Making the decision to leave behind your old life to head overseas as a TESOL qualified teacher will probably be one of the best you ever make. However, you then need to decide which TESOL certification course will suit your plans and give you the level of qualification and knowledge you require to hit the ground running. This is not always a straightforward choice as there are many courses to choose from and each one has its own length of study.
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All of ITTT’s in-class TESOL courses require a full-time commitment of four weeks at one of our training centers. If you are able to fit it into your schedule and you have sufficient funds to cover all the necessary expenses, this type of course certainly provides the most rounded and in-depth option out there. In theory, you could sign-up for an in-class course the day before it begins, however, we recommend that you secure your place on the course around three to six months before it is scheduled to start.
Signing-up in advance is highly recommended as our class sizes are limited to a certain figure to ensure you receive the highest quality of training. If you leave it too late you might not be able to get onto the course that would suit you best. Many courses sell out in advance of the start date, particularly in the months immediately preceding the main hiring seasons in Europe and Latin America. If you want to take advantage of the hiring windows that occur in Spain and Italy during the months of August and September for example, you should consider booking your place on a course as soon into the new year as possible.
By arranging your in-class course early you will also have plenty of time to plan your trip and get everything ready to go. Assuming your course takes place outside your home country, you will probably need to arrange flights and accommodation, and maybe even an entry visa. Other possible things that you might have to take care of include working out notice on your current employment, renting out or otherwise taking care of your current home, and packing away your possessions to put into storage. Financially, it also makes sense as you can spread the cost of flights and other expenses over a longer period of time.
When deciding on a course start date it is certainly important that you consider any hiring seasons that exist in your destination of choice. Across Europe and Latin America many schools tend to do the bulk of their recruiting twice a year to suit the academic calendar. In contrast, many employers in Asia have no set schedule for recruitment. If you plan on heading to a popular teaching destination such as Argentina, Spain, or Italy where the vast majority of employers choose to interview face-to-face, it will be a big advantage if you can book a place on a course in the month immediately prior to one of the main hiring seasons. For example, as September is the main time for recruitment in many Western European countries, taking your in-class TESOL course in August would set you up perfectly for the upcoming school year.
In regions such as Asia and the Middle East where employers typically look to hire teachers from within their home country, it is advisable to get your TESOL course (whether a domestic in-class, foreign in-class, or online) complete at least three months before you would like to depart. This will give you time to conduct job interviews, analyse work contracts, apply for visas, and take care of your travel plans.
While an in-class course is a great way to kick start your overseas teaching career, the time commitment and cost can rule it out for some people. If this is the case for you, a good quality online TESOL course provides a solid alternative. If you search online you will find courses covering a wide assortment of time frames, however, the generally accepted international requirement is a course that totals at least 120 hours of study time. Based on the average study time, you can make a study plan that allows you to complete your training in advance of your planned departure. For example, one option would be to split a 120-hour TESOL course into 10 hours per week over a 12 week period. It is also worth noting that many people who are willing to work hard are able to complete the course in less time than the average course time stated.