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August 03, 2006

Q & A- Are online TEFL certificates legit?

Hello Readers!

There's a lot of talk about TEFL certificates on the eslemployment forum (www.eslemployment.com). Here's one question that I'm sure is on some of your minds, sent in by "ljs9":

I've been looking into online TEFL/TESL certificates and accreditation...

... and was pointed in the direction of ICAL. I was just wondering, how well-known or legit is this online school? And if there's anyone out there who has an ICAL certificate, or any online certificate, how helpful has it been when applying for teaching jobs?

Many thanks,

Dear ljs9,

Having an online TEFL certificate will get your foot in the door and maybe even a slightly better salary than those without one in China. However, it is not equivalent to an on-site course. Why? If you do an onsite course, you have lectures given to you by experienced teachers who have lots of tricks up their sleeve that can come in useful later on when you are teaching. You also will be observed by your classmates and your trainer, which is quite useful. The most useful part of the CELTA course that I did was observing the trainers (and the other teachers). It was great to see a wide-range of teaching styles, and to see how teachers dealt with different situations. These are the reasons to take an on-site course.

I think you'll find that some employers will accept an online TEFL certificate and others won't. Reputable schools usually look for a TEFL certificate that required teaching observation and teaching practice.

CELTA courses run around $2,000, give or take a few hundred depending on which city you are in. Some online TEFL courses are only $200.

Before you choose though, think about where you want to teach, how long you are planning on staying in the TEFL field, and how much time and money you are willing to put into it.

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

*To read more ESL Questions and Answers, please click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, has lived and worked in China since 1998. During that time, she has worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She’s worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she’s also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing as well as working as an ESL instructor for the Australian International School of Beijing. Carol is also enrolled in Oxford Brookes' MA TESL program in Oxford, England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at August 3, 2006 06:01 AM

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I am hoping to get some advice.

I want to teach English abroad (preferably in China at first). I am currently working as a Teaching Assistant in the English department of a secondary school in the UK. I also have experience teaching history and some TEFL/ EAL experience gained from this role. By the time I leave for China, I will have had one year of experience working in education. I also have a BA (hons) degree.

The problem is that I the only CELTA courses available (part time and full time) do not fit in with my timetable and term times. There is also the issue of cost, as a Teaching Assistant’s wages are awfully low. Therefore my questions are:

1) Considering my experience, which includes a lot of practical teaching experience, do I really need a TEFL?

2) If yes, then would a weekend TEFL be sufficient?

3) Might an on-line TEFL course be OK?

.......I'm looking at weekend and online tefl courses on the Cctus website, is this an acredited website / are the courses legitimate. How am I supposed to know?

4) Are there schemes in China where I would be able to ‘train on the job’ and, as a result, receive a recognised TEFL qualification, which I could go on to use in Japan, for example?

Please help, I’m starting to panic as I plan to leave in December! I would be extremely grateful for any advice.



Posted by: olivia at August 17, 2006 07:20 AM

Hi Olivia,

If you are planning on going on to other countries besides China, I suggest doing a CELTA here in Beijing or Shanghai once you get here. While you won't need it for all teaching jobs in China, having a recognized certificate will give you an edge and sometimes more cash. Some schools are starting to require TEFL certificates in China, and most other countries require it.

Anything that's too easy to get is usually not worth that much, so remember that when you think about getting a weekend certificate.

Good luck!


Posted by: Carol Rueckert at September 7, 2006 10:57 PM

It was a great pleasure for me to visit and enjoy your site. Keep it running!

Posted by: Kim at December 3, 2006 04:18 PM

Thanks! Good work. Happy New Year!

Posted by: Zoe at January 2, 2007 01:22 AM

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