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

TEFL is an acronym for "Teaching English as a Foreign Language." It's a field of education dedicated to teaching non-native English speakers how to write, read, and speak English. Another common acronym sometimes used in place of TEFL is TESOL, which stands for "Teaching English to Speakers of Other languages." 

A TEFL certificate is vital training often required to teach English abroad or online. TEFL training provides new English teachers with the necessary skills to lead classrooms successfully, accurately teach English grammar, and feel confident from day one.

instructor smiling holding papers

Washburn University & CIEE TEFL’s Online TEFL Course

Washburn University in conjunction with the Center for International Educational Exchange (CIEE) offers a premium online 150-Hour TEFL Certificate course that is an interactive and immersive experience into teaching English as a foreign language.  The course includes:

  • 150 total training hours (130-Hours of coursework + 20-Hours of practicum)
  • Cohort of like-minded peers
  • Dedicated and highly qualified course instructor
  • Access to the CIEE TEFL Alumni network
  • Lifetime job placement assistance
  • A $200 discount for Washburn students
The 150-Hour TEFL Certificate is valid for life and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, allowing graduates to use their TEFL certificate anywhere around the world. 

Structure: The 150-Hour TEFL Certificate course consists of 130 hours of online study combined with 20 hours of practicum teaching in the Intensive English Program at Washburn University.

Time to Complete: The online course is spread over 11 weeks and consists of readings, audios, quizzes, assignments, and discussion board contributions. Students can work at their own pace but are expected to submit assignments and quizzes on a weekly basis. The practicum component can be completed as soon as a student begins the online coursework and is due one month after the 11-week course ends.

Scheduling Options: New classes start on a rolling basis every two weeks. It is recommended that you plan ahead and check with the Office of International Programs as to when other Washburn students are starting their TEFL course.  Working together with a cohort offers the best chance for success. You can learn more about the 150-Hour TEFL Certificate course on CIEE TEFL's website.

The total cost of the 150-Hour TEFL Certificate course for Washburn students is $995. This includes all fees and materials needed to successfully complete the course.

To target a specific teaching niche, students can also opt for an additional 30 hours of age specific TEFL training at a discounted rate. TEFL students can choose specialization in any of the following age-ranges: young learners, teens, or adults.

What is ESL? ESL stands for "English as a Second Language." It refers to learning English when it is not the learner's native language. This is akin to learning any foreign language, such as Japanese to non-Japanese speakers or French to Italians.

What is TEFL? TEFL stands for "Teaching English as a Foreign Language." A TEFL Certificate allows the participant to teach English as a foreign language in applicable situations.

TESOL, TESL, TEFL: What’s the difference? TESOL, TESL, and TEFL refer to similar but distinct disciplines. TESL practitioners focus their skills on teaching English to people in English speaking environments. TEFL practitioners focus on teaching English to people in non-English speaking environments. TESOL practitioners maneuver in both scenarios.

TEFL Certificates

Do all TEFL courses offer teacher recruitment?  No. Some programs offer assistance and others do not. Each individual program should be investigated for the opportunities they offer. For more information on the opportunities available to you through CIEE, you can reach out to tefl@ciee.org.

Do I need to know a foreign language? Knowing another language is always helpful, especially to understand where your students will be coming from in their study, but it is not required. Knowledge of the structures of the languages that your students are coming from will be the most helpful in anticipating challenges they may face.

Does age matter? You must be 18 years or older to become a TEFL student, but it is highly recommended for students that have already completed some college coursework due to its academic rigor. Working professionals of any age are welcome to apply.

Can I make a career out of TEFL? Yes! Many have made unique and successful careers teaching English abroad. Those taking the course can aspire to teach abroad for just a year, a few years, or for the rest of their lives.

Washburn-CIEE TEFL Online

How much does the Washburn-CIEE TEFL Certificate cost? The total cost of the TEFL course for Washburn students is $995.

How long does it take most people to complete the course? On average it takes around 3 months to complete the course. Students can expect to dedicate about 12-15 hours per week to TEFL assignments and activities.

Is there a time limit? Does the course expire?  Students are expected to complete the online coursework within the 11-week timeline and finish their 20 hours of practicum within 30 days of the course’s completion. Students will have access to the course for an additional 180 days after their course concludes. The TEFL certificate never expires.

What are the available methods of payment?  Students will need to submit an electronic payment on their CIEE TEFL application portal.

What type of computer/device do I need to use to do TEFL online? TEFL is compatible with most devices (PC, Mac, etc.). Personal computer or laptop is recommended over a tablet. Suitable browsers with Canvas are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and usually Firefox. Safari is NOT compatible with Canvas. The mobile application for Canvas will limit the students’ ability to access some presentations on the course; using a browser is highly recommended.

Can I download the course content? Yes, all presentations, resources, and unit summaries are available in .doc or .pdf form. Students can download this independently.


"CIEE's TEFL program is a very comprehensive education in teaching English, whether you are new to the field or desiring a refresh of your skills. Through a combination of online learning, interactive assignments, discussion with other teachers and the very hands-on practicum requirement, I felt fully prepared to engage international learners in the classroom with confidence! I was impressed with the online learning platform and the depth of the material. The practicum was the most fun, as I applied what I was learning in a real classroom with real students. Taking CIEE's TEFL program confirmed that teaching English is truly my passion and gave me the skills to do it!" - Tisha S.

"I liked how it was organized and prepared for us to learn the best! It was also very engaging; I have never taken an online course that kept me engaged." - Madison F.

"This online course was organized very well. The assignments were engaging and fun and the discussions were insightful. The modules and graded assignments were easy and clear to understand. I want to thank Jamie for being an amazing instructor, and CIEE for giving me this opportunity to be a part of this program. I enjoyed every aspect of this course." - Zyshavia G.

It will take some time and dedication to complete, but it will be worth it! - Nadia C.

"I feel like I learned a lot from this course and met some new people along the way." - Kasey G.

"It was a great course that was full of information, a great instructor, and made the students feel well supported." - Tabitha K. 

A Washburn student laughs while posing for a photo with her students.
A student wearing a mask gestures to the board while teaching a class of students.
A young girl smiles and holds up a peace sign.
A student sits on a classroom floor with two young students.

Contact the Coordinator

Tina Willliams
Phone: 785.670.2095

GET IN TOUCH WITH International Programs

Office of International Programs
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

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