So, you’ve decided you want to teach English? Maybe you’re just researching your options before making any firm decisions? Whether or not you’re already committed to the idea of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), there are a number of questions you can ask yourself to determine which course is the right fit for you. By understanding your priorities before purchasing a course and taking the time to ask yourself the questions below, you’ll be in a much better position to make a confident decision.
What is accreditation?
The most important factor to prioritize before purchasing a course is TEFL provider accreditation. The more research you do into TEFL or TESOL, the more you’ll see the term ‘accredited’ thrown around by providers. But what exactly is it? Accreditation is all about quality standards. It involves recognition and approval from a relevant body, which means you can trust the provider to be credible, maintaining consistently high standards.
In the industry, there’s no single body regulating how TEFL courses are marketed and sold, which is why providers that are properly accredited are your best bet. Notice the emphasis? This is because there are some providers who will stretch terms without listing relevant accrediting partners, if any partners at all.
Look for accrediting bodies to be proudly listed on your provider’s website. The most respected partners are government and education authorities and you should be able to easily check out their reputation.
Providers are accredited, not courses – so watch out for this in your quest to find the suitable TEFL course. Well-accredited course providers will have you feeling confident in the quality of your course throughout. Not to mention it’s often a top priority for employers.
What is the minimum requirement for TEFL courses?
You should be looking to complete a120-hour TEFL qualification at a minimum. It’s a standard requirement for most countries and reputable employers. Few employers will consider you without a 120-hour TEFL course and that’s for good reason. You’re doing a TEFL course in order to be properly prepared for the career ahead of you, so you don’t want to be wasting money on a brief course that’s cutting corners.
Does the course fit around my current commitments?
Once you’re confident that you’ve found a quality provider, do you also feel confident that the course will give you the flexibility you need?
You’ll find that a lot of TEFL courses provide you with plenty of flexibility to complete it around your pre-existing commitments. The current climate makes it difficult to predict how classroom courses will run in the future, but fortunately there are plenty of quality online TEFL courses that will equip you with the same skill set.
Online courses are particularly flexible for those who have other commitments (which is most people really!). Usually the time you’re given to complete the course is very realistic, meaning you can take coursework at your own pace. It would be unrealistic for providers to expect you to work on the course full-time when you’re likely already in employment or are a student.
How much should I be spending on a TEFL course?
Depending on the type of TEFL course you’re looking to complete – whether it’s the most popular 120-hour course or a more teaching-specific one – the costs will vary.
When it comes to choosing a course that’ll give you the best employment prospects, it’s going to be at a cost that reflects its quality, which is why you should be cautious about low-cost ones.
You can expect a 120-hour TEFL course from a well-accredited provider to cost anywhere between £150 – £500, as accreditation requires time, effort, and investment. Intensive, combined classroom and online courses will be at a greater expense.
Is the provider well-reviewed?
It’s quite easy these days to research businesses and get an idea if the high standards claimed are reflected in customer feedback. Don’t hesitate to look up their social media accounts as this will help you understand how responsive they are to queries and customer troubles.
Good reviews and plenty of them are very reassuring. Knowing that other customers similar to yourself had success with the course and went on to find work should really boost your trust in the provider.
How does the provider present itself online?
Most businesses today are well-clued up on the powers of social media in assisting their marketing and advertising. Focus across a few different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn is to be expected of most quality providers.
If their online presence falls short of what you’d expect, or lacks professionalism (i.e. inconsistencies on their website, spelling mistakes, lack of coherence etc.), it’s probably better to keep searching.
Remember, accreditation is the most important thing to look for. As long as you’re confident in this aspect, then the rest should be a given. Taking your time to find the best TEFL course will be something that you won’t regret!
Photo: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney
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