Published 30th June 2016

Scams: the world is full of them. Every day you can pick up a newspaper and read about a new scam which has taken someone for a ride, and, unfortunately, the TEFL world is no different. In fact, there are so many different facets of the TEFL industry that there are many opportunities for scam artists to take advantage of unsuspecting victims – from disreputable schools and dodgy agents to misleading contracts and bogus jobs.

This is why when you are choosing a TEFL course you must make sure that it is legitimate. Schools or institutions may offer TEFL courses which do not live up to expectations or which charge extra for materials or provide you with a TEFL certificate which is not recognised by anyone. The same can happen with online TEFL courses, and the problem is that you won’t know it’s illegitimate until it’s too late – until you’ve paid the course fee.

So, how do you make sure the course you want to do is a legitimate online TEFL course? Do your research and make sure your course has a good reputation. The beauty of the internet these days is that you can find out anything you need to know. Have a look for the institution on Google and see if there are any negative comments relating to them. If there are, then trust the people who have been posting the comments and stay away from the service provider. If you only find positive comments, again put your trust in your fellow TEFL teachers and believe that it is a legitimate TEFL course.

Even though it is equally important to do due diligence before signing up for any course, it is especially important to find out if your TEFL course is legitimate if it is online. Why? Because of the nature of the internet, it is much easier for an online TEFL course to be illegitimate in some way. It is very easy for an online TEFL school to disappear (or never exist) – with your money.

Having said that, the flip side of a course being an online course is the fact that you are able to do your research. The Internet is full of forums where people post reviews of TEFL courses and TEFL schools, so it shouldn’t be hard to find out information about a particular course. If you cannot manage to find out any information on that online TEFL course, then maybe that should be a red flag too.

All in all, it is a sad thought that it is necessary to have to take so much care when signing up to study, but the fact of the matter is that it is. All too often we hear stories of potential TEFL teachers being scammed in some way, and the only way to avoid a tricky situation is to find out as much as you can about the course and the institution, from their website, social media and their past students. The TEFL community is a very tight-knit community – take advantage of this to protect yourself.

Online TEFL course worth it

These days, even though studying online is becoming more popular and more acceptable, people still have doubts about signing up for an online course. If you are considering Teaching English as a Foreign Language, you might have these reservations because this is a teaching course – how can a teaching course be taught online?

Well, it’s perfectly normal to have these worries and it’s actually good because it means you’ll do your research in deciding which course to take, but if you find a reputable institution offering a legitimate online TEFL course, there is no need to question the validity of the qualification. Doing an online TEFL course is worth the time and money you will put into it, just like any other course of study.

First of all, online TEFL courses are generally cheaper than full-time face-to-face courses, because there are many things an online school does not need to provide: classrooms, teachers, and so on. All they provide are the materials and a group of tutors who are available to help you with any difficulties you encounter on the course. Essentially you are paying for less, so you will pay less.

How is your online TEFL course worth it?

Secondly, online TEFL courses are more convenient than full-time face-to-face courses. While an online course may take you longer to complete than a face-to-face course, you can complete it whenever you have time so you are able to arrange your study schedule to suit your daily life. This means that you are even able to have a full-time job and study in the evenings or on weekends.

Finally, an online TEFL course will provide you with everything you need to become a TEFL teacher. The course will give you an overview of theories of learning and teaching, the English language system, as well as issues relating to lesson preparation, planning and classroom management. If you do an online TEFL course you will be fully qualified to Teach English as a Foreign Language.

What’s more, an online TEFL course is able to provide you with an opportunity to practise your teaching skills in the classroom. The school or institution offering your online TEFL course will be able to give you different options of classrooms where you will be able to try out your teaching skills. Though these are usually volunteer positions it is a valuable addition to your theoretical training.

So, when you consider that an online TEFL course is able to provide you with theoretical and practical training, at a time which is convenient to you and at a reasonable cost, there is no reason why you shouldn’t do an online TEFL course.