TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

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

‘TEFL’ is an acronym that stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The end goal for the majority of students interested in careers in TEFL is to teach English abroad to students whose first language is not English. Similarly TEFL instructors may choose to remain in their home country and teach English to non-native speakers there.

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

  • Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:
    • TEFL – the study of teaching English as a foreign language.
    • Linguistics – the study of language and its structure including syntax, grammar, and phonetics.

Studying TEFL in College

Students intending to pursue a careers in TEFL will often need to study English language, literature, or a related subject at university prior to pursuing TEFL certification. There are many independent institutions that offer TEFL courses and certification in Ireland.

Students on a tradition 3-4 year university study path will likely study English literature, composition, and linguistics in addition to combining their studies with courses in education and communications.

Career Options

Pursuing a degree and careers in TEFL has a very defined end goal. Unlike many other studies, most students will go on to teach English as a foreign language abroad in a country where English is not the native language. Alternatively, TEFL instructors may also teach in English-speaking countries for non-native speakers.

However, the skills gained through their studies will provide TEFL students with a variety of work opportunities. TELF students may work in publishing or marketing, as editorial assistants or content writers.

Again, teaching English as a foreign language may require further education, training, and/or experience in order to receive official certification.

Related Jobs Include:

  • Copywriter
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Journalist
  • Librarian
  • Interpreter / Translator
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language Instructor
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Primary School Teacher
  • Private Tutor

Further Study

An undergraduate degree in English or Teaching English as a Foreign Language is often the first step to go on to further postgraduate study or certification with an independent institution.

Visit postgrad.ie for more information.



  • What points do I need to study TEFL?
    • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best that you check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or Four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, English, Irish or another language.
  • Are there any particular qualities you need to study TEFL?
    • You will need to be able to work independently and with other students as well as being able to communicate well verbally and in writing. You will need to be able to be patient with your students as well as being detail oriented.
    • You need to be driven and passionate about the English language. You’ll need to have a firm grasp on the general concepts you’ll be studying. Finally, you’ll need to be determined, confident, and curious.
  • Where can I study TEFL?
    • Explore your option here.

Did You Know?

  • More than 1.5 billion non-native English speakers take part in some sort of English language courses each year! More than 300 million of these students come from China alone!
  • Approximately 250,000 native English speakers are currently working as TEFL instructors worldwide!
  • Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea are the three highest paying countries for TEFL instructors!




Ethan Moser

Criminal Law


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