TEFL vs TESOL: Which is Better?

The debate between TEFL and TESOL has been an ongoing discussion for years, with both having their unique advantages and disadvantages. TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) are both great methods for teaching English to non-native speakers. However, if you are looking for the best way to teach English, it can be difficult to decide which of the two is the better option. This article will explore the similarities and differences between TEFL and TESOL, and help you decide which one is the best choice for you.

TEFL and TESOL are the acronyms you must be familiar with if you are aspiring to be an English Teacher. The job of an English Teacher is a gateway to many such opportunities in abroad and in India. This will give you chance to grow personally and professionally and will even help in building new connections if you are teaching abroad in a non-English-speaking country. Let’s get into TEFL vs TESOL: Which is Better? 

About TEFL 

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. TEFL courses are developed to encourage and train aspirants with the skills required in a professional English teacher to teach in a non-English country. You will be trained to handle a classroom of students learning English as a second language. There are different levels of TEFL and it can be delivered via both online and offline modes. Depending on the medium of delivery the cost of the course can vary. The average course fees for TEFL range from INR 15,000 to 60,000. 


TESOL stands for Teaching English to the Speakers of Other Languages. TESOL is a more recently designed course that provides basic training to the aspirant to be able to teach in both English-native countries and non-English speaking countries. The TESOL courses are split into two disciplines, ESL- English as a Second Language and EFL- English as a Foreign Language. Similar to TEFL, TESOL can also be delivered either via online mode or offline mode. There are for multiple levels to qualify for TESOL and the average tuition fee for a TESOL certificate is INR 62,000. 

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TEFL vs TESOL: Which is Better?

Well, there is no straight answer to this question as it entirely depends on the choice of the individual. There are many factors to consider before deciding on the certificate to opt for:

  • Education – If you are pursuing your bachelor’s degree or have pursued and looking for a master’s degree, you can choose to opt for TESOL
  • Time Commitment – If you are looking for a change and want to get experience for a short time or a temporary job you can opt for TEFL
  • Area of Expertise – TESOL has a more day-to-day life approach to teaching English whereas TEFL has a more academic approach. 

Benefits of TEFL 

  • Certificate to teach English to students belonging to a non-English native country
  • TEFL is the most widely accepted type of teaching experience. 
  • The certificate is relevant when applying for various types of teaching jobs

Benefits of TESOL

  • It provides a base for teachers to teach in both English-speaking countries and in non-English-speaking countries.
  • Chance to learn the best practices for English Language Teaching
  • TESOL is a relatively newer certificate and is broader and more flexible than TEFL.

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Differences: TEFL vs TESOL

TEFL is more widely accepted It is comparatively newer thus, less widely accepted
The focus is more on the academic side It has a more day-to-day life approach
Prepares students to work abroad Prepares students to teach in USA

Interchangeable Use

Both TEFL and  TESOL are often interchangeably used as many of their core elements overlap and they are required to build a career in English academics. They both provide almost similar opportunities on the work and education front. However, their values certainly vary depending on the individual pursuing them.

Requirements for TEFL 

  • Non-English speakers may be asked to present an Engish Proficiency Test like IELTS
  • Proficient/ Fluent – level English skills 
  • Must meet minimum educational requirements of a high school diploma

Requirements of TESOL

  • Might require a bachelor’s degree before applying
  • Must provide academic transcripts
  • Submit a written application for the 
  • English Language Proficiency Test
  • Identification Proof

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We hope that we were able to shed some light on TEFL and TESOL and which is better for you. Furthermore, if you are planning to pursue such courses or wish to study abroad, feel free to consult Leverage Edu for total assistance. Book a free session today!