Over the last couple of decade’s we’ve seen loads of TEFL course providers spring up offering a huge array of different TEFL courses. From expensive four-week residential CELTA courses in exotic foreign locations all the way through to bargain-basement online courses being sold for next to nothing on Groupon.
So we’ve put together a guide to what to look for in a TEFL course to make sure that you get what you need from your training.
Is The Course Provider Accredited? And Who By?
This is the big one really. Anyone can set up a TEFL course, pay for some Google advertising and set themselves up as a course provider. But unless they know what they’re doing, the TEFL certificate you get at the end of it is pretty much worthless. The only way you can check that a course provider is kosher is to check their accreditation. For example, there are lots of providers who use words like Oxford and Cambridge to give themselves some added kudos, but they actually have nothing to do with the two famous Universities.
So, the first thing you should do before you even think about taking a TEFL course is check out the provider’s accreditation.
Is The Price Too Good to Be True?
Whenever you buy anything you have to look at the price and work out whether it seems right. For example, while a £4 chicken is a bargain, a £1 chicken is a cause for concern!
So if someone is selling a 140 hour TEFL course for less than £50 when every other course provider is charging six or seven times that amount, you just have to use your common sense really. If they’re charging that little will their tutors be any good? How much have they invested in their course? What kind of customer service can you expect? How in-depth will your studies be and how well will they equip you to teach in a foreign classroom? In the end, you do get what you pay for.
What Do Their Customers Say?
As with most things, word of mouth is king. If no-one has a good word to say about a TEFL provider then the chances are you aren’t going to have a very good experience with them. So do a bit of research before you sign up. A simple Google search of the course provider’s name should give you a better understanding of where they’re coming from and what you can expect. It’s also worth remembering that unhappy people make much more noise than happy ones, so just because there are a few dissenting voices doesn’t mean that the provider’s courses are no good. Spend a little time, read the good reviews and the bad, get a balanced view and make up your own mind before you shell out any cash.
How Long Have They Been Around?
No matter how good the course, it’s of absolutely no use if employers around the world have never heard of it. So the longer a course provider has been around, the more people they’ll have taught and the more likely it is that employers will have heard of their TEFL certificates and will accept them as proof of adequate training.
Is it the Right Type of Course for What You Want to Do?
The type of course you need is very much dictated by what you want to do with your TEFL certificate. So as long as you have found a decent course provider here’s an idea of what type of course will set you up for what kind of teaching experience…
- Short Courses
Short courses like the 20 Hour Classroom Course or the 40 Hour Online TEFL course are ideal if you want to get a taste of TEFL, if you want to add a qualification to your teaching CV or if you’re planning on doing a short stint of volunteer teaching. It won’t set you up for a long term career, but it will give you enough exposure to get your started on the right track.
- Online TEFL Courses
Top-end online courses give you a thorough grounding in all the methodology, theory and grammatical aspects of teaching English as a foreign language. Although these courses don’t offer practical training, they do prepare you for your first time in a TEFL classroom by instructing you in areas such as lesson preparation and classroom management. This is reflected by the fact that many employers worldwide have now begun to hire 100-120 hour online course graduates for a range of first time teaching roles – this is especially true for the up-and –coming markets in Asia such as China and Thailand.
- Combined TEFL Courses
Many TEFL course providers offer practical TEFL training with classroom-based training on top of the online elements. These can help you put the theoretical training you received on an online TEFL course into action. Courses of around 120 hours which combine both online and classroom-based training are designed to help you find well paid work teaching English overseas and are a good way to prepare you for a few years travelling and teaching overseas. These types of qualification are now widely regarded as of sufficient quality and depth to qualify you for all but the highest level TEFL jobs – especially when allied with a year or two of teaching experience.
- Level 5 Qualifications
There’s no getting away from the fact that level five qualifications like the Trinity TESOL, CELTA and the EDI CertTEFL aren’t cheap. But they shouldn’t be really (see £1 chicken analogy above!) as they are designed to help you get started on a proper TEFL career that could see you teaching both in English-speaking countries and overseas AND earning a significant and sustainable salary.
Need a Little More Information?
If you want to find out more about TEFL courses and teaching opportunities around the world, give us a quick call on 0800 093 3148 or book a FREE TEFL Consultation and one of our globe-trotting, former-teacher, TEFL Experts will give you a call and talk through your options.