The international demand for English teachers has skyrocketed in recent years and, given the advantages qualified teachers have in this rapidly developing market, so too has the number of TEFL certificate courses. The reason for this is obvious: TEFL certificates are far and way the most cost-effective TESOL certification available. Not all programs are created equal, however. Indeed, because these programs, unlike the more expensive and time-consuming CELTA, are largely unregulated the quality of such programs can vary widely. With this concern in mind, then, how can would-be educators tell the difference between superior and substandard programs? Here are some things to keep in mind when you are trying to separate the wheat from the chaff:
In theory any course designed to prepare to teach English abroad can be referred to as a TEFL certificate course. Thus two day weekend classes and aforementioned CELTA are both technically in the same general category. What make the CELTA so much more appealing to employers is its rigor and reputation. Indeed, it is this (hard won) reputation that makes the program so many employers know and love. That having been said, the CELTA is not your only option. Any four week “equivalent” courses (which has a course content and structure similar to the CELTA) has all the hallmarks of a strong program. If you are uncertain about a program’s reputation, do a little digging online and see if that school has a good reputation. If you can find out otherwise, so can potential employers.
In any case, a solid program will invariably require 100 or 120 hours of instruction and will include at least six hours of assessed teaching practice. Supervised instruction is very important to employers (and it should be to you, too) because it helps prepare teachers transfer their skills from the classroom to their classroom – and will help you be a better teacher from day one.