If you go online and search for free TESOL courses you will be confronted by a confusing array of results. You will find several free course options on offer and many more that are suspiciously cheap. Your initial reaction might be that these options seem like a great deal and you can save some of your hard earned cash to put towards your upcoming teaching adventure, rather than spend it on your TESOL qualification. However, we would recommend you think about a few things before you sign up for any of these so-called ‘great deals’.
Does the course come with certification?
One common feature of free or suspiciously cheap TESOL courses is that they often do not come with any form of certification included. Once complete, you are then offered various certification options at any extra cost. These options might be a PDF certificate sent via email or a genuine hard-copy certificate sent through the post. Whichever option you choose you will be charged an additional fee. If you choose a legitimate and internationally recognized TESOL course such as those offered by ITTT, you will receive a PDF copy of your certificate via email as soon as you have passed the course. You will also be sent an original, high-quality certificate in the mail via registered post. And the best bit is that all certification and postage costs are included in the original course fee.
Does the course have enough study hours?
While some free TESOL courses you find online are simply worthless as they teach you very little and are not recognized by international employers, there are some that are genuine courses offered by recognized TESOL course providers. However, even the ones that are genuine tend to only include a small number of study hours, with titles such as an Introduction to TESOL, TESOL weekend course, etc. If you choose one of these options you will receive some level of training and possibly some sort of certification, but these will probably fall short of the expectations of most employers. The standard minimum qualification required to be eligible for most good quality TESOL jobs, wherever they are located, is 100 to 120-hours of study.
Does the course result in a recognized qualification?
Before you sign up for a free or cheap TESOL course it is also a good idea to check what accreditation comes with the course certification. The good news is that employers around the world accept teaching qualifications from a very wide range of course providers. However, if you are traveling abroad to teach it is vital that your qualification is actually recognized by the authorities within that country as you will need some form of visa or work permit in most situations. If the authorities do not recognize the TESOL certificate that you provide, you might find your travel plans are seriously disrupted.
You get what you pay for
The bottom line is that if something seems too good to be true, it is probably best avoided. If you want to set off on your teaching adventure with confidence in your knowledge and ability to operate in a real classroom and with confidence in the strength of your qualification, you should consider paying for a genuine TESOL course that will provide everything you need to get your teaching journey started. A good quality, well designed TESOL course that comes with a genuine certificate that is recognized worldwide will cost real money. Thankfully, at ITTT we offer all these things and more at a very affordable price.
A checklist of TESOL course features
When choosing a suitable TESOL course it is advisable to ask a few simple questions:
- Is the certificate internationally recognized?
- Does the course come with a hardcopy certificate for work permit uses?
- Does the course have at least 120-hours of study?
- Does the course cover teaching skills and language awareness?
- Does the course have continued job guidance and support?
- Does the course lead to higher possible certificate levels and specialisms?
The truth is that free TESOL courses, or those sold at a huge discount, are unlikely to cover all of the questions raised above. When looking for a good quality teaching job all of these questions are important, so it is a false economy to settle for anything less.