7 Best Online TEFL Certification Courses

If you’re considering an online TEFL certification – the single most effective step you can take to increase your attractiveness to potential employers – you’ll want to check out our comprehensive review of the 7 best online TEFL certification courses of 2023.

7 Best Online TEFL Certification Courses

TEFL Hero 120-Hour Online TEFL Certification Course – Best Value

best online tefl certification course

Hands down, the TEFL Hero 120-hour Online TEFL Certification Course is the best deal for an online ESL course you’re going to find.

TEFL Hero 120-Hour Course Program Details

  • Price: $99
  • Number of Hours: 120
  • Format: online, self-paced
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.4/10 stars


TEFL Hero’s 120-hour self-paced, online ESL course covers all the essential elements of teaching English to non-native learners, spanning 11 modules ranging from classroom management to the four basic English proficiencies (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).

The course does not, for all its comprehensiveness, include business English or modules for online teachers – although TEFL Hero does offer this in their 180-hour course.

If training to teach business English is important to you, consider i-to-i TEFL 420 Hour TEFL Diploma Program (details in a later section).

What Students Are Saying

Here’s what teacher Dario in China has to say about his experience with TEFL Hero’s 120-hour course:

tefl hero 120 hour course review


  • The best value for any 120-hour online accredited TEFL course
  • Accredited by leading TEFL accrediting agency ACCREDITAT
  • User-friendly platform
  • 24/7 tutor support


  • No specialized training for specialized ESL niches such as business English
  • No live or instruction (although this critique applies to all self-paced online courses)

International TEFL Academy 11-Week Part-Time – Best Live Online

tefl academy tefl

As one of the bigger names in the global TEFL industry, International TEFL Academy’s 11-Week Part-Time is a good option for prospective teachers who work or go to school but are interested in a comprehensive live online TEFL course.

International TEFL Academy 11-Week Part-Time Program Details

The 170-hour course offers about 40% more content than 120-hour courses. In addition, teachers get 20 hours of supervised, live teaching practicum and observation.

  • Price: $1,399
  • Number of Hours: 170
  •  Format: Live online instruction + live teaching practicum and observation
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.6/10 stars


The course, which is accredited by Level 5 Ofqual (British Government) accreditation, only requires 10-12 hours of time commitment per week.

It contains 11 chapters covering many oft-overlooked elements of ESL, including a quite valuable section on cultural sensitivity that many online TEFL courses do not offer, concluding in 20 hours of combined live teaching practice and observation.

What Students Are Saying

Like Blink-182 sang years ago (apologies to Zoomers who don’t care about millennial pop-punk), Reddit user GaslightAnthem30 appreciates all the small things:

international tefl academy review


  • More comprehensive than standard 120-hour courses
  • Live teaching practicum element
  • Lifetime job search assistance guarantee
  • Experienced instructors have either an MA or PhD in TEFL


  • Much pricier than many self-paced online TEFL course options
  • Fixed schedule

Premier TEFL 130-hour Hybrid Course – Best Hybrid

premier tefl 130 hour tefl certificate

A TEFL “hybrid” course combines a self-paced element with a live instruction element. Premier TEFL 130-hour Hybrid Course is, in our estimation, the best of this course model. 

Premier TEFL 130-hour Hybrid Course Program Details

This unique course format blends a typical 120-hour self-paced element with a 10-hour live online teacher training element. If you want supervised teaching practicum conducted online to complement an otherwise entirely self-paced curriculum, this is your best bet.

For a hybrid course model, it’s reasonably priced and well-reviewed.

  • Price: $220
  • Number of Hours: 130 hours
  • Format: self-paced + live online
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.2/10 stars


The 130-hour hybrid course’s self-paced component consists of ten modules, the last of which covers job-search skills, which may be particularly valuable if you don’t have experience searching for ESL jobs online (based on extensive personal experience, it’s more of a skill than it sounds like).

The course is backed by Highfield accrediting agency.

What Students Are Saying

Arianna, via GoAbroad, offers the following insight based on her experience with the course:

premier tefl


  • Innovative course design
  • Well-reviewed by real-world students
  • Very affordable for a course with live teaching practice
  • Small class sizes for online teaching practice


  • The quizzes and test questions are sometimes confusing
  • Many students report the modules taking longer than advertised to complete

Bridge TEFL 120-Hour Online TEFL/TESOL – University Credit/CEUs

bridge tefl

Bridge.edu is one of the OG players in the TEFL game. Its Bridge TEFL 120 Hour Online TEFL/TESOL is accredited by numerous agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education’s ACCET.

Bridge TEFL 120-Hour Online TEFL/TESOL Program Details

The course contains a plethora of resources to suit all sorts of learning styles: discussion boards, videos, quizzes, other activities, and multiple downloadable resources. Its wealth of resources sets it apart from the other courses we’ve featured here.

Here’s the biggest upside for students currently enrolled in university: you can earn 6 college credits through ACE Credit and up to 12 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by completing the course.

  • Price: $395
  • Number of Hours: 120
  • Format: online, self-paced
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.4/10


Here’s how the 120-hour curriculum breaks down:

  • 60 hours of core teaching training
  • 40 hours of grammar review
  • 20 hours of specialized teaching modules

What Students Are Saying

L. Holverstott, via GoAbroad, offers the following feedback on the course:

bridge tefl


  • Earn university credits
  • Full access to Bridge Job Board
  • User-friendly interface/platform
  • Tons of excellent resource materials with high production values


  • More expensive than many 120-hour online, self-paced courses
  • No observed teaching practicum that many courses in the same price tier offer

i-to-i TEFL 420 Hour TEFL Diploma – Best for Teaching Experience

i-to-i teach english online

If you have the time (and the finances) to afford this 420-hour TEFL course, and you want to seriously pad your resume with one of the most respected TEFL providers out there, give i-to-i TEFL 420 Hour TEFL Diploma serious consideration.

i-to-i TEFL 420 Hour TEFL Diploma Program Details

The 420-hour course is admittedly costlier and more time-intensive than the other courses here, but the premium might be worth the price for teachers who want a more fully-immersive experience.

  • Price: $650
  • Number of Hours: 420
  • Format: self-paced, online + live online teaching practice
  • Go Abroad Rating: 10/10


The lengthy course is broken up into five parts:

  • Fundamental Basics of Teaching
  • Level 5 Teaching One-to-One & Online Course
  • Level 5 Teaching Business English Course
  • Level 5 Teaching Other Subjects in English
  • Level 5 Coaching Exam Preparation (IELTS) Course

The last element of the curriculum, Coaching Exam Preparation (IELTS) Course, is unique among the TEFL courses here in that it specifically trains you to tutor students who are preparing for this popular English proficiency exam (which a lot of global ESL students do as passing it is a common work and school requirement).

Trust me, based on extensive personal experience: Students worldwide, but particularly in Asia, and their parents are intensely interested in scoring well on the IELTS – and they’re willing to shell out a lot of money on a good tutor to make it happen.

Finally, enrollees get 4 hours of live online teaching practice.

The course is accredited and regulated by the UK government agency Ofqual.

What Students Are Saying

Stephen McQuillan appreciates the staff support and the comprehensiveness of the curriculum.

i-to-i review


  • Perfect 10/10 review score on GoAbroad
  • Features specialty training to teach business English, teaching young learners, etc.
  • Excellent, highly responsive tutor support throughout the course


  • More expensive than other TEFL courses with fewer hours
  • Takes 12-20 weeks to complete (longer than many courses)

Premier TEFL 300-hour TEFL – Best Advanced TEFL

premier tefl

We mentioned Premier TEFL’s 130-hour hybrid course earlier as the best choice for hybrid courses.

Now we’re going to explore another of the company’s stellar lineup of TEFL courses: the advanced Premier TEFL 300-hour TEFL.

Premier TEFL 300-hour TEFL Program Details

The 300-hour course is broken down into three parts: 180-hour Level 5 TEFL course and two 60-hour Level 5 TEFL-Pro courses.

  • Price: $495
  • Number of Hours: 300
  • Format: online self-paced +  live online
  • Go Abroad Rating: 8.4/10


The biggest benefit curriculum-wise to Premier TEFL is that it offers specialised (as the British spell it) training for teaching English online, teaching English one-on-one, and teaching Business English. So if you’re aiming to find employment in a particular niche, Premier TEFL’s 300-hour course might be for you.

Like other courses here, Level 5 Ofqual (British Government) accreditation lends its seal of approval to the curriculum.

What Students Are Saying

Carl, via GoAbroad, says that he appreciated the extensive course materials and broad coverage of topics (conferred by the longer course length compared to the industry average). 

premier 300 hour tefl


  • Pass guarantee (backed by money-back pledge if you don’t pass)
  • Lifetime access to exclusive TEFL jobs board
  • Specialized training in different ESL sub-fields (business English, one-on-one instruction, etc.)


  • More expensive than other options
  • More time-intensive

TEFL Hero 40-hour Online TEFL – Best Free TEFL

tefl hero 40 hour free tefl course

The best things in life are free, after all. TEFL Hero 40-hour Online TEFL is a great way to wet your beak if you’re interested in teaching English as a foreign language but aren’t sure how committed you are.

TEFL Hero 40-hour Online TEFL Program Details

TEFL Hero’s 40-hour course is shorter and freer than any other option you’ll find out there.

  • Price: $0
  • Number of Hours: 40
  • Format: online, self-paced
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.6/10


The curriculum consists of 32 lessons across 4 modules. The curriculum covers, in order:

  • The TEFL Environment – Key Elements
  • Grammar
  • Speaking
  • Classroom Execution and Management

What Students Are Saying

Liz appreciates the generous quantity and quality of materials TEFL Hero offers, even with its free course.

free tefl course


  • It’s free
  • It’s a short time commitment
  • Certificate available immediately after completion
  • 24/7 tutor support


  • 40-hour courses are not sufficient for every employer. Many schools require at least a 120-hour TEFL course as a qualification.
  • The curriculum is not as comprehensive as longer courses

Who Needs a TEFL? 

Every teacher, no matter how experienced or well-credentialed, will benefit professionally from earning a TEFL certification. However, certain teachers might benefit more than others depending on personal circumstances.

Here’s who definitely needs a TEFL certification to make themselves competitive in the job search:

  • Non-native English speakers
  • Teachers without a college degree
  • Teachers new to the industry without prior experience

TEFL vs TESOL – What’s the Difference Between These Certifications? 

One of the most frequent questions that teachers uninitiated in the world of ESL ask pertains to the difference, if any, between these two acronyms:

  • TESOL, an acronym for “teaching English to speakers of other languages”
  • TEFL, an acronym for “teaching English as a foreign language”

The short answer is that these two acronyms represent a distinction without a difference. Used interchangeably in the business, they are functionally the same and you shouldn’t worry about parsing through the technical distinction.

Do I need a TEFL certificate to teach English online? 

It depends. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of reputable online ESL platforms, each with its own teacher requirements. Some insist on TEFL certification and others do not.

Some leading online platforms that do require TEFL certification include:

  • GoGo Kid
  • Panda ABC
  • English Ninjas
  • Voxy
  • Magic Ears
  • Kaifu English

Comparatively, a handful of platforms that do not necessarily require TEFL certification but consider it a valuable credential are:

  • Cambly
  • Gogokid
  • BlingABC
  • SayABC
  • PalFish

What to look for in a TEFL

The following are the key features to look for when you’re vetting potential TEFL courses.


I’ve been diligent about listing the accrediting agencies that lend their name to the TEFL courses on this list because accreditation is critical. I would go so far as to say that it’s the #1 feature to look for in a TEFL course.

Without accreditation, your TEFL course is essentially useless for employment purposes, no matter how well-designed or instructional the actual course was.

Number of hours

The global standard course length for TEFL programs is 120 hours. Anything below that, while perhaps worthwhile in its own right like TEFL Hero’s 40-hour free course, is not likely to get you where you want to go career-wise.

Student reviews

As part of the vetting process, it’s always a good idea to seek feedback from students who have already taken a course you are considering.

But here’s the most important caveat in this regard: look for reviews from third-party, independent review sites like GoAbroad.com rather than relying solely on the reviews featured on the company’s site, which may be carefully curated to instill a skewed impression.

Course format

Let’s briefly review the three main types of TEFL course formats, each of which we’ve featured here:

  • Online
    • Increasingly, TEFL certification courses are conducted online. Such is the gift of modernity. Within this course format, there are two sub-formats: on-demand, which entails a curriculum that is entirely self-paced and self-directed and live online, which features live instruction at scheduled times more similar to traditional classroom models
  • In-person
    • The in-person model, which features live, interpersonal instruction delivered in a physical classroom, is less and less common. It tends to be more expensive and logistically challenging than online alternatives, although many people tend to learn better in a physical classroom with more direct interpersonal interaction.
  • Hybrid
    • In one iteration of a “hybrid” model, the term refers to a curriculum that features both online and in-person elements. Alternatively, “hybrid” is sometimes used to refer to an all-online course that contains both self-paced, on-demand material and live instruction.

Student support

You’re probably going to need some sort of support – either technical or curriculum-based in nature – at some point, especially if you’re going the online, self-paced route.

Do your due diligence by investigating the channels of support and how responsive, based on student reviews, the company is to these types of issues.


Teaching practicum, as the name implies, refers to supervised teaching experience in a controlled environment designed to mimic a real-world ESL classroom.

For some, it’s an invaluable component of a TEFL course.

Most online, self-paced 120-hour TEFL courses do not have any teaching practicum element. For logistical reasons, it’s more common for in-person courses longer than 120 hours to feature practicum.

If teaching practicum is a must for you, consider an in-person course longer than 120 hours or an online course that features virtual teaching practicum.

Online TEFL Certification FAQs

Rounding out this comprehensive survey of the top online TEFL courses, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions on the topic.

Where can I teach with an online TEFL certificate? 

As long as your certificate is from an accredited program that’s at least 120 hours, you’ll be able to use it nearly anywhere in the world.

How many hours does my online TEFL certificate need to be? 

If you are earning a TEFL certificate for employment purposes, 120 hours is the minimum standard course length.

Do employers care if I got my TEFL online or in person? 

No. I have never heard of an employer differentiating between the two formats or even asking about the course format. They are mostly concerned with accreditation.

What are the requirements for online TEFL certifications? 

For most courses, the minimal requirements are 18+ and English fluency. More advanced courses might have more stringent requirements.

If you’re just experimenting or prospecting to see if you’re interested in the field, consider TEFL Hero’s 40-hour free course

The Bottom Line on Online TEFL Courses

Here are the key takeaways for online TEFL courses:

  • Most employers don’t discriminate between online vs. in-person TEFL courses
  • The major drawback to taking an online TEFL course vs. in-person course is the lack of hands-on teaching practicum in a brick-and-mortar classroom
  • Online TEFL courses provide greater schedule flexibility and fewer logistical obstacles – ideal for students with prior work and/or school commitments
  • 120 hours is the minimum industry standard requirement for many employers
  •  Accreditation is essential for any TEFL course 

Where does this post come from?

This post was originally published at 7 Best Online TEFL Certification Courses on the TEFL Hero Website.

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