An Online TEFL Course: Not the Most Terrible Idea

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Online TESOL certifications

Just Do the CELTA

I’ve always said that if you’re going to do a TEFL course of some kind, you may as well go big and awesome and just do the CELTA. Sure, it’s expensive, coming in at around $2000 USD, and time-consuming (120 hours, usually done intensively over one month), but at the end of it, you’re going to have something of value. Even though employers in Korea and other parts of Asia often have no idea what it is, it’s well-recognized throughout Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Once you do the CELTA, you can level-up and do the DELTA, which often qualifies you for 1/4 to 1/3 of an MA TESOL program, or it can get you into teacher training, or management. Those other random certifications? Well, not so much and you’re probably going to be pretty disappointed if you think they will.

Another advantage of the CELTA over some (but not all) of the other courses is the supervised teaching practice. If you’re serious about improving your teaching skills, nothing else is going to help you do that more than this course.

CELTA in South Korea

If you live in South Korea and are interested in doing the CELTA, check out: Is it possible to do the CELTA in South Korea?

Don’t Let Anyone Convince you of This:

You have probably noticed that here are a million and one other TEFL courses besides the CELTA that you can do. But, please DO NOT LET ANYONE convince you that their month-long, intensive course that costs around $2000 is going to be better and more widely recognized than the CELTA, it’s not. Trust me.

But, onward to the online TEFL certification option. Good plan, or terrible idea?

What about only Online Courses?

Another option is to do an online TEFL course such as these 50-120 hour courses from International TESOL and TEFL Training. The price is most certainly right at $190-$349, but do they have any value or are they a total waste of time?

Here’s my $0.02:

If you don’t have something better, I’d say that they are better than nothing. By “something better,” I mean a Master’s degree in linguistics of TESOL, or the CELTA.

Better Than Nothing: Here’s Why

When you’re applying for teaching jobs with an unrelated BA of some kind, at least you can have some educational background related to teaching English as a second or foreign language. It’s certainly better than big, empty blanks on your resume before and after your BA.

If you’re applying for a job in a place like Korea, employers will likely be impressed that you have something and won’t ask too many questions about what the course actually involved. They will probably not know that there’s a significant difference between the courses that have supervised teaching practice, and those that do not.

A Bump on the Pay Scale

Public schools jobs in many countries (Korea!) often pay teachers according to a scale of some kind. The categories include qualifications such as MA, teacher certification, experience, and oftentimes, a TEFL certificate. You need to check the exact regulations for the country you’ve considering, but if one of these cheap online courses would qualify you for a bump on the pay scale, it’d certainly be worth doing and you’d make back your money in a month or two.

You Might Actually Become a Better Teacher

Another way that this kind of course will help you is that you can learn about how to teach English. While it’s likely to be less helpful than supervised teaching practice, it seems like it’s one of those things where it is what you make of it. Take the information, apply it to your own situation and run with it? You’re going to be a better teacher. Only take in the information to pass the test and forget about it? It’s not going to help you that much.

Job Interview Help

Finally, doing a course will hopefully help you perform better in interviews. Someone asks you what teaching approach you use? You’ll have a solid answer. Which activity you would use for situation XYZ? Hopefully you’re have some ideas. How to correct errors? No problem. A sample lesson plan? You’ll be solid. What you’ve been doing for professional development lately? Well, I just did a course!

An Online Only Option to Consider

Think that an online TEFL course might help you out? A good one to consider is International TESOL and TEFL Training. They have a few things going for them:

  1. The price
  2. A range of courses
  3. Job placement assistance
  4. A refund if you’re not happy
  5. They’re legit (a few different accreditations)

What do you think?

Please comment below and tell me what you think:

A. An online TEFL course is better than nothing.

B. Online TEFL courses are a waste of time and money.

C. Other, please explain.


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