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You know you want to go abroad and teach, but now what? You need to choose a TEFL certification. And that can be tricky. In today’s world of online versus in-person courses, there are so many choices that it can easily become overwhelming. If you do decide that online training is the best path for you, here are our 5 key things to look for in an online TEFL course.
When you see a course that claims to give you a TEFL certification, but the number of course hours is less than 120….pass. The industry standard for a full TEFL certification (the type that can actually get you a job) is 120 hours period. Anything less than that is a scam. Also, make sure that those 120 hours make sense. What we mean here is, make sure that the amount of work listed in the syllabus accurately correlates to 120 hours of coursework. If a company is offering some PDF files and not much else, chances are they are not providing you with an adequate amount of study materials. Look for one that does and your chances for success will be much greater.
Just because a course is accredited, doesn’t mean it’s really accredited. Let us explain. Unfortunately, the TEFL industry is still sorting itself out. There are a lot of strong companies out there offering great trainings, but there are also a lot of scammers trying to take advantage of people who want to go abroad and don’t know what to look for (or what to watch out for!). So, do your due diligence. Google the accreditation company that has placed their stamp of approval on the course you are interested in. Check and see if they are legitimate or not. Do they only require a payment and then “Bam!” the company is magically accredited? Or do they have a lengthy process of approving materials? You will want to study with a program that has been put through its paces and properly reviewed.
This goes without saying, but the trainers on your course should know what they are doing. Check their credentials just as you would check the credentials of the TEFL organization and accreditation firm. Along with this point is the question of how much interaction you would like to have as you move through the course. Some providers give you email access to qualified trainers, while others do not. If this is important for you, then you will want to make sure your TEFL provider can give you the support you need.
The term “well done” is certainly subjective, but we have a few suggestions and guidelines to follow.
First, look for courses that are more than just a PDF file. Reading text is an essential part of learning, but by itself it is not going to result in you being an amazing teacher. Why? Because teaching is a very practical skill. Learning methodology is important, but it will not teach you how to interact appropriately within the classroom environment.
This brings us to point number two, find a course with a large emphasis on video based lessons. Videos are extremely helpful when you cannot study in an actual classroom. They bring the classroom to you! Therefore, make sure your online TEFL course is built around video based learning. This media will allow you to observe real lessons, watch how real teachers interact with their students and vice versa. Learning how a lesson plan goes from words on a sheet of paper to an actual lesson in the classroom isn’t easy, so you definitely want some concrete examples to help you make that transition.
Last but not least, make sure the coursework is logical. Good coursework should build on itself in a systematic way. Take a look at the course syllabus and see if it really makes sense to you or not. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there selling the equivalent of a digital textbook with very little logic or order to it. And that type of course is very difficult to gain any benefit from.
A very real part of a TEFL career is the fact that it involves a new life. You will most likely need to move to a different country, interact with a different culture, find new housing, find a stable job, use a new language….the list goes on and on.
Becoming a TEFL professional can be a hugely exciting and daunting task. It’s not for the faint of heart! However, a good TEFL provider will help support you through this process. They will offer literature or video content on dealing with a new culture, on the interview process and on navigating the job market. Therefore, if no attention is paid to these very real aspects of TEFL, keep looking till you find a course that does take these into account.
Make sure your online TEFL provider is going to give you what you need as a learner. This includes 120 hours of solid content that is engaging and fully accredited. Watch out for the scammers who will try to sell you a collection of poorly constructed articles. Finally, look for a program that will support you through trainer interaction and through real-world advice.
Want to learn more about choosing the right TEFL course for you? Check out our TEFL series:
And if you are in the market for a great online TEFL course, check out our own 120-Hour Digital TEFL Course!