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Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 29 Jan 2019, 10:35
by kimmandy
Hi guys! I hope you can help me with deciding. My main question is which online TEFL course should I get?

Brief background about me. I have just applied to the JET program and I failed. I want to improve my next application so I want to get a TEFL certificate. Now I know that it's not needed but as long as it can increase my chances why not? That said I don't want just a certificate, I do want to learn while getting it.

My teaching experience is limited to a 3-month stint as an intern in a pre-school a long time ago and 2 years as a weekend volunteer art and computer teacher for high school students three years ago. I'm currently volunteering as an English tutor as a way to also improve my next JET application. My normal job is management and I've had 8 to 9 years of management-related work experience so far. I do enjoy teaching though, it's just not financially viable here in my country vs my current work.

I joined the JET program because I want to live in Japan for a bit. I have my own reasons for this and I'm stubborn about it so Japan is my only goal. JET seems to be the best option for me, especially given that I'm a non-native English speaker. However I'm also open to applying as a English teacher which is another reason why I want a TEFL. I want to do this for a few years while improving my Japanese.

"Brief" background done. So after digging around I found some online courses I'm interested in and I hope you can chime in about them. First, it has to be online as I want to do it while working. Second, my budget is around $200. That's all I'm willing to invest given my current pay. Third, I'm avoiding Groupon classes. While this is a cheaper option I'm just worried that I won't learn as much as I could in the classes that they offer. I'm also worried that they have a reputation of being too cheap. Fourth, I want to do a 120-hour course as this seems to be the industry standard. Fifth, I would like a young learner's course included with my TESL classes if possible as I want to primarily teach kids.

Some TEFL centers that are too expensive for me are TESOL International Association, International TEFL Academy, University of Toronto, OnTESOL, and Bridge TEFL.

The ones that I settled on are:

TEFL Bootcamp/TEFL Educator
- $188
- Comes with a young learner's course and 2 other specializations

International TEFL TESOL Training (ITTT)
- $239
- Doesn't have tutors or videos for the 120-hour program

- $174.50
- With a young learner's course for $224.50
- OFQUAL accredited (I know TEFL accreditation isn't strict but I liked the OFQUAL certification as it's a government accreditation. Please correct me if it's actually useless.)

- $295 ($199 with promo code)
- Seems to be the most popular choice so it might be more well-known (?)

ESL Insider
- $209 for the advanced course
- Focused on East Asian students
- Long term access to their resources
- I'm worried that they don't really term their advanced course as a 120-hour program (though it used to be) and it might confuse employers

TEFL.IE (TEFL Institute of Ireland)
- 89 Euros
- Cheapest option that looks legit and has their own app
- OFQUAL accredited

The TEFL Academy
- $210
- OFQUAL accredited
- Includes a young learners course

Premier TEFL
- $139.50
- Has some scholarships that I really didn't look in to

Arizona State University (via Coursera)
- $49 per month
- I liked this as it comes from a good university but I'm worried about Coursera's bad track record when dealing with subscription payments (not cancelling subscription payments properly, no refund policy)

So there those are my choices. Any thoughts on them? :)

Re: Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 01 Apr 2019, 11:52
by JimLud
Did you regret taking any of those, Kimmandy?

Re: Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 14 May 2019, 04:10
by MiaWilliams
Hi there!

I think that what readers need to know is that any TEFL course which issues a TEFL certificate at the end is worthwhile. Employers only want to see proof of TEFL course certification and it is highly unlikely that they will ever ask which school it was that you took your TEFL certification with.

Having said that, not all TEFL courses offer the same services and you can become unstuck pretty quickly if your training wasn't up to scratch when you either teach a demo class for the language school or when you start teaching your first class and it is made clear that you haven't a clue what you are doing.

The industry standard is a 120-hour certification course and you should try and choose a course which comes with tutor support and post-course support in the form of ongoing job assistance.

In view of this, all of the above schools listed in your post will tick the right boxes for you.

Re: Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 28 May 2019, 14:46
by tenneray
Here is a link to an article about this subject: ... line.shtml

Re: Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 28 May 2019, 16:09
by MiaWilliams
Excellent link, tenneray!

Re: Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 11 Jun 2019, 06:34
by Sonja1966
My experiences so far from South Africa, Malaysia, and UAE...
only world recognized organization are accepted in the end...
British Council, Cambridge, Oxford, Trinity College...different Universities
TESOLCanada is not accepted in all States of America...

You can check with the Ministry of Education in the country you would like to work in which certificates from
which organizations are accepted and approved.

Re: Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 11 Jun 2019, 08:06
by MiaWilliams
Sorry, but that is absolute hogwash.

If Online TEFL certificates were not globally accepted then there would be no Online TEFL industry.

One point of your post though is true, and that is that the British Council, Cambridge, Oxford, and Trinity College only accept applicants with their own certification. It's called smart business acumen on their part. As an example, if you study a Trinity TEFL certification course, such as Oxford provides, then you have no chance of becoming employed by a British council franchise school.

Anyone can set up a school and only accept applicants who have received a TEFL certificate from their school.

It's immoral and quite frankly desperate.

Mia Williams.

Re: Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 11 Jun 2019, 16:28
by MiaWilliams
There is no accrediting body for Online TEFL courses, and I have never heard of WTEFLAC before.
There are accrediting bodies for Onsite TEFL courses, such as through the British Council.

If an Online TEFL course claims to be "accredited" it means a). They set up a quickie accreditation website themselves. b). They pay an annual fee to some guy who runs a similarly set up website.

Sorry, but it is the truth.

Mia Williams

Re: Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 21 Jun 2019, 19:02
by LV3
CELTA, CertTESOL, and SIT TESOL seem to be the standard in terms of "globally recognized," because they have huge reputations in the TESOL industry. From there, it's about what the employer wants. There are regional trends. Some regions will accept certificates from certain programs, some will accept in-person only, etc. Other regions are more flexible.

If an employer doesn't accept a particular certificate, that isn't necessarily evidence that the certificate program lacks quality. The employer might not be very aware of who's who in the certificate market, and they might go with a policy of "CELTA and CertTESOL only," simply because it's what they've heard, because it's expedient, or because the commonly known certificate is good for the school image.

If you aren't sure if an accreditation is legitimate, do an online search for it. Look at its website, find out who oversees the accreditor, and see what other programs (TEFL or anything else) they accredit.

Re: Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 23 Jun 2019, 23:15
by tenneray
There seems to be some confusion on this thread. First, the British Council is NOT comparable to TESL CANADA. The British Council is affiliated with, and offers, the CELTA. TESL CANADA, on the other hand, is not affiliated with any course provider. Second, employers who supposedly reject any online credentials typically accept the CELTA. The CELTA, however, is also offered online.
The hard truth is that employers who reject some TEFL certificates have a financial incentive to do so. They may claim to be upholding academic standards, but that is not true. They often have monetary reasons or they are just inconsistent.
It is the reality that education is moving online. This is true for almost all fields, so why would TEFL be any different?

Here is the list of courses approved by TESL CANADA. The list contains both brick-and-mortar and online courses. And why not? The mode of delivery does not correlate with academic standards. Shorter courses are a standard one and lengthier ones are a standard 2. The CELTA is just a standard 1, below other, lengthier courses that are done online: ... ctory.html

By the way, I am not connected to TESL CANADA. In fact, I am not even from Canada. It just seems that there is more than a little misunderstanding of this issue and I believe this entry might help aspiring teachers or practicing teachers that are trying to choose a course among myriad options.

Re: Picking an online TESL course

Posted: 27 Jun 2019, 19:55
by LV3
Tenneray, thanks for the link to TESL Canada's approved programs. It's good to see OnTESOL on that list, because I wasn't sure if I trusted that program. Maybe it's just my perception of these things, but their online appearance made me wary. I'll have to take another look at their programs.
LV3 wrote:
21 Jun 2019, 19:02
CELTA, CertTESOL, and SIT TESOL seem to be the standard in terms of "globally recognized,"...
I wish I could edit this line in my post above, because the term "globally recognized" can be problematic. I should have said that those three certificate programs are among the most marketable, and perhaps reputable, in the industry. Whether their content and training methods actually are better than the rest is a different matter.