Our central principle at TESL@TFLI is that learning language, like teaching language, is an active process. We acquire language by understanding messages and through authentic usage, and we acquire teaching skills the same way. This works in our classroom and will work in yours.
The TESL@TFLI Methodology
If you’re looking for a traditional, university-style lecture course, TESL@TFLI may not be the best choice for you. Students don’t learn English that way, and we don’t believe it’s the best way to teach teachers of English. Instead, in our program, you’ll learn how to teach using the same techniques, methods, and activities you’ll use in your own classrooms. And that isn’t by getting or giving lectures. Instead, our methodology uses presentation as only one small step in the overall learning process.
Much more emphasis is put on practice – language students must use the language if they hope to remember it later on when they need it. One of our most popular and effective sessions requires students to spend a few hours learning to speak and read Russian. Yes, Russian. There’s nothing like putting yourself in the learner’s shoes to help you understand what it’s like to study English as a second language. So even a brief encounter with a completely strange language (to most students), using the same techniques you’ll use in teaching English, makes the English student’s experience real.
The core of our program is the student practicum, 10-12 hours of actual teaching in actual classes, using lesson plans you’ve prepared and being mentored by a trainer. Graduates taught with and teaching with our methodology send us success stories from all over the world.
- 150-hour TESL Certificate
- recognized locally and internationally
- 120 hours of coursework
- 30 hours of practicum
- practice teach complete classes with local ESL students at a variety of levels and backgrounds
- 1:2 practicum trainer to student ratio for personalized guidance and feedback in the practicum
- classes focus on practical techniques, strategies, activities, and materials
- teaching accent training, young learners, business classes, online classes, and other situations all included
- modern, hands-on teaching methodology
- lifetime access to teaching resources, TESL@TFLI library, and future classes
Our program offers a total of 150 hours of teacher training, which is far beyond the standard of 100 hours for TESL/TEFL/TESOL certificate programs. At least 120 hours of this is classroom work with experienced ESL teacher trainers. This portion also includes some online activities, observations, and readings. The practice teaching component of the course is approximately 30 hours. This includes lesson planning, peer teaching rehearsals, ESL teaching observations, and ESL teaching in a local classroom. You will be guided through the teaching practicum with experienced trainers who provide the feedback and assistance necessary to help you succeed.
Our graduates hold jobs here in Nashville, across the country, and all over the world. We are happy to provide references with a background similar to prospective students. Be sure to attend one of our information sessions, which is the best way to find out about our program. And you’ll receive a coupon worth $100 off the tuition price should you decide to enroll.
The strengths of the TESL@TFLI program lie in our methodology and our trainers. Our classes are small, with a maximum of 20 trainees and an average practicum trainer to trainee ratio of 1:2. This ensures personal contact time for every student. By the time they earn the 150-hour TESL Certificate from TFLI, our graduates have the tools, skills, and confidence to effectively manage their own classrooms. They also hold a Certificate that represents the practical, real-world training that employers are looking for.
Students should be prepared to devote adequate time to the course, both in and out of class. Fall and spring sessions are designed to accommodate people who work full-time, with classes held from 6-9 p.m. Spring sessions meet on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and have ESL practice teaching on four Saturdays. Fall sessions meet on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and have ESL practice teaching on four Saturdays. Students should be prepared to spend an additional 5-10 hours per week on reading and preparation for classroom assignments. This homework requirement increases during the practicum weeks to approximately 15-20 hours of out-of-class preparation.
Summer sessions require a full-time commitment for four weeks, with classes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and ESL practice teaching on four Saturdays. The homework and out-of-class preparation obligation is approximately 15-20 hours per week.
Class attendance is mandatory. Students who are absent from any portion of the course may be placed on probation and may not receive a certificate. Students must obtain passing grades on all assignments and on practice teaching to remain in good standing and receive a certificate.
Students must have access to a computer and an Internet connection and have basic word processing, Internet and email skills.
Successful TESL students are well-organized and know how to manage their time efficiently and prioritize their obligations. Of course, enthusiasm, creativity, stability, love of people, and love of learning are also excellent qualities in TESL students.
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is mandatory for non-native speakers of English. Students must achieve a score of at least 85 on the TOEFL iBT or an overall band score of 6.5 on the IELTS in order to be considered for admission to TESL@TFLI.
Students may be asked to complete a pre-enrollment interview and/or exam.
Students must complete, sign and submit a registration form, including an essay, a CV, and two letters of reference.
Tuition, Fees, & Financial Aid
TESL@TFLI is neither the highest nor the lowest priced certification program in teaching English as a second language. However we believe our price/value ratio is the best you’ll find. TESL@TFLI is recognized by the prestigious British Council, the United Kingdom’s international organization for cultural relations and education opportunities, as meeting the highest standards in teacher training. As our graduates can attest, certification from TESL@TFLI opens career opportunities worldwide.
The full tuition for the 150-hour TESL Certificate course at TFLI is $2,595. Early Bird tuition is $2,345. Most applicants qualify for additional tuition discounts (see Financial Aid below).
Tuition includes all classes, course materials, and other documentation:
- Approximately 120 hours of foundation assignments and in-person training
- Approximately 30+ hours of ESL teaching practicum
- textbooks and other materials
- large resource binder
- lifetime online access to high-quality lesson plans prepared by TESL@TFLI teachers
- signed and embossed TESL Certificate
- signed and embossed transcript
- letter of standing and other documentation
Graduates of TESL@TFLI have a standing invitation to access our comprehensive TESL library, online resources, and to attend future TESL sessions at no charge. Whether you travel the world and teach English, stay in the community and help local refugees and immigrants, or pursue other opportunities, you will always have our support.
What are the next steps? Review the TESL@TFLI admission requirements and the tuition information on this page. Pick a course and information session from our upcoming sessions. Complete the TESL@TFLI Application and submit it for review. We will then send approved applicants information about registering and paying for the 150-hour TESL Certificate course, including instructions for receiving any financial assistance that you qualify for.
There are a few rare and avoidable circumstances that would result in an additional cost. The late fee for applications submitted after the deadline is $100. The fee for replacing a lost Certificate is $40. If for some reason you must re-schedule or extend any portion of your practicum you will be responsible to pay an approved TESL trainer to help you complete your practicum.
Tuition payment plan: You have the option of paying tuition in installments. We accept cash, checks, and credit cards. You may also make payments through our online registration system. Approved payment plans begin with a tuition deposit of $495, and continue with scheduled monthly or biweekly payments. For example, a student who receives the Information Session discount and uses the payment plan could choose from one of these plans:
|Payment Plan||Deposit||Monthly Payments||Biweekly Payments|
|2 Months||$495||2 x 1000||4 x 500|
|4 Months||$495||4 x 500||8 x 250|
|6 Months||$495||6 x 333.33||12 x 166.66|
|12 Months||$495||12 x 166.66||24 x 83.33|
Other payment plan options are available. Payment plan arrangements must be made with the TESL office before the registration deadline for the TESL course you wish to attend. When using the payment plan, only the Information Session discount may be applied to the cost of tuition.
Tuition Discounts available to all applicants:
$100 Information Session discount: Attend a TESL Information Session and receive a $100 tuition discount coupon on any TESL course in the next 12 months. This coupon is valid only for the person attending the session or a member of the attendee’s immediate family. This discount may be combined with the other available discounts. Find our next Info Session here.
$250 Early Bird discount: Complete your enrollment and completed tuition payment 30 days before the Early Bird deadline for your course and receive $250 tuition discount. This discount may be combined with the other available discounts.
The following tuition discounts may not be combined (but may be added to the Information Session and Early Bird discounts):
$250 Community Service discount: Applicants with 60+ hours of documented community service related to education, immigrants, or refugees receive a $250 tuition discount. This applies to in-service and former Peace Corps, military, teachers, and members of other education-oriented organizations. Contact us directly regarding your circumstances.
$250 Prior Training discount: Applicants who have received prior ESL/EFL teacher training or certification are encouraged to further their professional development by pursuing the 150-hour TESL Certificate through TESL@TFLI and receive a $250 tuition discount.
$250 Bring a Friend discount: Two applicants admitted to the same TESL course both receive a $250 tuition discount. Applicants must apply jointly, indicating this on the registration, and both be admitted into the course.
$250 Employer Match: Organizations who wish to encourage professional development and continuing education for their employees or volunteers are welcome to pay any portion of an applicant’s tuition. TESL@TFLI will match the employer’s contribution up to $250.
Group discounts: Organizations interested in creating a strong support system are encouraged to inquire about flexible group discounts for 3 or more individuals. 3+ in the same TESL course receive a $250 tuition discount per applicant. 3+ in different TESL courses receive $250 tuition discount for each applicant after the first full-paying student. Larger groups may be eligible for a greater discount. Applicants must apply jointly, indicating this on the registration, and be admitted into the course. These may attend the same TESL course, or attend consecutive courses. Tuition for each applicant is due by the registration deadline of the course which they will attend. May not be combined with other $250 discounts.
Rasmussen Scholarship for TESL: The Rasmussen Scholarship Award Program assists students who require financial assistance to participate in the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute’s courses. Founded by Wallace N. Rasmussen, a businessman and philanthropist who made a lifetime commitment to helping others achieve the education he never had.
The Scholarship Application includes information on how to submit the application and the supporting materials required. Scholarship applications must be received at least one week in advance of registration deadlines.
Life After TESL
One of the first questions potential students ask, and it’s a good one, is whether it’s possible to find a job as an ESL instructor. The answer to that is a resounding yes!
Trained ESL teachers are in high demand internationally, particularly in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Russia. Western Europe is a much more difficult market, although there are TESL@TFLI graduates teaching there as well. Most overseas work is full-time.
Locally, part-time jobs are abundant and full-time jobs relatively rare. Many people are very successful putting together a succession of part-time assignments, but it does require flexibility as well as the ability to market yourself.
We frequently receive requests from local ESL providers to send them our graduates. Former students teaching in other countries also let us know of openings at their schools.
The average pay for teaching ESL in the U.S. is about $20 per hour with no payment for the time it takes to prepare lessons. Although community colleges pay per semester rather than by the hour, this still works out to be the average pay. Some community colleges pay only $18 per hour but will pay for an additional hour of prep time. TFLI pays from $18-$25 per hour with no pay for prep time. Salaries overseas can vary widely depending on the country, the local market, and supply and demand.
While TFLI has relationships with recruiting companies and with many other organizations and thus receives many job bulletins and notices of openings, especially in the Nashville area, we are not recruiters and cannot guarantee you job placement. We are, however, committed to assisting you in your career path and frequently write letters of recommendation and review contracts for TESL@TFLI graduates. An international job guide and other job resources are provided as part of the TESL@TFLI course.
Earning your TESL certificate can be the beginning of a lifetime of adventure! Begin your adventure by enrolling in an upcoming TESL@TFLI certificate course.
How to enroll in the 150-hour TESL@TFLI certificate course
Review the course information
TESL@TFLI is a serious commitment, and we want you to know what it is you are signing up for! If you have questions that are not addressed online, please ask them directly. We strongly encourage all candidates to attend an Information Session prior to submitting an application. At the Information Session, you can meet TESL@TFLI trainers and former students, ask questions, see an overview of the course, and receive a $100 tuition discount. You may also qualify for additional financial aid.
Choose between the part-time evening courses (Spring and Fall) and the full-time course (Summer). All courses contain the same content. Choose the schedule that is best for you.
The application includes:
→ Contact information
→ Background information
→ TESL candidate profile and essay
→ Financial aid request
→ Title VI disability disclosure
→ Request format for two letters of reference (to be submitted directly to TESL@TFLI)
→ Non-compete and intellectual property agreement
Review and interview
We will review your application and schedule a brief follow-up interview (in person or over the phone). This will give you the opportunity to ask any questions that have come to mind since submitting your application, and give us the opportunity to make sure you are a good candidate for the course and verify that you have applied for the correct course. An interview may not be necessary if you have attended a recent Information Session.
You may pay your tuition in advance, but your application must be approved before we will enroll you into the course. Accepted candidates will receive instructions to complete the enrollment process by registering online as a TESL@TFLI student. We will send you a link for online registration, as well as your discount codes for applicable financial assistance. You will pay for the course at the end of the registration. You have the option of paying your tuition in full or making partial payments. We accept checks and credit cards. Tuition must be paid in full by the registration deadline for the course you are enrolling in.
Refund policy: Enrolled students who wish to withdraw from the TESL course must do so in writing in order to be eligible for a credit or refund. Those who withdraw prior to orientation day will be eligible for a full credit towards another course within 12 months or a full refund. Those who withdraw within the first 12 in-class hours are eligible for a full credit towards another course within 12 months or a tuition refund (tuition paid minus $495 for books and materials). Those who withdraw after the first 12 in-class hours are eligible for a credit towards another course within 12 months. There is NO REFUND for those who withdraw after the first 12 in-class hours.
Cancellation policy: TESL@TFLI reserves the right to cancel any TESL course. In the rare case that a TESL course must be cancelled, applicants will be given the option of a full refund or transfer into another TESL@TFLI course of their choosing.
The Tennessee Foreign Language Institute (TFLI), an agency of the State of Tennessee established in 1986, is dedicated to responsive service of the public sector, the business community and private citizens in realizing their intercultural communication goals.