So you’ve decided that you want to teach English abroad, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step to your dreams of working abroad. It can be a little overwhelming at first to get going. First off, how to choose a TEFL course? What is TEFL? And what TEFL course is best for you? Get an idea of courses but continue reading to know what to look out for.
These are decisions you’re going to have to make for yourself, but I’ll break it down to help give you a better idea of what direction you want to start in, and how to choose a TEFL certification that’s perfect for you.
What is TEFL?
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and is the most popular type of course to take for teaching English abroad because that’s exactly what it targets: teaching English to those as a foreign language. You may also have heard of TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) which is more popular for those who wish to teach English to those who are in an English speaking country and need to learn English. TEFL is best for when you’re teaching in a country where English is not the primary language.
Then there are courses like CELTA or others that have long fancy names. They’re more advanced and obviously cover more than TEFL or TESOL certificates and are often times not needed. You can easily get a job with either a TEFL or TESOL certificate. CELTA is usually in conjunction with a university so it offers a higher ranking credit, but schools won’t penalize you for not having it!
Which TELF course is best for you?
There are a couple of key decisions you need to make before you start researching. How to choose a TEFL course can get complicated, but I simplify it for you. I seriously wish I had all this info in one spot when I was researching because the best TEFL courses are not always the ones you find on the first page of a Google search.
BUDGET: How much are you willing to spend on a course? I definitely overpaid for mine ($600 USD) and there are some that are even more expensive. I later learned of a cheaper option, which I wish I had known before I forked out my money. A TEFL course online is often times cheaper than doing them in person.
LOCATION: This is closely linked to your budget decision as where you take your course will greatly affect how much it will cost. The cheapest option is an online TEFL course, meaning you can do it from anywhere in the world. Or if you prefer in person you can do the course with others in your city (depending on where you live, this is usually just in major cities), or you can do it abroad. I did my TEFL online and felt fully prepared!
TIME: How long do you want to be taking the course? Or how quickly do you need your certification? What’s best about the online courses is that they’re often self-paced so you can do them as quickly or slowly as you want. Courses abroad are often condensed into about 4-5 weeks so they’re quite quick, but they’re full days. Can you afford to not have an income for a month? There are part-time or full-time courses available, but it all depends on the company you decide to go with. Not all offer both.
How to Choose a TEFL Course
Once you’ve made your decisions to the above questions it’s time to figure out how to choose a TEFL course based on what else they have to offer. There are an insane amount of company’s out there offering you basically the same thing, but here are a couple of key things to look for.
JOB PLACEMENT: This is really important for a lot of people. Once you’re done your course does the company offer job placement assistance? Look into what they offer. Do they guarantee you a job? In this case it’s most often the first job available they find, so it may not be in a city or even area you want. You may be the only English teacher, and you might not mesh well with the school. Sometimes they do let you give suggestions of where you’d like to be placed and they do their best to find jobs in those places. They don’t place you in a country other than the one you specified.
RESOURCES: This can be a gold mine for you once you’re done your course. How do you make a resume? A cover letter? Where do you begin looking for jobs? The resources they give you can cover all these topics plus sites to look at for teaching materials, and more. Not every course or company offers this, so make sure to check!
ALUMNI NETWORK: This can be a great way to make friends or to pick someone’s brain who has already been through the process. Again, not every company offers this, but it can be such a useful tool to help get you going in the right direction.
EXTRAS: Many companies will try to reel you in with lots of extra goodies like including an elephant trek in the training program. Don’t always just go for the fun things, make sure the program is giving you what you want.
TEFL CERTIFICATION: A lot of companies will say that they’re certified to help make them look professional. They aren’t lying when they say they’re certified, but there is also no official process or checklist that these courses need to pass to be certified. This means that there’s not one overlooking mass body to determine if they qualify. This is why you’ll see so many different certification names in your research. So don’t base your decision on a company just by their certifications.
Don’t rush into it and pick the first company you find. Do your research. I once found a company who didn’t offer the course to anyone but Americans…obviously, I couldn’t do that one since I’m Canadian and was lucky I found it in the small print.
When you Google TEFL courses you’ll find the same companies coming up again and again. They’re the big guys (and some of the most expensive). They’re good and have taught a lot of people, but sometimes the smaller ones are good too!
If you want to get started today, I recommend myTEFL, easily the cheapest option I’ve seen (and I’ve done a ton of research) plus you can get your TEFL certification online! Plus getting your TEFL certificate online is easy and can be done at your own pace.
And lastly, I always advise people to take the 120-hour course. Usually, schools will only ask for a minimum of 100 hours, but the 120-hour course offers a bit of extra information that I found very useful while teaching. With either, you’ll be able to find TEFL jobs abroad easily and be teaching English overseas in no time!
Other posts on teaching English abroad:
- How to Get a Job Teaching Abroad: A Step by Step Guide
- Why You Should Teach English Abroad
- Before You Teach English Abroad, Ask Yourself These 10 Questions
What’s your biggest concern when choosing a course? More questions? Ask me below!
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