Why It Matters: Selecting an Accredited TEFL Course

< Back to the TEFL News


This post was originally written and published by Susan Weymouth, Academic Curriculum Expert and CELTA Trainer. 

You want to teach English abroad. You’re looking for a TEFL training course to prepare you for teaching and enhance your employment opportunities. Ready to get started, you Google “TEFL training”… and get 715,000 results! How do you narrow your choices to select quality training that will be accepted by schools abroad? How can you distinguish the reputable programs from the “fly by night” ones?

One way is to check for accreditation.

What is accreditation?  

Accreditation by a recognized body means that an outside, objective agency has audited every aspect of the program – from the school’s financial stability and the training staff’s qualifications to the program’s objectives, methodology, assessment procedures, and record keeping – and found the program to meet appropriate standards.

Are all TEFL courses accredited?

No! There’s no industry-wide requirement that TEFL courses are accredited. In fact, the process of accreditation is painstaking and time-consuming, so institutions that choose to make this effort tend to be stable, reputable, and concerned about high standards in the industry.

TEFL training courses that do not undergo the accreditation process tend to be less committed to best practices, which at times results in sketchier programs with short histories and shorter futures. While these courses may have lower prices, since accreditation is one factor that can affect the cost of TEFL certification, beware of taking an unaccredited course!

Why is it so important?

It’s important for two reasons. First, it helps you as a consumer wade through the sea of available TEFL certification courses and understand which ones are better quality. Second, it helps assure your future employers (schools abroad) that you are properly trained via a course that met industry standards.

Remember that you want both a quality training experience and the ability for future employers to check your certificate six months or six years from now. You don’t want them to get the dreaded “Web page unavailable” message a few months after you complete your TEFL course.

What are some accrediting bodies for TEFL courses?

For U.S. based TEFL course providers, examples of accrediting bodies are ACCET (the Accrediting Council of Continuing Education and Training) or CEA (the Commission on English Language Accreditation). Courses offered through providers in other countries will vary. The esteemed, UK-based Cambridge CELTA, for instance, is regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual).

How can I know if a course is accredited?

TEFL providers who are accredited will definitely feature information on this hard-earned status on their website and in the course information, they provide you. A TEFL provider may be accredited by a body such as ACCET or CEA, and you can go to the website for those accrediting bodies and verify that the TEFL course is indeed listed there.

A TEFL provider says on their website that they are accredited. Is that enough verification?  

Probably, but I recommend doing some research on your own, too. You’ll want to get answers to these questions:

  • What are the school’s professional affiliations?
  • How many years has the school been in business?
  • What are the trainers’ qualifications?
  • How many hours of trainer contact and practice teaching are guaranteed?
  • What is the maximum number of students per class (if the course you’re considering is in the classroom)?
  • Are references with contact information available from former students?
  • What system is established for verification of certification?

When selecting TEFL training from any source, look for accreditation from a recognized body and then support that accreditation with your own research. Bridge staff is happy to provide details on BridgeTEFL’s ACCET accreditation and to answer the questions above. This willingness is shared by other reputable training schools. Taking the time to select an accredited program enriches your experience during your TEFL training and enhances your future employment prospects.

For more information on how to assure that your TEFL course is accredited, hear from our Vice President, Lisa Rooney. Also, check out our other posts on navigating the many different TEFL course options available!

January 19, 2016