Frequently Asked Questions


Part I) Finding a Job

1. Does TESL Ontario help its members find a job?
TESL Ontario provides employment-related webinars, blog posts, and articles on its website at 
Also, TESL Ontario holds online mentorship events where seasoned ESL professionals share their experiences with job-seekers and answer their questions. Dates and registration steps for these sessions are sent to TESL Ontario members by mass email. Also, registration information for upcoming sessions can be found at
The TESL Ontario Career Booster Forum is another employment-related event that is held once a year at the TESL Ontario Conference. In this event, three employers provide advice on job search, employer expectations, resume preparation, interviewing skills, professional development, and current trends in the job market.
Last but not least, Catherine Crawford, our Career Corner Expert, offers discounted career planning services to TESL Ontario members as an exclusive benefit. You may contact Catherine directly by email at or through her website.

2. Where can I find job ads or information about potential employers?

You can find job ads or information about potential employers of English language teachers at the following webpages: → Key in LINC as your search word and a location such as Toronto → Search → Key in ESL as your search word and a location such as Toronto → Search               → Scroll down and search for schools by alphabetical order. → Scroll down to “Find a university”. → Scroll down to “Find a college”.

3. What institutions do the TESL Ontario certified teachers work for?

The TESL Ontario certified teachers work for school boards, settlement agencies, community colleges, universities, private language schools, private career colleges, testing agencies, not-for-profit organizations, tutoring agencies, and international employers. Some certified teachers are self-employed and run their own businesses.

4. What do the TESL Ontario certified teachers do?

The TESL Ontario certified members do a variety of jobs. They teach funded Adult ESL/LINC classes, EAP courses, College/University English courses, and test preparation courses. They also tutor, work in administration, assess for LINC and funded Adult ESL programs, and train ESL teachers. Some work as IELTS examiners, CELPIP raters, CELPIP item writers, and CELBAN assessors. Some others design curricula and teaching material, or develop and present PD workshops for other teachers.

Part II) TESL Training and TESL Ontario Certification

1. What kind of certification do I need to be able to work as an English language teacher in Canada and abroad?

You may not be able to find one single certificate that would meet the hiring requirements of all employers in Canada and abroad. Different employers have different hiring criteria and may ask for different types of certificates.

If you are planning to work as an adult ESL teacher in the publicly funded programs in Ontario such as LINC, you should hold the TESL Ontario OCELT certificate and professional designation.

If you are planning to work as an ESL teacher in the private sector (private language schools, colleges, etc.) in Ontario, most employers would accept a TESL certificate from a TESL Ontario accredited CTESOL program or OCELT program. To find out about the type of certification required by privately-funded employers, you should contact them directly or check out their websites or job ads.

If you are planning to work as an EFL/ESL teacher abroad, many employers would accept a TESL certificate from a TESL Ontario accredited program or the TESL Ontario ICTEAL certificate.

If you would like to teach ESL in other Canadian provinces, some employers would accept a TESL certificate from a TESL Ontario accredited CTESOL program or OCELT program. Some others may ask for a TESL Canada certificate-standard 1.

Ontario’s grade schools (elementary schools, secondary schools, and high schools) require the Ontario College of Teachers Certificate of Registration. For more information, please visit

Please keep in mind that you may still come across employers in Canada or abroad whose TESL certificate requirements might be different from what is outlined above. For example, they may require CELTA, DELTA, or a degree in TESL. You should do your own research about the hiring requirements of your target employers before you can make a final decision about what training program you should take and what type of professional certification would work best for you.

2. Does TESL Ontario provide any TESL Training courses or programs?
No, it doesn't. TESL Ontario is a membership organization, not an educational institution.
3. What institutions provide the TESL Ontario accredited TESL programs?

The TESL Ontario accredited TESL programs are offered by a number of Canadian universities, colleges, school boards, and private career colleges. These training providers and their contact information are posted at for OCELT & ICTEAL certification and at for CTESOL certification. For information about training start dates, end dates, weekly schedules, admission requirements, fees, etc., please contact the training providers directly or check their websites. 
To learn about the application requirements of OCELT & ICTEAL Certification or CTESOL Certification, please go to
4. How long is a TESL Ontario accredited TESL training program for OCELT & ICTEAL Certification?
A TESL Ontario accredited TESL training program for OCELT & ICTEAL Certification consists of at least 250 hours of TESL theory and TESL methodology instruction, at least 30 hours of observation, and at least 20 hours of supervised practice teaching. In most cases, a full-time program takes about two to three months, while a part-time program can take anywhere from six months to one and a half years.  
5. Do I need to be a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen to be eligible to apply for the TESL Ontario certification? 
No, you don't. TESL Ontario certification application does not require that applicants be a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen.
6. What is the difference between CTESOL and OCELT?

The main purpose of the TESL Ontario CTESOL Certificate and Professional Designation is to acknowledge the certificate holder’s knowledge and skills to teach English to adult learners in non-publicly funded programs in Ontario, in both private and publicly-funded programs in other Canadian provinces and territories, and in a variety of contexts abroad. We hope that this certificate would improve the certified teachers’ mobility and access to employment both within and without Canada.

The TESL Ontario OCELT Certificate and Professional Designation recognizes that a certificate holder has the knowledge and skills required for teaching English to adult learners in all publicly funded and private programs in Ontario, other Canadian provinces and territories, and abroad.

The CTESOL level requires only 120 hours of accredited training; the OCELT level at least 300 hours. That is the only difference in terms of application requirements. The initial degree and language proficiency requirements, application fees and annual fees are the same for OCELT and CTESOL.

A TESL Ontario certified member can hold either a CTESOL Certificate or an OCELT Certificate. One member cannot be certified at both levels at the same time. If a CTESOL Certificate holder applies and is approved for OCELT certification, their CTESOL status is removed automatically; they would move up to the OCELT certification level. OCELT Certificate holders cannot go back to the CTESOL level.

A certified member at CTESOL or OCELT level is required to do at least 10 hours of professional development (PD) per year to be eligible for the annual renewal. Detailed information about PD requirement is available at


Part III) Professional Development (PD) Requirement

1. What activities does TESL Ontario recognize as PD? 

Every hour of participation in any of the activities outlined below counts as one PD hour. Every hour of presentation is recognized as five PD hours. Activities recognized as PD are as follows:

  • Participating in TESL-related workshops, conferences, seminars, webinars and other similar events in Canada or abroad
  • Presenting in TESL-related workshops, conferences, seminars, webinars and other similar events in Canada or abroad
  • Completing a TESL-related training course
  • Attending TESL-related in-service training sessions and PD events provided by employers
  • Mentoring practicum students from TESL Ontario accredited training programs 
  • Mentoring newly certified OCELTs and CTESOLs
  • Serving as a provincial TESL organization Executive Board member, Working Committee member, or Affiliate Chapter Executive Committee member
  • Conducting or participating in TESL-related research
  • Volunteering as a teacher, a teacher assistant, or a tutor in an on-site or online adult ESL program run by a recognized school or settlement agency in Canada
  • Pilot testing curricula or assessment tools for ESL teachers or ESL teacher training

A few examples of recognized PD events and activities are as follows:

2. Does TESL Ontario recognize content-based workshops/courses on topics such as banking as PD?

Content-based training where the focus is solely on a content area, such as Canadian law, health, banking, cooking, traveling, employment, safety at work, culture, etc., and the application of the training content to TESL is not established or practiced is not recognized as PD for the TESL Ontario annual renewal.

3. Does TESL Ontario recognize paid teaching hours or time spent outside the classroom on activities, such as lesson planning or material development, as PD?

No, it doesn't. PD is above and beyond the day-to-day requirements of certified teachers' professional duties. Therefore, an activity (or a component of an activity) a certified teacher is required to carry out as part of their daily professional responsibilities does not count towards the PD hours required for TESL Ontario certified membership renewal.