Last week I finished my TEFL-Online course. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Native and non-native speakers can follow the course to become certified English teachers. Note that it only applies to teaching students who are non-native speakers. I.e. you most likely won’t be able to teach in countries such as the United States, Australia, England etc.
Right now, I do not have any concrete plans to use my TEFL-diploma. The reason I started studying TEFL was because I wanted to just have another “get out to explore the world card”. I think TEFL is a great addition to my resume. And besides that, teaching can be fun! Especially when it’s a (school) subject people sign up for voluntary. Teaching English in a foreign country is a great way to meet a lot of people, learn about the culture and have the opportunity to share you own culture. I believe it can also be very rewarding, seeing your students progress. Besides all that, students that learn English will have a better chance of a solid future as it will highly increase their employability.
When I first started to look into TEFL it was painful. There are so many different TEFL-course providers I didn’t know who to go with. The price range varies, the form varies and the amount of hours varies. I have learned that all these elements are important to keep in consideration. The website TEFLCourse Review can help you when it comes down to user experiences. In the infographic you can see the countries that mostly work with TEFL. A nice mix of continents. I like to add Costa-Rica to this list as I’ve seen several listings for TEFL teachers there and also one or two in Ecuador. So don’t just go by these countries.
How many hours should the TEFL course be?
The first thing you probably will notice is that there are a lot of different course lenghts to chose from. The most comon course I’ve seen is 120-hours long. This is for most countries the minimum required amount of hours they accept for a TEFL teacher. Having said that, I personally decided to go with a 160 hours course as I just figured that pretty covers all bases. I figured that it wouldn’t only make you eligible to work everywhere, it would also teach you more.
Course duration…. be alert!
Something to be very alert on is the duration of the course and by that I mean the time you’re allowed in the online class room. Pretty much when you enroll into a course it is for an X amount of time. For example I enrolled in a 90-day duration course for the 160-hours TEFL. Meaning, on avarage I had to study 1,8 hours per day to complete the course. If you’re a quick learner, reality is… you’re not going to be spending those entire 160 hours actively studying. If you’re not a quick learner or stuck at a specific part… do keep in mind you get locked out at some point. Meaning you’ve to rebuy yourself into the course / pay an extension fee. So make sure you that when you sign up you can do the hours in the given amount of time.
I’ve only focussed on online course so these prices are also just about that. I got my TEFL course pretty cheap for like $75,-. But I haggled to get a better deal. The prices you see on most websites are in my opinion too high. If you don’t like direct haggling, you can also go to sites like Groupon and search for TEFL. Quite often there are TEFL deals available. Make sure you check the English and American Groupon as both offer deals. If you prefer to pay full price, be prepared for prices going as high as $500,- for the same certification as I got for $75,-
Once you’ve passed your course you’ll get a diploma / course certificate. Most TEFL companies offer a service to also send you a hard copy, usually at a price. On your certificate you might notice a grade like “Distinction or Merit”. These grades are the equivalent of an A or a B grade. Not every country understands the A/B/C/D/E grading. Distinction is the highest mark you can get. I proudly can say that I got the Distinction grade!