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Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate

Why do I need a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language?

TEFL certification is for anyone who is interested in teaching English overseas after graduation, regardless of your major. Pursuing a TEFL certificate at MSSU will prepare you for teaching English Language Learners in a variety of cross-cultural contexts. TEFL certification is also a widely recognized credential that makes you more appealing to institutions seeking English teachers.


How do I earn a TEFL certificate?

The TEFL certificate requires the completion of four courses (12 credit hours): INTS 320 Teaching English Abroad I, INTS 321 Teaching English Abroad II, INTS 322 Teaching English Abroad Practicum, and one of the following: EDUC 380 Second Language Acquisition, EDUC 385 Assessment for ELLs, or ENG 301 Intro to English Linguistics.


Are there prerequisites for the TEFL courses?

The TEFL certificate is open to students from all majors. The prerequisites for INTS 320, 321, and 322 are English 101, 102, and COMM 100 (INTS courses must be taken in sequence). The prerequisite for EDUC 380 is sophomore standing. In some cases, these prerequisites can be waived or substituted.


Is there high demand for qualified English teachers overseas?

Most definitely. There are currently 1.5 billion people around the world studying English as a second or foreign language. That number will grow to 2 billion over the next 30 years. The need for qualified English teachers increases each year, and there are opportunities in nearly every country. The best teaching jobs typically require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate (or equivalent).


What is the difference between TEFL and TESOL?

TEFL is a designation that is specific to English teachers working overseas. TESOL is an umbrella term that refers to English teachers working overseas or domestically. TEFL and TESOL certificates both prepare teachers to teach English to English Language Learners, but it is more common to see TESOL certification – or degrees – offered at the graduate level.


When are the TEFL certificate courses offered?

Currently, INTS 320 and INTS 321 are offered in the fall and INTS 322 is offered in the spring. EDUC 380 is offered online during summer and spring semesters. This is subject to change based on demand.


What do each of the TEFL certificate courses cover?

INTS 320 Teaching English Abroad I

Provides a practical and non-technical overview of the particular issues and considerations involved in teaching English as a Second Language in a cross-cultural context. Students will be introduced to foundational principles and techniques used to teach English globally, and will be prepared to survive - and even thrive - in an overseas English classroom. Emphasis will also be given to assessing overseas TESOL/TEFL job opportunities, communicating cross-culturally, adapting to living abroad, and other practical life-skills required to be a successful expatriate English teacher.

INTS 321 Teaching English Abroad II

Provides instruction in the “nuts and bolts” of teaching the core areas of English as a Second Language in a cross-cultural context. Participants will learn to develop effective lesson plans that will enable them to teach English grammar and vocabulary, as well as the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Participants will prepare for real-world overseas English teaching in a variety of ways: lesson planning with feedback from instructors and classmates, class presentations, interactive discussions, and more. Emphasis will be given to the implications of teaching English globally, serving as a “cultural ambassador,” and further opportunities for professional development in the world of TESOL/TESL/TEFL.

INTS 322 Teaching English Abroad Practicum

This practicum provides participants with the opportunity to apply knowledge, strategies, and skills acquired in INTS 320 and INTS 321 under the supervision of faculty members from MSSU’s Intensive English Program (IEP). Participants observe IEP courses, participate in faculty-guided co-teaching of IEP courses, and instruct and tutor international students in the areas of ESL reading, writing, speaking, listening, and grammar. Required coursework includes but is not limited to: observations with reports, lesson planning assignments, self-evaluations, and one-on-one meetings with IEP faculty.

EDUC 380 Second Language Acquisition

An introduction to the fundamental concepts and processes of first and second language acquisition. A systematic overview of factors that affect an individual’s ability to acquire a new language both during childhood and later in life. Special emphasis is on acquiring English as a second language in instructed settings.


Who do I contact if I have more questions?

Aaron Carmichael

Director, International English Program (IEP)
Missouri Southern State University
3950 E. Newman Road
Joplin, MO 64801
(417) 625-9573 
Office: Webster 343

Contact the Department

Dr. Chad Stebbins
Director, Institute of International Studies


Aaron Carmichael
Director, International English Program (IEP)
(417) 625-9573