With all of the different TEFL courses on offer these days, it can be quite the trainwreck trying to figure out which TEFL course to buy. Much like the myriad types of shoes to choose between when shopping at Payless, you quickly realize that the deeper you dive, the more considerations you need to make as you sift through all of your different options.
But, there is light at the end of the tunnel — just as you eventually find that perfect pair of sandals or gym shoes after hours of perusing, you too will find the perfect TEFL course to fit your goals, skills, qualifications, and budget. That ideal TEFL course is out there, and don’t worry, it’s not at the end of some rainbow. It’s right here!
Here’s everything you need to know before you answer the question: “Which TEFL course to buy?”
While you meet countless people who claim otherwise, as well as read numerous blogs that share “teach abroad hacks” or other ways to get around TEFL requirements, the reality is that you need a TEFL to teach abroad. It is absolutely imperative, as speaking a native language and explaining that language are two entirely different beasts. Moreso, you really owe it to your students to have the skills and qualifications to improve their English language proficiencies and prospects.
Teaching abroad is a viable gig, one that can help you battle debt or even stock up on savings. You want to be paid fairly, right? Well, that includes schools, agencies, universities, and other teaching gigs to also be paying you fairly for a skills set that can do the job.
And luckily for you, TEFL courses aren’t expensive. Sure, you will probably have to save and cut back on other unnecessary expenses (*waves bye bye to lattes*), but it is a truly worthwhile investment that will prepare you to not only do the job, but to do the job well. So yes, you do need a TEFL to teach abroad. It’s the right thing!
If you were hoping to find a nicely organized, concise bulleted list of your TEFL program options, you’ve come to the right corner of the internet.
The 120 hour course is the industry standard and most commonly requested level of certification when applying for a TEFL job. That means that this is the TEFL course that can get you most entry-level jobs in the field. It requires less time and less money, but prepares you sufficiently for the classroom.
The 150 hour course includes the standard 120 hours of training but ups the ante with an additional 30 hours of prep for conducting IELTS classes. IELTS classes are crazy popular in many foreign countries (as many international students dream of studying in the UK).
Two million English learners take this test each year and it is administered in over 100 countries worldwide. This opens your repertoire for bolstering your day job with additional private lesson opportunities, increasing your earning power considerably. Cha-ching!
The 180 hour course makes you an English exam expert. Who wouldn’t want to be an expert at something? This course gives you the core 120 hour training plus the IELTS speciality training PLUS training for administering / preparing students for taking Test of English for International Communication or TOEIC.
Administered eight million+ times annually, this exam is taken by any individual hoping to work internationally or need to prove their English language skills to a future employer. AKA this opens you up to teaching children, teens, college students, AND adults.
The 240 hour TEFL course is the big daddy for newbie TEFL training. It includes all of the 180 hour coursework, but it also gives specialist training in all scenarios you might find yourself in — preparation for English exams, working with young learners / children, or reviewing business English with adults.
If none of those options fit what you’re looking for, you can also try-on shorter TEFL courses OR strengthen your TEFL skills set with specialist modules. These can be bought individually as 4 x 30 hour trainings — perfect for improving your resume or opening yourself up to new job opportunities (with higher pay or better compensation).
Practicing your TEFL skills in front of a classroom — even a “fake classroom” with other TEFL students like you — can be a great way to test drive your skills and work out any butterflies that might remain in your tummy.
You can choose to take TEFL courses entirely in-person or as a blended class option, with some coursework done on your own time online with a secondary portion completed in-person in Poland. Pretty cool, right? We think blended TEFL courses are awesome (and not only for the ample opportunities to chow on pierogis).
Oftentimes, individuals looking to teach abroad for a few months or a few years are excellent candidates for TEFL courses. But if you have your sights set on something much higher — say, an entire career dedicated to improving the TEFL industry — then you might want to consider alternate routes to your certifications.
If you want to work in English speaking countries, consider getting a CELTA certificate or the Trinity CertTESOL. This route can be more expensive, but it sets you up for better promotional opportunities as you grow in your TEFL skills set and experience. You can also apply for scholarships — like this one in Austria — which includes a free Trinity CertTESOL as part of their six month internship.
Remember: the more training you have, the more opportunities will come your way. Here’s a basic step-by-step guide to follow to ensure you answer the question: “Which TEFL course to buy?” with the best decision for you.
Just like that, you know what your TEFL program options are and what considerations to make as you weigh your choices. You’re a TEFL superstar and you haven’t even signed up yet!