TESOL certification is not standardized so different course providers are free to offer a variety of courses at whatever price they see fit. An online search will reveal short-format TESOL courses for as little as US$49, but you need to ask yourself, will the resulting certification be accepted by employers in the region that you plan to teach in and will it provide sufficient preparation for a new teaching career? The bottom line is you should not choose a TESOL course based on its price, but rather the content and overall benefit it will have as you begin your TESOL journey.
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In-class TESOL courses are usually carried out over a four week period of intensive full-time training. These courses should cover all the main areas of ESL teaching including teaching methodologies, lesson planning and classroom management. They should also feature extensive coverage of English grammar structures and how you should teach them in the classroom. The main advantage of in-class courses is the opportunity to practice what you have learnt by teaching real lessons to genuine language learners in an authentic classroom environment. The practice lessons should be observed by an experienced teacher trainer who will follow up the lesson with an extensive feedback session. This form of study undoubtedly offers excellent preparation for anyone planning on teaching English abroad, although the intensive nature of in-class training means they are not the cheapest option. ITTT offers high-quality in-class courses from around US$1500, depending on the location of the training center.
While we highly recommend an in-class TESOL course, we are well aware that the overall cost of this option can be prohibitive to many trainees. The alternative is an online TESOL course. Although online courses do not include any practical teaching, they should cover all the theory elements that are found in an in-class version. It should be noted that some employers will only employ teachers with an in-class TESOL certificate or some form of previous teaching experience. However, due to the huge worldwide demand for teachers, those with an online qualification will still have plenty of job opportunities to choose from. A 120-hour online TESOL course starts at around US$250.
The answer to this question is often decided by where you plan to teach as regulations and the personal preference of employers varies considerably from region to region. For example, in Western Europe and the Middle East an in-class certificate is often preferred by employers. In contrast, schools in Asia and Latin America are generally less concerned about the type of certificate you have on your application form. Wherever you plan to teach, as long as you choose an experienced and well respected course provider, you will have plenty of great options to choose from around the world.