If you want to teach English abroad, it’s basically necessary to have a TEFL qualification, so how the topic “how to get your TEFL certification” is an important one. There are some exceptions to the rule – for example, a number of big brand companies in Japan don’t require you to have a TEFL certificate, but you need to attend a mandatory training session in-house which can last around two weeks. If you’re offered a job without in-house training that doesn’t require a TEFL certificate, prepare yourself for low wages, a poorly organised curriculum and, basically, a rubbish experience. Now that you know how important it is to have a TEFL certificate, let’s have a look at how you get one.
Online or Face-to-Face
This is the first big question you’ll need to ask yourself when choosing a TEFL course. These days, many people opt to do the online course for the following reasons:
- It’s often cheaper.
- It’s flexible and you can work when it suits you.
- You don’t need to take time off work to do it.
- You cut down on travel costs if there is a training centre near you.
- It’s convenient and course running times are far less stringent.
However, there are pros and cons on how to get your TEFL certification. Choosing an online-only course isn’t always the right choice – many schools won’t even consider your application if they discover you haven’t had any classroom-based teaching experience. But this depends on where you want to go, and what options are available to you. If online-only is your sole choice, just make sure that the course is a respectable length – a ‘weekend’ online course of 50 hours isn’t worth much. Try to get a course that’s at least 120 hours of study time. If you can find a good course online, like the iTEFL course which has 120 hours of study even at the basic level, then this is a great option.
Interesting article for you: TESOL Certification Online: What You Need to Know
Also, combination courses are a great choice. These allow you to do the bulk of the study at home (for example, 120 hours of the course) and then you complete 20 hours of in-class training (often spread intensively over two days, so it can be completed in a weekend).
The decision to undertake a face-to-face course is often made by people who want to really pursue a teaching career long-term, rather than just going for a gap year. Face-to-face courses enable you to have a personal relationship with both your fellow students and the course leader, and it’s undeniable that you’ll get more out of the course this way. Also, if you’re in a rush to get qualified, face-to-face courses might be a good option to get qualified quickly, although of course this depends on when the course is running.
Studying Get Your TEFL Certification
Once you’ve chosen how to get your TEFL certification – whether it’s face-to-face, online or a combination – you’ll be raring to get stuck in. If you’re doing an online course, don’t be tempted to slack off – make sure you complete the work in the given time frame, or you may have to pay extra for an extension. Also, go above and beyond by doing the recommended reading, and looking up TEFL related videos on YouTube. There are also plenty of TEFL blogs out there to give you a good grounding in your new area of expertise. And don’t forget good old-fashioned books. When you’re just starting out, it’s a worthy purchase to buy a textbook of ESL classroom games, TEFL games for speaking, conversation starters or similar.
While studying for your TEFL, it’s worth finding out about added extras you can do to make your CV stand out. These might include specialist modules such as TEFL for YL (young learners), or TEFL for business English. Unlike CELTA, a TEFL course is likely to focus on teaching children rather than adults, so you might want to do a special module on teaching adults if this is what you’d like to go into. Also, think about further qualifications like the TKT (teacher knowledge test) or MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) that are running subjects related to teaching, such as the brilliant Coursera MOOC on teaching character and creating positive classrooms.
Choosing your course
One of the hardest decisions in how to get your TEFL certification is choosing which TEFL certification course to sign up to. Don’t just go for the cheapest option – with TEFL courses, you get what you pay for, and it’s a waste of time to do a cheap course that only touches on the basics. Do your research, read reviews from other people who have completed their training course, and see what added extras are included – some TEFL certificate courses will also help you to find a job once you’ve qualified!