Teaching English as a Foreign Language is taking the world by storm. Everyone and their uncle is looking to either pack their bags and fly to greener pastures or to become the digital nomad they’ve always wanted to be. The thing is, it’s all getting a bit complicated now, isn’t it? Nevermind all the acronyms you need to get to grips with, everybody has their own opinion on who the best TEFL schools are.
Who are we to believe?
We say, it’s a good idea to listen to other people’s opinions but it’s also important to make your own informed decision.
How to choose a good TEFL course
There are a number of factors you need to consider when choosing a TEFL course provider. You need to consider not only the school but also your individual circumstances – which is why you need to make this decision for yourself!
First of all, think about your situation:
- How much time do you have to dedicate to a course?
- Are you working at the same time or can you study full-time?
- How best do you learn?
- Can you handle online learning (with support) or do you need face-to-face tuition?
- How much can you afford?
Once you’ve thought about these questions, you can then identify TEFL course providers that will satisfy your requirements.
Not all TEFL courses are the same
Some TEFL course providers offer 100% online TEFL courses, while others offer 100% face-to-face TEFL courses; yet others offer a combination of both – an online TEFL course with a practical teaching component, usually done over a weekend.
TEFL courses differ in length and this is often a point of contention. The industry standard is that a TEFL course should be 120 hours in length as the bare minimum. Whether it is online or face-to-face is a matter of personal preference, especially considering the rise of online teaching.
If you’re worried about the difficulty of the course, don’t be. A good TEFL course will provide support for you through tutors who are there to help you with any questions you may have with the content of the course, as well as help with the assignments.
Once you have completed the course, you will receive a certificate. Some TEFL course providers offer further assistance when it comes to finding a job or internship. The TEFL Academy, for example, has a jobs board where we advertise jobs all over the world. You don’t need to pay to apply for these jobs; simply find one that fancies your tickle and send in your application.
Read more: Are TEFL Courses Hard?
What about accreditation?
But let’s get one thing clear: not all TEFL courses are created equal. There is no singular accrediting body for TEFL, which is why it’s so important to verify the accreditation for the course you are looking at. Just because it looks fancy, doesn’t mean it’s legit.
Sadly, there are a few TEFL scams out there, and rubbish TEFL courses that look amazing on the surface are one of them.
Thankfully, if you understand accreditation you will be able to identify those that are shady and those that are the real deal.
Spoiler alert: we’re the real deal!
First of all, accreditation simply means that a TEFL course provider has been recognized by a government or organizational body as being of high quality.
For example, The TEFL Academy has accreditation from government-regulated bodies in both the UK and the US. Our TEFL courses are DEAC-approved as meeting the criteria for Approved Quality Curriculum statutes (the DEAC is a US Department of Education-recognised awarding body). Our course is also regulated by the UK government department Ofqual and awarded by the UK government-recognised awarding body Qualifi.
What a mouthful!
TEFL courses very often have different accreditation. These should be identified clearly on their website. But that’s not enough! It’s very easy to put a shiny sticker on a website. You need to make sure the accreditation is real, so don’t forget to click on the website to find out more about the accrediting body. Make sure they are a real accrediting body or organization and not just a membership site that schools can use to pay for accreditation.
If you dig even deeper, the TEFL course provider website should tell you the equivalent of the course based on these accreditations.
The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 certificate is the equivalent to a diploma of higher education (DipHE), a foundation degree, and the CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL.
Why is accreditation is important?
When you think about it, there are thousands of different TEFL course providers around the world. How are prospective employers to know which are the good courses? By looking at the accreditation, of course! Accreditation allows employers to be confident of the level of training someone has received. Anyone can print a TEFL certificate but only those of a high standard are accredited.
This is why it’s important for you. First of all, you don’t want to waste your time and money on a TEFL course that isn’t very good and won’t actually prepare you for teaching English as a Foreign Language – because when you’re in the classroom, you’re on your own!
But you also want to be putting your best foot forward when it comes to applying for jobs. This means showing your prospective employers that you have a TEFL certificate from a recognized TEFL provider. This way they will know that you have had good training in all the important aspects of teaching English as a Foreign Language, and they will be confident in your abilities.
In a nutshell, accreditation might seem like a cherry on the top, but it’s actually an essential component of a TEFL course. By making sure the accreditation on your TEFL is legit, you’re making sure you are signing up for the best course for you.