Let’s start with the why. Why should you want to complete your TEFL certification online instead of in-person? Lots of reasons really but to name a few…
- You can work around your existing schedule – no need to take blocks of time off work to attend in-person classes or run yourself ragged trying to drive/bike/walk to a class after work. With online courses, you can just log on whenever you’re free, at whatever time of day, and carry on where you left off.
- You can study from wherever you are in the world – as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can complete your course! So, you don’t need to worry about missing classes if you decide to travel for a while or move house.
- More for your money – online courses tend to be cheaper than in-classroom courses as providers don’t need to hike up their prices to cover additional expenses, like classroom rental costs.
- Excellent signposting – because the information is already online, it’s easier to include really useful links to lots of different online teaching resources. You can save these on your computer/laptop and use them for your own classes, once you’re working as a TEFL teacher.
- Complete your course more quickly – you’ll be setting the pace, so this means you could complete your course as quickly as you’d like. Not having to wait for weekly classes, and being able to complete the course quickly, means you could be earning good money as a TEFL teacher before you planned!
Now we’ve got that sorted, let’s find out HOW you get your TEFL certification online!
1. Pick your online course provider
Before you can choose your course, you’ll need to select the right online course provider. But, with so many online TEFL course providers out there, how do you know which one is right for you? And how do you know which one will deliver high quality training and a legitimate qualification that you’ll be able to use to teach both online and overseas?
It’s actually easier than it sounds, don’t worry!
You just need to look out for the following things:
- Accreditation – the TEFL industry isn’t officially regulated, so there are a lot of cowboy companies out there that haven’t had the quality, level, and content of their courses checked by qualified 3rd parties. So, they aren’t proper qualifications and it’s likely that the training they provide will be low-quality and won’t prepare you properly to teach English as a foreign language. You also might see ‘accredited’ on a lot of company websites, but you need to make sure that the accreditation is provided by a government-associated body, like Ofqual in the UK, to ensure that it’s legitimate and will be respected by TEFL employers. Other legitimate regulatory bodies include DEAC (associated with the US-Government), AQA, and Trinity College London.
- Support teams – your course provider should have support teams to assist you at every stage of your course. E.g. Customer Support teams for assistance with any technical issues during your course, Academic Support teams for assistance with queries about the course, and Qualified Tutors to mark your course assignments and provide quality feedback.
- Experience – you also want to make sure that the company providing your course has a wealth of experience in the education and TEFL industry, so you know you’re getting a course of quality, that is based on a real-world experience and has been honed to perfection over a number of years. Companies that have experience will also have more established, long-term contacts with TEFL employers around the world, so they will be more effective in assisting you with your job applications once you qualify.
2. Select the right online course for you
Now this might be the tricky part…Once you’ve selected your online course provider, you’ll usually find that you have a range of courses to choose from. So, which one is right for you?
Well, if the course provider you’ve selected is the right one, they will have a TEFL team on hand who will be able to talk you through how much training you’d like to do and what you’re hoping to do with your online TEFL qualification (e.g. teach and travel, teach in your spare time to earn some additional money etc.). Once they have all the relevant information, they’ll be able to match you up to a course that best suits your needs – taking all the hassle out of selecting a coure!
Can’t wait for a phone call? Take our quick matching quiz and you can find out which course is your perfect fit in under 2 minutes!
If you prefer to do your own research, these are the things you need to know:
- Minimum 120 hours of training – this is the minimum amount that most TEFL employers will require for paid positions. A general rule is, the more hours of training you do (e.g. a 420hr Advanced TEFL Diploma), the more job options you’ll have and the more money you’ll be able to earn. But, if you want to go for the minimum, you need to make sure you’re doing AT LEAST 120 hours of training to be eligible for legitimate paid TEFL positions.
- Specific qualification needed if you want to teach in English-speaking countries – if you’ve decided that you want to teach English to non-native speakers residing in English-speaking countries (like the USA, UK, South Africa, or Australia) then you’ll need a Trinity CertTESOL qualification. TEFL qualifications will train you to teach online or abroad in non-English-speaking countries (like Thailand, Japan, or South Korea) but if you want to stay in English-speaking environments, you’ll need a TESOL qualification.
- Level 5 is a Foundation-degree-level qualification (according to Ofqual) – Ofqual put qualifications into categories when they are regulating them, Level 3 qualifications are considered to be of equal level to a UK A-Level qualification, and Level 5 is the level above this, and is considered to be of equal level to a UK Foundation Degree qualification.
3. Work through your course
Now for the fun part! You can get stuck into your course and learn all about how to be the best TEFL teacher you can be.
As you’ve selected an online course, you’ll be able to log in and out whenever you want, and work through at your own pace, without having to worry about missing classes or needing to match the learning speed of the rest of your cohort.
Want some help working through your online course? Check out TEFL teacher Samukelisiwe’s 10 Top Tips for completing your TEFL course.
If you’ve picked a good course provider, you should also have excellent support available from academic teams and tutors. You’ll be able to work through the content with these teams as back-up, so if you get stuck or need a bit of motivation, they’ll be there to help! This way you can fly through the course and be passed and looking for your first TEFL role before you know it!
4. Get your certificate
The last piece of the puzzle! Once you’ve finished all your assignments and received your pass mark, you’ll receive your TEFL certificate. You usually need to pay extra for a hard copy through the post, but you should get an electronic copy included in your course price, that will be emailed to you when you pass.
And now you have your TEFL certification, you can start smarten-up your CV and start applying for online or overseas TEFL roles!
Don’t forget, your course provider should have a TEFL Jobs Team on hand to give you help, support, and guidance throughout your job hunt.
Good luck and happy teaching!