Online TEFL Course: Tips and Strategies for Choosing a Good TEFL Program

So you’re thinking of taking an online TEFL course are you? If you’ve spent some time looking around the web you’ll notice there are more TEFL Programs than you can shake a stick at. To make things more complex there are different acronyms for basically the same thing.

And on top of this you’ll find claims made by the different organizations that offer courses that say they’ll guarantee job placement or a higher salary upon completion.

Any organization can say this, few can do it. One notable exception is the i-to-i online TEFL course. (They place thousands of ESL instructors in positions throughout Asia every year.

In fact you'll find that if you take the time to inquire where the placement is, you'll often find it to be some nasty corner of the globe where no one wants to work. Rarely do TEFL placement agencies place candidates in Japan. The TEFL industry is somewhat unregulated, which is why it’s such a mess and why you need to be extra careful when selecting an online course. 

You will find the words "internationally recognized". What this basically means is that there is a guarantee of 100 hours of coursework (this is not hands on its on-line.) Plus 6 hours of hands on or observed teaching. This in turn is backed up by TQUK a monitoring body that makes sure they meet the standards which is set by Ofqual which is British government body that monitors educational standards set by the U.K.

Keep in mind that in Japan because the market is fairly glutted, online TEFL course providers that will go the extra step and find you work in Japan are few. One TEFL course provider that meets all of the above criteria and is the industry leader is the i-to-i online TEFL certification course.



Having said this here are some pointers on selecting an online TEFL course. The first thing to keep in mind is if you intend to work for the big 4 then an online TEFL course won’t be absolutely necessary. A TEFL program certificate doesn't carry that much weight in this particular arena. This doesn’t mean an online certificate is useless. They can be very helpful in getting higher paying “gigs”. And this even applies to those who have actual teaching experience.

  • Before you spend any time surfing the net figure out what you want out of the course. It’s so much easier to select a course if you know what you want. For example what country do you want to teach in? Do you want to teach business English in Japan? etc.

  • Study the content of the course and make sure it meets your goals. Some outfits won’t disclose what their content is. Don’t bother with these companies.

  • The biggest problem with online courses is the lack of hands on experience and this is really what separates on-site courses from distance courses. To compensate for this select courses that offer video taped lessons so at least you can see how to do some of the techniques taught.

  • Another big point is on-line tutor support. It’s nice to be able to ask some questions about how to implement some teaching strategy or lesson or get clarification on teaching methedology you might not understand completely.

  • Also 24 hour support is a handy feature, dealing with time zone differences is a genuine pain. Why choose a company where you have to wait until 11:00 at night to get an answer to your question?

  • If the TEFL course provider is externally moderated and accredited by IATQUO (International Accreditation of TESOL Qualifying Organizations), then this is even better.

  • If the course provider helps with placement in the area you want to teach in, this is a nice bonus. (Remember it needs to be where you want to teach, any organization can place you in countries where anyone with a pulse can get a job).

 More TEFL Related Pages...

Leveraging your position and speeding up the job search by breaking into  ESL fields with TEFL placement agencies.

Many looking to teach abroad have trouble picking the right course...Here's some help and things you might want to consider before getting TEFL certification.

Looking at TEFL certification from the perspective of the actual market and recruiters involved in placing TEFL grads in their first paying "gig."

More TEFL Course Info...

Is an on-line TEFL certificate enough or do you need to
step it up to on-site ESL certification?

 More TEFL Ideas ...

  • Plan Your Gap Year in Japan Teaching ESL in the Belly of the Beast -Tokyo. 

  • Plus a Massive Market Breakdown on How Big Tokyo is. Should You Start Your Job Search There?

  • Plus Getting Started in China Before Japan.

The gap year. What to do with it? How can you convince your parents to let you travel abroad and try your hand at teaching in the glitzy neon cities of Japan?  Plus  more  info. on  what separates Japan other ESL teaching opportunities.

Teaching ESL in Tokyo. We all know Tokyo is a competitive market for finding work in Japan. But how big  is it actually? Wonder no more.
We break it all down market segment by segment to help
you size up this monster of a market.

Those struggling to get into the ESL Market in Japan often get critical teaching experience in China before making the jump to Japan. A pile of info. packed into this article. Plus tips and advice on handling situations with churn & burn type schools.


Do You Have a Question That You Can't Find an Answer to About TEFL Courses?
Many out there have similar questions about finding  and choosing courses, teaching qualifications etc. You name it and we get them via e-mails. So we created an interactive format where you can post your questions and get answers to them. Others starting their TEFL journeys also may have similar questions, by posting  you can help others too! That folks is a win-win situation.

Time to Turn Up the Heat...

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Is TEFL Certification Required to Teach English in Japan? 
Hi Thanks for all the work on this site. It's a life saver. I do however have one question. I will graduate this spring and I am wondering if it is a …

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