Lucas Fink

What is TOEFL Certification?

If you’re reading this blog post, there is a high probability that something got you a bit confused. There are three things people can mean when they talk about “TOEFL Certification,” but two of them are misunderstandings:

TOEFL Certification

TOEFL Certification Isn’t for Students

The TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) is a test of English ability scored from 0 to 120. There is no “passing” score of the TOEFL, so there is no certificate.

Most people who take the TOEFL are planning to apply to American colleges or universities. Those schools will use the TOEFL score to decide if the applicant has good enough English skills to function in an English-only setting. Some schools require a score of 70; others require a score of 100 or more. Because there is a range of requirements, there is no “TOEFL certification” after you take the test.

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.

If you are going to take the TOEFL, and you want to know more about required score, check out this infographic.

TOEFL Certification Isn’t for Teachers

If you’re a teacher (or want to be a teacher), you may be thinking about TEFL certification. This is a constant source of confusion! TEFL means “Teaching English as a Foreign Language,” which is quite different from the “Test Of English as a Foreign Language”—the TOEFL.

With that sorted out, you might expect that finding out about TEFL certification would be pretty easy. Sadly, it’s not. There is no global standard for TEFL certification, so there are many different people offering many different types. Some of them are basically useless for job searching, because the programs aren’t accredited by any outside system. All you need is a piece of paper to offer a “TEFL certificate,” and it’s a completely legal business. In other words, as a teacher, you might get scammed by a “certification” program if you’re not careful. If you don’t want to get scammed, two of the most widely recognized accreditors are Trinity College London and Cambridge English.

If you’re already an EFL teacher, but you want to teach the TOEFL in particular—to help students prepare for the test—there is no special class or certification. You simply need to learn the test and the best ways to answer questions. The Magoosh TOEFL blog will help with that!

TOEFL Certification IS for Institutions

When we say “TOEFL certification,” the only thing it really means is becoming certified to administer the TOEFL at your business. If you want to administer the TOEFL at a language school, university, library, or any other business with a computer lab, you will need to be accredited by ETS, the company that makes the TOEFL. If that’s what you’re looking for, all the info is on ETS’s site. Check out the application form here to get a sense of what you’ll need.



  • Lucas Fink

    Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.

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