The Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate is one of the most accepted certificates worldwide. This certificate lets you teach English to non-native speakers across the globe. The main requirement to get a TEFL certificate is the ability to speak native-level English and then you complete a TEFL course. You can complete a TEFL course either online or in a classroom. The different courses vary based on the number of hours it takes to finish.
Do employers recognise online TEFL courses?
Before you dive into the exciting world of teaching English as a foreign language and plan to introduce it across continents, you must first obtain TEFL certification. It is, without a doubt, critical. After all, you wouldn’t take your car to an unqualified mechanic or your teeth to an unlicensed dentist. You would only expect one of your school teachers to be in a classroom if they had the necessary qualifications. You get the idea. A significant difference exists between a highly-accredited, widely-accepted TEFL qualification and one obtained from a discount website that promises TEFL certification at a low cost. However, given the landscape at the time of Covid-19, many TEFL courses are only available online.
Of course, this is a good thing, but with so many false promises and shady providers, it’s easy to see why some employers might be wary of online certification. Also, do online-trained TEFL teachers have the practical, in-person skills to lead a class? Yes, we say!
Do employers value online TEFL courses? Let’s talk about it.
Are online TEFL courses recognised?
To put it briefly: yes. If a TEFL course is accredited – more on this later. However, the basic facts are as follows: if your TEFL qualification is from a reputable provider, is sufficiently accredited, and lasted at least 120 hours, employers will see that you put in the effort. After all, distance education has only grown in popularity in recent years.
Even large institutions recognise that distance learning is as valid as in-person instruction. People have obligations outside of education or may require additional support, necessitating distance – primarily online – learning. Suitable TEFL certifications obtained from online providers are accepted to answer the question. Quality is paramount when it comes to a TEFL certification.
Should TEFL training include a practicum?
Some providers will tell you that a practicum is required, an assessed, in-person teaching practice with natural English learners. Online TEFL courses will only get you a job if they provide this experience.
That’s complete nonsense. To be valid, online courses can include something other than a practicum. Many online courses have plenty of classroom practice and practical tips to get you started. Meanwhile, practicum-based methods can be relatively inexpensive. For example, the TEFL Institute 120-hour Advanced Online course costs around $1,000 less than a course with a practicum but produces comparable job market results.
If a practicum was indeed required for a TEFL job, why would tens of thousands of people train with online TEFL course providers each year? And how do they find work teaching English abroad and online without difficulty?
What to look for when studying TEFL online
We’ve established that employers value quality online TEFL courses. However, what should you look for when selecting an online TEFL course? What distinguishes a mediocre qualification from one that will impress employers?
If you’re looking for a high-quality online TEFL course, choose a provider with a solid track record. This means that a reputable external body, such as Ofqual, the British Accreditation Council, or the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, has given the TEFL course provider a stamp of authenticity and value. If your TEFL course provider has a high level of accreditation, it means that their courses have been approved by the best in the industry. That process takes time and thorough examination of class materials for a course provider, so you and employers can be confident that the course is high quality.
If you need clarification, or accreditation doesn’t seem right, please conduct a web search to see if the company is advertising accreditors that A: exist and B: matter in the industry.
Reading reviews is another way to gain trust in a TEFL course provider. Because many students have gone on to become teachers, market-leading TEFL companies will prioritise reviews on their websites. Companies want you to see more than just the reviews they want you to see; use services like reviews.io, Trustpilot, Google Reviews, and others to determine whether the course provider is well-rated by its graduates.
Obviously, a TEFL course provider’s international reputation is essential. But how do we know if a company is well-regarded around the world? The devil is in the details. Does a course provider have evidence of former students working abroad? Does a company collaborate with international firms or government programs? It’s worth discovering whether a TEFL course provider has graduated with a positive story about teaching abroad. If they’ve done a course with a company and managed to secure work overseas, that would dictate that the company’s reputation is good, even more so if there are multiple examples.
When are online courses not recognised?
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. When we say employers recognise online TEFL courses, we must add a qualifier: quality matters.
TEFL courses on Groupon are advertised at low prices. But why are they so cheap? The cost of a hard copy certificate alone can easily exceed the price of the course.
The reality is that a low-cost TEFL course will not impress an employer in comparison to a 120-hour or more approach with an established and reputable TEFL course provider.
While these Groupon TEFL courses aren’t necessarily fraudulent, some shady “course” providers are out there. Unfortunately, TEFL scams are common.
When a TEFL provider isn’t what they appear to be, it’s similar to those Groupon courses; the teaching will be inadequate, the course materials will be poor (if a system exists at all), and there will be either a lack of accreditation or false claims made about it.
A shady website that has been around for a while (it’s easy to check the age of any site), no reviews on well-known review sites, rock-bottom prices, and accreditation claims that can’t be verified are all common red flags. At best, a TEFL scam will provide you with a qualification that employers will not recognise; at worst, you will be providing payment information to a bad actor who may take more money from you than you were willing to part with.
How to choose the best online TEFL course
A warm welcome to the TEFL-curious first-timers among you! But which course…? That’s an excellent question. For example, are you working full-time or taking a sabbatical? Are you deciding between the university and your next step? Or is it school and then life?
Do you have childcare concerns and prefer flexible study hours? Are you a beginner or looking to add to your current TEFL qualifications?
There’s a lot to think about. Fundamentally, however, it is about locating the best course provider. You want a TEFL company with all the necessary accreditation, tutor support, time flexibility, and affordable prices. Fortunately, there are numerous options. But what’s the crux of it all? Online courses are valid if a reputable, accredited TEFL company offers them and meets your requirements!
As a TEFL qualified teacher, the world is your oyster. With a TEFL certificate you can live and teach abroad, teach online while travelling the world or set your own hours working from the comfort of your own home.
Our 120 hour TEFL certificate is accredited and internationally recognised, so you can teach online or around the world. If you’re looking to teach in your home country at a language centre or would like to go to the UAE, we would suggest you do a higher level qualification, such as the 180 Hour Level 5 TEFL Diploma. This is the requirement in such competitive countries.
First and foremost, an aspiring TEFL teacher must be a native or fluent English speaker. We suggest people who are at least 16 years old with a C1 level of English or higher. A TEFL course and teaching English is perfect for you if you:
- Are passionate about teaching and helping others to learn
- Have a good knowledge of the English language including sentence structure, vocabulary and grammar
- Are open and willing to adapt to other cultures and languages
- Want to travel and see the world
- Are looking for an exciting and flexible career path
- Are outgoing and confident speaking in front of a class or ready to build your classroom confidence.
You do not have to have prior teaching experience or a degree to do a TEFL course. However, the ability to work using your initiative is important. Our TEFL courses are online, so you will need to be well motivated.
A Level 5 TEFL course is one that’s regulated by Ofqual according to its qualifications’ framework.
By taking a Level 5 TEFL course, you’re gaining a qualification that’s assessed as the same level and difficulty as the following: a diploma of higher education (DipHE), a foundation degree, 2 years at university and the CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL teaching qualifications. Once qualified with a Level 5 TEFL qualification, you’ll have access to the most competitive jobs worldwide.
A regulated TEFL qualification means that it is officially recognised by the government and sits on the Ofqual Register of Regulated Qualifications.