Can you get a job with an online TEFL course? Yes, somewhere you can, but it does depend on the school and country. Schools and countries can have different requirements or preferences.

It is also possible to get a job without any TEFL course.

Some schools will also reject online certificates. This can be more common in Europe, the middle east or in other more prestigious schools around the world.

How about in Asia? 

In my experience teaching in East Asia I'd say that most schools there don't care and will accept online courses.


Schools all have different preferences. Some:

  • want teachers with experience.
  • need teachers with teaching licenses.
  • require teachers to have master's degrees.
  • want teachers to have taken an in-class TEFL course or a CELTA (but it's not that popular in much of Asia).
  • want teachers to have taken at least an online course.
  • don't care about TEFL certification at all. They'll take teachers with a bachelor's as long as they are from a native English speaking country.

Again it can vary from school to school, but usually it's like this:

In Korea

In Korea online TEFL is fine most of the time. The only case where it may not work is if you want to teach in Busan in the EPIK program. In other EPIK locations and in hagwons online courses are usually fine.

Learn more about teaching English in Korea.

In China

Online TEFL courses in China are usually fine. Some of the tier one cities may require a 120 hour course even though "hours" online is a lie. Some may not be aware yet, but they will be. Others may want you to have an in-class course.

International or more prestigous schools may not, but if you are a first time teacher you probably wouldn't get into these schools with just an onsite TEFL course. Other countries are like this too.

Learn more about teaching English in China.

In Japan 

There is usually no said preference although like in other places it depends on the school.

Learn more about teaching English in Japan.

In Taiwan

It can depend on the school, but there is generally no said preference for or against online TEFL.

Learn more about teaching English in Taiwan.

There are two reasons to consider taking a TEFL course

And your question (the title of this post) focuses on reason 1.

  1. Getting certified will probably improve your resume and help you get a job especially if you don't have any experience.
  2. Taking the right course should teach you how to teach although as I will mention later what you take away from each online course will be different as they are not created equally.

Now getting a job may seem like your problem now and it is, but soon after that you will have another problem and that's going to be teaching.

And you're probably going to be doing that for at least a year.

Teaching is not easy. It's not a simple task to manage a classroom of students and teach a lesson. 

So that's why I would consider which online TEFL course you should take more. If you are thinking of taking a course online then you should know that all courses are not created equally.

What's the difference?

At first glance they may all look the same to you and sound the same. I totally get it.

You'll see words and phrases like accreditation, internationally recognized courses, 120 "hour" courses, be enticed by beaches and other marketing tactics, but the real difference lies in the quality of the course.

You have low quality courses and higher quality courses. Lower quality courses are cheaper.

Lower quality courses will be predominitely text based and you will basically read about some general aspects of teaching English and then answer multiple choice questions.

What's the problem with that?

  1. It's boring.
  2. You are not going to remember much of it.

You might get to Asia or wherever and be excited, but as soon as you get in the classroom you'll quickly realized that you don't know much about teaching.

That's what happened to me.

You might even think that online course you took was worthless, and it might have been, but maybe it was you too.

And that's when the stress begins. 

So if you are going to take an online course and you want to remember what you learn then you need to take a course with the following qualities

The course needs:

  • Video. You need visuals because the easiest way to learn how to teach is by watching other teachers. Most of the cheap courses do not use video.
  • To match. Adults or kids? Most TEFL courses like CELTA focus on teaching adults, but if you are not going to teach adults then you probably need one focused on teaching kids (young learners). It matters because teaching adults and teaching kids is different.
  • Lesson planning. You need to practice making lessons. 
  • Writing. You need to do some writing - which is usually lesson plans. But note taking also helps commit ideas to memory.
  • Feedback. Feedback from another person will help you see where your lesson planning needs some work.

Published research proves the importance of these things.

Videos (multi-media), feedback, writing, and lesson planning may be totally non-existent or used minimally in a cheap and low quality course.

Am I suggesting an expensive course?

Not necessarily, just a good one.

Will you make more money with an in-class TEFL course?

You may see articles out there on sites that say you will make more money with an in-class course or some may say that about any course. It's possible, but I'd say you probably won't as courses are typically secondary to actual experience.

Learn more: