Are you considering taking a TEFL certification course? If you’ve thought about this, you may feel really overwhelmed by how many options there are. I know I did when first thinking about taking up my career in TEFL. I will tell you that TEFL teaching has increasingly become a hotter and hotter job market each year. As English is the most widely used language in the world, people everywhere have begun to take ESL courses, which means the demand for TEFL and ESL teachers is high!
If you are a native English speaker or if you have mastered the art of the English language, you are capable of being successful in this job. The question is: Where do I start? The answer to that is that you need to have a TEFL certificate, so a TEFL certification course is your first hurdle to jump.
There are 2 directions in which you can go: An in-person or an online TEFL course. There are pros and cons to both and we’ll decipher what they are throughout this blog post so that you may have a better understanding of which is best for you.
In-Person TEFL Course: Pros
Live, physical TEFL certification courses have a lot of positives about them. They work well for people who are interactive learners. With an in-person course, you get hands-on learning with TEFL professionals, as well as with fellow people who are in your TEFL training. For many, this is necessary for the learning process. To be able to be in the classroom setting gives you a little bit better sense of what it will be like when you become a teacher.
Furthermore, most in-person TEFL certification courses are fairly small in size which is nice because you can get some one-on-one time with your instructor. This is a great added benefit to a physical course because your instructor can become a really useful resource for you, both during your course and after you’ve completed your course. By getting to know your instructor well, you’re able to feel comfortable and ask questions that you may have kept inside otherwise. Additionally, your instructor will get to know your strengths and weaknesses and will be able to direct you in the exact direction that you need. Having a close relationship with your instructor will also be helpful when you begin looking and applying for jobs for several reasons. #1: He or she can write you an excellent recommendation, which almost every job will require. #2: He or she most likely has contacts at institutions in the area and can help put you in touch with the right people, which is a huge bonus in the TEFL world!
In-Person TEFL Course: Cons
Now for the cons of choosing to take an in-person course. The biggest issue with this option is that there is little to no flexibility. The time, date, location and instructor are set in stone from the start and you cannot change any of that. You must be certain that a specific course will work for your schedule. Most people who have jobs, will not be able to take an in-person class due to the rigidity of it. If you sign up for an 11 AM class on Tuesday mornings, you are expected to there at that time. That means you need to be sure that you have reliable transportation, arrange for childcare in some situations, adjust your work schedule, etc. If you sign-up for a class and then realize you actually have something else at the same time, it could be difficult to get your money back. Sometimes TEFL schools will be able to work with you to switch your programs, but then again, sometimes not. So, my suggestion is to be 100% certain that the course you chose will work in your life for however long the duration of the course is.
In-person TEFL certification courses are also quite a bit more expensive than choosing to take an online course. This is a determining factor for many aspiring TEFL teachers who don’t have a huge income, nor a ton of free time. If you can get the same education for less money, it tends to make more sense.
Online TEFL Course: Pros
In today’s society, we have the amazing ability to learn just about anything from the comfort of our homes, or, from a hostel room anywhere in the world, for that matter! How cool is that? That being said, you can learn how to be a successful TEFL teacher and get your teaching certificate, through an online certification course. Online TEFL courses are a truly wonderful thing. In fact, I wish I had done a bit more research before impulsively signing up for an in-person course!
Contrary to in-person courses, the biggest pro about taking an online course is the flexibility of it! You can take the course at your own pace and on your own time. If you have a full-time job, no problem! Do a few hours of TEFL work after your day job and you’ll be on your way to being a certified TEFL teacher in no time. Another positive aspect of an online course is that they are quite a bit less expensive than an in-person course. You still get the same quality of education for less money. Finally, most online-courses are constantly being edited and tweaked to provide the most up to date and cutting edge new TEFL skills. With an online course, you get access to many live webinars put on by TEFL professionals. With video-based learning, it will feel like you’re being taught one-on-one by a trained TEFL teacher. Furthermore, most online certification companies have impeccable student support. If you’re struggling you can set up a Skype conversation with someone who’ll be able to guide you through whatever it is you’re having trouble with. (and don’t forget: all of this is happening while you’re still in your pajamas and eating cereal!)
Online TEFL Course: Cons
An online TEFL course wouldn’t be a good idea for someone who really needs hands-on learning in order to grasp concepts. With an online, you don’t get live classroom time, meaning you’re not able to practice your new teaching skills in a classroom. Rather, you have to just conceptualize what it would be like. Also, you don’t get to create a network of other TEFL-ers when you choose an online course. Some people need the support of fellow students when they go through this process and without taking an in-person class this wont happen. Lastly, without a solid wifi or internet connection, it would be nearly impossible for you to take an online course (even though, you can get a secure, strong internet connection almost anywhere now!)
There ya have it. I hope this helped articulate some of the main difference between an online versus in-person TEFL course. There are so many pros and cons to lay out when making this big decision, so I hope this article was able to give you a better look into the details of both. Whichever you choose, you’ll rock at being a TEFL teacher!