Which TEFL Course Should I Take? 5 Questions to Help You Decide

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Student in an online TEFL course

At Bridge, we offer a wide range of TEFL/TESOL certificates to choose from. All of our courses are accredited and designed to develop your professional credentials and help better prepare you for your ideal teaching situation. However, you might feel confused by all the options, wondering, “Which TEFL course should I take for my specific plans?” Should you earn a basic Foundational or International Certificate? Should you also a Specialized Certificate to your training?

Understanding BridgeTEFL Course Categories

Let’s first begin with an explanation of how our online TEFL/TESOL courses are grouped. All courses fall into one of the following three categories:

  • Foundational Certificates are designed to introduce you to the field of TEFL/TESOL and build the skills and knowledge on which you can pursue further study.
  • International Certificates are comprehensive trainings that go over both the theory and application of basic TEFL/TESOL principles.
  • Specialized Certificates focus on one specific subfield of TEFL/TESOL, such as Business English or Teaching Young Learners.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Choose the Right BridgeTEFL Online Course

The right type of course for you depends on your background, experience, and personal goals. As a BridgeTEFL Program Advisor, these are some questions that I ask prospective students in order to get a better understanding of their goals and interests and to advise them on which specific course to take.  

1. Do you have any English teaching experience?


No, I don’t have teaching experience. 

If not, and you’re hoping to find a teaching position, then my advice is usually to take one of our International Certificates. Many positions around the globe will look for at least 100 hours of certification – and in many cases, 120 hours – so these programs can be a great way to give you a comprehensive overview of TEFL/TESOL, while also qualifying you for jobs around the globe.

Our two most comprehensive International trainings are the 120-hour Master Certificate (our most popular self-paced online course), and the 150-hour IDELTOnline (our most advanced online training, with additional structure and interaction). This article provides a detailed breakdown of the differences between these two programs: IDELTOnline vs. Master Certificate: Which Course Should I Take?

Teaching English grammar


Yes, I have teaching experience. 

If you do have prior teaching experience, then you could be a great fit for our Specialized Certificates. These courses (such as Teaching English Online, Teaching Young Learners and Teenagers, and Teaching Business English) are designed to help trainees develop their existing TEFL/TESOL knowledge and focus on one specific subfield of their choice, with the goal of boosting their resume in high demand areas.

2. What are your teaching plans?


I’m not sure. 

If you are unsure of your long-term teaching plans but think teaching English could be right for you, then our standard recommendation is to start with a Foundational Certificate. These programs will introduce you to basic concepts of TEFL/TESOL and can also give you an idea of whether the field is a good fit. Then you can upgrade and take your training further.

Online English Teacher at VIP Kid

I have a specific type of learner in mind. 

If you hope to work with a specific type of learner, like online students, business professionals, or young learners, a good way to achieve this is by starting with a Foundational Certificate, and then moving onto a Specialize Certificate relevant to your interests! The Foundational Certificates are designed to introduce you to the basic principles of TEFL/TESOL and build a foundation of knowledge, on which you can then add additional, specialized training in your chosen field of interest.

3. Is there a specific place where you hope to teach?


It can also be helpful to consider where you want to teach, and what the market might look like in your ideal destination. Generally speaking, Africa, Asia, and Latin America are less competitive markets for teaching positions; while the Middle East, Europe, and English-speaking countries are highly competitive.

The more competitive your chosen teaching destination, the more credentials you will want to earn, and the Bridge International Diploma in English Language Teaching (IDELTOnline) would be the best International Certificate to choose in this case. This graduate-level training is the next best option to getting certified in the classroom and is highly regarded by employers worldwide.

Watch a recent IDELT Facebook Live information session I hosted to learn more about this course:

Our BridgeTEFL Job Board provides a good overview of different positions available around the globe.

4. What are your long-term teaching goals?


If you may just teach English for a limited time, say six months or a year, an International Certificate will teach you the skills you need and qualify you for jobs around the world.

However, if you are hoping to pursue a long-term career in TEFL/TESOL, then the IDELTOnline could be the better choice, as it is our most comprehensive and advanced course, delving further into teaching theory and methodology under the guidance of a master’s level instructor. This course can even be taken as credit towards a master’s in TESOL degree!

Is the IDELTOnline right for you? Read this article by an instructor to find out.

5. What’s your budget?


With any investment, it is important to consider the cost involved. While the IDELTOnline (regularly 1295 USD) is our most prestigious and advanced program, the 120-hour Master Certificate (under 500 USD) can be a good alternative for people who are looking for a program at a lower price point. The Master Certificate can be particularly useful because many positions around the globe will specifically require 120 hours of certification (see our BridgeTEFL Job Board).

However, if the Master Certificate is out of your ideal price range, or if you would like to start with a shorter program to see if TEFL/TESOL is right for you, then one of our foundational TEFL certificates is a great way to start. You can always come back and upgrade your certification later on!

English teacher abroad in Asia


Still not sure which online TEFL course you should choose? Contact me!

Of course, every situation is different, and no two TEFL trainees are the same. Hopefully, my advice has been helpful in getting you started with this process. But, if you feel like you could use some additional guidance, Bridge advisors are happy to help!

Get your questions answered by joining me for a live online TEFL information session or by contacting me directly at kmermel@bridge.edu


September 25, 2019