Some TEFL and TESOL course providers use some of the same marketing tactics. Marketing tactics that stretch the truth, tell a half-truth or worse case scenario straight out lie. The TEFL industry is a revolving door and those that are coming in that door haven't much of an idea what it's actually like to teach or live abroad. Those newcomers are placing a lot of trust into TEFL/TESOL companies.
The thing is what those companies are telling or showing you isn't always the case. They have their own needs in mind. Some of these marketing tactics I mentioned in other articles on TEFL/TESOL courses.
Several marketing tactics that some TEFL providers use to get you to buy.
- Guaranteed jobs
- You'll get a better job
- Employers want "our" TEFL certificate
- It's really competitive nowadays
- Have the experience of a lifetime
- Exotic locations
- Travel and see the world
1. Guaranteed Jobs
Guaranteed jobs is a common one. Some TEFL/TESOL courses offer this. They say if you complete their course then you're guaranteed a job - through them. I believe this is a tactic that's used to prey on your fear of teaching abroad. You're looking for security and guarantees, which don't really exist in this world. They may offer this, in fact the course I took offered some jobs through their website, but you don't need this and here's why.
A course can only offer you a small share of all the jobs that are out there. You'll find far more variety on other sites than you will on theirs. It could be a helpful service, but I wouldn't choose a course because of it. The course I took had very few jobs especially in places where I wanted to teach. In my opinion it's not worth it and don't fall for it.
2. You'll get a more reputable job
Unless you're getting a very high level certificate, such as a CELTA, DELTA or Trinity TESOL, this is not likely to happen. A lot of people have TEFL certificates and even more importantly teaching experience. In my experience I wasn't granted any better jobs than my non-TEFL touting friends. And even having a CELTA, DELTA or other advanced TEFL certificate doesn't guarantee anything.
I have heard some TEFL course providers say that if you only have a degree you'll only qualify for an entry level job and that a TEFL/TESOL course will enable you to get a "reputable" job. Nonsense! A whole lot of people are competing for relatively similar jobs. The qualifications that typically make a difference are certified (licensed) teachers, teachers who have masters degrees and years of experience.
Here is a quote from the Oxford Seminars website:
"In addition, those lacking certification are often at a disadvantage since the jobs they are likely to find will be lower paying positions with schools at the low end of the market; these schools are more likely to offer exploitative working conditions.
All things being equal between you and the other competing job applicant than yes a TEFL certificate could give you an edge, but so can good looks, a youthful appearance and charm. What things do employers request when applying for jobs online? First and foremost all of them require a photo and a resume. In some countries employers will never ask to see your TEFL certificate. In Japan, Korea and Taiwan employers will only rarely require you to send a photo of your certificate.
TEFL certificates are often preferred, but there are other preferences.
3. Employers want "our" TEFL certificate
Some TEFL course providers out there say that some employers want their (companies name) certificate. That's mostly nonsense and poor marketing. Most employers in Eastern Asia don't know the difference between TEFL, TESOL, and CELTA. They will hardly recognize a difference between the myriad of course providers out there. For the ones that do then they will know that the most recognized programs are CELTA, DELTA, and Trinity TESOL. You can see an example of this here.
4. It's really "competitive" nowadays
Some providers use the line that it's not like it used to be when you could just show up and get a job. They say that nowadays it's more competitive therefore you will need training and a certificate to get a job. I suppose it depends on the place and the school. But I see this as mostly hype.
Here is another quote from the Oxford Seminars website: "As the competition for desirable ESL teaching jobs has increased, language schools around the world are becoming more selective when hiring new teachers."
5. Have the experience of the life time
You may very well have the experience of a lifetime or you may not like it at all. Some people struggle with culture shock. Some people don't like it and some people are just not cut out for it. If you do have the experience of a lifetime then I don't think it's dependent on what TEFL/TESOL course you take.
6. Exotic Beaches
I have seen this one on a number of TEFL course sites. You'll see an exotic beach somewhere in Thailand tempting you to come teach English abroad. The thing is most people don't teach on a beach. Most people don't teach anywhere near a beach. Most people live and teach in a fairly densely populated city. Eastern Asia is a very populated place. It's very urban and there are many problems from the urbanization, pollution, and over crowding.
While there are beautiful places to see. The fact is most people don't end up in those places. Most people end up in urban areas.
7. Travel and see the world!
It's not completely inaccurate. It can be a good way to have an experience living abroad. However, teaching abroad and traveling abroad are different. In my experience most teachers don't actually do a lot of traveling because they are mostly working. Sure you'll get to travel locally a bit. But if you are working in a private academy (like a hagwon, buxiban, training center or eikaiwa) most teachers don't get much vacation time which only leaves the weekends, a few days here and there and then at the end of the year. Mostly it's more of an immersion in one country living a fairly routine life since you signed a contract and you have to work.
Having the experience of a lifetime, getting a better job, making more money, getting guaranteed jobs, teaching in exotic locations, and traveling and seeing the world are all possible, but they are not very accurate statements and/or they are misleading.