English abroad or online, you will probably have been confronted with a mound of perplexing letters: TEFL, tesol, and CELTA – what do they all mean, and which is better?

Don't worry. We are here to help you understand the differences and lead you into a world of education and international travel.

What do TEFL, tesol and CELTA stand for?

First, let's get the abbreviations out of the way. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, tesol stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and CELTA is an acronym for Certificate in English Teaching to Speakers of Other Languages (until recently, it stood for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults).

To put it another way, TEFL and tesol are generic terms for the field of teaching English to non-native English speakers, while CELTA is the name of a specific TEFL/tesol certification program for aspiring teachers.

What is the difference between TEFL and TESOL?

TEFL refers to teaching English to non-native English speakers in nations where English is not the national language. TESOL, on the other hand, encompasses all aspects of teaching English to non-native English speakers, including those in countries where English is the primary language.

The acronyms are frequently used interchangeably all over the world. Which one you hear will most likely be determined by which country you are in at the time. In general, TESOL is widely used in the United States and Australia, while the phrase TEFL is more commonly used in the rest of the world, including the United Kingdom and Ireland.

What is a TEFL certification course?

The term TEFL refers to the practice of teaching English to non-native English speakers. A TEFL certification course will teach you how to accomplish just that. If you successfully finish the course, you will receive a TEFL certificate.

Since there is no internationally recognized TEFL accreditation board, there are a wide range of TEFL courses available. This is why it's important to take your time and thoroughly research all the options available to you. Here are some tips on how you can determine if a TEFL course is legit:

  • The course is supplied by a qualified provider (i.e., the course provider has gone through external quality checks by a recognized quality assurance body)
  • Provides different types of TEFL certification ranging from 100 hours to over 500 hours
  • The course provider and TEFL trainers are TEFL/TESOL qualified and possess university degrees and relevant work experience in the EFL field.
  • Gets good reviews on independent sites such as

What is a TESOL certification course?

A TESOL certification program is comparable to a TEFL certification program. As TESOL teachers are more likely than TEFL teachers to teach English in a native English-speaking country, there may be some differences in tone, but the great bulk of the content is the same.

The key difference is that you will receive a TESOL certificate rather than a TEFL certificate at the completion of a TESOL certification course.

Is TEFL or TESOL better?

There is no concrete answer to this question. Despite the acronym distinctions between TESOL and TEFL, the courses teach similar material in practice, and many TEFL providers don't differentiate between the names on a certificate.

If you wish to work in a specific school or country, check to see if they have any preference over one term before enrolling in a course. Otherwise, choose the course (and name!) that best suits your needs.

What is the difference between TEFL and CELTA?

The certificate awarded at the end of a TEFL certification course is known as a TEFL certificate. It does not refer to a particular institution or organization.

CELTA is a TEFL qualification, and a CELTA course is a course that leads to that qualification. This means that CELTA is a recognized TEFL qualification, yet it is essentially only a 'brand' of TEFL certification.

Is CELTA better than any other TEFL qualification?

As aforementioned, a CELTA certificate is a type of TEFL certification. This does not mean that a CELTA is better than a TEFL or TESOL qualification. It is simply a "brand name," if you will.

It is true that a CELTA certificate is a well-known TEFL certification, but so are other TEFL certifications. If you follow the tips mentioned above when choosing a TEFL or TESOL course, you won't have anything to worry about when it comes to your teaching career.