We get bombarded with tons of questions about teaching English & TEFL qualifications required for getting started. The range is wide and goes from "What is TEFL?" all the way to "Is an online TEFL certificate worth the paper its printed on?"
What Is TEFL?
In short a TEFL certificate is nothing more than a very basic and starting qualification for entry into a teaching position for English teachers around the globe.
Can an Online TEFL Certificate Actually Help me?
It certainly can, especially if you are very new to teaching and haven't spent any time in the classroom. Even the most basic pure online types (no classroom interaction) that are quite affordable and are limited to around 40 hours will acquaint you with important things like: teaching methodology, elements of grammar, key skills for teaching that all teachers need.
Many also supply online support and assist with job placement. Many of them including i-to-i are well recognized and the certificate helps beef up your CV or resume. These types of online TEFL certificates are useful for helping you to get entry level work as an ESL teacher. Course length varies but 120 hour TEFL course is pretty much standard.
However if you are the type that definitely feels uncomfortable in the classroom and the idea of standing in front of 20 students or more feels daunting, then a pure online TEFL certificate may not be enough for you because of the missing element of hands on interaction.
Teaching English TEFL Qualification via. Combined TESOL Courses That Offer Hands On Experience
For many, pure online courses just won't cut it. And course makers know this. So many have rolled out what is commonly termed a combined course. These courses are usually, longer than pure online TEFL courses. And as the name implies they will offer 20 hours or more of actual classroom experience.
Often the grammar modules will be deeper and there is more support. Correcting student pronunciation, lesson preparation, game theory and how to correct student mistakes without damaging student confidence are common elements in these more comprehensive courses. Often these course will run in the 60 hour range and as you might expect they will be more expensive. But not a lot more. Like many other kinds of purchases, the more you buy the cheaper per unit it gets.
Many of these combined courses can be taken during a weekend intensive. So getting certified and ready to work is achievable in a short period of time.
This type of course is best for teachers who want a meatier course but still are not ready to commit to a full blown course like CELTA or those who are just considering teaching in Japan or teaching somewhere in Asia as a career break or perhaps are winding up their careers in their home countries and just want to have a new experience and want to see a different part of the world and experience a vastly different culture from their own.
Teaching English : TEFL Qualifications & Online 120 hour TEFL Courses
For those teachers with a bit more in their budgets and who want a deeper level of education in teaching longer combined courses are available. These courses will range in the 120 hour area.
These are actually a good value because they are twice the 60 hour courses but are not even close to being double in price. These longer courses will get into everything the shorter courses get into plus they often have specialist teacher training, free TEFL course books and often offer cheap upgrades to even more detailed courses like 140 or 160 hour courses. In addition to life time TEFL support and help with job placement. You can Click here to Request a TEFL Brochure.
Still a common question is: Will a pure online course or combined course help me in very high end teaching jobs?" With the extreme competition for teaching jobs even the longer courses won't cut it. A full blown CELTA will be needed for this level of competition (assuming teaching experience is limited.)
Still, longer online TEFL certificates make a big difference in instilling confidence in new teachers and teaching them valuable classroom management skills. Because to be honest, just being a native English teacher isn't enough and if you watch teachers in action without any experience and certification it is pretty obvious at how ill at ease they appear.
Although online courses may not be enough for big paying gigs they will definitely give you the skills you need to prepare lessons properly, use game theory properly and manage the classroom effectively so that you are managing the classroom and students and not the other way around.
All in all and at the end of the day it makes you a better teacher and makes your job easier to do. Because teaching English in Japan isn't a piece of cake like many blogs say that it is, it's well worth looking into.