Are Cheap TEFL Courses Too Good To Be True?

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Choosing the right TEFL course  is crucial to provide you with the training, qualifications and job support you need to give you the best opportunities to teach English abroad and enjoy the international adventure of a lifetime. It’s simply not worth enrolling on cheap TEFL courses to save money and then realising that the course did not qualify you for the teaching jobs you want or provide any TEFL job assistance.

Here are 3 critical mistakes to avoid in choosing a TEFL course:

Choosing Cheap TEFL courses

Choosing cheap TEFL courses that are not accredited, recognised by government or does not meet international standards. While any training is better than no training. Taking a course that is not accredited and recognised by government will limit your job opportunities teaching English abroad. The vast majority of schools and language institutes around the world looking to hire an English teacher will not only look to see that you have a TEFL certificate. They also look to see if it is accredited by a government regulated body within the field. This is to verify that your TEFL class meets certain quality standards with regards to its curriculum, hours of training and academic integrity.

Buying cheap TEFL courses from Groupon, Amazon or other group-buying sites

To sell on Groupon and other similar sites, TEFL providers must reduce their price  and then split what they make 50/50 with the deal portal. It just isn’t possible to offer high quality tutor support and job assistance with such small revenues. Cheap TEFL courses are highly unlikely to be accredited by a government regulated body. TEFL courses are like anything else – if an offer or price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Signing up for a TEFL course without doing your research

Financially seeing the prices of some TEFL courses on group-buying sites like Groupon and Amazon can look like you are getting a great deal, but it is not always clear what you are getting for your money. Cheap TEFL courses are merely certificate mills and often have limited personal interaction with a human and lack of support and feedback.

Cheap tefl courses
Are Cheap TEFL Courses Too Good To Be True?

Here are 7 key factors that you should be clear about:

Training/Study hours

How many hours of training does the TEFL course include? (currently the international standard is at least 120 hours. You will also see many cheap TEFL courses out there that are even less than this. However, courses that are closer to 168 hours are what you want to do. 168 hours is really crucial. The reason we specify 168 hours is because this is the minimum requirement for Level 5 standard on the UK education framework of qualifications. 

Course Level 

Is the course a real level 5 course? A TEFL course is only really a “level” if it sits on the Register of Regulated Qualifications. If it doesn’t then it’s not the level the company is claiming and will not be accepted by embassies and employers around the world. You can find our qualification on the register here.

The point of this framework is to allow people studying in the UK qualifications to understand where their qualification sits in comparison to other qualifications. A Level 5 qualification means that Ofqual (UK government) have approved the qualification to be at a recognised qualification. Our course is on par in terms of qualification, a diploma of higher education (DipHE) as well as a CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL qualification.  


It is important to ask yourself if the TEFL course is accredited by a government regulated body? This is often absent from the product write up on the web page of cheap TEFL courses.

The TEFL Academy is the only course provider in the world that holds accreditation from the government awarding body in both the US and the UK. The said body’s are Ofqual (UK government department) and awarded by Qualifi, a UK government recognised awarding body.


If you want to become a professional English teacher, should you accept anything less than top-level instruction from experienced EFL tutors with a TEFL qualification and advanced degrees (MA, PhD or Delta)?

The TEFL Academy’s trainers are vastly experienced EFL professionals and minimum DELTA qualified assessors. They have all qualified as TEFL teachers themselves. These people have spent a long time teaching around the world and are now passing on their working knowledge to our TEFL course students.

Course Completion and Course Access 

The norm for average completion time is 4 – 6 weeks with 6 months’ access to the course.

Our TEFL course has been carefully created to fully cover every aspect of teaching English from planning your first lesson. Each unit is designed to give you the best chance to get the maximum intake of information in the shortest time frame. 

There are ten units to the online course in total on our online course. You get 6-months access to the course, but some students complete their qualification within 4 – 6 weeks (when studied full time).

Hidden Costs 

Are there any hidden costs, like job placement assistance or high extension fees? The TEFL Academy prides itself on helping students find jobs via CV advice, access to our jobs board. What’s more, we give you some free add ons! Things like free top-up course in Teaching Young Learners, Teaching Business English or Teaching Online & 1:1.

The perils of group buying are often overlooked and TEFL is a prime example of a sector being significantly influenced by the offer of ‘bargain’ buys. Groupon, and other similar sites, brings traffic in large numbers which enables course providers to lower their cost, but in doing so they typically lower their service. Stay clear of group-buying sites when choosing a TEFL course.

A TEFL certification can be your ticket to a whole new life and world. Just imagine where you could be and what your lifestyle would be like teaching online or travelling the world. But to get to that point you really will want to get a solid qualification under your belt. This is not what get when you complete cheap tefl courses.


Hello Zaffar, I hope that you enjoyed the course with us. Thank you for the feedback in regards to job support. As I am sure you can understand, we are not a recruitment company and can provide a limited amount of job support. If you would like to raise your concerns by email, you can contact us at the following address: [email protected]. 🙂

Ed Phillips, 12th December 2019

Hi there,

Great info about TEFL courses however I don’t understand the cost deficit that exists between legitimate companies such as myTEFL and the International TEFL Academy. It appears that there are several organizations that offer an accredited 120-hour online course for around $500 whereas the International TEFL Academy charges $1200 or more. Why is there such a substantial price difference? I cannot seem to find the answer to this question anywhere so any assistance you can give would be hugely obliged.

Kind regards,


Conor Murphy, 29th April 2019

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Accreditation Partners

The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.

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