TESOL Course FAQ

  1. What is the School for International Training (SIT)?
  2. Why should I take the SIT TESOL Certificate course?
  3. Who teaches the course?
  4. Is the course the same at all sites?
  5. What kind of people take this course?
  6. What are the entrance requirements?
  7. What kind of job will I be able to get with this certificate?
  8. Will S.I.T.’s TESOL Certificate enable me to teach ESOL in U.S. public schools?
  9. Can I get college credit for the course?
  10. After I finish the certificate course, if, later, I decide to complete S.I.T.’s program leading to a Master of Arts with a concentration in TESOL, is there any special financial aid available for certificate alumni?
  11. Does everyone who attends the course get a certificate?
  12. What is the difference between TESOL and TEFL?
  13. What is the difference between SIT, CELTA, TRINITY and other certificate courses?
  14. Do I need to speak the language of another country I want to teach in to teach English?
  15. How much money can I expect to earn?
  16. How much money should I bring with me?
  17. Do I need to have had previous teaching experience?
  18. May I take the S.I.T. TESOL course if English is not my native language?
  19. What about visas and work/residence permits?
  20. What should I bring with me?
  21. Are there age limits?

1. What is the School for International Training?

The School for International Training (S.I.T.) is the American university that accredits the S.I.T. TESOL Certificate Course held at Langage Idiomas in Barcelona, Spain. The mission of S.I.T. is to enable participants to develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes and awareness needed to contribute effectively to global understanding and world peace.

S.I.T. is recognized nationally and internationally for its work in language teacher education and has been educating learner-oriented and culturally sensitive language teachers for over thirty years. S.I.T. has prepared over 2000 active professionals who are working in the field today making significant contributions as classroom teachers, administrators or consultants in over 70 countries around the world.

2. Why should I take the S.I.T. TESOL Certificate course?

The S.I.T. course provides practical ESOL teacher training where participants develop skills in planning lessons and teaching speaking, listening, reading, writing, grammar, and culture. The sessions are highly interactive and experiential. The course includes planning lessons and teaching twenty-four hours of classes to “real” ESOL students.

Trainers observe your teaching and give practical advice after each session. TESOL graduates find rewarding teaching positions abroad and in their home countries. Some choose to remain in the ESOL profession, while others eventually return to their jobs or schools back home with new skills and greater knowledge, awareness, and satisfaction.

3. Who teaches the course?

The S.I.T. TESOL Certificate course is taught by two full-time trainers working in tandem. In many cases, the trainers will hold an MAT from the School for International Training. Trainers are experienced ESOL teachers who have worked with adult learners, and have previous training experience.

The trainers teach the course content, process discussions, coach participants in developing lesson plans and in planning and teaching. They also observe participants’ teaching and provide feedback to participants after each teaching session.

4. Is the course the same at all sites?

All courses follow the same curriculum and are taught by S.I.T.-trained trainers. In addition, each course is assessed by an evaluator who observes lesson planning and practice teaching sessions.

The evaluator reviews participants’ written work and collects direct feedback from course participants. The evaluator ensures that the course meets S.I.T. standards, and assesses participant ability to meet course goals and requirements before certificates are awarded.

5. What kind of people take this course?

Participants are a diverse group. Many are college-age students who are interested in traveling and working overseas. There are also working professionals preparing to enter TESOL as an alternative career or in retirement.

Non-native English speakers with strong English skills also take the course so they can teach English in their own countries or elsewhere. Many experienced teachers find the Certificate course a valuable introduction to S.I.T.’s model of reflective practice.

6. What are the entrance requirements?

You must be at least 20 years old, have a high school degree and show a capacity for university-level education, including a good understanding of the English language and solid writing skills. You must remain calm under pressure, be willing to accept the authority of your trainers, commit to conveying a difference of opinion in a respectful manner, and be willing to work as a positive team player.

All applicants must submit an application along with a one-page essay as well as have an oral interview (which may be done by phone) with the program manager. Non-native speakers need a minimum TOEFL score of 550 for the written test or 213 for the computerized version, or an IELTS Band 6.0 or higher.

Non-native speakers must also have a second interview to ensure their listening/speaking skills are adequate to take the course and to teach English. All participants must show a willingness to plan and teach in groups and to work reflectively.

7. What kind of job will I be able to get with this certificate?

This certificate can help you to obtain an entry-level position in a variety of settings such as language institutes, adult education programs or summer camps. As a graduate of the S.I.T. TESOL program, you will have access to information about ESOL teaching positions worldwide.

8. Will S.I.T.’s TESOL Certificate enable me to teach ESOL in U.S. public schools?

To teach in most public schools teachers need a specific public school certification, a process that generally involves an undergraduate degree followed by a period of full-time student teaching in a public school under the direction of a veteran teacher. Specific requirements vary from school system to school system. Some systems may have alternative certification programs to address a teacher shortage.

In this case, the TESOL Certificate and experience teaching ESOL may be an advantage in applying for alternative public school teacher certification. Additionally, the S.I.T. TESOL Certificate may qualify an individual for an aide type position in some public school systems ESOL programs.

9. Can I get college credit for the course?

C.E.U.s for the course can be granted from the School for International Training at the request of a graduate. Additionally, graduates may petition other colleges or universities to recognize the course hours spent in the program and issue academic credit. If you are interested in pursuing this option you should check with the Registrar’s Office at whatever college or university you are attending or plan to attend.

10. After I finish the certificate course, if, at a later date, I decide to complete S.I.T.’s program leading to a Master of Arts with a concentration in TESOL, is there any special financial aid available for certificate alumni?

Yes. S.I.T. TESOL Certificate holders who enroll in one of the S.I.T. Master of Arts in Teaching degree programs will be given tuition reductions equal to the cost of their S.I.T. TESOL Certificate Course tuition to a maximum of $2,000. This tuition reduction does not apply to cases in which the individual’s certificate course tuition has been covered by a sponsoring institution.

11. Does everyone who attends the course get a certificate?
No. Acceptance into the course is not a guarantee that you will receive the certificate. If trainers feel that any participant has not successfully completed or mastered any segment of the course, or has not completed the written work satisfactorily, the participant will not be awarded the certificate, but will be awarded a letter of course attendance instead. To complete the certificate successfully, you must meet all the program requirements:

1) attend all the program sessions (allowances are made for absence due to emergency situations);
2) communicate effectively and fluently in written and oral English;
3) successfully meet the goals and objectives of the program;
4) successfully complete all the student teaching requirements and all program assignments.

Trainers in the course will meet with you to give you feedback on all aspects of your work in the program. You will also do a self-assessment and a peer assessment as part of your program.

12. What’s the difference between TESOL and TEFL?
TESOL stands for “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages” It is also the name of the international professional organization of English teachers. TEFL stands for “Teaching English as a Foreign Language.” TESL stands for “Teaching English as a Second Language.” The three terms tend to be used interchangeably.

TEFL is an older term and perhaps slightly more common, especially in Europe. The term TESL is most often used in English speaking countries. TESOL may be gaining ground, however, as it refers to both teachers who are working in English-speaking countries and to those who are teaching in countries where English is a second or ‘foreign’ language. TESOL seems to be the preferred term at the university level.

13. What’s the difference between SIT, CELTA, TRINITY and other certificate courses?

They are different names for essentially equivalent courses. You will find that there is a veritable alphabet soup of courses — TESOL, CELTA, TRINITY, RSA, CTEFL, TEFL, TESL, etc.

S.I.T. TESOL, CELTA and TRINITY TESOL are all accredited (or validated) intensive 4-week courses that train people to teach English to speakers of other languages. Some other courses calling themselves CTEFL, TEFL or TESL Certificate courses are not accredited and therefore do not have outside monitoring. You will find that the best TESOL/TEFL/TESL schools are accredited by outside educational organizations.

These accrediting organizations monitor the course to assure that they meet standards. Therefore, part of the accrediting organization’s role is that of quality assurance. Our course is accredited by the School for International Training (S.I.T.) in Brattleboro, Vermont. CELTA is accredited by Cambridge ESOL.

Trinity is accredited Trinity College London. Therefore, the major difference between the TESOL, CELTA and Trinity Certificates courses is that the S.I.T. TESOL Certificate course is accredited / validated by an American organization while CELTA and Trinity are accredited / validated by British ones.

14. Do I need to speak Spanish or Catalan (or the language of another country I want to teach in) in order to teach English?

No, you do not need to be able to speak Spanish or any other language besides English to take our course nor do you need to in order to obtain work as an English teacher. Knowledge of the students’ native language can offer advantages and disadvantages to a teacher. If you know your students’ first language it may be useful in the classroom because you may be able to anticipate learner problems that come from interference with their language.

However, if your students know (or believe) that they can only speak to you in English, it can make the class more ‘real’ and reduce the temptation to use their native tongue. In other words, your students will have to communicate in English.

15. How much money can I expect to earn?
The answer to this question depends on where you teach (the country and the school). In Spain, new teachers who work full-time (between 20 and 25 hours) can expect to earn between 800 and 1,400 Euros a month, depending on where in you live Spain. The cost of living is less than in the major of countries like the USA and the UK. It depends on your lifestyle.

A young single teacher with no children should compare the cost of living based on food, rent and entertainment. Restaurants are cheaper (and better!) than in most English speaking countries. Entertainment is cheaper; prices for drinks, concerts, plays, movies, etc. A two-bedroom apartment rents for between 500 and 800 €, or around 300 € for a shared apartment.

Working conditions for other countries vary. Send us an email if you have more detailed questions or about the cost of living in other countries. The most complicated comparison is the most personal and has to do more with the quality of living than the cost of living. You may find that you will be earning less but enjoying life more.

16. How much money should I bring with me?

Of course, a lot depends on your lifestyle but in part the answer also depends on what your plans are for after the course — return to your home country, stay in Spain or move on to another country. For the training period you should have available at least 600 to 800 €. If you plan to stay in Spain after the course you should have available at least an additional 2000 to 3000 € to cover the cost of securing long-term housing and living expenses until you receive your first pay.

17. Do I need to have had previous teaching experience?

No you do not. The course will give you the knowledge and experience required to be a successful ESOL teacher, as well as the skills needed to continue to develop as a teacher in the future.

18. May I take the S.I.T. TESOL course if English is not my native language?

Yes, as long as you have a native-like level of spoken and written English. Non-native speakers need a minimum TOEFL score of 550 for the written test or 213 for the computerized version, or an IELTS Band 6.0 or higher. Non-native speakers should also have a second interview to ensure their listening/speaking skills are adequate to take the course and to teach English.

19. What about visas and work/residence permits?

According to the most recent information we have, passport holders from the following countries do not need a special visa to travel to Spain:

Austria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, the Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay or Venezuela.

If you do not hold one of these passports, please contact a travel agent or your local Spanish embassy or consulate about the process for obtaining an entry visa for Spain.

If you choose to remain in Spain after the course, obtaining a work and residence permit will be your responsibility. We can provide you with a description of the process for applying for a work and residence permit, based upon our general understanding of the process. For the most accurate information and guidance in this area, we can provide you with the names and contact details of local immigration lawyers who can provide legal advice and assistance for a fee.

20. What should I bring with me?

EU citizens should bring either their passport or EU national ID card; non-EU citizens should bring their passport and a round-trip ticket.

We strongly recommend that non-EU citizens take out personal accident and health insurance.

After you have applied and have been accepted into the course you will receive suggestions for packing and a list of optional things you may want to bring with you.

21. Are there age limits?
To take the course you must be at least 20 years old. There is no upper age limit.