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Teaching English as a Foreign Language

The Mission of the Certificate Program in TEFL is to train and equip domestic teacher-trainees with practical teaching skills and cultural awareness to be able to successfully teach English abroad.

Live and work around the world!

The Certificate Program in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is an intensive program designed to provide those with little or no teaching experience the practical teaching skills and confidence to transition into a new international adventure with ease.

For over 30 years, UCI Division of Continuing Education has prepared thousands of individuals to pursue careers as English as a Foreign Language teachers. Our expertise extends into developing teacher training programs delivered both at UC Irvine and abroad for the Ministries of Education in Japan, South Korea, France, and Chile to name a few.

Be a part of the demand for qualified English teachers around the world, open doors to diverse professional career opportunities, and expand your world view while living abroad!

Who Should Enroll

This program is designed for those interested in living in another culture before starting a new career or looking for a change of pace, and who have limited or no teaching experience. If you are an international student and/or need to request an I-20 for this program, visit our ACP TEFL program information and application instead.

Program Benefits

  • 11-Week Program – 150 hours of specialized training
  • Taught by highly qualified teacher-trainers who have lived and taught abroad
  • Study alongside international teachers who teach English in their home countries
  • Receive access to ESL/EFL teachers for career and job counseling during and after program
  • Includes 10-hour course specifically designed to foster effective country and job research
  • University of California certificate is recognized worldwide


  • Theories Survey
  • Find out how people learn languages as you compare first language and second language acquisition and child and adult foreign language learning. Understand the learning theories that are the foundation of various teaching methodologies, and develop strategies that you can use in your own teaching situations.
  • Methods of TEFL
  • Explore current methods for teaching specific skill areas such as speaking, listening, reading and writing with an emphasis placed on communicative teaching techniques and theories. Develop lesson plans, materials and instructional aids for your classroom, and learn how to motivate your students to study and learn by using a wide variety of language games and techniques.
  • Language Diagnostics and Assessment
  • Improve your understanding of assessment strategies, gain new insight into the purpose of testing and interpreting test results. Discuss, analyze, and practice formal and informal ways of assessing your student’s speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.
  • Teaching the Skills
  • Learn general principles and strategies for effectively teaching the English language skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking, pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. Topics will include needs assessment, setting objectives, and selecting and using the appropriate materials.
  • TEFL Practicum
  • Prepare to be a successful ESL/EFL teacher. Cover principles for effective teaching and classroom practices. Practice teaching a variety of classroom activities focusing on different language skills. Evaluate peer presentations orally and self-presentation in writing. Observe or present communicative activities in authentic ESL classes and present a cultural lesson at a local school.
  • Teaching Pronunciation Skills
  • Receive an introduction to the fields of phonetics and phonology as they relate to second language learning. Learn about practical issues and methods in the teaching of pronunciation, along with pronunciation problems common to many ESL students. Students will also have a chance to practice and improve their own pronunciation.
  • Teaching English as a Career
  • Prepare to teach overseas in three phases: finding a job, preparing to go, and living/working overseas. This course will help you assess your goals, review resources necessary for the application process, and raise awareness of what you will encounter while living and working in a different country. Receive guidance on resume building, interviewing skills, and using technology in the classroom.
  • Teaching Young Learners
  • Examine theoretical issues and pedagogical practices surround the teaching of EFL to young learners. Learn to recognize the differences in young learner age groups, understand basic concepts of childhood language development, and utilize different strategies and basic principles of classroom management and motivation of young learners.

TEFL Internship (optional)

Get the opportunity to work as a teacher in a real-world setting, take on workplace projects, earn academic credit, learn new skills and concepts, and make professional contacts!

Internships are unpaid positions lasting 3 months. Students are eligible after the successful completion of the TEFL Certificate Program. TEFL Interns are paired with a Master Teacher in our Academic 10-Week ESL program and also participate in weekly Internship debriefings with an Internship Instructor. TEFL Interns can also participate in a variety of administrative-level tasks within International Programs for approximately 20-35 hours per week.


  • Practice what you learned in your TEFL coursework with approximately 75 hours of observation and participation in an authentic ESL classroom
  • Develop your personal and professional teaching relationships and contacts as you are paired with a Master ESL Teacher throughout the entire program
  • Plan, evaluate, and teach full and mini lessons while receiving guidance and feedback from a host instructor
  • Improve communication skills and professional development

Program Details

11 weeks, Monday-Friday, expect to attend approximately 15 class hours per week.
Classes are held between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
UC Irvine Campus

Upcoming Program Dates

Quarter Start Date End Date
Fall 2022 September 26 December 9
Spring 2023 April 3 June 16
Fall 2023 October 2 December 15

Please check back for subsequent quarterly dates.


Item Cost
Certificate Program Fee $7,900
Internship Fee $2,900
Other Fees
Application, candidacy, and student services.
Textbooks are not included.

*Ask about our Certificate Program Fee discount for locals.

In this cohort program, you will begin classes with a group of people and move together through your schedule of classes to graduation. This provides an enhanced opportunity for personal growth and professional development as you get to know a few colleagues — colleagues that you can rely upon while you’re in the program as well as call upon after graduation.

Entrance Requirements

  • Completed application
  • No teaching experience required
  • Minimum 71 iBT TOEFL, 530 PBT TOEFL, 685 TOEIC, 6.0 IELTS, or other evidence of English proficiency (non-native speakers of English)
  • If you are an international student and/or need to request an I-20 for this program, visit our ACP TEFL program information and application instead.

Certificate Requirements

A digital certificate is awarded upon successful completion of eight courses. Students who enroll the TEFL Internship program will be awarded an additional certificate upon completion of the Internship.

Cancellation/Refund Policy

  • Cancellations must be requested in writing to
  • Prior to the program start date: 100% of refundable fees minus a $25 administrative fee
  • Prior to the end of the 5th day of program: 50% of refundable fees
  • No refunds after the 5th day of program
  • No refunds will be given if a student is dismissed

How to Enroll

We are accepting applications for enrollment now.

  • Please complete the online application. Upon acceptance, you will be contacted by email with instructions to complete your enrollment and pay.
  • Full payment is due by the first day of the program

Start Your International Experience Here

  • Work together with international TEFL students
  • Observe and gain insight from our highly trained English language teachers in ESL classroom settings
  • Interact with international ESL students through social activities and tutoring opportunities

Overseas Job Advice

English language teaching positions are readily available in many foreign countries to native English speakers with no formal training, but gaining the specialized training and practical teaching skills will give you a head-start to better teaching opportunities.

We provide advice on how to find an overseas teaching job and what to look out for. To successfully start you on your new adventure, our advisor will answer questions related to global cultures and local customs, travel, and selecting the best location for you — whether it's Asia, South America, or Europe.

Liz Donnelly “Who knew that my one year plan to live abroad would turn into over 3 years! I am still in Munich and teaching kindergarten. This year, I have also picked up some private tutoring that I do on the side. I have made so many great friends here and have gotten to see so much of Europe. I am still ever so thankful to all of you for teaching and preparing me so well.” Liz Donnelly
Program Graduate (teaching in Germany)

Career Advancement Network (CAN)

We are proud to provide our certificate students and alumni with newly enhanced career services that include one-on-one coaching, technology tools, webinars and workshops, networking events, mentorship/internship opportunities, and a rich collection of free online career resources. Learn more.


  • I speak English perfectly well. Why do I need a certificate to get a job?
  • In the past, especially in countries that were cut off from a supply of native speakers of English, any American could simply ask for a job teaching English and be given one. Today, school administrators are more particular about the qualifications of the individuals they hire. Being a native speaker of English does not automatically confer the ability to teach the language. A TEFL Certificate shows prospective employers that you possess the professional tools to teach English successfully. Not only will you be a more attractive candidate to employers, but your skills, knowledge and teaching experience will make you more comfortable, confident and effective as a teacher.
  • I’m confused by all these terms: ESL, EFL, TEFL, TESL, and TESOL. What do they mean? How are they different?
  • All of these terms refer to teaching English to individuals who are not native speakers of the language. ESL stands for English as a Second Language, and TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. EFL refers to English as a Foreign Language, and TEFL, as you would expect, to Teaching EFL. In general, ESL is used to refer to teaching English in an English-speaking country, and EFL to teaching English in a country whose official language is not English. TESOL, which stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, is becoming more commonly used because it encompasses both TEFL and TESL. Most EFL/ESL training programs now use the standard label of "TEFL Certificate Program" for their teacher training courses.
  • Do I need to know the language of my students?
  • No. Most schools today do not encourage the use of students’ native languages in class, even when the students are beginners. Further, in many settings students in the same class may have a variety of native languages.
  • Do I need a college degree?
  • We do not require participants in our program to have a college degree. Having one may be helpful, however, in securing a job. Some schools require candidates to have a degree, and some countries, such as Japan, will not issue a work visa to individuals who are not college graduates. Still, there are many opportunities for teachers with TEFL certificates but no college degree, both in the U.S. and overseas.
  • Will I receive assistance in my job search?
  • A special teaching abroad course is part of our TEFL Certificate Program. Topics include finding employment, interviewing techniques, resume writing, evaluating a contract, and other skills that will start you off in the right direction. We have extensive resources to help you locate available jobs, and offer appointments with job coordinator to assistant you with your search.
  • What kinds of jobs can I get?
  • TEFL program graduates find jobs in grade schools, high schools, universities, adult education centers, private language schools and social service organizations. Some people even free-lance, teaching business people in their offices, or meeting for one-on-one conversation classes. The kind of job you get depends partly on the kind you want, the city or country where you would like to work, your previous experience and your performance at job interviews. Keep in mind that as you gain teaching experience, you will have a wider range of opportunities from which to choose, and a better sense of which assignments suit your skills and interests.
  • Where can I get a job?
  • English teachers can find jobs all over the world. Countries that currently have especially great demand for native speakers of English include those in Asia (Korea, Japan, China, Thailand), in Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile), in Eastern and Central Europe (Poland, Hungary, Russia), and in the Near/Middle East (Morocco, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates). It is challenging for holders of American passports to find work in countries belonging to the European Union, but many of our graduates have been successful in finding jobs after they move to the European country where they wish to work.

    ESL teaching assignments are plentiful in the US. Teachers at language schools generally start out with part-time work, which often leads to a full-time job. Adult education centers, local governments, religious organizations and social service agencies frequently organize ESL classes. TEFL graduates without state teaching certification can get jobs in private elementary and high schools, and sometimes can find work in public school systems where ESL teachers are in short supply. Finally, some graduates may qualify to teach at community colleges or university-run intensive English programs.
  • How much can I expect to earn?
  • How much you earn overseas will depend on the country in which you work and your level of experience. In some countries, such as Japan, Korea or Kuwait, you will be able to live well, while saving money to bring home. In countries where the economy is weaker and the exchange rate less favorable, such as Mexico or Thailand, you should be able to live comfortably on a teacher’s salary, but not save much in dollars. In addition, depending on the country and the contract, you may be provided with health insurance and accommodations. Some teachers even have all or part of their airfare paid by the school that hires them.

    In the United States, teaching rates at language schools typically range from $15 to $20 per hour for general teaching, and $22 to $50 for specialized teaching or privately-arranged classes. A full-time teaching load at a language school is typically 25-28 hours per week. Full-time teachers generally receive employee benefits. Pay for teachers in public or private schools will vary according to the location and the individual’s teaching experience.

English Proficiency Requirement
All certificate programs at UCI Division of Continuing Education (classroom and online formats) require professional-level English language proficiency in listening and note-taking, reading comprehension and vocabulary, written expression, and oral presentation.