Are online TEFL courses recognized or accredited?

Are online TEFL courses recognized or accredited?

TEFL certification is the first step in getting qualified to teach English abroad or online.

You’ve probably noticed there are heaps of options for online TEFL courses. But are online TEFL courses legitimate or recognized? 

The short answer is, yes, language schools recognize online TEFL certification

But the truth is, although there are many great, recognized online TEFL certification courses, there are also a lot of courses that are either scams or offer low-quality instruction. 

Knowing if an online TEFL  course is valid requires understanding what we mean when talking about TEFL accreditation in the first place.

Is online TEFL accredited?

We’re going to let you in on a little secret.

TEFL accreditation is an inaccurate term because there isn’t any single international organization that currently provides global accreditation to TEFL courses.

Read this: There’s no such thing as TEFL accreditation: What you need to look for in a TEFL course instead

That said, there are a lot of smaller organizations that do provide accreditation, such as: 

Language courses worldwide should recognize online (or onsite) TEFL courses that have been accredited by one of these organizations.

If you come across a provider claiming they’re an accredited online TEFL certification course, verify that by looking into the accrediting organization.

Read this: A guide to TEFL accrediting bodies

Keep in mind that there are still plenty of perfectly reputable TEFL certification courses out there that may not have sought out accreditation from any of these (or other) accrediting bodies.

So, how do you go about determining the difference between a reputable and disreputable TEFL certification course?

Remember the 100-hour rule 👍

One good rule of thumb for figuring out which TEFL courses are worth your time is remembering the 100-hour rule. 

The TEFL industry and language schools have settled on 100 hours of coursework as the minimum standard for a recognized/accredited TEFL course.

It makes no difference whether you complete those 100 hours in a classroom or online: the only thing that matters is that you get those 100 hours under your belt. 

A TEFL course that offers anything less than 100 hours is just a waste of your time and money.

Remember that pretty much anybody can start up a TEFL certification course and claim they’re “accredited.” 

So don’t be fooled by courses that offer less than 100 hours of coursework.

Not only will you get inadequate training, but most prospective employers won’t consider your application if your TEFL certification equates to less than 100 hours.

How much does a good online TEFL course cost?

When it comes to TEFL certification, you get what you pay for. 

There’s a lot of  100+ hour courses out there, so not all of them will be of the same caliber.

You’ve likely noticed that the prices for these courses vary. 

While it is tempting to assume that the more expensive courses are also the best, this isn’t always the case.

After all, since a single governing body doesn’t offer accreditation for TEFL certification, schools can charge whatever they want for their courses, regardless of quality.

On the other hand, if you go for the cheapest TEFL course out there, you probably won’t get a very good education.

Most reputable online TEFL courses cost around $1,000 USD. While that is still a big chunk of money, it is also about half of what most good in-person TEFL courses cost. Plus, you’ll save on travel and accommodations.

What do we mean by an “internationally recognized” TEFL course?

Since accreditation in TEFL doesn’t always carry much weight and course prices are no guarantee of quality, you may be feeling a little confused about which course to choose.  

How are you supposed to figure out which TEFL courses are reputable and which aren’t? 

Earlier, we covered that 100 hours of coursework is the bare minimum, but other telltale signs can help determine whether a TEFL school is reputable.

Some universities and colleges offer TEFL certification courses. You can have peace of mind knowing that these courses will always be high quality and recognized by language schools worldwide.

However, there are plenty of private companies that also offer reputable, internationally recognized TEFL certification courses. 

Check out their websites to get a better idea of their quality. You can also read reviews, testimonials and ask alumni on Linkedin about their experience. 

Also, don’t be swayed by the bell and whistles some schools offer, like guaranteed job placements or teaching practicums. 

While there is nothing wrong with these offers per se, they are not indicators of quality. And sometimes they can be too good to be true and come with strings attached. 

Most language schools you apply to won’t consider a teaching practicum as career experience anyway. And a quality TEFL certificate should always be more than sufficient to get you an ESL job overseas, which makes guaranteed job placement offers a little redundant.

11 comments

Can you elaborate a bit on the second topic you mentioned?
Berrie
You have to actually semd resumes to jobs in whichever country your looking Many Still require a University Bachelor Degree (4 years and 2 years practicum) so 6 years all together Most countries in Asia Want Degree as well as TEFL Certification u can find some small or private schools who will just take TEFL but the average wage for just this is Very Low Anywhere u will go. With a Degree u will even get free housing in most countries but not with just TEFL Cert. U have to send ur resume out to jobs in these Countries if they contact u for an interview they will tell u then and there if ur Certification is Enough its all up to the Individual Schools for example u Can NOT get a job at a college or University without A Ba Degree Also. But some smaller n private schools or I in 1 business who offer esl may just take TEFL but again wages for Non Degree average about $1000 U.S monthly and no housing with a University Degree its About $5000 Monthly Average and Free Housing On or Around Campus. Important to know Even With Ur Bachelor’s Degree In Teaching You Still Need To Get A Minimum level 5 to Level 6 TEFL Certification for Most countries 120-168 hours with a minimum of 20 hours of actually teaching in a Classromm (which most reputable TEFL SchoolsnOffer
Kimmy
Hi i see theres free one, are they any worth the time?
Tania
I am confused by the plethora of governing bodies – federal, provincial and local. Where do I start? I got a 125-hour TEFL program completed this summer, but now I can’t fingure out how to get ‘accredited’ in Canada.
Suzanna
Hi, I want to complete a bachelors degree in tefl and I am not sure of where to obtain this. I did hear of the tefl university, please advise if this is legitimate or if you can perhaps guide me through this process. Much appreciated
Shanel

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