Difference Between TEFL and TESOL


Since both TEFL and TESOL are certifications for English language teachers, knowing the difference between TEFL and TESOL can be useful. It has become very popular these days to teach English in countries where it is not a native language. Teaching English is not only a noble profession, but also offers a profitable career to those who are proficient in English and pass international tests that are designed to assess the proficiency of a person in this language.

If you think you have it in you to become a good English Language Teacher (ELT), what you need is to pass any international level certification. Two certifications that are to be seen everywhere in the form of advertisements these days are TEFL and TESOL. What are these tests and how are they different? Let us find out differences between the two so that you can take a better decision as far as taking and passing a test is concerned. The distinction between the two is getting blurred and often there is an overlapping between the content of the two certifications.

What is Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)?

TEFL is an abbreviation for the test that assesses the ability of a candidate to teach English. Those who pass this test are considered to be qualified to teach students whose first language is not English. There are many countries in the world where English is neither spoken nor understood. Moreover, you would be surprised to know that people in such countries are more than eager to get a working knowledge in English and then to gain proficiency to be able to get opportunities abroad in multinational companies.

What is Teaching English to Speakers of other languages (TESOL)?

The results of TESOL are now being recognized in many countries. TESOL does not make any difference between foreign language or second language and is thus a preferred test for teaching students whose mother tongue is not English.

Difference Between TEFL and TESOL

What is the difference between TEFL and TESOL?

If you are a citizen of US, and interested in teaching the language to citizens of other countries, it may become difficult to choose one of the two tests.

• TESOL is more common in the US while TEFL is popular in Britain.

• TESOL refers to all learners whose first language is not English, and that includes minorities living in US, while TEFL refers only to foreign students.

• There is also a school of thought that says that TEFL is associated with teaching students in their home country, while TESOL is associated with teaching students who have settled in countries where English is the native language.

For those offering jobs on the basis of test results of TEFL and TESOL, there is virtually no difference between the two tests. Jobs that require TESOL as a qualification readily accept TEFL certification and make no difference between the two certifications.



• TEFL and TESOL are certifications that are required by those aspiring to become English teachers for those whose first language is not English.

• For all practical purposes, there is no difference between the results of the two tests and are readily accepted by those offering jobs in foreign countries.