Before I tell you more about how the TEFL certification I completed through CIEE got me a job abroad, I want to give you some background first. I graduated college in December 2017, completed my online 150-hour TEFL course and then spent all of 2018 in Santiago, Chile. It was a life-changing experience and my first time ever teaching English abroad! I strongly recommend the program to anyone looking into teaching English in Chile. I recently came back to USA and am hoping to make Spain my next TEFL destination.
So how did the TEFL certification I completed through CIEE get me a job abroad?
My situation is unique, because originally I went to Chile only planning to stay five months, coming through a government program that placed me in a college institution, Duoc UC. After deciding to stay the full year I had to look for a new job since Duoc UC didn't have a spot for me in the second semester (there are a lot less English classes offered at universities in the second semester). My certification was a huge plus to have on my resume, because CIEE is well-known and has a great reputation. Not only that, but it was a TEFL course that consisted of 150 hours, 20 of them being practicum hours! Not many other TEFL certification courses provide those things, so it made me a standout candidate.
Most teaching jobs in Santiago are for companies that do private classes for business professionals, so I started emailing companies to see what I could do. The responses were overwhelming! I talked to over 10 companies and had interviews with seven of them. Once I sent them my resume, told them I was a native speaker and talked about my TEFL certification, I was set. Every single place I interviewed at offered me a job, and it was actually overwhelming the amount of offers I was given! It was daunting trying to choose the best company to work for when I had so many options but the best problem to have! Another reason my TEFL certification got me a job abroad is the confidence it gave me to teach English. It prepared me and gave me great confidence in interviews to explain the certification course I took and what it entailed, answer interview questions about ESL teaching styles and methods, as well as do lesson demos that were required in a lot of the interviews.
So yes, getting a TEFL certification is essential to getting a job abroad. Times have changed and if you buy a one-way ticket to another country expecting jobs to fall in your lap simply because you're a native speaker, those stories are becoming much less common nowadays. Obviously it differs depending on the country and the level you are teaching, so I can't speak for everywhere. But what I can say for Chile specifically is that all the companies I interviewed with required a TEFL certification to work there. Unless you have strong connections or contacts, it would prove quite difficult to snag a teaching job without a teaching certification. A TEFL certification will be yours forever, provide you with endless opportunities to live abroad and make money, and give you life-changing experiences if you put it to use wherever you are! Not only that, but the CIEE TEFL courses really are top-notch and prepared me well to teach English abroad in a way that other TEFL courses wouldn't have. I met many other teaching friends in Chile, and most of them said they learned nothing from their TEFL courses and felt completely unprepared on the first day of school! So if you're going back and forth about getting a TEFL certification, do yourself a favor and do it through CIEE. Not once have I regretted it because of the opportunities and experiences it has given me!