Once upon a time ESLinsider offered an online TEFL course so cheap that it was free.

So it was easy to say that it was "the cheapest" because there was a free course and at one time certification cost anywhere from $40-100 depending on the course. But then the courses developed more.

Why were the courses so cheap?

  1. I wanted to get some publicity for the site since it was relatively new.
  2. In the beginning it was pretty basic.
  3. There were also no feedback.
  4. Well, it started with the fact that I paid a $1000 for a course that was not very helpful. I became kind of anti-TEFL course.

It's not as cheap as it was, but it's better. There is still a free course too. 


I really enjoyed the information you set up in the course.  It was well organized and the questions actually referred to the information in the units, unlike another course I went through.  I have two children who are college students right now whom I would like to get involved in the 120 hour course.  

I have been looking for one that was informative, well-organized, and easy to understand. I can tell that you have done your research to find information that would actually be helpful to a new, or struggling teacher.  I also really appreciate your letting me take a few lessons to see what it was like. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences, too.  I completed another program that was free before finding yours, and the information given was often not the same as what was on the tests.  

It had the wrong videos in several places and was very unorganized and difficult to follow.  The only problem I saw in the first six lessons of your program was the missing video, which I already wrote to you about.  Keep up the great work!

Susan G.

Other than that...

The cheapest TEFL courses online are (or were) on Groupon. They still have courses listed there, but sometimes they are listed as NO LONGER AVAILABLE. You could get a course there for like $40-70.

I mean if you are not planning on teaching English abroad for the long term then why spend a lot of money on a TEFL certification and a qualification? Spending thousands of dollars on a TEFL/TESOL course is just not practical for most people since most only teach abroad for a year or two.

Chances are you don't have a lot of extra money to spend as maybe you have debt from school, so before you buy you are probably looking for a deal, a discount or something cheap. Right?

But is a cheap TEFL certificate all you need?

The cheapest online TEFL course

I know that it's a little tiresome to hear, but some people in the TEFL world say that "you get what you pay for".

So if you want more value and to get something out of the course then read on, because you will soon discover a course that's practical and useful.

Here's an online TEFL course that is much cheaper than the course I took (I paid $1000) and way better - more on that later.

Cheap 120 hour online TEFL courses

Even though it doesn't seem like it now I'll assume that someone else will come along and put a course on Groupon for cheap. And it's safe to say that they'll probably sell it for cheap.

cheapest tefl

120 hour courses on Groupon cost $69

cheap tefl

ESLinsider's advanced 120 hour course costs $209

not so cheap online tefl

U of T's 120 hour course costs $1,295

So what will you get for $39-69?

I guess it's hard to say if that option is still available, but I would assume that it's probably going to:

  • be pretty basic
  • be not very media rich
  • have short term access

Quotes from around the web on Groupon courses:

Here's a comment from a couple that took a course for $70 on Groupon. I found their video on Youtube.

"It was a refresher course with all the rules to English. It didn't actually teach you to teach English, but... (Other person laughing) Yeah it didn't really teach you at all on how to teach English, but yeah a good refresher on all the English skills."

Another on Reddit said:

"Don't expect any more than the 'basics' from any program charging between 50.00 - 200.00."

What do you get for $209?

  • thorough practical training especially targeted at teaching young learners (the largest segment of the job market in Asia)
  • media rich (lots of videos shot in the classrooms of Asia)
  • long term access (review and repetition is the key to learning anything)

What do you get for $1,295

  • in-depth training
  • 2 units of specialization
  • certificate from a university

I guess a university based online TEFL course is not that cheap.

As I mentioned before I took a course for a $1000 and thought it wasn't worth it. I thought that because of what I actually learned and could put to use. It was a kind of a general course that was considered 60 hours in a classroom and 60 hours outside of the classroom.

Ideally I needed something more practical that prepared me to teach in Asia (especially kids).

But it's not just about the money right?

I mean you probably don't want to spend a fortune on certification, but you want to enjoy it and get something out of it correct? So if you focus merely on the cost of a TEFL course you might miss something.

ESL teachers advice

So here's a mini course that will help you answer the question, "Are these courses for you?" Because in fact they are not for everyone. So here's what else you can learn when you log in:

  • You'll get advice from teachers in Asia: China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan on video.
  • You'll learn how to find "your" best place teaching abroad and an environment that suits you.
  • You'll get a comprehensive look at salaries for teachers in China, Korea, Japan & Taiwan.
  • You'll learn about the different kinds of schools you can work in.

And one other thing, Are you sure your English is good enough to teach abroad? Take this fun quiz and find out.

Yes, let's log in and see what we discover!

Less expensive is good, effective is even better

The goal wasn't just to make an inexpensive course. The focus is on an affordable and effective course. In other words the focus is on value.

ESLinsider's videos have received 1,000,000+ views on Youtube and over 4,000 people have subscribed

So now that you can see that it's inexpensive. I am going to show you how it's effective. This course is effective because it's:

  1. Engaging
  2. Thorough
  3. Interactive
  4. It's going to help you find a job.

1. You have to engage

Actually, to get certified you have to do more than just show up or hand over some money. Some courses will give you a certificate no matter what. As long as you pay you'll get a certificate. For ESLinsider's 60 hour course you have to maintain an 80% or higher through the course and you have to receive an 85% or higher on the final exam to receive a certificate.

But don't worry as Sandra mentions below, it's not that difficult.

So in order to get to the next topic you have to be involved. I think that you will find it engaging.

The best or rather most thorough course is currently the 120 hour course. In terms of TEFL courses a 120 hours is considered the most reputable and is kind of an industry standard. Following that there is the 60 hour course and there is also a 20 hour course which would be the shortest and quickest.

testimonial ESLinsider's course

2. It's thorough

Here is the 60 hour course outline. This can be viewed after signing up and logging into the course. There are some differences between the 60 and 120 hour courses. The 120 hour course contains more exams, assignments and content.

  • Introduction
  • Teaching methods
  • The teacher as a public speaker
  • Learning styles
  • Lesson planning
  • Presenting language
  • Teaching reading
  • Teaching speaking
  • Teaching writing
  • Teaching listening
  • Teaching pronunciation and phonics
  • Midterm
  • Grammar
  • Using games and activities
  • Teaching with songs
  • Dealing with problems in the classroom
  • Classroom management
  • Classroom management tips
  • Writing your resume
  • Finding jobs
  • Culture shock
  • Final exam

Leonard"When I first started the courses, I was really absorbed with the content. You've made it so well organized and completely legible. I was hooked into the experience and spent many hours straight just digging into the content. Surprisingly, I somehow ended up filling my entire coil book with notes. On average I think I spent about 3-4 hours in one sitting while going through your course." - Leonard Giang

What does the course content look like?

Let's take a look at what some of the content inside the course looks like. The course uses a good deal of how-to videos that were shot in private and public schools primarily in Korea.

  • Content pieces of video, text, and audio followed by questions.
  • Assignments
  • Exams

The 120 hour course includes feedback on your lesson plans.

A video from the course

3. It's interactive

As mentioned in point one you have to be engaged. So the course employs interactive learning to do that. It does so by using different media such as video, audio, text and then Q&A, multiple choice, true or false, fill in the blank, etc.

A question in the course

The 120 hour course also includes feedback on your lesson plans.

Over 3,000 people have already taken ESLinsider's courses

4. It's going to help you get a job

Having a TEFL qualification will help you get a job and improve your resume especially if you don't have experience.

"I have just finished and printed the title. This course is fun, easy to follow, entertaining, knowledgeable, and full of useful tips. It has been a very nice experience to have known Eslinsider... Thank you." - Sofia Patina Fontan

review of ESLinsider's 120 hour course

But are you on my path?

I spent 6 years living and teaching in Asia. I taught mostly kids aged 6-13 years old. I also taught adults a little bit and occasionally really young kids. It's a well rounded course, but it focuses more on teaching kids from about 6-13.

It also uses a lot of videos that were shot in the classrooms of Asia. So the context would be similar if you are planning on teaching in Asia. These aren't the cheapest TEFL certification courses online, but they will give you more confidence, more control and you'll have more fun in the classroom.