Do TEFL certificates expire? Good question!
A TEFL certificate will never expire and will be valid throughout your entire teaching career and lifetime. The English language will never change, but teaching methods can change, and it could benefit you to retake a TEFL course if you would like to see what is new in the industry, but it is not a requirement.
TEFL certificates are never revoked, cancelled, or suspended either. They are not like driving licenses but because so many people ask me ‘do TEFL certificates expire’ and ‘how long is a TEFL certificate valid for’ I thought it would be a good idea to write this post to answer them clearly.
TEFL certificates are also considered to be equal in all countries. But just because a TEFL certificate doesn’t expire doesn’t mean that it isn’t essential to maintain an active TEFL certificate by staying up-to-date with the TEFL industry’s changing trends and techniques.
It is important to check out forums, join Facebook groups and chat with other TEFL teachers about their teaching techniques. None of us is perfect, and we all have room to improve and sharpen our skills; at the end of the day, our students will benefit the most from our efforts, which makes it all worthwhile.
A TEFL certificate will never go out of date and will always be helpful to you, even if you never use it again. TEFL is a skill that can be used for the rest of your life; some TEFL teachers have continued teaching long after they stopped travelling for personal reasons.
Some teachers will settle down in a country abroad, sometimes because they could not work as a teacher in their home country as they are not qualified to the standards of most Western countries. They are allowed to teach English as a foreign language in very reputable schools in other countries, have fantastic careers, and help thousands of children and adults. This can be great for people that cannot access third-level education.
After moving home to pursue other careers, many teachers often use their lifelong TEFL certificate to teach English online as a side gig to earn extra income. An experienced TEFL teacher can earn upwards of £30 per hour teaching online. If you teach for 10 hours per week split over a few days, that’s an extra $300 every week, which is fantastic and not something many people are aware of, unfortunately!
What do I do if my TEFL certificate has an expiry date on it?
Suppose the TEFL certificate you are given has a date of expiry on it. In that case, we recommend that you do not use the TEFL certificate until a reputable TEFL course provider from your country can verify and clear any doubts.
Keep in mind, that TEFL certification courses are businesses, and they make money from the courses they provide. This can lead to many potentially fake and illegitimate companies forming online to scam first-timers. For wherever there is a way to make money, there will always be people to scam and exploit!
Any TEFL or TESOL certificate with an expiry date on it is not a legitimate TEFL certificate, and you should request your money back immediately!
Do not apply for a job position abroad as you could arrive there, and they could refuse you to work for them as it is not a recognised certificate. This does happen, but not often, and it shouldn’t, as most schools will require you to email them a copy of your TEFL certificate before they agree to hire you, but it may happen if someone does not do their job correctly.
Here are some people that used their TEFL certificates on and off again
“I did my TEFL course in Thailand in 2011. I was able to use it to work in four countries overall, and there was Thailand for a year, then six months in Cambodia and six months in the Philippines. I went home for three years and almost forgot about my plans to go back.
I was a bit nervous as it had been so long, and I almost didn’t do it, but I pulled out my TEFL certificate from the drawer in my room, packed my bags and flew out to South Korea!
The first few days were shaky, but I started to get back into my groove and it was nice to be back working with kids, I must admit. I stayed there for two years, and I plan on going back very soon, possibly for good!” – Caleb, from Wales.
“I did a TEFL course as a gap year when I was 22 to Costa Rica with a couple of mates, I am now 43, and I still work as a TEFL teacher with the same TEFL certificate I got all those years ago.
I used it to get around when I was in my 20s, but now that I have settled, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Thank God TEFL certs don’t expire because I’ll be needing this one for another 20 years or so!
TEFL is a wonderful career and lifestyle, and I recommend it to everyone and anyone. Give it a shot, come to Costa Rica and maybe stay forever; who knows?” Samuel, from England.
“TEFL changed my life. It sounds cliche, doesn’t it, but it did and for the better. I never got to go to university when I was young, we simply couldn’t afford it, and that was fine.
I heard from a cousin about TEFL and went to the course and managed to get my first teaching job in Spain. I couldn’t believe my luck.
I completed my contract and was asked if I would like to renew it for another year. The only other option for me was to go back home and work a minimum wage job while all my friends were at uni, so I stayed another year in Spain, saved up as much as I could, and by the end of the second contract, I had another school lined up in Mexico.
By that time, I had built up my Spanish and felt confident about Mexico. It was great. I had a good time in Mexico City and explored the whole country.
After seeing how far this TEFL certificate could take me, I did not stop in Mexico! I took short term contracts in schools all through Central America until I reached South America, where I worked in Argentina for around a year and a half.
I am back in Spain now teaching at the same school as my very first contract. It is hard sometimes to believe how far I got and all the experiences I had without going to college.
That journey began eight years ago, and I plan on continuing for the unforeseeable future. A college degree is not everything. Commitment, hard work and experience are just as important, if not more!” – James, from England.
Conclusion to “Does my TEFL certificate expire?”
Okay, I hope that post has answered your query about “does a TEFL certificate expire?” and also given you some insight into how you can use a TEFL certificate over extensive periods of your life and even make it a lifelong career. There is no limit to how long you can use it or how many countries, cities and schools it can unlock!
To finish off, we would like to wish you good luck and the very best on your teaching journey! If you have any questions or need any help, or if you think your TEFL certificate is not legit, please do not hesitate to contact me!
If you’d like to learn more about TEFL courses and the TEFL industry I recommend checking out this article which is full of info covering most topics of the TEFL world.