9 Key Tips for Choosing the Best TEFL Programs - Henry Harvin

This blog mainly talks about ten major tips that you can use to select the Best TEFL Programs. Stick till the end to find answers to the Frequently Asked Questions related to TEFL and Best TEFL Programs.


What is TEFL?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. A TEFL teacher with a Bachelor’s degree gets appointed in non-English speaking countries. Usually, a TEFL teacher is appointed to teach children in kindergarten, primary schools, or even as a private tutor in some countries.


What is the eligibility to become a TEFL teacher?

Generally speaking, native English speakers from the USA, UK, and Australia are hired as English teachers by foreign countries. Though in some states, they just ask for four-year graduation if you are a native English speaker. 


Non-native speakers get hired, too, if they are good at the following:

  • Have excellent proficiency in English communication and grammar.
  •  A bachelor’s degree.
  • TEFL certification.
  • A flair for teaching.


Is TEFL certification legit?

Why do many people think that TEFL certification is a scam? It’s understandable not to believe everything online blindly.


The reason maybe because of the considerable price difference in the course. While some TEFL courses are costly, some are dirt cheap.


But let me tell you, the disparity in the fees is because it’s onsite versus online mainly.


It is indisputable that online courses are cheaper compared to onsite classes. For onsite courses, companies have to invest in infrastructure like land, classrooms, etc. and provide print outs of study materials, whereas, for online classes, such expenses are nil.


There are many unaccredited institutions, and following the below ten tips while choosing the best TEFL program will be helpful for you.


Is it a TEFL course for you?

Before finding the best TEFL programs, you should ask yourself, “Is this course really for you?” 


First and foremost, moving to a completely different country may be a nerve-wracking experience initially because of the uncertainties. So you have to prepare yourself for a complete change in lifestyle mentally.


Secondly, it takes more than just a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certification; You should have a knack towards teaching.


Thirdly, you should have a lot of patience and learn to go with the flow as starting a new career in a foreign country is not an easy task.


For example, in a country like China, mostly, you are hired as an English teacher to teach children either in kindergarten or primary schools. And in a place like China, you should learn to keep your calm because the working hours and everyday schedules are always decided at the last minute.  


Though obtaining the best TEFL certification has many advantages like traveling abroad, opening up a new career, getting exposed to modern culture, etc., it has its drawbacks too.


  • As stated above, you should be ready to face the culture shock in the new country.
  • The language barrier becomes a challenge when you go to non-English speaking countries.
  • Job contracts are usually short term. So you should be ready to backpack and frequently travel to many countries.
  • Going to rural areas can make you withdrawn and homesick, especially if you are a city lover.


Tip #1 – Credibility of institution

With so many TEFL programs available in the market, choosing the best TEFL certification will be a challenging and frustrating task. Various institutions around the world offer the best TEFL certification, and you need to make sure you choose the best place and not get conned.


The first thing is to make sure the institution is accredited and is licensed. Here are some tips on how to shortlist the accredited institutions:-


  1. Make sure the government or any other reputed institutions recognizes this. For example, the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) is a reliable organization that accredits educational institutions.
  2. Cross-check how long the certification provider has been there in this industry.
  3. Go through reviews written by previous students before you get scammed.


Especially in the context of online learning programs, you need to be extra vigilant about the reputation and transparency of an institution because people who go for online certification courses are more likely to get scammed than the others who opt for classroom learning.


For example, the National Ministry of Education only recognizes institutions that keep up meticulous educational standards.


Tip #2 – Course fee

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As stated above, even though many best TEFL courses can be found all over the world, the course fee depends upon the country where you live.


For example, usually in India, the TEFL certification can cost around 55,000 to 60,000 Rupees ($724-$790). In the US, it is anywhere between $1000 to $2000, while online courses can be much cheaper – roughly between $400 to $500.


But according to Teach English Abroad, “anything that’s under $200 is suspicious.”


One important thing you need to keep in mind is the hidden charges. Even if you select one of the best TEFL programs, there is a chance that there can be hidden costs.


Having said all these, if you take up either classroom sessions or online courses, you will be able to save up a reasonable amount of money while abroad. Especially if you stay away from major cities in many foreign countries the cost of living will be very low.



Tip #3 Job placement assistance

When you look for an internationally recognized best TEFL certification, it is also essential to find out whether they offer you personalized job assistance. 


  • They should help you find out which TEFL destination interests you and provide you advice.
  • They should provide you with job-focused articles.
  • They should have professional job advisors to prepare you for the interview process.

According to www.goabroad.com, the institutions that offer the best TEFL programs and job assistance are as follows.


  1. International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT). They will not only keep you updated about the job vacancies during your TEFL courses but will give you life term assistance in job placement too.
  2. Premier TEFL. They will give the full, intense 120 hours of TEFL training. According to them, “the hardest part of this TEFL program will have to choose where to work abroad!”
  3. Maximo Nivel. It is an institution located in Latin America. It will place you in countries like San Jose, Costa Rica, Antigua, Guatemala, and Cusco, Peru. While teaching, you will get a chance to practice Spanish.
  4. The International TEFL Academy (ITA) is one of the world’s famous TEFL institutions. Apart from the professional training, they will even provide you lifetime job placement assistance across the globe.
  5. The International Educator. They have one of the best TEFL classes which offer job placements around the globe.


Tip #4 Teacher’s credentials

Before choosing the best TEFL certification course, it is vital to make sure the instructors are highly qualified professionals with at least a master’s degree. 


Please don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as possible about their leadership quality, professional knowledge, and their years of experience.


Especially if you are going for an onsite course, make sure they will be able to create a learning environment within the classroom and build a strong relationship with the students.


Tip #5 Onsite versus online course

If you are new to the English teaching field and if you are wondering where to start, you should first understand the type, of course, you should opt. 


Even though there is a massive disparity in the course fee with online courses being much cheaper compared to the onsite one, both have their pros and cons.


Pros of the onsite course

  • An entire day of intense classroom training. 
  • Interaction among the students. Students usually go to different countries at the end of the course. So it allows a strong friendship to build among the students. They will be able to work as a community around the globe and exchange their experiences in different countries.

Cons of the onsite course

  • The course fee is higher.
  • Inflexible timings.

Pros of online course

  • Flexibility. You will be able to work at your own pace.
  • You can study sitting in any part of the world.
  • You can avoid the hectic travel in the morning and evening and thus save time.

Cons of online course

  • Even though you will get a lot of theoretical knowledge, it will be challenging to get the classroom teaching experience.

However, having said all of the above, Ninja Teacher in his video says


“Schools don’t recognize the difference between different TEFL. They don’t care if you got it from a website that charges $300 for a 120 hour one or $150. They just want to see the certificate.”


But also keep in mind – there are several unrecognized institutions around the globe as well. 


Tip #6 Duration of the program

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As the TEFL teaching is a highly demanding job, intensive training is required. The length of the training programs plays a significant role when you choose the best TEFL courses.


The standard duration of a TEFL course is usually 100 to 120 hours if you are taking onsite or online training. However, if you are in a rush, some accredited institutions like ITTT say that “they do offer an online 60-hour introduction to TEFL course which you can complete in just five days.”


However, keep in mind that most employers worldwide usually prefer to employ TEFL teachers who have completed a minimum of 100 to 120 hours of training.


But if you ask about the number of months for completion of the TEFL course-


If you are an onsite student, it depends upon the institution; for example, some may offer weekend classes while other weekday classes.


 If you are an online student, it depends on you. If you are a full-time online student, you can just finish it in a month. On the other hand, if you study part-time at your own pace, it can go on for at least 6 to 7 months.


According to www.tefl.org, “On average, our students take 10 to 12 weeks to complete our most popular 120-hour online TEFL course. Depending on your other commitments, it can take you more or less time.”


In the meantime, beware that anything too short can be a scam. For example, some institutions offer the course in a capsule form. They claim that you can finish 120 hours in one day. Then you are most likely to be duped. Keep in mind that the aim of the course should be to make you become a professional teacher.


Tip #7 Hands-on teaching experience

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Are you nervous about how to face so many students in a classroom?


Or are you flipping through your learning materials with that sweaty hand, fearing how to teach? 


Don’t worry. Everyone started as a fresher. Find an excellent accredited TEFL institute that will help you to develop the teaching skills by providing you hands-on in-classroom teaching experience. 


As you may know, it is not always possible to learn teaching skills just by attending theory classes. This will be the one advantage you will get while selecting an onsite course compared to that of an online course.


According to International TEFL Academy, the best TEFL certification should include “at least 100 hours of coursework and At least 6-20 hours of practicum (live practice teaching and observation with actual non-native English speakers and NOT role-playing with fellow TEFL classmates).” 


Tip #8 The course should have intensive grammar lessons

Even if you are a native English speaker, and you know how to use grammar correctly while speaking, you must explain the grammar accurately to the student.


For example, even if you grow up speaking English, it might be a difficult task for you to explain prepositions, tenses, verbs, etc.


www.tefl.org says grammar lessons are a crucial part of the TEFL curriculum, and they have a 30-hour grammar course, “the design is such to equip TEFL students with a solid grounding in grammar rules and terminology.”


Tip #9 Giving excellent assistance before moving abroad

Finally, the day has come! You are making an essential change in your life – shifting abroad.


Getting a visa, going through the documentation, and getting help to find accommodation can be a bit frustrating sometimes. A good, recognized TEFL organization would be able to help you with more information.


For example, how to obtain a Visa, what type of visa to opt, and contact details of the international TEFL Academy Advisor to discuss your issues and concerns, etc.


Summary

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In conclusion:


  • TEFL is not a scam, but there are a lot of unauthorized TEFL industries out there. You need to watch out the above strategies, do your research, and get into the field.
  • The course fee can vary vastly, but beware of the hidden costs like processing charges, etc. So saving up some extra cash for it will be a good idea.
  • Before finalizing the best TEFL classes, make sure they have reasonable job placement assistance in place.
  • Also, as mentioned above, you need to keep in mind that there are a lot of opportunities for TEFL teachers around the world, but there is no “guaranteed” job after you complete your certification. 
  • Make sure you know every detail about the mentors’ credentials.
  • Do proper research about onsite versus online training and understand the pros and cons.
  • You need to make sure that the duration of the TEFL program is at least 100 to 120 hours. Anything below that will not necessarily train you as a good teacher. Anything above that will be an over-embellishment just to attract students.
  • An excellent onsite TEFL certification program should give you hands-on teaching experience.
  • Even if you are a native English speaker, make sure you get some intense grammar training hours.
  • The best TEFL certification programs should help you to assist with visa processing.

FAQs

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Q: Is the TEFL program legit?


A: Yes, It is. You can do proper research and select the best TEFL programs. But there are several legit companies out there where you can be screwed over.

Q: How much does a TEFL course cost?


A: It depends upon the country where you live. But onsite courses in the US charge roughly between $1000 to $ 2000, whereas online classes are between $400 to $500.

Q: What are the job opportunities for TEFL teachers?


A: There are plenty of job opportunities abroad, but there are no “guaranteed jobs” after completion of the course.


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Author

Ranjana Gopinath has been working as a medical transcriptionist for the last 10 years. She is an English Literature graduate who has also successfully completed a professional course in copyediting and proofreading from Rehoboth Academic Services in Bangalore. She has also completed basic computer programming in New Jersey, US and is an aspiring content writer. She is a perennial student who aspires to get into digital marketing. At home, Ranjana is a wife and mother of two sons. She has an immense passion for cooking, cinema, and wine-making. Her articles in Henry Harvin will focus on an array of topics

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