Published 26th January 2020
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that you should do a Teach English as a Foreign Language certificate with an accredited provider. Doing a TEFL course is an investment of both your time and money and there’s no need to waste those on a course that’s not going to be worth the paper it’s printed on. We’ve spoken before about the essential elements of TEFL courses in the UK, and the differences between a TEFL course and a CELTA, and an important consideration is accreditation. But do you really know what accreditation means when it comes to a TEFL course?
TEFL accreditation is a stamp of approval from a qualified source. A professional organization or a body draws up a set of criteria and if a course satisfies these criteria (as ascertained by an assessment by the organization) the course can then be accredited by this particular organization.
It’s not a one-step process, though. Accreditation can take months and even once the course is accredited, the accrediting body will still check in regularly to make sure their standards are being maintained.
Why is accreditation important?
Accreditation is important to you, the TEFL teacher, for two reasons. Firstly, it is a guarantee that the course you want to do is a recognized course. You can expect a course of good quality if it is accredited by a recognized organization. Then it also provides the same guarantee for your employers, meaning it will make your job hunt easier.
Who accredits TEFL courses?
Unfortunately there are many different TEFL accrediting bodies, some of them more reputable than others. The truth is, anyone can make up a name for an organization and a nice official-looking stamp and claim to be a legitimate accrediting body while, in fact, it is nothing more than a money-making scheme.
This is why it’s so important to not only choose a TEFL course that is accredited but that is accredited by a recognized, reputable accrediting body.
Don’t be. Let’s look at a few accredited TEFL courses in the UK to explain.
The TEFL Academy
Of course we’ll start with us! The TEFL Academy TEFL course is a level 5 qualification, accredited by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations), which is a branch of the UK government. A level 5 certificate is considered equivalent to a diploma of higher education, a foundation degree, and a CELTA. It is also approved by the US Department of Education National Accreditor as meeting the criteria for Approved Quality Curriculum status.
In other words, you don’t need to worry about our accreditation!
I-to-I courses are also Ofqual-accredited. They are further accredited by the Open & Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC). I-to-I courses have been assessed and approved by the British-based Awarding Organisation Gatehouse. However, i-to-i offer both Level 3 and Level 5 courses and we would only recommend doing a Level 5 course.
The TEFL Org
Courses with the TEFL Org are accredited by Ofqual (notice a pattern?), the ODLQC and the British Accreditation Council.
Though these three course providers are all accredited, there are a few other differences between the courses which you should bear in mind when choosing a TEFL course.
A note of warning: some TEFL providers claim to be accredited by IATEFL. IATEFL is an international TEFL organization but it is not an accrediting body. Members of IATEFL pay to be a part of the organization and membership does not depend on any criteria, other than being a TEFL teacher, a TEFL school or a TEFL course provider.
Remember: you can check the accreditation status of any course provider by checking with the accrediting body.
And please, please, please – do we even have to say it? – don’t choose a cheap-as-chips TEFL course on a deal website – you know the ones. They really are too good to be true.