Choosing a TESOL certification course is rarely straightforward as there are no set standards that providers have to stick to. Because of this lack of guidelines there are a large number of companies that offer all sorts of TESOL courses in a wide range of styles and quality. The positive thing is that there are a few long established TESOL course providers that offer high quality courses that will ensure you learn all the skills you need to get your teaching career started.
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The best place to start is by looking at the length of the course. If you go online you can find courses of 40 hours or less and some in-class options that only take a weekend to complete. These courses will provide a decent introduction to ESL teaching, but they are unlikely to be sufficient for the majority of employers worldwide. The generally accepted standard for international teaching jobs is a course of at least 100 hours. Unless you are considering working in a voluntary position, short format courses are probably best avoided.
A good option for most people is an online course of 100 or 120 hours duration. This level of course is typically affordable and should cover all the main areas of ESL teaching such as teaching methodologies, classroom management and grammar structures. If an online course is your prefered option you should look for one that has a practical focus such as ITTT?s 120-hour TEFL certificate course with tutor & videos. This popular course option provides all the theoretical knowledge you will need, as well as a range of videos that cover many different topics including real life lessons being taught by experienced teachers. The course also requires you to complete several lesson plans that are assessed by an online teacher trainer.
While good online courses provide a thorough introduction to all the basic principles of ESL teaching, the additional benefit of extensive teaching practice with real learners of the English language is enough to lead many people towards an in-class TESOL course. In-class courses provide a great environment for putting into practice all the theory that is learned during the training so you are ready to start teaching your own class as soon as the course is complete. Unfortunately, this type of course is considerably more expensive than online options and it requires a full time commitment for a four week period. However, the design of the course provides the perfect platform for starting a teaching career so many people think it is well worth the time and money.
The main point to remember is never choose the cheapest course or the first option that you come across as it might not be suitable for your goals. Time spent researching the expectations of employers in your prefered countries, as well as any specific visa requirements, is time well spent. It is also a good idea to research the course provider to make sure their previous graduates were generally happy with the course and the service they received during their studies.