TEFL Course Recommendations

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  • jmarie
    21 April, 2016 at 21:24
    • Total posts: 1

    Hello! I am looking at getting certified to teach abroad. However, all the choices are overwhelming. I have seen many different opinions regarding which course/type of certification to pursue. I am interested in an online certificate so that I am able to work at my own pace (my day job prevents me from doing an intensive course in-person, such as certTESOL or CELTA). The two I am considering are the 150-hour course from University of Toronto or the 250-hour course from Uni-Prep. All insight, advice, recommendations, and other commentary is welcome. Thanks!

    5 May, 2016 at 6:42
    • Total posts: 7

    I’m also considering a TEFL course but I think it’s important to be aware of the differences between a TEFL and TESOL course… it looks like Uni-Prep offers a TESOL certificate which aims to certify you to teach English both abroad and at home. While this sounds great, TESOL certificates aren’t as widely accepted as TEFL certificates because they’re a newer certification that aren’t compatible with some curriculums abroad.

    A TEFL certificate seems like the better choice, it’s specifically for teachers looking to teach abroad in a foreign country and is the most internationally recognized certification of its kind.

    5 May, 2016 at 7:30
    • Total posts: 279

    [quote]TESOL certificates aren’t as widely accepted as TEFL certificates [/quote]
    Practically speaking, I’d be very surprised if many employers differentiated between the two when it comes to recruitment – the differences in skills/methodology which are taught for the two different situations (teaching abroad or at home) are minimal when you’re just starting out and taking an entry-level certification.

    Employers will be more interested in the length and type of course (whether it’s online or in-class, and if it’s online, does it include a practical aspect). So the important question to ask is what are the requirements of employers in the countries where you want to teach. Have a look at some job adverts on this site to get an idea. if most of the employers in the country you’re looking at working in require a CELTA or equivalent, then an online course like the ones you mention probably won’t be enough to secure you a job. It depends on the country.

    [quote]my day job prevents me from doing an intensive course in-person, such as certTESOL or CELTA[/quote]
    CELTA is offered online now – have a look here: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/teaching-english/teaching-qualifications/celta/ways-to-take-celta/

    Hope that helps.


    Elena B
    10 June, 2016 at 15:05
    • Total posts: 1

    If you actually want to teach abroad I would recommend taking the course abroad. This way some academies guarantee you a job opportunity once you get the certification.

    For example TEFL Madrid Academy gives you all the info, the student VISA and the job opportunity after taking the course.

    You can check it out over here:


    Good luck!

    10 June, 2016 at 15:17
    • Total posts: 279

    [quote]If you actually want to teach abroad I would recommend taking the course abroad. This way some academies guarantee you a job opportunity once you get the certification.[/quote]
    Yes, taking a course in the country where you want to teach can be a very good idea – the course provider often has local contacts and resources that can help with job finding, and may be able to help with visas, accommodation, etc (as Elena B says).


    1. Make sure that the qualification is up to the standard required of employers in other countries too – you may not always want to work in that country. For example, looking at the one cited by Elena B (TEFL Madrid) – a quick look at the website tells me it is a 120 hour classroom based course and includes a teaching practicum (actual practice teaching live students). This type of qualification would be accepted by most employers worldwide (except those you absolutely require a CELTA of Trinity Cert TESOL).

    2. I’m always a little bit wary of TEFL course providers who offer a [u]guaranteed[/u] job after taking the course. How can a training course provider know how well you will perform on the course, and how can they be sure that an employer will [u]definitely[/u] want to recruit someone with your profile? If they do [u]guarantee[/u] a job, this can only mean that they have agreements with local language schools to the effect that these schools will employ [u]anyone[/u] who completes their course. The question then is – what kind of language school would agree to that, rather than meeting and interviewing each candidate on his/her own merits? I’m not sure I’d want to work for that kind of language school…

    If a TEFL course provider offers job finding [u]assistance and support[/u], rather than a [u]guarantee[/u] of a job, this always sounds much better and more realistic to me.

    12 June, 2016 at 14:10
    • Total posts: 11

    I’d only recommend the CELTA or Trinity for working abroad.
    I completed mine whilst working full time. It took three months, and I had to give up my Saturdays and 2 evenings a week. This was a part time offering.
    Alternatively, you can do these online but typically it means you have to go to a centre for up to 2 weeks to do the teaching component.

    14 June, 2016 at 14:52
    • Total posts: 6

    Hello everyone,

    I was just looking on the forum today and found this thread – I am looking to speak to people about the different TEFL courses available with anyone who has taken one of the following courses in the last two years: i-to-i TEFL course, Oxford Seminars TEFL Certificate, SIT TESOL Certificate, American TESOL, Trinity CertTESOL, Via Lunga, Global English, International TEFL Academy or Learning Resource Network ELTAB.

    We are conducting telephone interviews over the next two weeks which will take about 30 minutes and we will give a cash incentive as a thank you for your time.

    If you are interested please email tefl@freshminds.net as soon as possible with your name, the qualification you took, where you are currently living and your contact details.

    Or if you know anyone who might be interested then please spread the word!

    Thank you


    13 September, 2016 at 13:43
    • Total posts: 1

    I would very much like to have a TEFL Certificate.
    However, I would only want to do the test.
    I am a Primary School Teacher, a Diploma which is one of the best pedagogical out there, AND I have a Cambridge CPE (ILR5)…
    ((ILR scale = Interagency Language Roundtable scale = a description of Proficiency levels)(5 = the highest).
    I CAN teach English as a foreign language, HAVE the knowledge, and have been doing it for YEARS ( to kids, teenagers, and adults alike) …
    ALL I need now is the TEFL paper, so I could officially teach English to secondary school kids in Belgium …
    Have you got a solution for me …?
    Is there a place in Switzerland where I could just go and do the exam to get the paper …?
    (I do not have (nor would I want to spend if I did have them) thousands of francs to acquire knowledge I already have) …
    Thank you very much in advance for your answer.
    Yours faithfully,
    Martine Verschoore

    23 September, 2016 at 15:03
    • Total posts: 279

    Hi Martine

    Unfortunately there is no such thing as “The TEFL paper” or “The TEFL exam”. TEFL just means “Teaching English as a Foreign Language” – it is an industry rather than a specific exam or course.

    There are many, many TEFL courses out there which train people to become teachers, each of which have their own curricula, methods of assessment, accreditation, and so on. Some of the better known of these are the CELTA (run by Cambridge University) and the Cert TESOL (run by Trinity College), but as I say there are literally hundreds of others out there, and no standardised system in place to regulate them.

    This means that there is not one single exam that you can take, and when someone says “I have the TEFL”, it doesn’t really mean anything – if I was recruiting someone and they said that, I would need a lot more information. I would need to know which course they took, how long it was, what the method of assessment was, who it was accredited by, how many hours of teaching practice it included, and so on.

    However, there is one exam that you can take which goes some way towards providing some kind of standardised test for [u]existing[/u] teachers – it’s called the TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) and is run by Cambridge. To quote the Cambridge website, TKT “is ideal for people who want to prove their teaching knowledge with a globally recognised certificate.” (from http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/teaching-english/teaching-qualifications/tkt/)

    This could be the way to go for you, and it may well help you when it comes to employment. But remember that, as I said before, there is no standardised system for the various TEFL courses, and different employers have different requirements. So, the TKT together with your experience may be enough for one employer, but another one in the same city may insist on a CELTA or similar.

    Hope that makes sense?


    Niall Houghton
    15 January, 2018 at 2:19
    • Total posts: 20

    With the aim of working abroad I took a TEFL course in my local college in 2016. During job interviews recruiters were emphasising the importance of my course being classroom based, with teaching practice in contrast to online courses.

    7 June, 2019 at 7:22
    • Total posts: 9

    Something that you do need to be aware of if deciding to take a residential course abroad is how much initial visa time you will be granted. Let’s assume you are coming from the USA and taking a 1-month residential Onsite course in Europe. Now that one month’s training is going to eat up a third of your allotted visa time; leaving just a couple of months to locate permanent housing, find a teaching job, get your work papers in order, etc. If your Onsite TEFL school actively helps you with this process then you should be ok, but if it doesn’t then taking an online or combined course and arriving with a full 3 months to get your ducks set in a row would be a far less stressful process.

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