If you’re trying to choose a TEFL course but are feeling a bit lost then don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are hundreds of providers out there, some good and, unfortunately, a lot more bad. But how do you tell them apart?
Due to lack of regulation in the industry anyone who wants to can create and sell a TEFL course. And there’s nothing stopping them from using misleading practices and tricks to make you think a substandard product is worthy of your time and money.
In this article we’re going to cover what you need to watch out for to ensure you choose a reputable TEFL course that will prepare you for teaching and leave you with a qualification recognised by employers.
You can find TEFL courses on discount websites for as little as £20. We’ve previously covered the issues with courses you can find on sites like Groupon , but the bottom line is it simply isn’t possible to offer quality TEFL training at such a low price. Take it from us, we’ve been running TEFL courses since 2008 and know what’s involved!
Good TEFL course providers offer courses that have been developed by experienced EFL teachers and trainers. They should come with support from a tutor, be accredited by established bodies (more on that shortly), and have a team of people who can support you throughout your TEFL journey. The cost of your course should reflect this.
It should also be noted that hidden fees are very common when it comes to online TEFL courses. In particular, it’s important to establish if a hard copy of your certificate and the cost of shipping is included in the course fee, as some providers are known to charge exorbitant fees for this. In order to teach English abroad you must have a hard copy of your TEFL certificate.
We know we bang on about it all the time, but accreditation is so important . It’s one of the first things employers will check when recruiting and it’s the only way for you to be sure that what a provider is claiming is true.Accreditation means that a provider and their courses have undergone external quality control. However, because there’s no over-arching accrediting body for TEFL courses the quality of accreditation itself can vary. To keep things simple, look out for accreditation from government or government-affiliated bodies. There are lots of other reputable bodies that accredit courses, but you want to ensure the provider has at least one accreditor that fits this criteria.
For more information about accreditation and what to look out for see our post explaining everything you need to know about TEFL accreditation .
Most employers require teachers to have at least a 120-hour TEFL qualification, which you’ll see specified on many job adverts. However, without sufficient accreditation there’s nothing to stop a course provider from advertising their course as a 120-hour TEFL course when it isn’t.
If a company claims you can complete the course within a few days - or if you spot reviews where people say that’s how long it took them - then be very wary. If a 120-hour course can be completed within two or three days then it’s not a 120-hour course - you do the maths!
How long it takes to complete a TEFL course can vary since most online courses are self-paced, but on average our students take 10 to 12 weeks to complete one of our 120-hour courses. See our post about the time it takes to get TEFL qualified for more information.
If a provider is established and internationally recognised you shouldn’t have a problem finding plenty of reviews about them online.
It’s important to bear in mind that reviews can be faked or manipulated and, unfortunately, this is common in the TEFL industry. Make sure to check out reviews on websites that conduct some sort of verification process, like reviews.io or TEFL Course Review . Review sites that have no verification process can very easily be flooded with fake reviews.
Cost, accreditation, number of hours, and reviews are all key areas to research to determine if a TEFL course provider is legitimate or not. Below are a few more questions to ask when doing your research:
The subreddit r/TEFL is a very useful impartial resource and has information about how to choose a TEFL course , which we recommend for further reading.
If you have any questions or need help choosing a course you can get in touch with our experienced TEFL advisors via livechat, by emailing email@example.com , or calling +44 (0) 1349 800 600 / +353 01 697 1389 .