Over the last couple of decades we’ve seen loads of TEFL course providers spring up offering a huge array of different TEFL courses. From expensive four-week residential CELTA courses in exotic foreign locations all the way through to bargain-basement online courses being sold for nothing at all. So, how do you choose a TEFL course?
Here at i-to-i we’ve put together a short guide on how to choose a TEFL course that fits where, how and who you want to teach!
Is the price too good to be true?
Whenever you buy anything, you have to look at the price and work out whether it seems right. For example, while a £4/$6 chicken is a bargain, a £1/$2 chicken is a cause for concern!
If someone is selling a 140 hour TEFL course for less than £50/$80 when every other course provider is charging six or seven times that amount, you just have to use your common sense really. If they’re charging that little will their tutors be any good? How much have they invested in their course? What kind of customer service can you expect? How in-depth will your studies be and how well will they equip you to teach in a foreign classroom? In the end, you do get what you pay for – if something sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.
What do their customers say?
As with most things, word of mouth is king. If no-one has a good word to say about a TEFL provider then the chances are, you aren’t going to have a very good experience with them. So do a bit of research before you sign up: a simple Google search of the course provider’s name should give you a better understanding of where they’re coming from and what you can expect, and is a good starting point. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter too to see what customers are saying about them. Nevertheless, it’s also worth remembering that unhappy people make much more noise than happy ones, so just because there are a few detrimental voices, it doesn’t mean that the provider’s courses are no good. Spend a little time, read the good reviews and the bad, to get a balanced view and make up your own mind before you shell out any cash.
How long have they been around?
No matter how good the course, it’s of absolutely no use if employers around the world have never heard of it. So the longer a course provider has been around, the more people they’ll have taught and the more likely it is that employers will have heard of their TEFL certificates and will accept them as proof of adequate training. i-to-i have been around since 1994 and subsequently, we have relationships with over 1400 TEFL employers – both personally and through our jobs board. Because of this, our TEFL certificates are recognized by thousands of employers worldwide and give you the best chance to get the job that you want.
Is it the right course for what you want to do?
The type of course you need is very much dictated by what you want to do with your TEFL certificate; and at i-to-i, we have a range of courses depending on your needs, such as:
Short courses like our 20 hour practical course, and our foundation online course (covering the first half of our 120 hour certificate) are ideal if you want to get a taste of TEFL to see if you want to progress with your teaching abroad dreams, if you want to add a qualification to your teaching CV or if you’re planning on doing a short stint of volunteer teaching. It won’t set you up for a long-term career, but it will give you enough exposure to get your started on the right track.
Top-end online courses give you a thorough grounding in all the methodology, theory and grammatical aspects of teaching English as a foreign language. Although these courses don’t offer practical training, they do prepare you for your first time in a TEFL classroom by instructing you in areas such as lesson preparation and classroom management. This is reflected by the fact that many employers worldwide will hire new TEFL-graduates with our 120 hour Professional TEFL Certificate – especially in the up-and-coming markets in Asia like China and Thailand.
Many TEFL course providers offer practical TEFL training with classroom-based training on top of the online elements; which helps you to put the theoretical training you received on an online TEFL course into action. Our 140 hour Professional TEFL certificate does just this, providing you with both the 120 hour online training, and the 20 hour practical weekend experience. This is great for first time TEFL teachers as it gives you a great insight into how teaching really is, and will help prepare you for your first day in the classroom!
Level 5 Qualifications
If you’ve been researching TEFL courses, you’ve probably heard of the CELTA course, which although is held highly in recruiters’ opinions, faces the issue of whether you have a lot of time to spend on your course – especially if you’re working full time, as you’ll need to take time off to take it. To be totally honest, in most cases you won’t need to be this highly qualified, unless you want to teach in the extremely popular markets such as the UAE, where high, tax free salaries are a huge draw. If you’re unsure of the type of qualification you need for the country of your choice, you can just take a look at our country guides to see.
Need some more information?
If you want to find out more about TEFL courses and teaching opportunities around the world, you can request a call back, and one of our globe-trotting, expert advisers will be in touch to talk through your options.