You have decided that you want to enroll in a TEFL course to get the certification necessary to teach English abroad. But a quick internet search of TEFL certification courses will yield a huge number of schools and institutions to choose from, each one different from the other in terms of the length of the course, the additional resources offered and the total cost of the course.
So, how do you choose the best from this vast list? The following 4 key tips will help you narrow down the list and eventually choose the best TEFL school.
- Pre-Enrollment Guidance and Resources
When considering a TEFL school, call the school and ask to speak with a professional advisor. The advisor should be trained on the specifics of the job market abroad and be able to provide you with sufficient information on the process including for certain questions as visa regulations among others. The advisor should be able to send you information regarding the specific country that you choose. For example, if you want to teach English in China, the advisor should provide you with specific information about the via process to get to China, salary potential as well as the top teaching markets in China.
The TEFL school you chose should also provide detailed information about the process of acquiring TEFL certification. They should be able to anticipate any questions you may have on the process of getting certified and lay out the answers extensively on their website in the form of FAQs, articles and training videos.
- High Quality TEFL Course
The quality of the TEFL course you choose will determine whether or not you are able to get a high-quality, high-paying job teaching English abroad. Once you have all the information you need to make a decision, the next step is to determine if the course the TEFL school is offering is high quality. The first test is; does the course meet international standards? This can be determined by the accreditations the course has. If you take a course that doesn’t meet international standards, you may find it very difficult to secure a job teaching English abroad.
These international standards include the following;
- The course must include at least 100 hours of coursework
- It must also include 6-20 hours of live practice training with actual non-native English speaking students and not role-paly with TEFL classmates.
- It must have accreditation from a recognized, independent organization
- Instruction must be provided by a qualified instructor with the equivalent it a Master’ Degree in TESOL or other related field.
- Job Search Guidance
Getting TEFL certification from even the best school is not enough. You will only be able to get a return on your investment if you can get a job teaching English abroad. But doing that on your own without knowledge of the job market abroad can be very difficult. This is why it is very important that you choose a school that will actually offer you job search guidance once you have completed the course.
You must realize that each country has its own hiring policy for foreign English teachers. So, having an advisor to help you meet the standard of your chosen country will be vital in saving you time and avoid unnecessary mistakes when applying. The advisor should also be able to help you choose a school that fits with what you want. Do you want to teach children or adults? Do you want to work in the city or rural areas? Is the job offer fair in terms of expected salary?
It is important to also find out what kind of job guidance you can expect from the TEFL school. There are some that will offer lifetime guidance and others that choose a more measured approach. Ask if job search guidance is included in the overall cost of the course or will you have to pay extra.
- Alumni Network and Engagement
Once you have completed your course and accepted job offers abroad, you may find it very challenging to make friends at first. This is however only true if the TEFL school you chose doesn’t provide the opportunity to connect with fellow English teachers around the world. The kind of support that you will get from this network of individuals is invaluable. With their help, you will find it very easy to make the transition from TEFL student to English teacher.
Moving abroad is a process that has a lot of elements including packing, finding adequate housing and the general culture shock you are likely to experience in a foreign country. Like minded teachers who have been in your position can offer valuable help that may make your experience that much better, not to mention you’ll have some new friends.