The British Council estimates there are 1.55 billion English language learners around the world, and at least 10.2 million English teachers.
A fair proportion of these learners will be taught in language schools and through private lessons, including online teaching.
There do not appear to be any official figures as to the number of TEFL and TESOL training centers worldwide, but it would be a fair guess to say they number in the thousands.
Most countries in the world control education through government regulation and oversight. This is also true of private education provision. This means that each country’s government tends to make the rules and regulations concerning the training standards required of ESL teachers. Due to this fact there are differences in regions throughout the world as to exactly who can be considered qualified to teach.
Having said that, there are some common features of the requirements needed to teach ESL, which are fairly standard throughout the world. These are;
You must have a good working knowledge of the English language.
This requirement is often expressed in a number of different ways depending on how strict any particular country is about their regulations. For example you may find a job posting which requires teachers from a single country (USA or UK for example). You may see others requesting native English speakers from five or six countries. Others state non-native English speakers may apply and some job postings don’t even mention anything about language ability.
You must have some form of ESL qualification.
This requirement typically involves a minimum EFL qualification of a 120-hour TEFL or TESOL certificate. Again there are different expectations depending upon the country and the nature of the job. Some variations may include additional requirements such as: A degree in English, a degree in any subject, minimum of ‘x’ years of teaching practice, and other specific requirements, such as background checks and references.
These two factors alone make it very difficult to make generalized statements about what is and what is not needed to gain employment throughout the world with any specific employer. You should remain realistic about what jobs you can apply for.
Returning to the specific question, the answer is that there is no official website for the TEFL industry. There is no single worldwide body that oversees the training and development of ESL teachers. Having said this, it is important when choosing an organization that you find out how that organization is accredited.
What is accreditation?
Looking at TEFL websites you will come across the term accreditation all the time. The meaning appears to be open to some interpretation looking at some of these websites; however, it does have a very important role to play in choosing your training organization.
Accreditation is basically a quality control mechanism.
Some form of government body or a university is the most common type of accreditation agency. Many private agencies also exist. It is important to note that courses are accredited, not companies. When checking to see if your chosen course is accredited you should be able to go to a website where the course name is given under a list of accredited courses. Alternatively a general statement such as; “All our courses are accredited by…..”, may be given.
A course that is accredited has usually been through a series of checks for course content and teacher/tutor suitability and a continuous moderation process to ensure that these standards are maintained over time.
Always choose a course with a reputable accreditation for recognition of your certification.