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Are Online TEFL Courses Worth It?

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If you’re considering whether or not to get TEFL certified online for your plans to teach English, you’ve probably been asking yourself, “Are online TEFL courses worth it?” You may wonder if you should invest in this type of training and if it will ultimately lead to the job you want. The simple answer for most people is a resounding yes, but before you decide, let’s take a deeper dive into getting TEFL certified online. 

What are the main reasons to get an online TEFL certificate?

To decide if an online TEFL certificate is worth it for you, first consider the benefits of this kind of teacher training.

  • Online TEFL courses are convenient and flexible. If you work, go to school full-time, or have family responsibilities, earning your TEFL/TESOL online is entirely doable as you can work at your own pace around your busy schedule. 
  • Online TEFL courses are affordable. The cost of TEFL courses depends on the number of hours you choose, but you can expect to find courses of at least 120 hours (the international standard) for under $500.
  • Most schools and companies require all of their teachers to be TEFL certified, so by getting certified online, you’ll meet this requirement.
  • With an online TEFL certification, you have the option to widen your range of teaching opportunities, meaning you can teach online or in a classroom or specialize in teaching certain student demographics, like young learners or business professionals.
  • With the right certification tailored to the job you want, you can even qualify for a higher starting salary, which definitely makes online TEFL certification worth it!

For the most versatile credentials, bundle certification to teach English online and in the classroom.

What will I learn in an online TEFL course?

Trainees in Bridge’s Professional online TEFL courses (which are 120 hours or more) learn the theory and methodology of teaching the four language skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking – as well as practical skills like lesson planning and teaching English grammar.

The best TEFL courses also have tutor involvement, meaning someone is giving you real feedback and grades on assignments. (Be sure and check the credentials of the tutors that a course provides.)

Do I need TEFL certification if I’m already a teacher?

Maybe you’re a licensed teacher in your home country, teaching at the K-12 level, for example, and you’re wondering if you’ll still need TEFL training. For you, the answer depends on a few factors.

  • First of all, what subject do you teach? If it’s not English as a second language, specifically, you’ll need training in the skills that are unique to teaching a language.
  • Do you have the skills for the kind of teaching you’d like to do, such as teaching English online? Having specialized TEFL certification in your area of interest can enhance your job prospects and better prepare you for the virtual or physical classroom.
  • Where are you planning to teach? In some regions, such as Asia, TEFL certification can be a requirement (oftentimes to qualify for a visa) that all teachers must have, regardless of their other qualifications.

Learn more: I’m Already a Teacher – Do I Need TEFL/TESOL Certification?

Will an online TEFL certificate help me get a job?

Getting an online TEFL certificate is considered essential to getting a teaching job online or worldwide! Most schools require a certification of 120 or more hours, among other qualifications, so the best TEFL certification courses will meet this benchmark, like the Bridge Master Certificate.

Browse available TEFL jobs on the Bridge Job Board. 

Are online TEFL certificates accredited?

There is no single accrediting body for all TEFL courses, so you might be surprised to learn that no – all online TEFL certificates are not accredited. Yet, course accreditation is very important for several reasons:

  • First, it helps you as a consumer understand which courses are better quality. Courses that are accredited by reputable bodies have been evaluated against strict industry standards.
  • Second, it helps employers (schools or online tutoring companies) know that you’ve been properly trained via a course that met those rigorous standards.
  • Third, accreditation through a reputable body such as ACCET means that you can earn additional credentials, such as Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or even university credit for your training.

Why It Matters: Selecting an Accredited TEFL/TESOL Certification Online

Are online TEFL certificates recognized by recruiters and schools?

Yes! In the past, online TEFL programs may have earned a reputation as being less valuable than in-person ones; however, today that’s not at all the case. Many online programs maintain the same quality as onsite programs and are highly respected by recruiters and schools worldwide.  

Accredited online TEFL courses of at least 120 hours are widely accepted by schools and teacher recruiters in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. And, if you happen to already have some teaching experience or a degree, you’ll find even more regions added to that list!

Can I get teaching practice if I take an online TEFL course?

While teaching practice isn’t typically built right into an online TEFL course,  that doesn’t mean you can’t add this valuable teaching experience component.

Add a practicum

Planning to become an online English teacher? Add the 60-Hour Bridge Practicum in Teaching English Online to your online TEFL certification to get hands-on experience using a real online teaching platform. You’ll even compile a portfolio of recorded classes with live students that you can share with future employers.

Looking to teach in the classroom? The 20-Hour Guided Teaching Practicum includes five hours of hands-on teaching practice in a real EFL classroom, which you can arrange with schools, community centers, or other locations near you.

Volunteer teach

another way to get teaching practice is to do some volunteer teaching either online or at a community center in your neighborhood. This experience shows initiative and enthusiasm, and can stand in for on-the-job experience for new teachers.

If you want to be an ESL teacher, either in a classroom, online, or both, getting TEFL certified is certainly worth it. And now is a perfect time to focus on professional development via an online TEFL course that you can complete from anywhere around the globe. Once you’re certified, a wealth of opportunities to teach online and worldwide will be well within your reach! 

Need help choosing the right TEFL course? Answer these 5 questions from a Bridge Program Advisor.

Betsy has been working remotely for eight years in content creation, editing, writing, and teaching/mentoring. In early 2014, she earned her TEFL certification and has enjoyed teaching online to adult learners around the world ever since. When she’s not working, Betsy loves exploring the world and has visited 35+ countries. Born and raised in the Midwest, she moved to Florida for grad school and has been there ever since. Her favorite hobbies are reading and slowly improving her Mandarin. You can connect with her on her blog or Instagram.