Published 12th October 2015

There are as many TEFL courses available as there are TEFL jobs – loads! Choosing the right TEFL course is a big decision as you don’t want to waste your time and money and find that you are no closer to being a teacher than when you started. Choosing a TEFL course basically means considering your time constraints, your finances and possibly also where you are thinking of teaching. Because TEFL courses vary so much, it’s necessary to think about what you want from the course before you start looking. If you try and look for TEFL courses without a clear idea of what you want and need, you will be overwhelmed by the amount of information you will find.

So, let’s start with time issues. If you are a student and have holiday, or if you can take some time off work, then you could do a full-time face-to-face course. If you work or study part-time, you could think about doing a part-time course. If you are working or studying full-time and can’t afford to take time off, then have a look at the evening, weekend or online courses.

In terms of money, the shorter courses are generally cheaper, but the expression “you get what you pay for” is never truer than in TEFL. So while shorter, cheaper courses are of course an option, it will only really be suitable for those who are looking at teaching privately, or online. Schools are generally not that impressed with the short courses, often because they don’t include practical teaching time.

It’s a similar situation with online courses. Thankfully though, online courses have come a long way since the beginning of the internet. Now they can incorporate 100 – 120 hours, and possibly even practical hours, so if the certificate is done through a reputable company, it is becoming more and more normal for schools to employ teachers with these qualifications.

Any extras such as help in finding a job or tutor support is definitely an advantage, but beware of hidden costs for these extras. At the same time, be wary of courses offering guaranteed job placement, “or your money back!”. In these cases you probably won’t have a choice of where the job is, and teaching in the steppes of Mongolia might not be what you were dreaming of.

Finally, have a look at what other people who have taken the course have to say about it. Look further than the school’s website and it’s easy to find out if the course has a good reputation or not. These days it’s not difficult to find reviews for any service, and TEFL courses are no exception. Use this to your advantage and do your research to make sure the course you choose is worth parting with your hard-earned money for.