Level 5 TEFL Course Versus a 120 hour TEFL Certification

Starting out in the TEFL world can be overwhelming. This is simply because of the amount of variables and questions there are before you even start. Will I even enjoy teaching? Which country should I teach in? Or should I teach online? Should I teach at a primary or a high school? Which TEFL provider should I choose? Also, don’t forget should I enroll in a 120 hour course or a level 5 TEFL course? I hope these questions aren’t causing some inner turmoil.

We’re only going to answer the last question in this article. However, we’ve answered many of your questions already on our TEFL blog. But yes, there are so many courses to choose from, and it can be difficult to navigate the options. Firstly, we need to establish some things before we become TEFL certified. 

How Long Does it Take to Become TEFL Certified? TEFL teachers certified

You’ll be pleased to hear that our courses at Premier TEFL are self-paced. This means that you have the flexibility to complete it as soon (or as slow) as you want. Whether you have other social, academic or occupational responsibilities, you can study whenever you want with our TEFL courses. So remember, no excuses! 

That being said, TEFL courses can be completed in as little as a couple of weeks to a couple of months. This depends entirely on the person’s schedule. Our courses offer 6 months of study time, however, they can be extended if needed. And remember, once you’re TEFL certified, you’re certified for life! 

Are All TEFL Courses Valued the Same?  

It’s important to recognize which providers are legitimate and accredited and which ones aren’t. Don’t be fooled by providers that offer TEFL courses for free. The chances are that these courses aren’t valued or recognized by employers. Certain red flags are;

  • Free standalone TEFL courses (courses not offered with employment or internship) 
  • 120 hour TEFL Courses under $50
  • The course provider has negative reviews or no reviews at all 
  • Lack of accreditation 

However, you’re with Premier TEFL, so you’re in good hands. Our courses are accredited and graduates receive internationally recognized certificates as a testament for their work. 

Another thing TEFLers should know is the difference in levels of TEFL courses. A TEFL course isn’t just a TEFL course. There is a large spectrum and TEFL degrees will vary in their reputation and standard. For example, there are notable differences between a level 5 TEFL and a 120 hour TEFL certification

What are the Differences Between a Level 5 and a 120 hour TEFL Certification? 

It is well established that most TEFL teachers only need a 120 hour TEFL certification to find work. However, it is essentially the bare minimum that a TEFL teacher should have. Along with a grasp of English, of course. While it may grant them the freedom to find work and travel around the world, TEFL teachers could be more ambitious and opt for a level 5 course.

Ofqual is a government department which regulates tests and exams in the UK. According to Ofqual’s framework, 120 hour TEFL courses rank as a level 3. This is the equivalent of an A-level or an apprenticeship. Pretty good, right?

A level 5 according to Ofqual is the equivalent to a foundation degree, a diploma of higher education, or higher national diploma. You could essentially gain a level 5 qualification within a few weeks through one of our self-paced TEFL courses. The level 5 courses available at Premier TEFL are;

Each of these courses offer 180 hour Ofqual regulated level 5 tuition. The courses that go beyond 180 hours offer additional TEFL pro courses such as Business English, IELTS exam classes and teaching young learners courses. Additionally, those that are level 5 Hybrid courses offer real life teaching practice. 

If you are short of time, you can settle for the 180 hour Ofqual level 5 TEFL course. However, if you have more time on your hands and you’d like to invest more energy into studying, the 310 hour level 5 Hybrid TEFL course has it all for inquisitive TEFL teachers. 

Who Is a Level 5 TEFL Course For? 

Woman drinking in a coconut

If you are someone who thinks that TEFL will be a short term experience, then there is nothing wrong with opting for the cheaper and convenient 120 hour course. If you are busy or uncertain about how long you’d like to teach, it is an appropriate option. Additionally, you can always upskill should you want to progress your TEFL career in the future.


Many
TEFL internship programs also offer the 120 hour TEFL course when aspiring TEFLers sign up. This makes it a very convenient option for those that want to become TEFL certified and enter their placement seamlessly. 

If you are a teacher that would like to spend a few years teaching abroad, a level 5 TEFL course would benefit you greatly. Firstly, your dedication towards the TEFL industry will be reflected in the course you studied. It is a more reputable course than the traditional 120 hour TEFL course. Secondly, you’ll reap the benefits of a level 5 TEFL course from the very moment you begin teaching. So, what are these benefits? 

What Are the Benefits of a Level 5 TEFL Course? 

Now you know what a level 5 TEFL course is, but what matters is why and how it will benefit you. What is important is how having a level 5 TEFL course will maximize your experience as a TEFL teacher. So, what are the benefits of a level 5 TEFL course? 

Increased Employability

The TEFL certificate is somewhat of a passport itself. It allows you to navigate the world as a teacher, living in different cultures while being paid. With an upgraded TEFL certificate, these opportunities for new locations in new countries will only continue to open.

Having a level 5 TEFL course will make you stand out among the bustling crowd. Admittedly, TEFL is oversaturated with teachers that only have the 120 hour TEFL course. Thankfully for them, the demand for English is high. But, by investing a little more time, you could increase your employability by upgrading your level of qualification. 

Maximize Salary Potential

This comes as a byproduct of the previous point. If you are more qualified and employable, you’re more desirable as a teacher. Therefore, your salary potential will be much higher. Because of this, you can view the level 5 TEFL course as an investment which will pay dividends once you’re out there teaching. 

Increased Confidence in the Classroom

While I’m not saying that the 120 hour TEFL course won’t prepare you for the classroom, a level 5 TEFL course certainly will do so more effectively. With a level 5 TEFL course, you’ll receive a range of benefits that other courses do not present. These vary from DELTA qualified tutors, professionally assessed modules, a letter of enrolment, a UK Government regulated qualification, and more. 

With more support and more practice, you’ll become much more confident in your abilities to teach. By studying theoretical aspects of TEFL, you’ll come to familiarize yourself with some of the traits of the TEFL classroom. 

Gain First Hand Teaching Experience with Hybrid Courses teaching in Thailand

This one is for the level 5 Hybrid courses that are available on our websites. Studying and learning more from a theoretical aspect is extremely beneficial, but it can only take you so far. Would you rather hire someone with more theoretical experience or practical experience? With a hybrid course, you can obtain both.

Hybrid courses allow TEFL teachers to gain first hand experience within the virtual classroom before they set foot in a real one. This can prove to be invaluable experience, especially when they will receive feedback from qualified TEFL instructors. First time TEFL teachers will enter the classroom already with experience under their belt, making them ready to undertake any challenges in the classroom. 

Are There Courses Which Are Higher Than Level 5? 

There are, however, you don’t necessarily need to worry about them for now. Some courses such as the DELTA are ranked as Ofqual level 7. Feeling dizzy yet?  

This course is for teachers that have at least a year’s experience of teaching and its purpose is to provide professional development for teachers that want to climb up the TEFL ladder. This means obtaining senior roles such as the head of department or a teacher trainer. 

So, Which Will You Choose? 

If you’re struggling to make a decision, there are a few things to remember when weighing up your options. The 120 hour TEFL course is more often than not enough to secure a placement and a job abroad. It is also cheaper and more flexible than other courses. 

So, are you someone who thinks they’ll complete an internship, and be done with TEFL? If so, maybe the 120 hour TEFL is best for you. It is perfect for those that think they will have shorter commitments to TEFL.

However, are you open to completing more than one semester of TEFL teaching? Or, do you want to gain any competitive edge possible? If you truly want to reap even tastier fruits of your labor while working online or abroad, level 5 TEFL courses will help you do so. 

By investing more time and effort into becoming a more highly qualified teacher, you will stand out among the crowd. Furthermore, you’ll enter your school on the first day with much more confidence. This means that you can truly embrace the experience with more ease. 

But remember, while someone who becomes TEFL certified is certified for life, they can always upskill. This is important to remember because many Premier TEFL graduates may start out with the 120 hour course and end up upskilling by undertaking a level 5 TEFL course to show off to employers. Level 5 TEFL courses are very relevant and beneficial, and because of this, they’ll always be available for eager TEFLers to undertake.

The post Level 5 TEFL Course Versus a 120 hour TEFL Certification appeared first on Premier TEFL.

I have been traveling and teaching ESL abroad ever since I graduated university. This life choice has taken me around the world and allowed me to experience cultures and meet people that I did not know existed.

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