Teaching abroad is one of the most exciting and educational adventures you can undertake during your young adulthood—or any time thereafter, for that matter. Before you make the leap, though, there are some important initial steps you’ll need to take care of. First and foremost of these is earning your TEFL certification to teach English as a second language.
Basic TEFL accredited certification requires 120 hours of study to accomplish; you’ll have the opportunity to enroll in an accredited TEFL program either online or in-person to complete this training. Online certifications are generally the more inexpensive and flexible option, suited well for those with some teaching experience, while in-person courses offer more comprehensive practical training.
Most schools around the world will expect English teachers to possess internationally recognized TEFL or TESOL certification in order to be considered for employment. While additional teaching experience on top of this is not typically necessary, the certification itself is of crucial importance. If you want a legitimate employer (an a legitimate employment visa) then accredited TEFL certification is a must.
But where to begin? There’s tons of accredited TEFL programs out there that all claim to have the best product. While the curriculum will be largely the same—covering an array of teaching techniques, classroom strategies, and language concepts—every TEFL program has its own unique brand identity, which its important as a future educator to match up with from the get go.
To help you get started with your research, we’ve compiled here a comprehensive guide to the top 10 accredited TEFL courses out there.
Why you should only consider an internationally recognized TEFL or TESOL certification
First thing’s first—let’s separate the real deals from the imposters. There will be dozens to hundreds of programs out there advertising themselves as having the best course at the lowest price. Not all of these, though, are legitimate. You should beware of scams and shady program providers, and conduct thorough background research on any TEFL course before applying and giving them your money.
You don’t have to worry about any of the the accredited TEFL certification programs we’ve highlighted here—these are each legitimate, accredited, large organizations with thousands of graduates spread out teaching English around the world. If you take your search for the perfect program deeper however, just be sure to cross check with GoAbroad or other international education listings to ensure it’s legit.
Read reviews, reach out to alumni, and make absolute certain that your TEFL or TESOL training is internationally accredited. This is the only way to ensure that you’ll have a legitimate experience teaching English abroad from the start.
10 accredited TEFL courses to jumpstart your program search
The following accredited TEFL programs are some of the most popular options out there for English-teachers-in-training, and each is a legit option that will set you off on the right foot. In no particular order, here are our top 10 accredited TEFL courses:
International TEFL Academy is one of the most prominent accredited TEFL programs in the world, offering courses in 25 locations around the world. They also offer accredited online TEFL courses for prospective teachers who feel comfortable with self-learning. Over 5,000 teachers graduate from International TEFL Academy every year and move on to teach in some 80 countries worldwide.
- Pros: International TEFL Academy is one of the most recognizable names in accredited TEFL certification, so you can rest assured that your education will be legit and your degree will be accepted foremost in countries around the world.
- Cons: 25 locations around the world is a lot, but all of International TEFL Academy’s Asia programs are concentrated in the southeast. Students interested in teaching in the south of far east may do better to look elsewhere.
- More info: Read ITA reviews
International TEFL and TESOL training (ITTT) is an accredited TEFL course provider with educational centers located in dozens of countries around the world, from Guatemala to South Africa to Vietnam. They also offer accredited TEFL online courses. ITTT courses have a practical emphasis and approach ESL teaching through an English-only classroom approach.
- Pros: ITTT has a very impressive listing of educational centers around the world, covering a large diversity of locations for teachers of all regional aspirations.
- Cons: While ITTT has an expansive jobs board that can help you find work in your country of choice, they do not offer as much in the way of job placement assistance as some other providers.
- More info: Read ITTT reviews
Intro: The Language House TEFL is a well-established, popular accredited TEFL course provider located in Prague, the Czech Republic. Because it’s not as big as the major providers, it offers a more intimate and communal learning experience that places a high emphasis on the individual. The Language House TEFL is all about building personal relationships, and maintaining hands on support throughout the accreditation and teaching abroad experiences.
- Pros: The Language House TEFL offers an intimate learning environment where students can expect to be pushed to fulfill their individual potential.
- Cons: Because it is a smaller accredited TEFL program, the Language House TEFL does not maintain as broad of a global network as some of the major providers.
- More info: Read Language House TEFL reviews
4. i-to-i TEFL
I-to-i TEFL has been training prospective ESL teachers for nearly three decades and has sent nearly 200,000 graduates to teach abroad around the world. This wide-reaching accredited TEFL program offers not only online and in-classroom courses around the world, but also internships and supported job placements in countries such as Spain and China. Future teachers at i-to-i can rest assured they’ll be well-connected through this far-reaching international organization.
- Pros: i-to-i offers a diversity of accredited TEFL courses for ESL teachers of all different aspirations and experience levels, giving future educators all sorts of options for how to launch their teaching career abroad.
- Cons: While it offers a creative range of programs, i-to-i TEFL doesn't offer accredited TEFL courses in as many different locations as some other major providers.
- More info: Read i-to-i reviews
5. Premier TEFL
Premier TEFL offers a wide range of accredited TEFL courses online, giving teachers the opportunity to either enroll in a basic training or pursue any number of specializations. They also offer blended courses and paid internships in dozens of locations across South America, Europe and Asia. Premier TEFL has been in the business for over three decades, and prides itself on educational, expansive, and engaging courses.
- Pros: Premier TEFL has a core structure of online learning, making it a very convenient and advanced option for aspiring teachers on the go in the 21st century.
- Cons: Aspiring educators that are absolutely new to teaching my benefit from a full-time in classroom course, which Premier TEFL does not specialize in.
- More info: Read Premier TEFL reviews
MyTEFL offers accredited online TEFL courses, on site courses in Thailand, Argentina, or Spain, and a host of other training programs around the world. They are very supportive in applying to jobs teaching abroad as well, offering full support throughout the application process. MyTEFL is also a socially responsible organization, donating a portion of its enrollment fees to partner charities.
- Pros: MyTEFL offers lots of support to its graduates, so if you’re nervous about job-seeking after graduation, here’s a good accredited TEFL program to work with.
- Cons: MyTEFL is limited in its on-site location options, so if you’re looking to get TEFL certified in the country you intend on teaching abroad in, you may want to look elsewhere.
- More info: Read myTEFL reviews
TEFL Worldwide Prague is an American-run accredited TEFL certification school sitting in the heart of Europe in Prague. It offers month-long programs that give students the opportunity to live abroad and interact with fellow aspiring educators as they prepare to launch into their teaching careers. It’s become a very popular school since opening in 2003, and is open to both native and non-native English speakers of most ages.
- Pros: TEFL Worldwide Prague brings future ESL teachers from around the world into an immersive, intimate learning environment, where you’ll grow immensely and have a fun time while at it.
- Cons: TEFL Worldwide Prague does what it does well, but is somewhat limited in its flexibility, given its singular location and structure.
- More info: Read TEFL Worldwide Prague reviews
8. Maximo Nivel
Maximo Nivel is a large international educational organization with programs located throughout Latin America. While accredited TEFL courses are only a part of what they do, the connectivity of this training within its larger organizational structure makes it a stand out opportunity for teachers aspiring to launch their careers in Latin America. Maximo Nivel’s programs are concentrated in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru.
- Pros: Earning your TEFL certification with Maximo Nivel is an opportunity to launch into language immersion early on and make connections across the continent.
- Cons: Maximo Nivel is focused on Spanish-English language exchange in South and Central America—so educators not interested in this region can look on.
- More info: Read Maximo Nivel reviews
The University of Toronto’s accredited TEFL certification program is designed by professors from one of the world’s most prestigious universities, so you know you’ll be in good hands. This is a self-paced, online TEFL accreditation course with options for 100, 120, or 150 hour trainings. The course is partnered with Teach Away, a large organization with connections to many opportunities teaching abroad across the world.
- Pros: Having the University of Toronto brand stamped on your TEFL accreditation will add to your attractiveness while applying to jobs, and is sure to boost your standing in competitive regions.
- Cons: The University of Toronto’s online TEFL accreditation course is significantly more expensive than some competitors. You get what you pay for.
- More info: Read Teach Away reviews
10. Oxford TEFL
The Oxford TEFL teacher training program offers both online and 4-week intensive course options in several European cities and in India. They offer both a basic TESOL certification and an advanced TESOL diploma that can be used for academic credit, among other course offerings and specializations. Oxford TEFL also offers native language courses Czech and Spanish language courses to supplement their trainings in Barcelona and Prague.
- Pros: Oxford TEFL has a variety of program offerings for both new and experienced teachers, making it a good option for international educators at all different levels.
- Cons: Oxford TEFL only has a few city locations to choose from, which may be insufficient for teachers looking for broader horizons.
- More info: Read Oxford TEFL reviews
Choosing between accredited TEFL courses—easier now than before, eh?
These top internationally recognized TEFL or TESOL certification providers are all sure to steer you in the right direction launching into your career teaching abroad, so the important thing now is you find the one that’s the right fit for your experience and aspirations.
Some will just feel warmer to you than others from the get-go, which is an important indication of a good match. Beyond this, pay attention to the types of specialized programs each offers, the locations they have roots in, the extensiveness of their global reach, the level of support they offer at each step of the process, and other such aspects that shape their identity as an organization.
Eventually, you will land on what feels like the perfect option—then it’s time to get the ball rolling, and let the real adventure begin.