What are the TESOL levels?

You may or may not be aware that TESOL courses are often assigned to a certain level that reflects their position in the global scheme of ESL teacher training. Thanks to this classification it is much easier for teachers to compare all the options available to them and hopefully pick the best one to suit their personal situation. However, it is also necessary to know that there is not one set of TESOL course levels to be aware of as many countries and teaching organizations use their own system when setting course levels. While this might seem a little confusing, the good news is that they are all generally designed using the same criteria and are usually very similar. The main areas that are used to decide the level of a course include the type of study involved, the number of study hours, whether it is a part-time or full-time option, and whether there is any practical training. TESOL course levels typically run from level 1 to level 8.

The ITTT course-level framework

When it comes to choosing a TESOL certification course it is very useful to be able to compare the different courses that are offered by us and our competitors in the field of teacher training. To help this process ITTT has put together its own course-level framework which ranks all our courses making it easy to compare them side by side with other options. The ITTT framework currently has TESOL courses from level 3 up to level 7.

Check out our course levels page for full details.

level 3 TESOL courses

At this level or below TESOL courses are generally regarded as short-format options that are unlikely to be enough on their own to land a full teaching job in a reputable school or language center. Trainees who sign up for level 3 courses typically do so because they are looking for an insight into ESL teaching, are planning to volunteer as a teacher, or have a teaching assistant job in mind. ITTT currently offers three courses at level 3 and these are all specialized TESOL courses that cover specific areas of ESL teaching that many teachers choose to focus on. These are 50-hour additional courses that have been designed to follow on and build upon the content covered during a standard level 4 TESOL. These short courses are great for expanding your teaching knowledge and for providing more options in the job market. Our courses at level 3 are:

  • The course in teaching English online (CTEO)
  • The course in teaching English to young learners (CTEYL)
  • The course in teaching business English (CTBE)

Level 4 TESOL courses

While it is not a given, it is fair to say that the majority of employers who take on first-time ESL teachers expect candidates to have completed a teacher training course of at least level 4 status. At this level a course must include a minimum of 100 hours of study covering a wide range of subjects such as classroom management, teaching methodologies, lesson planning, testing, and a wide range of English grammar. Our level 4 course is one of our most popular as it can be completed 100% online and results in a certification that is recognized and welcomed by employers all over the world.

Take a look at our 120-hour TESOL certification course for full details on this popular entry point to teaching English online and overseas.

Level 5 TESOL courses

Although teachers with a level 4 qualification should have few problems finding a teaching job on completion, those with a higher level will be in an even stronger position. By taking a level 5 TESOL certification you will have a higher standard of training than most other candidates, which should give you more choice of jobs, particularly in the more popular areas where the competition for positions is strong.

The 170-hour TESOL course with online specialization is a great choice of course for anyone who wants to teach ESL, but also thinks they might want to teach online at some stage. The course starts with our initial 120-hour TESOL course which covers all the important things you need to be familiar with before you start teaching. Once complete, you then tackle the 50-hour specialized course in teaching English online. This additional course will make sure you are fully up to date on everything involved in teaching in a virtual world.

Another good option at level 5 is our 220-hour Master Package which provides multiple courses at a discounted price. Once again, this starts with the 120-hour course to ensure you cover all the basic skills required. You can then work through two specialized courses in teaching English to young learners and teaching business English. These two specialized areas of ESL make up a large percentage of all teaching jobs in many countries.

Level 6 TESOL courses

TESOL courses at level 6 and above are considered to be at an advanced level of study that is a step up from mainstream qualifications. We have one course option at this level, the 370-hour Diploma in TESOL. This course is usually taken after completing the 120-hour course as it builds on all the basic subjects and takes your understanding of ESL to a whole new level. With this level of study under your belt you will stand out from other candidates when applying for entry-level jobs and you will also be in the running when it comes to management level positions or jobs at prestigious schools, colleges, and universities.

Level 7 TESOL courses

At level 7, the 550-hour Expert Package is the highest rated course that we currently offer. With this package you get six elements that come together to provide the most comprehensive coverage of ESL teaching you are likely to find. You can choose this option and really hit the ground running, whether you start applying for jobs after the first section is complete or whether you work through multiple courses before you start looking for your first teaching job. The six courses that make up the Master Package are the 120-hour TESOL course, the 50-hour CTBE, the 50-hour CTEYL, the 50-hour CTEO, the Diploma in TESOL, and an optional teaching practice component.

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