Published 30th June 2016

When it comes to Teaching English as a Foreign Language, reputation is everything. From resource books to courses to schools, it pays to find out about reputation before investing your time and your money. Of course, if you’re new to the world of TEFL you’re probably not sure how to judge reputation, so we thought we’d give you a hand. If you are weighing up the pros and cons of different online TEFL courses, here are three ways to find a reliable online TEFL course.

Firstly, check out their website. If the service provider – the school or institution – is accredited this will be visible on the website. Usually there are stickers which show which bodies have accredited the course. Now this may seem very impressive at first sight if the website is covered in stickers, but you need to check the validity of the accreditation. Some accreditation bodies simply ask for a fee in return for accreditation, and clearly this is not what you want in a TEFL course. Instead, make sure the accrediting bodies are legitimate and recognised. The TEFL course provider should be transparent and open regarding any questions you have about their accreditation.

Next, have a look on their social media. Facebook and Twitter are great ways to find out how these schools or institutions interact with their students and what the students think of them and the course. There’s no better way to judge a reputation than by looking at social media, because people are generally not shy to share their honest opinions. This is true especially when people have spent time and money on a product; we can use this to our advantage. Of course, there are people who will be negative about everything but, in general, if the majority of the reviews are positive, you can accept the course provider as reliable online TEFL course provider. If the majority of the reviews are negative, then it makes sense to avoid that TEFL course.

Finally, you can make use of online forums. Online forums are where people post questions or queries relating to all sorts of things, and the replies from the online communities can be quite telling. So if you are able to find an online forum with a thread relating to online TEFL courses – and you will, because there are loads of them – then you can see which service providers and courses seem the most reliable. Here you can read what other people have had to say about their own experiences, or you can ask your own specific question. The online TEFL community has a great sense of community and are always looking out for each other. There are numerus stories of TEFL teachers being scammed in some way and the online community works hard to avoid this happening.

If you follow these three steps you will be able to find the most reliable online TEFL courses to choose from. Then, when you sign up for an online TEFL course, you can feel safe in the fact that you are making a good decision.