What is the Best TEFL Certification?

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Tired of your everyday work routine, and craving adventure? Why not start looking for the best TEFL certification to get your foot in the airplane door? While you don’t necessarily need a TEFL certification to teach English abroad, it is absolutely a great idea if you’re looking into earning a higher salary and to make yourself a top notch candidate.

What is the Best TEFL Certification?

Getting the best TEFL certification you can is a wise choice to fund your travels, and it will prepare you for rewarding professional experiences teaching English abroad. If you’ve made it to this article, you’re no doubt looking for options to suit your needs, so we’ve rounded up a list of the best TEFL certification programs, ranging from low cost options to online choices.

Start exploring the best TEFL programs now!

Best Low-Cost TEFL Certification Program

Our pick: Premier TEFL

Tight budget? Premier TEFL understands that. They often have deals, such as up to 50 percent off TEFL certification courses and 50 percent off TEFL teaching internships. Their least expensive course, the 120 hour advanced TEFL course (from $99-$250 depending on their sales), offers fully accredited training, personal tutor support, a three-month study period, an internationally recognized certificate, and career advice.

neon dollar sign on a black background
Look for the best low-cost TEFL certification to keep a little green in your pocket.

In general, the fewer hours a TEFL certification program lasts, the cheaper it is. TEFL courses can be as short as 20 hours or as long as 250+ hours. While you’ll save money with a low-cost TEFL program, keep in mind that most employers will just recognize certificates of AT LEAST 120 hours. Cheaper courses also offer less hands-on teaching time. This choice is the best TEFL program for you if you plan on volunteering or if you’re dabbling with English teaching.

Best Online TEFL Certification Program

Our pick: The International TEFL Academy (ITA)

Whether you’ve got your eyes set on teaching English in Argentina or Italy, ITA can prep you for it. Since ITA TEFL courses are completed online, this is a great pick for would-be TEFL teachers who need a flexible certification program. Their university-level, 170-hour online course grants you access to a virtual classroom where you can complete homework and quizzes at your own pace. You’ll get 150 hours of online training and 20 hours of in-person observation in an ESL classroom in your hometown.

hands typing on a mac keyboard
Look for the best online TEFL certification programs to fit your busy schedule.

The great thing about online TEFL Certification programs is that they’re usually the cheapest and most flexible choices. If you have a busy schedule, it’s a relief to be able to complete a course like this from your home at the right pace for you. However, you can only learn so much online. Although ITA offers a 20-hour practicum, you wouldn’t exactly get as much hands-on teaching experience as you would getting a TEFL certification with more teaching hours. If you’ve never taught, this can hurt your students’ learning.

Best TEFL Certification Programs Abroad

Our pick: International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT)

With ITTT’s four-week, in-class TEFL certification course, not only will you benefit from an internationally recognised and accredited program, you’ll also have the chance to take a course in 27 countries. This program  offers 120 hours of training and six to ten hours of teaching practice with real ESL students. After your course, you’ll have free lifetime TEFL job support services to help you snag that dream job! Lastly, ITTT will arrange accommodations, whether you go to Chiapas, Mexico or Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Krabi, Thailand
Find the best TEFL certification programs abroad in your dream locale – like Thailand!

This is arguably the best TEFL certification program because you usually get intensive training of several weeks that involves guided English teaching practice, so you get the real experience you need with students. Unfortunately, the best TEFL programs, like this, are usually more expensive than taking the online route; but if you can afford this option, you’ll grow more as a teacher with the feedback and real life experience you’d get!

Our (other - we couldn't choose just one!) pick: TEFL Worldwide Prague

Pairing the usual 120 hours of courses with hands-on teaching experience and personalized TEFL advice, TEFL Worldwide Prague fits right in with the best of the best. Thanks to TEFL Worldwide Prague, more than 3,000 graduates have gone on to teach English all over the world with their TEFL certification in hand. If you are looking for an accredited course with lifetime job guidance and a magical setting, TEFL Worldwide Prague will definitely cross off all your must-haves.

Best TEFL Certification Programs in the U.S.

Our pick: Greenheart Travel

In addition to offering online TEFL Certification needed to start teaching abroad, Greenheart Travel also offers TEFL courses that take place in Chicago. Their 190 hour class in Chicago includes four weeks of full time, in-person TEFL training and practicum teaching with actual ESL students to gain real time experience (each class has only about 12 students-phiew!). Once you’re done, you’ll dig their lifetime job guidance and ESL school directory (about 8,000 schools worldwide).

If you’re from the United States, you’ll most likely benefit financially from being able to stay closer home to earn TEFL certification. If you’re coming to the U.S. from another country, you’ll benefit from experiencing American culture and practicing your (American) English.

chicago skyline at dusk
The best TEFL certification programs might be in your own back yard!

On the other hand, Americans choosing to stay on their home turf to be TEFL certified won’t be able to immerse themselves in the culture of another country (which is why there are many reasons to take TEFL courses abroad instead of at home). For foreigners coming to the U.S. to get certified, keep in mind that your ESL students will probably have a higher base for learning English than they would in a non-English speaking country, so your classroom experience may be more challenging elsewhere.

Best TEFL Certification Programs for YOU

After having taken the above categories into account, now is the time to think about the best program that fits YOUR needs. Some things to consider before getting TEFL certified abroad include: Is this program accredited? What’s my budget? Do I have enough time to dedicate to an in-person certification or would I breathe easier with an online course? The on-site vs. online TEFL courses debate is a big one to think about.

It will also be important to ask yourself which country you would like to become TEFL certified in. If you’re planning to teach in one country, why not get certified there? Then, you can decide whether or not you enjoy the local cuisine, work culture, and other factors that can make or break a teaching stint abroad.

close up portrait of a young african american woman
The important thing is to find the best TEFL certification for YOU.

The absolute best TEFL certification is hard to say...

Whether you’re dreaming of delicious noodles to slurp in Vietnam or you can’t wait to make bank teaching English in the Middle East, doing your homework will help you find the right fit, as will reaching out to program alumni. You’ll also be better able to weed out suspicious certifications. Teaching placements should require you to be TEFL certified with a minimum amount of teaching hours, then any job that doesn’t meet this minimum is probably a scam. When in doubt, get a second opinion (or a third!).

No matter which accredited TEFL certification program you pick, you’re bound for a life altering experience, and some professional development and cultural integration to boot (especially if you choose one on GoAbroad)! Once you have gained experience and maybe a higher qualification, like a TEFL diploma, you’ll nail down more competitive ESL teaching jobs overseas, like an English program, TEFL teacher trainer, or curriculum designer. Just be open to the possibilities, and the world won’t cease to deliver!

Once you’re ready to put your TEFL magic to use — find teaching jobs on GoAbroad!

Topic:  Before You Go