Prefer to watch instead of read? Find our YouTube video on getting your TEFL.
1. Check the requirements for the country you are going to
The first step in moving abroad is deciding where you want to go. Many countries such as China, South Korea and Japan require a four-year bachelor degree and a TEFL certificate in order to get a job teaching. When we were deciding to move abroad, we had to take this into consideration as neither of us had a four year university degree.
A major factor in deciding to move to Cambodia was that Cambodia is a country that does not require a university degree in order to get a legal working visa for teachers. The next step was researching what type of TEFL was required to teach.
CELTA is an international certificate program that is, by far, the best type of English teaching certificate besides obtaining a full teaching degree. If you go for the CELTA route, you will likely be safe to get an ESL teaching job in almost any country.
That said, a CELTA certificate is both the most expensive and the most intensive route to take. In most countries, you can get by on a 150 hour TEFL/TESOL certificate to teach English.
Our advice? Decide where you need to go and do your research.
2. Choose an in-person course if possible
While doing your research, you will find that many countries prefer that you do an in-person certificate program, rather than an online option. This is because in-person TEFL courses will give you the chance to try out your lesson plans in front of a real class. You will also be able to get feedback on your lessons and get great tips face-to-face.
We did our TEFL course in a classroom and highly recommend doing the same for those reasons.
3. Find a course that is accredited
Don’t be fooled by the stamp of approval you may see some TEFL courses advertising. If a course is $10 and you obtain a “So-and-so Academy Accreditation”, think about what that means. In most cases, it doesn’t mean much.
We chose a course that was supported by an accredited university in our city.
Accredited courses should always offer a practicum and a teaching assessment. So, even if it is an online course, there should still be a practicum to pass with students.
4. Be prepared to spend some money
Let’s go back to the $10 courses again. If the price sounds too good to be true, it’s probably because it is. We were also tempted to buy the Groupon courses online, but really considered what we would get out of it.
Remember, the end goal is to teach real students in a real classroom. You want to do a great job and make a real difference. It’s not just about the certificate. It’s about getting an education, learning new and valuable things and becoming the best teacher you possibly can.
We are not telling you to buy a 5,000.00 course – but what we are saying is that if you find a course with great reviews and end results, don’t turn away from it because you may need to spend a couple hundred bucks.
If you are serious about teaching English abroad, you will need to invest. Trust us, it pays off.
5. Choose a course with job placement guidance
Good TEFL courses will offer you lifetime guidance on finding a job abroad. If the company doesn’t offer you this, then move along. There are many great companies out there that will assist you in your job hunt after completion.
6. Read TEFL course reviews
Read the reviews. Spot any red flags and check that the good reviews are coming from real accounts. Like anything you would buy online, you want to be sure that you are getting the best product.
7. Once you’ve decided on a course, wait for offers or deals (if you can)
A couple of weeks after we found our course, a promotion came up. If you recommended a friend, you would both save $100 off of the course. Since we did our TEFL course together, we saved $200.00 by waiting for this promotion.
We learned some very valuable lessons in our course it made teaching a lot easier. We were prepared for the interviews, demos, and challenges we were about to face. Remember, you want to be a good teacher. So take your time and find the right course.
Thinking of moving to Cambodia? Find our blog How to move to Cambodia & teach English
Wondering how much we made in Cambodia? Full breakdown here