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How can I verify if a TEFL provider is accredited? New to this, needing advice

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  • DawnH
    Participant
    24 February, 2016 at 16:35
    • Total posts: 4

    Hi there
    I am beginning the task of researching becoming certified to teach abroad. I’m from Ohio, have a Masters in counseling and since my daughter is grown and going to school in the UK, I able to travel and do something different with my life.
    I have a few questions as the information out there is daunting!

    I work full time so I cannot attend a full time school.

    I’ve been reviewing the site International TEFL and TESOL Training and their 120 hour online course (with options of young learners and business). They say they are accredited. How do I verify if a particular site i accredited?

    What is the difference between TEFL and CELTA ? I’m so confused on this. Do I get the TEFL first then work on a CELTA later???

    My top choices are Portugal and Spain. With a TEFL certification and Masters degree am I employable?

    Thanks to anyone who doesn’t mind watering this information down for me .

    Briona
    Participant
    25 February, 2016 at 19:32
    • Total posts: 52

    Hi there and welcome to the forum,

    There are two types of qualifications – online/blended courses and face-to-face intensive ones, such as the CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL. The biggest difference between the two types of courses is that the latter include a minimum of 6hrs of observed and assessed teaching practice, and it is this that employers tend to look for. Note that the weekend element of online/blended courses is NOT equivalent as you ‘teach’ your fellow trainees rather than real students.

    There is no single, international accrediting board for TEFL courses, and many dubious providers have been known to accredit themselves! The most internationally-recognised courses are the Cambridge CELTA, the Trinity CertTESOL (both accredited by top British universities), the SIT TESOL (accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges), and the Cert IV in TESOL (accredited by the Australian National ELT Accrediting Scheme).

    Here in Europe, the CELTA is king. All reputable employers look for this (or its equivalents), and adverts explicitly state that online TEFL certificates are not accepted. Of course, some employers are happy to accept online TEFL certificates, and if they accept one, they’ll accept any.

    However, before you invest in a course of any kind, you need to make sure that you can legally work in Europe. This means holding a passport from an EU member state (either through birth or ancestry) or being married to an EU citizen or being in possession of a valid work/study visa. Note that employers in the EU cannot just hire a non-EU citizen – they first have to prove that there were no suitably-qualified EU citizens who could do the job. As you might imagine, when it comes to TEFL, this is not a very likely proposition. For more on working in Europe, have a look at my advice guide: http://toiberiaandbeyond.blogspot.com.es/p/teaching-in-europe.html.

    Hope that helps, and if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Briona

    DawnH
    Participant
    26 February, 2016 at 23:43
    • Total posts: 4

    Thank you so very much for that information. A wee bit disappointing but that’s to be expected I suppose.

    I will look into the places you mentioned for Cambridge and Trinity, I fear they may be out of the range of what I can afford.
    Do you find the Asians countries pretty much the same regarding certification and legally working in those countries?

    Am I crazy or even trying to get into this???

    Sincerely,
    Trying to dream big, aka Dawn :)

    DawnH
    Participant
    26 February, 2016 at 23:57
    • Total posts: 4

    Just another question. Any idea what this costs at Cambridge or Trinity? Also, Have you of any acceptable schools in the United States?

    Briona
    Participant
    27 February, 2016 at 9:58
    • Total posts: 52

    Hi again,

    The price for both the Cambridge CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL courses varies greatly depending on where you take it, so the CELTA at IH New York, for example, costs US$2,795, while the same course at IH Prague (Czech Republic) costs around US$1,345. Of course, you’d need to factor in airfare and living costs, etc.

    It is often recommended that you take the course in the country/region you’d like to teach in. This is because (a) doing so will give you some experience with learners from that country (unless you are in a country where English is the first language, of course!), and (b) course providers often have links to local employers, which may make the transition from trainee to employee faster and smoother.

    To find a CELTA provider, go to http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/find-a-centre/find-a-teaching-centre/ and use the dropdowns. To find a Trinity CertTESOL provider, go to http://www.trinitycollege.com/site/?id=2093 and click on the link in the text saying ‘100 Trinity validated course providers’ to download a PDF.

    When it comes to Asia, the good news is that there are no visa restrictions on North Americans. It really is just in Europe that those apply. However, there are numerous other factors to consider, among them age, race (really!), criminal record, health (in particular mental), and qualifications.

    To teach anywhere in the region, you MUST have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, which can be in anything – you will NOT be issued with a work visa without one. The requirements for TEFL certification vary. In some countries, you can find work on the strength of having a degree, in others you would need to have some kind of TEFL certificate as well. Online TEFL certificates are widely accepted although, as with the rest of the world, most of the ‘big name’ employers won’t accept them.

    Another consideration is age. Obviously I don’t know how old you are, but it’s worth noting that many Asian countries have an upper-age limit for work visas, usually in the region of 55-59. That’s not to say that there aren’t older teachers teaching there, but I’d say they are the exception rather than the rule.

    My advice, as always, is to choose a country or countries that you’d like to work in and do some serious research. I’d recommend posting your questions on the country-specific forums at Dave’s ESL Café (http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/). Note that there are some VERY snarky posters on there, but you are likely to get the answers you need from people actually working in those countries.

    Hope that helps, and if you have any other questions, please ask.

    Briona

    DawnH
    Participant
    28 February, 2016 at 0:26
    • Total posts: 4

    I do have a Bachelors of Arts in psychology and Master’s in counseling so hopefully that will satisfy the school requirements. And I’m 47 so age shouldn’t be a problem.
    I did look at Thailand and Mexico. I felt that if something goes wrong I’m closer to the states. It seems like quite the risk to leave everything, take a 4 week course and hope you get a job quickly or is that not the way that goes?? Hahaha.. Perhaps this will take a very long time? I would guess I need quite the savings to be able to get the schooling done then live while looking for a job.
    One of the requirements is to have a standard of English which will enable you to teach at a range of levels. I haven’t been in an English class in quite a long time. Should I be studying or brushing up on things ?

    Thank you for you kindness!!

    Briona
    Participant
    28 February, 2016 at 10:50
    • Total posts: 52

    Hi again,

    If you’re going to take your TEFL course abroad, I’d recommend taking it a month or so before the start of the new academic year/semester, as this will maximise your chances of finding work. (Speaking from experience here as I took mine at TOTALLY the wrong time of year, and ended up having to work in Vietnam, where there were jobs, rather than Spain! Ha ha!).

    In Thailand the academic year runs from May-September and November-Feb/March. So you should aim to take a TEFL course in March/April (for the academic year start) or Sept/Oct (for the second semester start). I’m less familiar with Mexico, but I believe the academic year starts in mid-August, so you would need to take a course in June/July.

    With regards to the “having a standard of English which will allow you teach at a range of levels” bit, this is mostly aimed at non-native English-speakers who might want to teach but might be of a lower level than their potential students. The biggest problem native English-speakers have is their shaky knowledge of grammar, and in particular the terminology. If you are worried, it’s worth taking a grammar course, (such as this one: https://www.cambridgeenglishteacher.org/courses/details/18606), before taking your TEFL course.

    Now for the money bit. Face-to-face courses such as the CELTA are paid for upfront. Providers can usually organise cheap accommodation for the duration of the course, but obviously you’d need to set aside some money for that, as well as money for general living costs (food, public transport, the odd drink, etc.). On top of that, you will also need money to cover you until your first paycheck (which is likely to arrive one month after you start working). How much should you bring? Find out what the cost of the living in your chosen countries and aim to have a minimum of two months’ living expenses, plus the upfront money required for renting an apartment.

    Hope that helps, and if you have any other questions, please ask.

    Briona

    Karelia
    Participant
    24 September, 2017 at 0:56
    • Total posts: 4

    You should also check with any pötential employer in Europe whether they can get you a legal residence and work permit.

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