If you're searching for a way to move abroad to a foreign country, begin a new adventure, and get paid, becoming TEFL certified is a great first step. Becoming TEFL certified can open all kinds of doors and launch a career in travel and education.
To become an English teacher abroad, generally, the only requirements are to be a native English speaker. But in many cases having a bachelor's degree and becoming TEFL certified will give you a leg up in a crowded field. When it comes to obtaining a TEFL certification, there are a lot of options out there, but in order to get the most return from your certification, it's essential to do your research and choose the correct one for you and your goals. So while you're searching, here are just a few things you should be looking out for:
(Since there are so many different types of TEFL courses out there, these tips are going to focus mainly on online TEFL courses.)
What to Look for When Choosing an Online TEFL Certification
1. At least 120 hours of coursework
In order to meet international standards and the requirements of most employers, 120 hours of TEFL training is the minimum you should be looking to have. This isn't to say that you can't teach abroad without 120 hours of training.
However, if you choose a shorter course, you might be limiting yourself on where you will be eligible to teach later on. If you're searching for real and quality TEFL training, anything less than 120 hours won’t cut it.
2. In-person live training (TEFL practicum)
When looking into an online TEFL course, one requirement to look out for is a practicum. A TEFL practicum is a portion of the course where students actually tutor, student teach, or observe a classroom. This may seem like a difficult addition, and although you might be tempted to enroll in a course where it isn't required, a practicum is actually a critical portion of your TEFL training.
Courses generally require about 20 hours of practicum; therefore, new teachers can feel comfortable and confident in front of the classroom before they depart! Not all online courses require practicum hours, so make sure it's a requirement before enrolling. Completing your practicum is easier than you might realize, and you'll be glad you did it once it's over!
3. Qualified TEFL tutors or professors
When it comes to online courses, it can be challenging to ensure you're getting proper instruction. If you require a more hands-on learning experience, do your research to confirm that your course is being run by university-level instructors.
However, for those who enjoy learning a bit more independently, having qualified live tutors who are there to assist when you need it might be enough instruction for you. In this case, it's less about the quality of information you're receiving and more about how you receive it. Get to know your learning style and choose what's best for you!
4. Job assistance
Navigating the world of teaching abroad can be confusing! There's a lot of information out there, and without proper guidance or job placement, mistakes can be made. When searching for a TEFL course, be sure to keep an eye out for what kind of job assistance they provide once you are certified.
Do they have partnerships with schools abroad to be placed in? Do they provide resources for applications elsewhere? A good TEFL course should provide some sort of guide for you to get the most out of your money.
5. Reputable TEFL Accreditation
An essential part of choosing a TEFL certification is selecting one with a quality and reputable accreditation. When a TEFL provider is accredited, it means that a third party has thoroughly reviewed the company, course material, TEFL trainers, and graduate success rate to ensure the course meets internationally accepted standards. In addition, a TEFL course that is accredited lets you know that the course is trustworthy.
However, not all TEFL accreditations are of the same quality. Some of the best TEFL accreditation bodies include ACCET, an organization backed by the U.S. Department of Education, and TQUK, recognized by the U.K government.
6. A Price Tag that Isn’t Suspiciously Low
While cheap TEFL courses can be enticing, the age-old adage of “You get what you pay for” rings true in the world of TEFL. A course offered at a suspiciously low enrollment fee usually means that it does not provide students with a high-quality learning environment or additional benefits. The most reputable and comprehensive TEFL courses typically cost $1,000 or more.
Students enrolled in appropriately priced TEFL courses typically enjoy these vital benefits:
- Instruction from TEFL trainers that hold a Master’s in TESOL or equivalent field of study and years of EFL experience.
- Accreditation from a reputable accreditation body like ACCET so you know you’re paying for an internationally recognized and trusted TEFL provider.
- Course material curated by expert academic coordinators.
- Access to additional resources and benefits like job search assistance, cultural tips for adjusting to a new country, expansive alumni community, etc.
- Small class sizes which mean personable instruction and a fun learning environment.
The world of TEFL can be tricky, so as always, properly researching your course options is a must. Be wary of any too-good-to-be-true prices, and once you find the course for you, the world is your oyster! Better yet, the world is your classroom. So, where will your classroom be?