The simple, honest answer is “YES!”, but life is rarely simple. Working out which TEFL course to do is a balance between your needs, your personality and the expectations in the country where you want to work. Here are a few pointers to help you weigh up your options.
Do I even need a qualification?
The even more honest answer is “You don’t even need an online course!” In some countries, there are so many employers and the requirements are so low that you can land a job simply by being an English speaker. But these employers are often shadier than a forest at midnight, may ask you to work without a visa, pay your salary late and sometimes even sack you without reason to avoid paying bonuses. Getting qualified will give you more options and help you to avoid the most unscrupulous schools.
It should be right for YOU
Your lifestyle has a big influence on whether an online course fulfills your needs. Does your demanding job mean that you don’t have much spare time? Are you too busy booking tickets and arranging itineraries for your big trip? Or are you already travelling so would find getting to a classroom course tricky? If you answer yes to any of these, then an online course would probably be best because it fits around your life: you can take three months (or even longer) to complete it, or finish in little over a week!
The right course provider
Even if you decide that you need the flexibility of an online course, to have the best chance of getting that job, it’s best to choose a reputable training provider. Independent bodies such as the ODLQC accredit the best courses, while experienced organizations have the know-how to create a truly effective course that will prepare you properly for teaching your first class.
OK, so you’ve decided that you need the flexibility of an online course and you’ve found an accredited training provider, but how much depth is enough? 60 hours? 80 hours? 120 hours??? Again, it depends on your needs, but an entry-level course will cover all of the essentials. If you feel your grammar really isn’t up to scratch, include a Grammar Awareness Module, too. But if you want to be fully prepared to compete for jobs in a country where competition is fierce, a 120 Hour Combined TEFL Course is your best bet.
But it’s not enough!
It’s OK to want more training. You could feel that you need the extra motivation offered in a classroom, or some teaching practice to prepare properly, or simply that you’ve spent enough time in front of a computer and want to get out and learn with others. It’s all about making sure you’re confident and ready for teaching, so i-to-i offers the flexibility to add a classroom course at a later date.
In the end, the decision between online, classroom or both is about taking you from where you are now to landing your first TEFL job. Thankfully, there are enough options that you can always find a course to suit your needs.