A substantial portion of our traffic on GoGo-Gring comes from our teaching English in Ecuador blog and we get a steady stream of emails about our experiences teaching English in Ecuador. One of the top questions readers ask is: do you need a TEFL certificate to teach English in Ecuador? People also ask if they need a TEFL certification to teach in South America in general, or in other popular English teaching destinations like China and South Korea.
Do you need a TEFL certification to teach English in Ecuador? No. You also don’t need certification to teach in many other countries in South America and Asia. Should you get a TEFL certification if you want to teach English abroad? We highly recommend it, for several reasons.
Top Reasons to get a TEFL Certification:
- To gain skills and knowledge pertinent to ESL teaching. Just because you speak English doesn’t mean you know how to teach English. For example, do you know how to explain to a non-English speaker the reason we sometimes use going + to + infinitive to speak in the future tense? Can you give concise explanations of active versus passive verbs? If not, a TEFL certification program can help you gain and/or improve your English language teaching skills.
- To work legally. Being TEFL certified is oftentimes essential for getting a work visa and/or complying with government regulations in your desired host country. For example, to teaching English in China legally, the government requires teachers have a 4-year degree plus a TEFL certification.
- To get a better job. Generally, employers that require TEFL certifications offer higher-paying positions and better overall treatment of their employees and students. In fact, be weary of schools that do not require some sort of TEFL or ESL certificate.
I’m sure that you can teach English in Ecuador without having any certification or experience. During my first few interviews for English teaching positions in Quito, it became clear that the hiring companies didn’t care that I had a TEFL certificate and several years’ experience. They simply wanted to hire a gringa whose native language was English. When the interview got to the point where we discussed visas, they wanted to know how much time I had left on my tourist visa. Aha. After I told them I was specifically looking for a teaching job in Ecuador that could provide me with a visa, it was clear that the interview was over.
The reason that I am extremely weary of English schools that do not or cannot provide their teachers with visas and are unconcerned about TEFL certification is because of my experience teaching English in China. The high demand for English teachers in China has led to countless shady “schools” who are eager to get foreign faces in the classroom. Unfortunately, before I became TEFL certified, I fell victim to one of these nightmare companies who grossly mistreat their teachers, students and staff. In order to escape, I took an online TEFL certification course. Upon its completion I landed a teaching job in China that offered 3 times the pay, basic benefits, and an excellent working environment.
So you want to teach English abroad? Get a TEFL certification under your belt. It is an investment that will pay its dividends in tangible and intangible ways.
One of the most accredited, reputable and affordable online TEFL certification courses is offered by TEFLOnline.com. I was able to work in China and Ecuador with my Bridge TEFL certification and, while some institutions require the CELTA, this online certification is broadly accepted all over the world. Be sure, however, to inquire directly with institutions you are interested in working for and research the visa requirements for your country of interest before committing to a TEFL certification program.
If you are interested in teaching English in Ecuador (or other popular destinations) and are looking for accredited, professional TEFL certification and diploma programs, based on our personal experiences, we’d recommend checking out Bridge TEFL’s online certification courses.