So, you’ve finally decided you want to do a TEFL course. Maybe you’ve been stuck in your house for far too long and are ready to escape for a life of teaching English abroad? Or maybe you just want to earn some extra money teaching English at home. Either way, before you make that leap, you’ll need your golden ticket – a TEFL certificate.
But there are so many choices I hear you say! This is very true and it can be hard to choose the right course. You need to decide if you should take it in a classroom or online, how many hours it should be and also find out if it is reputable and of good quality.
I know this can all seem overwhelming, so we have put together 8 quick tips to help you choose the best TEFL course for you, get your TEFL certification and step out into the world of English teaching!
Let’s get started:
1. Figure out if you want to do a classroom or online TEFL course
This decision is arguably the most important as it will affect the entire experience of your course. A classroom TEFL course is generally a lot more expensive and done over a 4-week intensive schedule. Whereas an online TEFL course will be cheaper and offers you more flexibility.
To break it down, you should do a classroom based course if you want to learn with other people, receive classroom tuition and support, and get some of that all-important teaching practice.
You should do an online TEFL course if you want something a bit cheaper and more flexible. They can also generally be completed over a much longer time period (up to 6 months), although you should like studying independently.
Furthermore, if you don’t already have teaching experience, it’s a good idea to check if where you wish to teach accepts a certificate in TEFL obtained from an online course.
2. Decide if you want to do your TEFL course abroad, in your own country or online
If you want to teach English abroad and you’re longing for the expat life, it can make much more sense to do a classroom TEFL course abroad. Not only will it be a great experience, you’ll also be plugged straight into that environment and can form the networks which can help you get a job and settle in to your new country. Check out 10 reasons why you should take a TEFL course abroad here.
Maybe you prefer the idea of studying in-person and in-class your own country. This has the advantages of having the safety net of familiar surroundings and allows you to take the time to decide where you want to go once you have completed your course.
If home comforts really are your thing and you want that added flexibility and time, then an online TEFL course could be for you. There are some great online TEFL courses out there – some of which even include teaching practice! If you do a good one it will be more than enough to open the door to many online English teaching jobs, as well as jobs teaching English abroad. Just make sure you check the employer requirements!
3. Learn about the requirements of different employers and countries
This really is a must! There is no point going into your job search blind after doing your course. Different countries and employers can have different requirements when it comes to what course you should take and what other qualifications you need. For starters most will require you to be aged over 18. They may also require you to do a minimum 120-hour TEFL course, have some teaching experience or even have a degree.
It’s worth noting here that TEFL courses with 6+ hours of teaching practice can be a great way to get some of that initial teaching experience.
You should therefore make sure that any course you choose matches any specific requirements your target employer or country has and check that you possess any other necessary qualifications/attributes. The last thing you want to do is push the buy button on a course only to find out that it won’t help you to get your dream TEFL job.
4. See how long the TEFL course is. Hint, you want it to be 120 hours +
Ideally, you should be aiming to take a TEFL course that is at least 120 hours long. This is the accepted international standard for TEFL course length and it will help you secure a job once you get TEFL certified.
Course providers do offer a vast range of TEFL courses ranging between 40 – 300 hours. However, many of the 40-hour courses are either introductory or subject specific. These are often better utilized as a companion to your main TEFL course.
5. Examine the content of the course
A good TEFL course should cover:
- Lesson planning
- Classroom management
- English grammar and phonics
- How to teach grammar, pronunciation, reading, speaking and writing.
- Teaching methodologies
- Teaching resources and how to use them
- Your responsibilities and how to conduct yourself as a teacher
If you take your course abroad you also want to look out for relevant cultural modules, such as how to adapt to living and working in a new country or new culture.
6. Check to see if it is an accredited TEFL course
If the TEFL course you are looking at is accredited, it can give you a bit more confidence that you’ll be getting good quality training from a reputable course provider. This can help save you from spending money on a course that won’t get you anywhere or will leave you short when it comes to teaching English in the classroom. To understand why choosing an accredited TEFL course is important you can read more about TEFL accreditation here.
And yes, whilst it’s true that an accredited TEFL course can be a bit more expensive, you really want to be getting the best TEFL certificate you can afford. After all, it will stay with you throughout your teaching career and if you have a good TEFL qualification both you and your students will benefit in the long term.
7. Don’t just go for the cheapest TEFL course
Incredibly cheap TEFL courses although tempting should be approached with caution. Any price that seems too good to be true often is. You may see such courses on popular coupon sites but it’s important to separate the wheat from the chaff. We would advise that you take a fully accredited 120-hour TEFL course that comes from a reputable provider. That way you know that you will be getting the right preparation on lesson planning, teaching methodology and grammar so that you’re ready for life in the classroom.
That’s not to say that there aren’t good cheap courses out there, in fact you can find some great cheap TEFL courses online here.
Like with anything, you just need to make sure that you first do your research and read the reviews!
8. Read the reviews
Whenever it comes to making a big purchase, particularly one that could be as life changing as a TEFL course, it’s always important to read the TEFL course reviews. The best way to approach this is to seek out reviews from other students who have already taken the course that you’re interested in. That way you can get the inside track on whether or not they are any good or if they have the sort of experience you’re looking for.
This has been a quick overview but hopefully these tips should help you choose the best TEFL course for you. If you still need advice on how to get the best out of your TEFL certification or English teaching experience, you can check out some of our other helpful articles here.