Four words every aspiring nomad loves to hear: Get paid to travel. It’s not only music to their ears, but money in their (securely placed ) travel wallet. That’s why so many globetrotters are adding an online TEFL certification to their resume.
You can make good money while working anywhere, not to mention improve your prospects for future remote employment ($$) and work flexibly. These are just a few of the ways that people of all ages are enjoying the benefits of teaching English online.
The best part? The typical TEFL certification cost won’t break the bank — or your budget.
Before you take your globe (and passport) for a spin, make an informed decision about your online TEFL certification. Which TEFL course is best? It can be hard to know, but we have some great pointers to get you closer. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to choose the best online TEFL courses that are both accredited AND affordable. It’s a win-win!
Why Earn an Accredited TEFL Certification Online?
Even though there are so many quick-fix solutions for a boring life being tossed at you daily, it can be hard to navigate and understand what will actually get you closer to your dream of traveling the world full time or earning good money while working from home. We think completing an online TEFL course can be a smart choice for any individual that is out of work, in need of new marketable skills, or desires full location flexibility at this point in their career.
Improve Remote Job Prospects
With much of the world being #canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, it is only natural that you would like to stay safe and work from home. Earning your online TEFL certificate will get you a few steps closer to securing online work. This will not only serve you in the short term (while we’re all basically “grounded”) but again in the future once the world opens up again and travel is possible. Think of all of the possibilities!
Better TEFL Job Options
We are not going to lie: You can find online English teaching jobs in a lot of dark corners of the internet. Some of them might actually be scams, and some of them might actually be legit, but wouldn’t it be easier if you improved your starting point from the onset?
Having a TEFL certification under your belt will give you access to better paid, more legitimate, accredited, more supportive, and higher quality job options. Rather than suss out who will treat you right as an employee and who won’t, add your TEFL certification to your resume and focus on REAL jobs that pay REAL salaries.
One major perk of completing accredited TEFL courses online is the flexibility! These courses are typically self-paced, where participants can access all of the necessary coursework in an online portal. You can simply log on when it is convenient for you — perfect for early birds and night owls alike, not to mention helpful for those who are earning their certificate while still in school or working another job.
P.S. Completing coursework while in your jammies is absolutely encouraged.
In-person TEFL classes tend to be more expensive than their virtual counterparts. That means that you can get a 120 hour online TEFL course (general course minimum that most online English teaching jobs require or prefer) for under $1000 easily. With the right combination of timing, luck, and discounts, you might even snag a deal for less than $200, making it one of the cheapest TEFL certification online offerings ever!
Be a Better Teacher
Respect your future TEFL students by making sure you are properly qualified and prepared to have an impact on their English level. This amazing opportunity — which will allow you to earn money both at home and abroad (and on a schedule many rat racers dream of) — comes with responsibility. Getting your online TEFL course is your first step towards being the most effective and impactful English teacher you can be.
How to Choose the Best Online TEFL Course
Figuring out how to get a TEFL certification online might seem like a heavy lift already, but it is essential that you take some time to understand the different types of options available to you. We’ve broken down our best advice on finding the best online TEFL course for you by highlighting core differentiators, scary red flags, and quick tips.
In the sea of TEFL company acronyms, it can be tough to figure out what package additions are actually valuable versus blowing smoke. In my 15+ years in the TEFL industry, I have found these elements to be crucial differentiators between a good TEFL organization and a fine TEFL organization:
- International recognition and accreditation. We can’t say this enough. Make sure your course is accredited. More on this later.
- Teacher credentials. Do you want to be learning from an expert or from someone paid to do a “good enough” job training future TEFL teachers?
- Job placement assistance. Professional job advisors and access to their network of vetted online English teaching jobs is incredibly helpful.
- Optional specialization add-ons. It is helpful to tack on specialization training within the same framework as your 120 Hour Advanced TEFL Course, such as a Teach English Online Course or a Teaching Young Learners Course.
- Customer service. As always, this matters — a lot.
Red Flags to Avoid
If a deal sounds too good to be true, it just might be. Here are some crucial red flags to bookmark to help you avoid bad online TEFL courses and getting scammed.
- No TEFL reviews. If you can’t verify that real people had real experiences doing this online TEFL course, you can’t be sure it’s legit.
- Less than 100 hours of coursework. The TEFL industry and language schools typically expect 100 hours of coursework as the minimum standard for a recognized TEFL course.
- No street cred. It’s not uncommon for different TEFL companies to make impressive claims about their course quality — just make sure they can back it up.
- No money-back guarantee. We all have buyers’ remorse from time to time. Hopefully, this won’t bite you in the butt!
- One more time: No accreditation from reputed institutions.
Quick Tips to Choose the Best TEFL Course for You
You can read more great advice on which TEFL course to choose from our friend Mairead here.
- Read their online TEFL course reviews. Then read them some more. Use Google, Quora, Reddit, GoAbroad, GoOverseas, and Yelp to find online TEFL course reviews.
- Cheap ≠ the best value. You can definitely cheap TEFL courses online, but don’t let that be your only marker of a program option. Keep this article handy and refer to it often as you shop for online TEFL programs.
- Make sure their timeline matches your availability. Avoid signing up for a 4-week course if you need more than 4 weeks to get the job done well.
- Bookmark this list of accredited TEFL online courses. If your course doesn’t cross-check with these accrediting bodies, bid it adieu.
- ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training)
- ACTDEC (Accreditation Council for TESOL Distance Education Courses)
- ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe)
- The British Council
- IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language)
- ODLQC (Open and Distance Learning Quality Council)
- OFQUAL (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation)
- TESL Canada
- TQUK (Training Qualifications UK)
- WTEFLAC (The World TEFL Accrediting Commission)
The 3 Best & Cheapest TEFL Certifications Online
When we set out to find the best TEFL courses online, we had four main criteria:
- High-quality courses
- Affordability (who doesn’t want to keep their TEFL certification cost down?!)
- Positive online TEFL course reviews
- Great student support and service
After browsing the web for ways to earn your TEFL certification online, we’ve determined the following as the three best online TEFL courses on the market.
We differentiate ourselves from other online TEFL courses with its extensive English teaching expertise and comprehensive course offerings. Not only will our online TEFL courses meet your needs to fulfill minimum TEFL job requirements — between instant chat, an amazing phone app, and telephone support available 24/7/365, we never leave your question unanswered. You even get handy resources like a Grammar and Lesson Planning ebooks so you can start thriving as an online ESL teacher from the get-go.
Premier TEFL Snapshot
- Cost: ~$250
- Course options: 120 Hour, 240 Hour, 250 Hour; Level 5 OFQUAL-Regulated; Specialization Courses; Blended in-person courses in Spain, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic
- Learn more
University of Toronto Online TEFL Certification
Online TEFL reviews agree: the University of Toronto is the swiss army knife of English teaching job prep, delivering a solid customer experience while improving your ESL job prospects, and reducing unnecessary upfront financial barriers. Get your TEFL online without exorbitant costs; in fact, many of their TEFL courses are less than $1,000.
University of Toronto Snapshot
- Cost: ~$900
- Course options: 120 Hour
- Learn more
Get TEFL’s online TEFL courses to help you excel at teaching English in both virtual and in-person classrooms. Certificate earners typically love the accessibility and overall utility of the program’s curriculum.
Get TEFL Snapshot
- Cost: Varies, check the website
- Course options: 20, 40, 60, 100 and 120 hour TEFL course
- Learn more
Who Else Gets Top Marks?
While Premier TEFL, University of Toronto, and Get TEFL rank as the best online TEFL courses that are still affordable, we also thought International TEFL Academy, TEFL Heaven, and World Teach were up to snuff.
Online TEFL FAQs: What Else You Need to Know
Why Find Accredited TEFL Courses Online?
Accreditation is the stamp needed to authenticate a professional-level TEFL certification. For maintaining quality across training, it’s incredibly important that teachers have a government regulated, recognized, respected, and reliable qualification to lean on, especially when applying for their dream jobs. Beyond standardizing the quality of TEFL training, accreditation is likewise a great path towards improving the level of English teaching happening to students around the globe.
That’s why you should only consider online TEFL courses with accreditation, full stop. Otherwise, you risk your training being called into question someday and may miss out on an incredible opportunity because the employer won’t necessarily trust the quality of TEFL education.
What’s the Difference Between a Cheap TESOL Certification Vs. TEFL Certification?
It might seem confusing at first, but these different certifications train you for teaching two very different places. A certificate in TEFL, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language, prepares you to instruct students whose first language is not English in non-native English speaking countries. A cheap TESOL certification is for teaching English as a second language. It certifies that you are trained to teach students in both non-native English speaking and English speaking countries.
Are Online TEFL Programs as Well Respected as In-person TEFL Programs?
Absolutely — especially online TEFL programs that include practicums for teaching online or in person. Even without this piece, however, more and more institutions, language academies, and schools are recognizing the value of the skills learned while taking a TEFL course online.
What are Common Online TEFL Course Requirements?
For the most part, online TEFL course trainers will require that students are at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma. You do not need to be a native English speaker to participate in a TEFL online course; however, you must often prove proficiency ahead of admittance. For instance, at Premier TEFL, they require their course participants to be fluent with at least an international standard of intermediate or advanced fluency (B1).
Beyond these personal requirements for online TEFL courses, keep in mind the technology requirements, too. You will at least need WIFI and a computer, tablet, or laptop to access course materials.
Where Can I Teach Abroad with an Online TEFL Certificate?
Since you’ll be primarily earning your income while working online, you can work just about anywhere. That’s right! Anywhere!
And, though you might be working from your home country, for now, that doesn’t mean that the online TEFL certification (and online English teaching jobs) of today can’t be the path towards working in your dream destination abroad tomorrow*.
Be advised that special rules, regulations, and visas may differ from country to country and passport to passport.
*Better known as the day when a vaccine finally becomes available.
Can You Find a TEFL Certification Online for Free?
We hate to burst your bubble, but it really is not possible to find a TEFL certification online for free. Some teaching job placement services will include TEFL training as part of their packages, but it will still cost you some amount of money (and time) to get TEFL certified. Instead of focusing on getting a TEFL certification online for free, we recommend thinking harder about what types of programs will be a good value for the money invested.
Can You Teach English Online Without a Degree?
Yes, it is possible to teach English online, no degree required. However, to improve your job prospects, get a little experience under your belt, and enter the classroom with confidence and helpful training, I absolutely recommend getting your TEFL certificate first.
Start Living. Get Your Online TEFL Certification Today!
Gain the freedom to work from home or travel the world while working by teaching English online (or later in the classroom). As the world shifts and more experiences migrate to the internet rather than in person, it’s not only wise to adopt new skills for the digital age — it’s essential. Beat the rest and start living your dream life today with the help of an online TEFL certificate. It’s your first-class ticket to getting paid to travel the world and make a difference in the lives of others while you’re at it!
The only question that remains is: Who are you going to tell the good news about your new professional endeavors to first?! Mom, dad, your BFF? All of the above? Spread the word!