Choosing an accredited TEFL course
You’ve decided that you want to teach English abroad – and you’re ready to choose a course to get qualified. But which one? There are thousands of courses listed online offering Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) courses.
Some are really short and cheap, offering a certificate for a little more than a weekend’s work. Others expect some serious study – including online study, grammar courses and face to face teaching time. Naturally these courses carry a far heftier price tag.
Before deciding, understand that schools and recruiters want high quality candidates. They want to be confident that the teacher they employ will be able to go into a classroom and provide an effective education to pupils. Remember too that, in many cases, parents will have paid extra to have their child taught by a native English speaker– so they expect standards to be high.
It should come as no surprise then, to hear that a short, bargain basement course, is unlikely to get you very far in your job search. Many international schools and reputable recruiters will only accept TEFL and TESOL courses which meet certain standards.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a single body which recognises TEFL and TESOL qualifications worldwide, but there is a general understanding of the content a course should include if it is to meet the expected standards.
Look for a TEFL or TESOL course which offers the following level of content as a minimum. At least 100-120 hours of training and coursework, with live practice teaching. Many online, distance learning and classroom taught courses meet these standards, with the Trinity College TESOL and Cambridge University’s CELTA setting the gold standard.
Also make sure that your course is taught by well-qualified teachers and is accredited by an internationally recognised institution. But look out for bogus accreditations, some authentic-sounding bodies may not be all they make out to be.
In the UK, the government’s Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) recognises awarding organisations, so a course with Ofqual recognition is good. In Scotland, look out for courses accredited by The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). University accredited courses, such as the Trinity and Cambridge courses are also well-recognised. Other accrediting bodies to look out for include the Open and Distance learning Council (OLDQC) and the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL).
So, do your homework when you are choosing your TEFL or TESOL course. You’ll soon be able to find one that fits your budget and available time to study. And by making sure that it meets internationally recognised standards, finding your first international teaching job should be simple and straightforward.