Hi guys! I hope you can help me with deciding. My main question is which online TEFL course should I get?
Brief background about me. I have just applied to the JET program and I failed. I want to improve my next application so I want to get a TEFL certificate. Now I know that it’s not needed but as long as it can increase my chances why not? That said I don’t want just a certificate, I do want to learn while getting it.
My teaching experience is limited to a 3-month stint as an intern in a pre-school a long time ago and 2 years as a weekend volunteer art and computer teacher for high school students three years ago. I’m currently volunteering as an English tutor as a way to also improve my next JET application. My normal job is management and I’ve had 8 to 9 years of management-related work experience so far. I do enjoy teaching though, it’s just not financially viable here in my country vs my current work.
I joined the JET program because I want to live in Japan for a bit. I have my own reasons for this and I’m stubborn about it so Japan is my only goal. JET seems to be the best option for me, especially given that I’m a non-native English speaker. However I’m also open to applying as a English teacher which is another reason why I want a TEFL. I want to do this for a few years while improving my Japanese.
“Brief” background done. So after digging around I found some online courses I’m interested in and I hope you can chime in about them. First, it has to be online as I want to do it while working. Second, my budget is around $200. That’s all I’m willing to invest given my current pay. Third, I’m avoiding Groupon classes. While this is a cheaper option I’m just worried that I won’t learn as much as I could in the classes that they offer. I’m also worried that they have a reputation of being too cheap. Fourth, I want to do a 120-hour course as this seems to be the industry standard. Fifth, I would like a young learner’s course included with my TESL classes if possible as I want to primarily teach kids.
Some TEFL centers that are too expensive for me are TESOL International Association, International TEFL Academy, University of Toronto, OnTESOL, and Bridge TEFL.
The ones that I settled on are:
TEFL Bootcamp/TEFL Educator
– Comes with a young learner’s course and 2 other specializations
International TEFL TESOL Training (ITTT)
– Doesn’t have tutors or videos for the 120-hour program
– With a young learner’s course for $224.50
– OFQUAL accredited (I know TEFL accreditation isn’t strict but I liked the OFQUAL certification as it’s a government accreditation. Please correct me if it’s actually useless.)
– $295 ($199 with promo code)
– Seems to be the most popular choice so it might be more well-known (?)
– $209 for the advanced course
– Focused on East Asian students
– Long term access to their resources
– I’m worried that they don’t really term their advanced course as a 120-hour program (though it used to be) and it might confuse employers
TEFL.IE (TEFL Institute of Ireland)
– 89 Euros
– Cheapest option that looks legit and has their own app
– OFQUAL accredited
The TEFL Academy
– OFQUAL accredited
– Includes a young learners course
– Has some scholarships that I really didn’t look in to
Arizona State University (via Coursera)
– $49 per month
– I liked this as it comes from a good university but I’m worried about Coursera’s bad track record when dealing with subscription payments (not cancelling subscription payments properly, no refund policy)
So there those are my choices. Any thoughts on them? :)
Here are my thoughts. Firstly, great idea to get a TEFL certification – your future students will thank you for it, and I think you’ll get more satisfaction from the work too.
I’d ideally suggest that you do a classroom based course – nothing beats some actual practical classroom experience while you’re taking the course. It would also open up more options for you in the future.
But… I know that isn’t an option for you so I won’t go on about it – just wanted to mention it as a possibility for the future. You will still learn a lot on a good online course, even if you don’t have a chance to put it into practice.
So, on to the online courses. Basically, most employers and organisations who are willing to accept an online qualification don’t tend to be too bothered about which one you have. This is perhaps a recognition of the inherent limitation of online courses (theoretical learning only for a very practical job as I mentioned above).
So I wouldn’t get too caught up on the one that you choose. Definitely go for a 120 hour course or longer (although this industry standard applies more to classroom based courses).
…And then either go for one of the better known and reputed ones (i to i has been around a long time and is generally well respected. ITTT is a very large organisation and is also well known. The TEFL.ie course looks good to me too) or for one that you get a good gut feeling about – check out the website, the course content, the reviews (not just on their own websites but on independent sites too), and beware of job “guarantees”.
This article might help too: https://www.eslbase.com/tefl/6-questions-to-ask-when-choosing-a-tefl-course
Hope that helps and good luck.
Thanks Dan for the reply! I appreciated the fact that you understand why I’m choosing an online course. A line in your article perfectly sums it up, I just want to do this for a few years for now. Since I have volunteer teaching stints I’ll work on practicing whatever I learn in my online course, hence my desire to stay away from courses that are too cheap. I also appreciated that you actually recommended specific companies as that helps a lot. Thank you again for being a big help!
Glad to be of help. You’re approaching it all in the right way so I’m sure it will be a success.
It’s very difficult to comment on what is “the best” online TEFL course because superlatives are often subjective.
My advice is to choose a course which offers at least 120 hours of tuition and try to choose one which provides job support.
There are also schools out there which provide combination courses and these can be great alternatives to onsite TEFL study.
At the end of the day though a language school will really only want to see that you have a TEFL certificate and it won’t matter which school you received it from. what will ultimately matter is your ability to teach and a good online TEFL course will prepare you for this up to a point.
Which TEFL? Helping you choose your best online TEFL/TESOL certification course.
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