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tefl student learns if all tefl courses are the same

We crunch the numbers when it comes to groceries so we can get the most bang for our buck. We curb our spending when it comes to frivolity to ensure we’re not wasting money on things we don’t need. Yet, when it comes to our careers and the certifications necessary to obtain our dream teaching job, we look at the price of a TEFL course and shake our heads. 

Why are some $1,000 while others are $300? Can we select the cheapest course and still land a job overseas?

TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) requires training that cannot be done willy-nilly.  We’ll explore why not all TEFL courses are created equally, the certifications needed, and how the word “accreditation” is thrown around like a Frisbee when it shouldn’t be used at all. 

Don’t Pinch Pennies on Education 

As a future educator or current teacher who wants to make a slight career shift, it’s important to attend the right classes. You wouldn’t go to a mechanic for an earache so why choose a TEFL course that promises the world but only delivers one city block? 

With proper TEFL certification, you get:

  • Lifetime validity – your certification never expires and you can teach English abroad forever. You’ll never need to re-up your training and can use the skills you gained until you retire to a small seaside town where you can lounge around all day reading and eating the freshest food.
  • A leg up in the job market – those with proper TEFL certification are more appealing to employers and foreign school boards. When scholastic institutions choose TEFL teachers, they’re looking at global marketplace rife with people who took the cheap route. They will not hire those who haven’t taken top-tier courses. You will stand out. 
  • More money – we’re not going to sugarcoat this, graduates with additional TEFL training are awarded better salaries than their counterparts who do not have certification. This is perfect for those who are looking to supplement their Bachelor’s or Master’s and work abroad. 

Verification vs Accreditation

In our everyday lives, we may use these two words interchangeably. But as an educator, you know too well that verification and accreditation have separate definitions. 

There are many TEFL courses out there, and as aforementioned, they are not created in the same vein. In your quest for the best course to teach English as a foreign language, you may have come across organizations that provide accreditation. 

Here’s the issue: TEFL does not belong to an institution. No TEFL master company creates the courses and ensures that they’re all the same. Instead, trusted academic platforms (we’ll get into those in a bit) are the ones who make sure the courses are legit and uniform with the requirements needed to teach English abroad. 

Because there are shady organizations out there who want your money but need to be crafty to pocket it, they use third parties to verify the quality of their TEFL courses and promise you’ll be awarded accreditation upon completion of the program. This is where the pricing disparity comes in. A $300 TEFL course that uses outside verification and claims you’ll be authorized will give you a one-way ticket to unemployment. 

Teaching abroad aims to help others learn English while you experience a beautiful new culture, and make your educational journey meaningful. You won’t be able to do any of that with a second-tier institution that mixes up “verification” with “accreditation”.

The cheap courses may seem like a bargain and get you closer to your dream job of TEFL, but sadly, without the certification of a recognized academic organization, you’re not only wasting your money but your time too. 

Which Courses Count? 

As we just touched on, TEFL courses are not all built the same. Because you want the best for your TEFL education since you’re worth it and so are your future students, we want you to enroll in the best classes. 

The following courses are recognized by hiring managers from around the globe and include study specializations that you won’t find anywhere else. These courses range from $1,000 – $1,500 but you’ll not only be certified to teach English abroad, you will get your money’s worth. 

Plus, when you score your first teaching job in the foreign country of your choice, you’ll be paid accordingly and essentially get a return on your investment. 

OISE University of Toronto TEFL

When the TEFL course you’re taking is designed by one of the top 20 universities in the world, you don’t have anything to worry about. OISE TEFL certification from the University of Toronto was crafted with the teacher in mind. This course encompasses a core curriculum that will allow you to teach abroad and it’s 100% online letting you to learn at your own pace. 

With 95% of OISE TEFL graduates claiming they’d recommend the course to a friend, you’re in good hands. Besides preparing you for your time abroad, you can customize your courses by choosing two specialties like teaching business English to entrepreneurs or guiding young learners through the English language. 

Price: $1,000 – $1,500 (depending the course you select) 

International House Berkeley

The experts at the Robertston Center for Intercultural Leadership and Programs (CILP) at the Univeristy of Califronia (Berkeley) have made their TEFL course to prepare you for your new life abroad. You’ll be equipped with training and coaching that spans all sectors in the TEFL education field. Moreover, you’ll develop the skills needed to not only teach English as a foreign language but how to navigate the world-wide marketplace as an education professional.

With I-House Berkeley, go beyond the traditional lesson planning and uncover different methods to reach your students while you’re teaching them English. Besides practical training, you’ll gain the expertise needed to show non-English speakers the nuances of the language and how they can use it to advance their own careers. And yes, it’s 100% online.

Price: $1,095

Manhattan College TEFL

If giving back to the community is on your radar, the Manhattan College TEFL course fits the bill. The minds behind this program want you to experience a collaborative learning space that you can take your future students abroad. By encouraging collaboration, you’ll learn how to communication across different cultures and help your students excel without losing what makes them unique. 

Like Berkeley and OISE’s offerings, you can complete the course online at your own pace. But, for those who want the classroom experience, you can attend an additional 20 hours of in-person practicum at the college’s Riverdale, NY location where you can test out your newfound TEFL skills. This is not mandatory and you’ll still receive certification and meet your goals if you can’t make it to New York.

Price: $1,095

Don’t take the cheap route

So, are all TEFL courses the same? The answer is a resounding NO. For $299, you get what you pay for and it’s not much. You won’t be able to empower students abroad and there’s no guarantee that the country you wish to teach English in will accept your TEFL training if it doesn’t come from a trusted educational institution like OISE, UC Berkeley, or Manhattan College. 

It’s up to you to choose the right training classes by taking into consideration what we covered above. But remember, your future students need to be inspired, and without proper TEFL training and certification, you won’t be able to inspire anything except how to spell “accreditation”.

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