How to choose the right TEFL course for your career as an English teacher

woman in headphones at laptop looking at screen

Are you looking for an exciting profession that is recession-proof and enjoying a huge surge in demand?

A career as a TEFL certified English teacher might be exactly what you’re looking for!

One of the many reasons people are attracted to the TEFL lifestyle is that it appeals to our adventurous side.

The opportunity to live overseas and experience a different way of life is a big draw for many seeking a change in their normal routine.

Right now, options for international travel are limited, but that doesn’t mean there are fewer job opportunities for those wanting to teach English.

Quite the opposite is true!

Online education is booming, with projected figures revealing that more than 2 billion people worldwide will be learning English by the end of 2021.

All of those students learning English as a second language need high-quality teachers to help them succeed.

But simply being a native English speaker is not enough to qualify for this type of position.

Realistically, to get a teaching job that will offer you both security and a competitive salary, you’ll usually need to complete a Bachelor’s degree and become TEFL certified.

So, are you wondering how to choose the right TEFL course for you? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

With thousands of providers offering TEFL courses, we know it can be daunting to know where to start.

We want to help you make an informed decision and hopefully save you some time.

With all of that in mind, let’s unpack how online TEFL courses work before exploring how Teach Away can help you get certified to teach English with one of our three world-class training partners.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

1. What you should learn in an online TEFL course.

2. Why online TEFL courses differ from in-person programs.

3. How you can get TEFL certified by the world-renowned University of Toronto.

4. Why learning about global leadership with International House is a great TEFL option.

5. How you can finish your TEFL certificate at Manhattan College in New York City.

1. What you should learn in an online TEFL course.

Although every provider will have their own unique TEFL curriculum, these are the 5 key elements that should be covered during your studies: 

1. Lesson Planning: Learning how to devise a logical lesson plan that challenges your students and is easy to follow should be a vital aspect of any online program. Some providers, including the University of Toronto’s TEFL course, offer lesson plan assessments and detailed feedback to ensure you excel as an English teacher. 

2. How to simplify grammar: For some trainee teachers, learning how to teach grammar is problematic because many of the phrases and concepts you’ll encounter will be unfamiliar. But your students will need to understand the mechanics of the English language, which is why TEFL teachers must have a good overview of how the English language works.  

3. How to teach key skills: In TEFL teaching, the essential skills are listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Your students will need to develop all of these skills if they’re going to be effective communicators in English. An online course that’s appropriately structured will help you foster these skill sets. 

4. Classroom management techniques: Regardless of whether you’re teaching online or in a face-to-face role, you’re going to need to learn how to manage your classroom, and that includes developing techniques that will help you successfully resolve disciplinary issues.  

5. How to develop effective learning materials: Learning how to identify and customize text, visual and audio materials for your lessons will help you begin to develop a resource bank that you can update throughout your teaching career. 
What you’ll learn in an online TEFL is not dissimilar to what should be covered in a traditional in-person program, but there are some differences worth considering.  

2. Why online TEFL courses differ from face-to-face programs.

A good online TEFL program should be highly interactive, have a strong video component, and include easy access to files that you can download and upload.

It needs to feel seamless. 

A significant advantage to studying online is that you don’t have to go anywhere. 

You can enjoy flexible learning options that fit your lifestyle, and because you’re not wasting time and money on travel, online studying is much more cost-effective. 

However, unlike in-person courses, not all online TEFL courses offer a ‘practice teaching’ component that will offer you more hands-on teaching experience. 

This experience can give you a test-run and confidence boost before getting hired as an English teacher.

Tip: It’s always a good idea to read the FAQ page for any course that interests you. 

3. How you can get TEFL certified by the world-renowned OISE University of Toronto.

Do you fancy getting a TEFL certificate from one of the world’s leading universities? 

Ranked above Oxford as the third-highest educational institution globally, the University of Toronto’s world-renowned education faculty offers three different pathways to online TEFL certification. 

The 100-hour course contains six core units that cover all the essential components mentioned earlier. 

On average, it takes between 6 – 8 weeks to complete, and you’ll learn how to plan lessons and teach different language skills. 

Plus, you’ll get 35 hours of input on classroom management techniques and resource development. 

There are even specializations that are tailor-made for teachers with specific interests and career goals. 

Do you want to work with young learners? 

Or do you like the sound of a career teaching Business English?  

These are just two of the eight additional options available for teachers who enroll in the 120 or 150-hour TEFL certifications with the University of Toronto. 

Typically, the more advanced curriculums take up to 12 weeks to complete. 

If you opt for the 150-hour course, you’ll be able to unlock extra core units and a special additional unit covering everything you need to know about living and teaching abroad.  

You can learn more about the additional TEFL certificate specializations right here

4. Why learning about global leadership with International House is a great TEFL option.

Founded in 1953 and containing a global network of more than 160 private language schools, International House is one of the most respected names in TEFL.

Trust us when we say that a TEFL certificate from the International House Berkeley will go a long way toward helping you land your dream job after you’ve completed your online course.

Working in partnership with Teach Away, The Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership (CIL) at International House Berkeley is excited to offer a 120-hour TEFL course that will give you a truly unique experience.

The Robertson Centre is known for its innovative methods in advancing leadership, understanding, and cultural awareness worldwide.

Their consultants have years of experience in leadership consulting, coaching, and training professionals across a diverse range of sectors.

But what does this mean for your TEFL certificate?

You’ll have the opportunity to study 6 modules (20 hours) in international teaching and global effectiveness.

Education has the power to improve communication, strengthen collaboration across different cultures, and help solve many of the problems we face today.

As a qualified TEFL teacher, you will, of course, be working with students and colleagues from countries across the world.

Knowing how to navigate intercultural differences and developing common understandings will be invaluable in your role as an English language instructor.

TEFL certification from International House Berkeley is a 100% online course that will also equip you with the practical skills you’ll need for your future career.

You’ll start by completing 13 modules (100 hours) in the fundamentals of teaching TEFL, which along with all the essentials, also covers teaching pronunciation, vocabulary and explores the role of the teacher in the broader context.

On average, participants finish this program in 6 – 12 weeks. If you want to combine teaching methodology with something a little more philosophical, then this may be the course for you.

5. How you can finish your TEFL certificate at Manhattan College in New York City.

What if you’re looking for a course that will give you the chance to put all that theory into practice in an actual classroom setting? 

The TEFL certification from Manhattan College offers the option of spending two weeks at the Manhattan College campus in Riverdale, New York. 

This 20-hour practicum will give you a chance to do some real-world teaching and get feedback from qualified TEFL instructors. 

But before you can inspire students with your new skills, you’ll still need to learn some of the fundamentals. 

Beyond introducing you to the core components of teaching English, the 120-hour TEFL certificate with Manhattan College also offers modules in three crucial disciplines that will improve your teaching practice: 

  • Culturally Responsive Teaching 
  • Digital Literacy 
  • Social-Emotional Learning & Classroom Community Building 

When you’re deciding which TEFL course to complete, it's essential to think about what each curriculum covers and where your passions lie. 

Culturally responsive teaching is all about working out how to meet the diverse needs of students from different economic and social backgrounds. Anti-bias education is integral to this. 

Digital Literacy relates to the online skills you’ll need to learn and instill in your students so that they’re able to succeed in the modern work environment that is changing rapidly. 

Social-Emotional Learning & Classroom Community Building empowers educators to learn how to help their students develop and practice social skills to manage their emotions and develop meaningful relationships. 

TEFL certification from Manhattan College typically takes 6 – 12 weeks to complete, and the 20-hour practicum component will resume in summer 2021. 

Learn more about getting TEFL certified with Teach Away at Manhattan College.  

Become a TEFL teacher with Teach Away.

Figuring out how to choose the right TEFL course often involves a bit of self-reflection.

There are many different providers out there, and although a good online course will always cover TEFL basics, it’s also true that there are now many tailor-made packages that will allow you to focus on your interests.

Other things worth considering are the cost of each program and whether you would prefer a course that's 100% online or offers some form of in-person practical component.

Find out how we can help you get TEFL certified to land your dream teaching job.