Choosing the right TESOL certificate program can be challenging. A quick search of the internet will flood you with options and the first ones you see may not be the best fit for you.
When choosing the best TEFL course for you, make sure that the course meets the following minimum requirements, in order to be sure that you’re getting the best quality training, and the support and assistance that you need:
- To Good to Be True
- Lot’s of providers, especially the big companies out there, offer everything under the sun if you take their course. However, be aware that TESOL certification is never a guarantee for a job. There is no official TESOL body that administers accreditation to TESOL certificate providers. Check out the TESOL International Organization’s TESOL certification standards and make sure the program you sign up for meets these requirements.
- Industry Standards
- 120 hours of in-class learning is the industry standard for TESOL certificates. Included within this time-frame should be at least 5 hours of practical experience working with a class of ESL/EFL students. Many providers say they offer experience only to have participants practice with each other or do 1-on-1 tutoring.
- Comprehensive Grammar Instruction
- Understanding the nuts and bolts of the language is key to being able to explain it to others. Any program preparing English teachers for the classroom should include a comprehensive grammar syllabus.
- Practical Experience Observed by Experienced Teacher-Trainers
- TESOL certification programs often skip this part of the process as it is hard to arrange if they don’t have a school full of students willing to participate in a training teacher’s education. However, practical, live experience with actual ESL/EFL students is a critical educative step that teachers must take in order to be fully prepared to enter an ESL/EFL classroom on their own.
- Realistic Expectations
- Any TESOL course promising a guaranteed job or other to-good-to-be-true attributes are probably bending the truth in one way or another. In reality, a TESOL certificate merely makes it easier to find a job because it signifies that you have done the hard work to prepare yourself for the demands of the classroom. Employers look for people who have a TESOL certificate because it indicates that they have the bare minimum amount of knowledge to effectively teach their students. However, there are many other aspects at play when employers consider hiring you. Your previous education, experience, travel, understanding of the culture or language and teaching portfolio all contribute to the hiring decisions of school directors.
- Does the provider tell you only the good things about their program? How much do you know about where you will actually be staying? or the program’s curriculum? What does a typical day in class look like? Who are the trainers and are they qualified? Is the provider responsive to your individual needs and able to answer your specific questions in a timely manner?
- What kind of support will you get from the provider beyond the TESOL certificate itself? Do they help you find accommodation or provide logisitical support? Do they offer job search advice and support? Many providers will say they offer ‘lifetime job search assistance’. What does this mean? How will the assistance materialize?