What's the most recognized online TEFL course? Well, if you really care about prestige and the recognition of a certificate then you probably shouldn't take an online course.

Why not?

Well, they are not accepted in some places. The schools that don't accept them are often in Europe, the middle east, or at other prestigious schools.

I would say that the most recognized course in those places is going to be a CELTA or Trinity TESOL. But those courses aren't really online. I think CELTA has a course that is partly online, but not totally.

So are there any other courses online that are more prestigious?

Well that depends who you ask. If you ask a TEFL course provider many will say, "Ours!" 

Is there any truth to that? 

I don't really think so. Lots of TEFL course providers say that schools want to see "their" certificate. It happens with both online and in-class courses. It's just bad marketing in my opinion.

In my experience teaching in Asia: China, Korea and Taiwan, I'd say most schools will accept online TEFL courses. 

The most recognized brand in TEFL is CELTA. CELTA is a brand of TEFL courses although I would say that it is not very popular in Asia and so wouldn't she. So are there other brands that are more recognized?

I think there are brands that may be in some places, but there are so many brands out there that most schools aren't going to make a preference for one or the other. And again if they made a preference for a course it would be for one that was probably in-class.

I know you are looking for simple answers, but it just doesn't work like that. It's just kinda like getting a job in your own country. Does a degree from a prestigious university guarantee you a job "anywhere"?

From my point of view, no, it doesn't, but if your answer was yes, then I'd say well a TEFL certification is not a degree.

The bottom line is that it depends on the school.

I mean you could get a CELTA, go to Korea or wherever you want to teach and then find out that your employer doesn't even care or know what a CELTA is.

My first employer in Taiwan didn't seem to care about my in-class TESOL course.

Or maybe you could get a CELTA and get a great job somewhere although I would say that most first time teachers don't get great jobs because they don't have experience.

It depends.

I think to most employers the brand of TEFL will not matter.

Although I don't think Groupon TEFL courses have a good reputation. On the other hand many employers in Asia won't know the difference between a fake TEFL, a cheap TEFL and a $1000+ online TEFL.

Or will they?

If you want the most recognized certificate then that means you care about quality right? Or does it?

You should care about the quality of the course, because you will realize the difference when actually you start teaching. 

You have a bigger problem than getting a job and that's going to be the teaching

I understand that at this point you're stressed about getting a job, but it's not that hard to get a job teaching English in Asia. You can get a job with the most expensive certificate, the cheapest one or without any certificate somewhere.


Getting a job is just the beginning. The actual job is what is challenging. You may be concerned now with just getting a job, but if you are going to take a course then why not take one that trains you better?

You want a certificate to get a job and courses know that, so that's what they are selling you: a certificate that's "internationally recognized", accredited, "prestigious", comes with a guaranteed job, etc.

But those things hardly matter in the long run.

What matters more is what you learn in the course. Learning online is difficult. Why? Because people don't retain what they learn for a few different reasons.

Here's an example:

"I finished the entire program in 3 days and retained like 5% of the information." - woobv

Why don't they retain the information?

Because it is uninspiring material. These lower quality courses are predominately text based courses where you read passages and then answer multiple choice like questions.

It's boring and you have no visuals. Research shows that people only tend to read 20-30% of a page. So if you only read that much then how much do you think that you will remember?

Not much.

On the other hand research shows that visuals improve memory and retention.

I can tell you from experience that the easiest way to learn is by watching other teachers. If you can't be in the classroom watching other teachers then you can do that by watching instructional videos.

Reading online is more time consuming. Videos are faster and richer. 

Learn more about the qualities of a high quality online TEFL course.

What's the most recognized online TEFL course?

Well, I said it doesn't really matter, but one other thing to keep in mind that I didn't mention are "hours". Some people are going to say that you need a 100 or 120 hours of online training. But online these TEFL course hours are a misnomer. 

There are no actual "hours" as these courses are asynchronous courses which means there are no set class times. These courses typically take way less time than they suggest.


Teaching English is not easy. You need all the help you can get. Getting a job is just the beginning. If you want to have a better time teaching abroad then I would invest more in the teaching, because that is where you are going to be spending your most of your time.

The best course is going to be the one that prepares you to teach the students you are going to teach. If you are going to teach mostly kids then you should take a course focused on that.

Many courses are just general courses. They tend to focus on teaching adults and they can be helpful, but many like the ones I have done (1 in-class and 1 online) are not specific enough.

Here's a course especially focused on teaching English to mostly kids in Asia.