Classroom & online TEFL courses: how should you get certified?

TEFL courses can be conducted entirely online, in person, or through a combination of the two. But what option is right for you?

We know that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to TEFL training, which is why we offer a range of courses to suit different needs and budgets. We recently took a look at TEFL hours and levels, to help you choose between a 120-hour or Level 5 course. Now we’re turning our attention to online and classroom TEFL courses!

Classroom and online TEFL courses explained

Here at The TEFL Org we offer a range of classroom and online course options. Because most employers require teachers to have at least a 120-hour TEFL qualification you can either complete your training with us entirely online or combine online study with a short classroom course.

Some courses, such as the CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL, are entirely classroom based and usually involve a month of full-time study. Classroom TEFL courses like ours are typically held over a few days, with the rest of your training completed online, helping to make getting TEFL qualified more accessible and affordable. We run 20-hour weekend and 30-hour weekday courses, held over two and three consecutive days respectively.

This year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the difficulty it created conducting in person classroom sessions, we launched our virtual classroom courses. These courses follow the exact same syllabus, the only difference is that they’re held over Zoom and offer more flexibility with dates and times.

With an online TEFL course you can study when it works for you. Our online courses are entirely self-paced, meaning you can study towards getting TEFL qualified when it suits you at any time during the day or night. There’s no set timetable or deadlines and you’ll have the support of an online tutor throughout.

A teacher delivering an online lesson

Does a TEFL course need to include a practicum?

Companies offering courses that include a practicum (observed teaching practice with real language learners) are keen to promote the idea that this is something required by most employers. Truthfully, it isn’t.

We don’t offer a practicum because we set out to make our courses as accessible as possible while still delivering what you need to secure work. Including one significantly increases running costs, which is why you’ll find that the courses offering practicums typically exceed £1,200/$1,500. Aside from cost, we simply don’t see a majority of employers insist on it. But don’t just take our word for it – we’ve trained over 140,000 EFL teachers to date, and they’ve had no problem using their TEFL Org qualification to find work.

The benefits of an online TEFL course

It’s an outdated belief that an online TEFL course won’t get you a job. In the past, when online learning was in its infancy and the CELTA dominated as the EFL teaching qualification, this may have been the case. But these days top universities are offering online classes, not to mention the fact the coronavirus pandemic has helped to accelerate and innovate virtual learning throughout 2020.

An online TEFL course from a properly accredited TEFL course provider will give you the qualification you need to teach English abroad or online. Many employers are more than happy to recruit teachers who have trained online, just make sure your training consists of at least 120 hours, which is the industry standard.

Studying online has a range of benefits, such as:

  • Self-paced study – you can work through the course at your own speed
  • Flexibility – fit studying in around your existing commitments
  • Cost effective – but be wary of budget TEFL courses
  • Not location dependent – whether you’re based in the UK, India, or Thailand, you can study online from anywhere with an internet connection

Find out more about our online TEFL courses.

A teacher in a classroom

The benefits of a classroom TEFL course

A classroom TEFL course is a great compliment to online study. It will give you a real sense of what teaching English really involves as well as consolidate what you’ve been learning online.

On a TEFL Org classroom course your instructor will be a highly qualified and experienced EFL teacher and teacher trainer. During the course you’ll have the opportunity to prepare and deliver your own TEFL lessons and get feedback from your tutor as well as your peers. These courses might be short – two or three days – but a lot is packed in!

During a classroom TEFL course you’ll:

  • Get a real taste of what teaching English involves
  • Boost your confidence as a teacher
  • Learn directly from an experienced EFL teacher
  • Study in person or virtually (our virtual course follows the exact same syllabus)

Find out more about our in person and virtual TEFL classroom courses.

So, what should you choose?

To keep it as simple as possible, we’d recommend an online-only course over a combined course if:

  • You have previous teaching experience
  • A classroom course isn’t financially possible for you
  • And/or the dates for classroom sessions just don’t fit with your timetable

Incorporating a classroom TEFL course into your training is a great option. While most employers don’t specify it as a requirement, it can definitely be a plus during the hiring process and help you stand out. If you have no previous teaching experience, no degree, and are not a native English speaker then it’s really worth considering. See our previous post explaining TEFL hours and levels to find out more about how to put yourself in the strongest position for finding work.

But if cost or time is an issue and you just can’t make it work then don’t worry – a 120+ hour online-only TEFL course is sufficient for finding work abroad or online. Our 120-hour Premier Online TEFL course continues to be our best-selling TEFL course and our graduates have gone on to work all over the world with it!

Choosing the right TEFL course can really depend on your own circumstances, but we hope this article has helped you understand what option is best for you. You can always contact us and speak to a TEFL adviser via livechat, by emailing info@tefl.org.uk or calling 01349 800 600.

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