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What is TEFL accreditation?

When it comes to choosing the right TEFL course, accreditation absolutely makes a difference. Employers will know whether you’ve studied with a widely-recognised and approved TEFL course provider!

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When you’re choosing the right TEFL course, there are a number of factors to consider.

Elements like cost, the length of the course, and the reputation of the TEFL course provider are all crucial. While it’s more expensive, a proper TEFL qualification over a more sensible length of time with a reputable course provider is worth more in the long run than a slapdash Groupon effort that promises the world within a week, through a provider that isn’t well-regarded in the industry.

There are others, too. The quality of tuition, the amount of tutor time you might have, whether you can study in person or online, the likelihood of a job at the end of a course, and more factors can play into someone’s decision about a TEFL course provider.

However, the most important of all might just be accreditation. Put in simple terms, it matters a lot whether a TEFL course provider is well accredited by a number of top accrediting bodies.

An accredited TEFL provider or accredited course? 

An important note here: it’s the provider that is accredited, not specific courses. Individual courses can be regulated, such as our Level 5 course, which is regulated by TQUK, an Ofqual-awarding body. 

Ofqual regulates qualifications, not providers. So, it’s prudent to be wary of providers that claim to be Ofqual accredited or regulated.

It’s not semantics; this kind of thing matters. TEFL accreditation can seem scatter-shot because of the lack of regulation, which has made it very easy for dodgy providers to mislead potential students. The aim of this article is to help you understand exactly what accreditation is, why it matters, and what you need to look out for when choosing a course.  

Why TEFL accreditation matters? 

That’s because accreditation is an indicator of quality for you as a customer, but it’s also demonstrative to employers that you’ve taken the right training for the job you’re applying for. If you’ve taken a lesser TEFL course from a provider that isn’t highly accredited, or their accreditation doesn’t appear to be legitimate, then you can be at a serious disadvantage when it comes to the job search.

In fact, we’ve had a number of students complete a course with us because they initially signed up for a Groupon TEFL course, only to find that employers don’t recognize it. 

What might seem like a great deal can just end up costing you time and money. Crucially, can you really expect to learn how to teach English and get a job with a $50 course?

When it’s time to choose a TEFL course, most likely your priorities will include learning how to effectively teach and being able to secure a TEFL job after completion. The importance of accreditation, when it comes to both these areas, is immensely significant.

To start, you want to make sure that a TEFL course appropriately prepares you for teaching English. Good accreditation is your guarantee that the course offered will do just that. By thoroughly assessing the provider, an accrediting body will determine whether or not they are able to deliver quality courses that deliver on this promise.

Also, you want to be sure that your TEFL qualification is going to get you a great job in the English teaching sector. One of our esteemed TEFL tutors, Carl, has excellent experience teaching English across the globe and has also recruited and hired teachers. The first thing he would look at when an application came through? No doubt, it’s accreditation.

“Good” vs “bad” TEFL accreditation: how do you tell the difference? 

Let’s say you’re looking at a course provider, and they’re reeling off the names of accreditors to impress you. Can you take them at face value? Not always.

A provider saying they’re accredited doesn’t mean they’re inherently providing high-quality courses. Not all accrediting bodies are equal, and you need to check out where that accreditation is coming from.

It’s not unusual for some shady course providers to set up their own accrediting bodies to create a façade of acclaim. It’s a bit like giving yourself a certificate for attendance while you’re at school, yes, but it can fool potential students. The mercy here is that you can spot a bogus accreditor relatively easily - just find out whether they ‘accredit’ other TEFL companies, and see what their processes and standards are. 

If you can’t find those things: avoid them.

Good accreditation

Now we’ve established there are good and bad types of TEFL accreditation, how can we tell where the good stuff comes from?

There are definitely ways of telling. Here are our key notes for finding out whether a TEFL provider is correctly accredited:

Without these important factors, it’s best to assume that a course provider is playing up their accreditation, playing with technicalities or even falsifying their accreditation. This leads us to…

  • The accrediting bodies they’re listing are well-established and widely recognized within the industry
  • They list all the providers they accredit
  • You can easily find out information about their processes and how they grant accreditation status
  • They accredit other reputable course providers

Bad accreditation 

How can we spot bad or even false accreditation? It’s quite simple - here’s what to look out for from TEFL course providers:

It’s here where it’s probably right to say that this seems niche, but it’s really important. We’ll get to the importance of accreditors again, but this isn’t some TEFL industry in-fighting. The importance of TEFL accreditors on your experience as a student, and what you can do as a teacher, can’t be emphasized enough.

  • The accrediting bodies they’re listing are obscure, or even made up
  • They either don’t list accreditors, or they’re incredibly selective
  • It’s hard to find whether or not they’re accredited
  • It’s even harder to find out anything about the “accreditor” 
  • The accreditors they list don’t give similar awards to other TEFL course providers

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Why employers care about TEFL accreditation?

Put it this way.

If you went to a University that had a long history in awarding high-quality degrees, was regularly audited, and is widely recognized for its quality, it’ll look good on a CV when you add your own degree to your CV.

If you add a degree to your CV that came from a University your friend made up, then employers will likely raise an eyebrow before discarding your application. Fine, it’s a dramatic comparison, but it’s easy to tell when a TEFL company has made up an accreditation body, and they know the difference between a serious TEFL certificate and something that’s been fraudulently sold as one.

Employers want to know you’ve done TEFL training that meets the highest industry standards. You won’t be fully prepared if you’ve got a qualification from a sketchy provider who hasn’t received accreditation from recognized TEFL authorities. 

How to find out if a TEFL course is properly accredited?

On occasions like these, Google is very much your friend.

Unsure whether the course you’re about to sign up for comes from an accredited body? Well, it’s simple enough to find out. For one thing, the course provider should proudly display who they’re accredited by on their website. If their accreditation isn’t one of the first things mentioned, that’s a bad sign.

Does the TEFL provider provide logos and links to the accreditation bodies that are listed on their website? That’s normally a good indicator that the accreditation they have is legitimate. Accreditation bodies can take action if a course provider is falsifying an award from their organization. 

If you’re still unsure, search online for the accreditation bodies that are being listed. Do they have a strong online presence? Ofqual, for example, is a government department, and as such, their website sits under the UK government’s online umbrella. DEAC, meanwhile, has an excellent section on the history of their organization, as well as a wealth of resources about accreditation in general, and how it can be attained.

These things matter a lot. You can’t fake recognition or real legitimacy. 

The TEFL Org’s accreditation

With so little regulation in the TEFL industry, it was important for the TEFL Org to distinguish ourselves as the most reliable, recognized and accredited course provider around.

We’ve done just that, securing accreditation from a range of bodies around the world. You can be assured that if you choose to take a course with the TEFL Org, you’re getting the highest quality of tuition in the industry.

The importance of proper accreditation is obvious to us. We want our students to become teachers, and get excellent jobs in the growing TEFL industry. To make that a reality, it’s about providing the very best. If accreditors recognize our organization as an industry leader, then students should feel safer in deciding to study with us.

So, who has accredited the TEFL Org thus far?

Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

The DEAC is an American body, which accredits distance learning providers and is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. 

Our 120-hour and Level 5 courses are DEAC AQC approved – AQC (Approved Quality Curriculum) referring to their rigorous quality assessment process.

Ofqual

Our Level 5 TEFL courses are Ofqual regulated. Ofqual, a non-ministerial English government department, does not accredit providers, rather it regulates individual courses and this is done via an Ofqual-approved awarding body. 

Our Level 5 courses have been developed with TQUK, who carry out annual quality checks and verify assessments. Graduates of our Level 5 courses receive a certificate from both us and TQUK.

British Accreditation Council (BAC)

The BAC has been accrediting colleges and learning providers in the UK and overseas for over 30 years. As an accrediting body, the BAC is rigorous in its standards, and providers are regularly assessed and reassessed. 

Over the years we’ve held BAC accreditation we’ve had a number of inspections and gone through their reaccreditation process, which all providers must do after a number of years in order to maintain their accreditation status. All of their inspection reports are published on their website.

Open and Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC)

In 1968 the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC) was set up by the British government, to monitor the quality of open and distance learning courses and providers. 

It is now a non-governmental organization and continues to assess the quality of training and education providers. You can see our profile on the ODLQC website.

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is an executive non-departmental Scottish government body, which is responsible for accreditation and awarding qualifications in Scotland. If you’ve been to school in Scotland, you’ll know all about the SQA!

The TEFL Org is an SQA-approved center, and we have been approved by them to deliver the first part (Language and Learning in ESOL F43X 33) of Unit 1 (PDA Introduction to tutoring ESOL); which is an SQA accredited course.