Though you are presented with countless opportunities to work, to live, and to travel overseas if you do opt to teach English as a native speaker in a foreign country, it surely can be a truly daunting proposition to figure out what sort of certification is best for your requirements – what’s going to be best in terms of landing you the job that you want?
So, here, I’ve provided a number of details that you should take into account when you’re assessing what’s what in the world of the TEFL course.
Right, so you know where you want to go – where you’ve been dreaming about for the past year or more. Japan? China? South Korea? Perhaps someplace else. Irrespective, you should now take the time to do some research (as you are doing now – smart person that you are!).
And among the first things to be done is:
Select a few schools that specialize in TEFL course provision and speak with their advisers.
Don’t be tempted to part with your money (and your time) before speaking to a number of TEFL course advisers at the schools that are most appealing to you. At the better schools (inclusive of those that offer only online programs – no problem at all with that!) they will have trained advisers who will be on hand to answer your questions.
Ask about the:
- Number of training hours offered and is the TEFL course accredited and by whom? Keep in mind that a minimum number of hours that is regarded as the international standard for a TEFL course is 100.
- The accrediting body – check to see (use the services of Google search) if the accrediting body is well established and it is in fact independent. What alternative professional certifications and courses does the body accredit?
- Number of teaching hours the TEFL course offers. Does the course provide you with practice teaching with ESL (English as a second language) students, as opposed to practicing with other students on the course? Keep in mind that most global schools that are looking to hire TEFL-qualified candidates want to see a minimum of actual student teaching hours in addition to the aforementioned 100 coursework hours. Normally, the minimum requirement for “on-the-job” teaching is six hours.
- Who are the TEFL course instructors? Many of the “cheaper” courses afford you with self-taught lessons. Either this, or they will provide you with a previous student that has “some” prior teaching experience. Ideally, you want to achieve instruction from a fully qualified instructor who has, in my humble opinion, at least two years of hands-on teaching experience.
- Will the company aid you in finding a job upon course completion? Do they charge extra for this service? In fact, and in my opinion, you don’t really need help to find work once you have a TEFL certificate (along with the requisite minimal of six hours of hands-on teaching experience) together with a degree. There are tons of jobs that will be available to you, providing you have the appropriate character for the type of students you wish to teach. What I mean here is, if, like me, you do not possess a naturally bubbly type of personality – the type that does well with young kids, then don’t be tempted to go for a job where you’re responsible for teaching young kids. If you’re not much inclined toward playing games and singing songs for a large proportion of your working day, then this sort of work can surely sap all your energies and more within the first hour!
- Are there costs involved for the purchase of any course books or for job placement assistance? With respect to courses that are held internationally, are there associated housing costs, do you have to pay for foreign language classes, do you need to cough up for sightseeing tours?
If you’re not getting straight-up answers to the sort of questions listed above, then don’t be tempted to part with your money. Simply move on to a different TEFL course provider and start asking these questions once again.
What’s my own choice for TEFL certification?
I’ve checked out numerous schools by researching their credentials and what they provide to their clientele (students), and there is one that stands out above the remainder of the chasing pack.
And that is:
The TEFL International Academy
What makes it stand out?
Well, other than the fact that they offer online courses in addition to courses that are staged in a large variety of locations around the globe, this professional body ticks all the above boxes – each point I’ve mentioned within this post and they manage to fulfill all the criteria.
Their courses are not cheap, but then, as the old adage goes – you get what you pay for.
Click the image below to retrieve their free online brochure.
Next up… Be somewhat wary of TEFL courses that offer guaranteed job placements.