i-to-i’s very own TEFL expert, Jordan, went live on Facebook to talk about how to choose a TEFL course that’s perfect for you and answer your burning questions on all things TEFL course related. Watch a recording of the full webinar here or read on for edited extracts.
A few years ago, I did a TEFL course with i-to-i TEFL and did a lot of travelling overseas. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to teach people of different ages, different backgrounds and see the world. Now, I help people to begin their adventures. This is really what it is about – getting qualifications and finding work but also having adventures overseas, teaching online, helping people, improving people’s prospects.
This webinar is about choices: the choices that you make and how that affects the opportunities that you can get. It is really important where you get your TEFL qualification from. It is really important which course you do and it is really important to be aware of what your options are.
What’s the difference between TEFL, TESOL and CELTA?
You may have seen TEFL, CELTA, Delta, TESOL… It can get a bit confusing. We sell the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course. Other providers sell the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). It does not really influence the opportunities that you can get. There are far more important aspects, such as the organisation that sells them, the content within the course and the level of assessment.
There is also the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). It is more orientated around teaching adults whereas TEFL covers all age groups. TEFL used to be a lower level of assessment than the CELTA. Now there are organisations like i-to-i that sell a Level 5 TEFL qualification which is the same level of assessment as CELTA. The TEFL qualification is mainly online so it’s far cheaper than the CELTA and easier to mould around your day-to-day responsibilities.
Why do accreditation and regulation matter?
Any good provider needs to be accredited. Accreditation is the stamp of quality that is put on your company by a third party. We are accredited by the ODLQC (Open & Distance Learning Quality Council) which ensures that do what we are supposed to do.
Unlike many other companies out there, i-to-i’s qualifications are regulated by Ofqual – the English government body that regulates secondary school and tertiary qualifications. Not only does this ensure the qualification is kept to a very high standard and can be used internationally, it also means that you are given really good feedback by our tutors to help you become a good quality teacher.
What should I look for when I’m choosing a TEFL course?
If you’re investing in a qualification that will enable you to travel the world and get well-paid opportunities, the organisation you go with and the course you take is really important. On top of accreditation and regulation, look at the qualification – what does it include? How will it help me? Look at reviews of the course, including the academic and customer support.
Where you get your qualification from carries weight in the jobs market. i-to-i was the first provider of the short TEFL course. We have been selling courses since 1994. We have qualified over 210,000 different TEFL teachers. Our name is known internationally. As soon as employers see that certificate on their desk, they know the qualification is of a proven level and the teacher has been graded to a serious standard.
Should I choose a Level 3 or Level 5 course?
A Level 3 assessment is the same level as an A-Level in the UK or a matric in South Africa. Level 3 qualifications in the TEFL market are often done by people who want to join an internship or a volunteer programme. It’s more of a short course to get overseas – although there are some employers in Asia that do accept the Level 3 qualification. If you’re not a native English speaker or you feel you may struggle with a Level 5 qualification, Level 3 may be for you.
Level 5 is the same level as CELTA or a foundation degree and is more of a professional qualification for paid work. Level 5 opens the door to more serious work with language centres and private schools that offer better rates of pay, better benefits and more security. If you’re considering Europe or the Middle East, Level 5 is expected as a minimum.
What is the difference between i-to-i’s Level 5 courses?
We have six different options for our Level 5 courses. Three of them are what we call combined courses and three are online courses. The combined courses are very similar to the online courses. However, they also include a practical 20-hour session which is run by an experienced Delta qualified tutor over a two-day teaching weekend. It lets you experiment with activities that can be used in the classroom environment.
Putting aside the weekend teaching element, the 180 hour TEFL course will train you to teach English and qualify you as a TEFL teacher. It includes teaching vocabulary, teaching grammar, understanding context and teaching different age groups – you can see a full module breakdown on the website. The 240-hour course includes an extra 60 hours of study completely dedicated to online teaching, so is suited to those who want to teach online.
The diploma is the best course we do. It includes general training, teaching in a classroom, teaching different age groups, understanding how to teach effectively, teaching online and teaching business. It opens the most doors into the industry.
What is the 150-hour TEFL course?
The 150-hour TEFL course is a Level 3 Course which includes the basic training as well as a 30-hour specialist course on online training. That is a course that we offer to people who may be already employed by a provider but are looking for the qualification or have managed to find an opportunity that does accept a Level 3 TEFL course.
Why do your courses have different numbers of TEFL hours?
The hours are the building blocks of the qualification. If you have completed more hours, it makes your qualification more competitive.
The hours are an average of how long it should take you to complete your qualification. People do learn at varying paces though so, if you do the 180-hour TEFL course (which you’re given 6 months to complete) you might blast through it in four or five weeks.
Which course is best for teaching online?
I would look at at one of our online Level 5 courses, like the 240 hour TEFL course or the 300-hour diploma . They offer content specifically about how to teach online and that Level 5 assessment. If you are looking for extra confidence in the online tutoring market, we have released a post-graduate course which is a dedicated Zoom practice lesson.
Can I teach online with a 180-hour Level 5 TEFL course?
You can teach online with a Level 5 180-hour TEFL course but you have to remember that you are entering into a jobs market and any jobs market is competitive. We offer opportunities to get an extra edge and improve your chances of employment. Employers love to see that you have been trained to teach in their particular medium.
If you want to teach overseas then completing a course that offers practical training to teach in a classroom environment is going to make you more employable than the individual who hasn’t. Likewise, if you do a course that includes specific training in teaching online and cites it on the certificate will give you a better chance of finding work online.
Can I teach English without a degree?
There is a whole myriad of opportunities out there including lots of options to teach online with a degree and lots of options to teach without. We’ve written an article about teaching online without a degree and we had a fantastic webinar with one of our graduates who discussed teaching English online without a degree.
Our advisors can talk you through the countries that do not require a degree for their work visa. There are also options to TEFL without a work visa. For example, we have an internship in China which is based on the student visa, for those who don’t have a degree and are looking for experience.
Can I do Level 3 now and then Level 5 at a later stage?
Absolutely! You can do exactly what you want. If you want to do a Level 3 first and a Level 5 later, that is not a problem. What I would say is that it will influence the opportunities that you can get. I would encourage you to speak to one of our advisors about what your goals are. We don’t want you to waste your money if it doesn’t match what you are looking for.
When you do a Level 3 TEFL course, that is a Level 3 assessment. When you decide to do a Level 5 TEFL course, you will be starting all over again. It is a bit like when you do a diploma and then decide to do a degree. You can’t combine a number of diplomas together to create a degree. You are now starting a new course. Please keep that in mind.
Which course is best for teaching business English?
Business English is the most lucrative market in TEFL. Employers are looking for people who have been trained to teach business English rather than necessarily someone who has had experience in the business realm, although that always helps. The best course for teaching business English is our diploma, which includes 60 hours of specific education on teaching business English.
Is the 300-hour diploma course the same as the business English course?
We offer a Business English Course for Level 3. If you have done a Level 3 course you can add it onto your qualification. The business English qualification that we offer in the diploma is Level 5 assessment, so it’s marked differently and respected differently by employers.
Do I need to speak a second language to teach abroad?
When you’re teaching in a classroom, you are actually told not to use the local language. These TEFL courses train you how to teach properly just using the English language.
I still remember when I did my TEFL course – for the first hour of the course, they did not speak English. They spoke Vietnamese to show me how it would feel to be a student. I didn’t know any Vietnamese but through receptive and productive activities and core repetition, they were able to teach me numbers. It was great.
How do I find a teaching job once I’ve finished the course?
We offer a jobs board through our sister company, LoveTEFL jobs and there are hundreds of jobs boards out there dedicated to niche jobs markets.
On top of that, if you are looking to teach overseas in a particular area – let’s say Phnom Penh in Cambodia – social media is great. There are TEFL Facebook groups that you can join where there are lots of job adverts and information about the local area like where expats hang out and accommodation. That is a really great way of finding out what the area is like and the opportunities coming up.
What are the TEFL resource packs and do I need them?
i-to-i’s resource packs are really helpful for getting on board with planning your classes and ensuring you’ve got effective activities that are fun and engaging. There are guides for activities, a grammar guide, a lesson planning guide – lots of guides to help you to design effective classes. They have even got pre-written lesson plans for those of you who are a bit anxious about stepping into the classroom environment. If you wake up late one day and you have to teach a class in 10 minutes, it’s really good to have a pre-planned lesson!
Does my age matter for TEFL?
You certainly can teach if you’re older but you need to be careful of the age caps. If you are over the age cap for a country, you won’t be able to get a work visa. A lot of people continue travelling but teach online. You could do the course, get qualified and then, every time you set up camp, log on and teach online. You wouldn’t need a work visa to do that. You could use a holiday visa as you’re travelling and seeing the country.
Can I TEFL if English is not my first language?
Some organisations specify that they are looking for native English speakers – maybe they’ve marketed their company as a language centre with native English speakers. However, you can find loads of opportunities for non-native English speakers to teach all around the world and there are also opportunities to teach online.
To sum it up…
Review regulation and accreditation when you’re looking at different organisations. i-to-i is well-renowned and internationally recognised.
If you’re looking to teach overseas on a programme, like our China or Vietnam Internships , have a look at the Level 3 Courses. If you’re looking to teach in Europe or in a well-established language centre in Asia or in a classroom environment in Abu Dhabi or South America, then have a look at our Level 5 Courses – 180-hour and up. If you’re looking for some practical training, have a look at our 200-hour course. Finally, if you are looking for the best course on the market, a course that has Level 5 assessment and that explores teaching online and teaching business English, have a look at our Level 5 Diploma Course.