So many people dream of living and working abroad, but fail to make this dream into a reality. They have a dream, but they don’t have a plan. You can achieve more by taking the leap and making your dreams a reality. Let me explain how having a TEFL certification can be helpful and make a comparison between a few of the most popular TEFL courses to choose from.
One of the most common ways to get a job in a foreign country is to teach English abroad. If you love teaching and enriching your students’ lives then great, this job is perfect for you. But, even if you want to work in a completely different field from education, you can still benefit massively from teaching English abroad.
For instance, one of my friends started out as a teacher in China, but ended up working for a multinational pharmaceutical company. Not only does teaching abroad help you understand a foreign culture and gain you vital experience in an alien working environment, it also helps you build up your network of contacts and can land you with all sorts of exciting possibilities.
As Lao Tzu once said, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Teaching English may not be your final destination, but it is a great, not to mention exciting, first step on the journey.
TEFL Courses Comparison Chart
|Customer feedback score (out of 100)||40 hour course||60 hour course||100 hour course||120 hour course|
|University of Toronto|
|*Prices based on standard rates, not special offer rates. Prices converted to US Dollars may vary based on exchange rate|
*Customer feedback score based on teflcoursereview.com scores.
Why get a TEFL?
TEFL is short for ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’. It is the most basic requirement needed in order to teach abroad. Many job offers will require you to have this certificate to prove that you can at least teach competently, as the easiest way to so your teaching credentials is to get certified to teach English.
Speaking English is not enough to be able to teach English effectively. In fact, native English speakers who have not got TEFL certification are often far more ineffective than a local teacher would be at teaching English. This is because without taking a TEFL course, teachers are often oblivious to how students actually learn foreign languages or what students actually hear when a teacher speaks to them in English.
Even if the job doesn’t specify that you need a TEFL, lots of recruiters will look for it anyway, especially for the better jobs. I used to hire English teachers for a medium sized school, and one of the first things I looked for is whether somebody would be serious about teaching, serious enough to make at least a one year commitment to the school. Having a TEFL certificate helps show your commitment, especially if everything else on your resume suggests that you have an alternate career path in mind.
TEFL certification also helps you get the best jobs, ones with a better salary, shorter hours, and better working conditions. If you want to work in certain countries, like Japan or Europe, then you will absolutely need a TEFL just to get your foot in the door. The job market in Korea and China is also getting more and more competitive by the day, and without teaching experience, you need something to help you stand out from the crowd. And if all of that didn’t persuade you, then remember, you owe it to your students to be the best teacher you can be, and having a TEFL can help you be that teacher.
Even if you have been teaching English abroad for several years, doing a TEFL can be a real eye-opener, showing you new teaching ideas and methodologies that you had never even considered.
TEFL/TESL/TESOL? What’s the difference?
Essentially they all mean the same thing: Teaching English. The only real difference between TEFL, TESL, and TESOL is who those learners are. TEFL means Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This is when a student lives in China and learns English as a foreign language in the same way that English speakers learn French or Spanish at school. TESL means that the students are learning English as a second language, for example, a Chinese student who lives in Canada and is studying English there.
The only real difference between the two terms is that Chinese TEFL students can talk to their classmates in Chinese if they want to, but a TESL student may be in a class where all the students are of different nationalities. When it comes down to teaching theory, it is basically the same, apart from with TEFL students, you can focus a bit more on the particular needs of students from that country (for example, Chinese students would need more practice making the ‘f’ sound than French students would.
TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, which encompasses both TEFL and TESL, as does a TEFL/TESOL certificate, a TEFL/TESL certificate, or any other long acronym. Some other letters you might see are CELTA, which stands for the Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults. The CELTA is run by the University of Cambridge and can only be studied offline.
Where can I find the best Online TEFL Certification?
Online courses vary in quality, and it is important to choose a good course. There are lots of poor quality courses out there, and with the word TEFL in most course titles, it can be hard to recognize a good course from a bad one without doing plenty of research.
One important consideration when choosing your online TEFL certification is the length of the course. It is generally better to do a course that is at least 100 or 120 hours long as many companies set this as a requirement. Shorter courses are available, but they can often turn out to be a false economy as top employers won’t recognize them.
Here are some of the best online TEFL courses available:
Bridgetefl.com is a well-known and accredited place to take your online TEFL course. They have a wide range of courses to suit students’ needs, from basic 40 hour courses, to the full 120 hour courses, with each course using a wide variety of teaching methods and materials, as well as a personal tutor to guide you through it all. All of this has led to the course being well received by the vast majority of its students. The exact course that you should choose depends on your individual circumstances. Bridgetefl has been running for over twenty years, and their teachers are all highly qualified. It is assessed by written assignments and online tests, including a grammar test for the 100 and 120 hour courses. Many previous customers of this course recommend that you take your time to absorb the grammar section properly rather than trying to rush through it. The 120 hour course is similar to the 100 hour course, but includes specializations such as business English.
University of Toronto
One of the most important things when choosing what qualification to study is the brand value of that qualification. It’s no good spending a thousand dollars to get a qualification from Steve’s TEFL Cowboy Fun Shack because nobody will take your TEFL certification seriously if you do. With that in mind, the University of Toronto has a huge advantage over many other TEFL providers in that its name is known across the world and is seen as a sign of quality.
The University of Toronto does 100, 120, and 150 hour courses. The 120 and 150 hour courses allow you to take specialist modules such as Teaching Business English and Teaching Test Preparation Courses which can help you get higher paying jobs. The course usually takes six to eight weeks and is assessed through tests and written assignments. If you pass, you will be issued a TEFL certificate from the University of Toronto.
This TEFL course is a bit more expensive than some of the other courses available, but it is high quality, scoring a perfect five-out-of-five on teflcoursereview.com and it will make your resume look really strong too. If you are thinking of teaching for longer than one year, then the extra earnings you make from getting better paying jobs will certainly make this course value for money.
Tefl.org.uk run a wide variety of courses and are well accredited within the U.K. If you live in the U.K. then it may be worth considering their offline or their online/offline blended courses. But for the rest of us, they also offer online only courses, including a 100 and 120 hour online course. Their courses teach a wide variety of skills, including teaching large classes, and one-on-one teaching. They are also more reasonably priced than some of the other courses available. Their online courses have a personal tutor to help you through them, and the fact that the company also runs offline courses is definitely a plus.
For those of you looking to save money, this is one of the cheapest of the accredited TEFL courses out there. The course also appears to have decent post-course service, although its curriculum doesn’t appear to be quite as in-depth as the courses offered by the University of Toronto or Bridgetefl. This course is run by ITTT, which stands for International TEFL and TESOL Training. ITTT don’t seem too bothered by the distinction between TEFL and TESOL, so if you choose one of their courses, choose the one with the acronym that best suits your purpose. Their 120 hour courses have been well-received, with many former students saying how this course provides students with lots of resources to help them study, although the assessment is apparently rather easy.
Discount code 15% : W0HKFNF61DDA
If you are looking for a cheap, but well accredited TEFL course, then this course could be for you. Their website looks rather on the basic side of things, but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. UK TEFL’s student feedback is very good, particularly regarding the quality of their instructors. The course contents go beyond the basics and show you how to teach a wide variety of classes. Their customer service is not as great as some of the other companies providing TEFL Courses, but in terms of the course itself, they seem like value for money.
Top Tips for Choosing a TEFL Course
– Accreditation and Course Hours
There are lots of cowboy TEFL courses out there, so to make sure you don’t get ripped off, check the course’s accreditation thoroughly. Also, remember the importance of the course length. Without course length, people could do a five minute course and get a certificate, so course length is a vital sign that you are qualified to teach English. Sixty hour courses offer the least value for money as they cost more than forty hour courses, but don’t have the added employment prospects of 100 or 120 hour courses.
– Job Placement
Many TEFL courses talk about job placement as a selling point of their course. You should ignore this. I know that when you are unemployed, the idea of a guaranteed job looks tempting, but often the job placements are of low quality, with the TEFL schools getting a recruitment fee for sending you to somewhere you may not particularly want to work. Once you are qualified, it is relatively easy to get a job and there are plenty of job websites out there (including this one). You can find work abroad with TEFL certification without the need for any of these job placement schemes that are out there.
– What Employers Want
Before you choose your course, take a look at the many online job postings. See what employers and recruiters are asking for. ITTT offers both TESOL and TEFL for instance, so if employers in your country of choice are asking for one of them in particular then you should choose that course. Unlike you, some employers don’t know the difference between TEFL certification and TESOL certification so it is often easier to just give them what they want.
Now that you know about how to choose an online TEFL, take a look at some of the websites linked to this article, and choose the course that is best suited for your needs. Take this first step, and soon you will be living the dream of working abroad.
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