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What's the most reputable online TEFL course? Or which courses are the most reputable? Maybe you are in the market for a TEFL course and you are wondering which is the best online TEFL course?

So what is it?

It depends on a few factors such as where you want to teach. I have to say based on my experience teaching in Asia for 6 years that it probably doesn't matter as much as you think.

Again it depends on where you want to teach. And when I say that I mean the school and the location (country or province). Countries can have specific requirements for visas and then schools have individual preferences as well.

“Nobody actually gives a flying fuck where your TESOL is from unless you are applying at international schools and they require the aforementioned, (CELTA usually), plus an education degree, so that’s a moot point for you anyway.” — muirnoir

I agree...

As far as getting a job goes, so you might think I'll just get the cheapo, but what you learn from the course is a different story.

Thoughts on online TEFL courses

There are varying opinions regarding online TEFL courses. Some say "yay" and some say "nay". In Asia I'd say they are accepted most of the time.

Most of the criticism towards online courses is based on the lack of feedback that's given in some courses. But we'll consider a few thoughts first on who the most reputable course is.

But first I have to ask why do you want to take the most reputable online TEFL/TESOL course?

If you really care about reputation then you probably shouldn't take an online course, because some people don't respect them. Some employers don't care and others may.

CELTA is often said to be one of the most reputable courses

And now CELTA has an online course hybrid. This is not strictly an online course though. Part of the course needs to be taken in the classroom.

Most people will say that CELTA and Trinity TESOL courses are the most reputable.

Yet again it depends on the school and the location. See what this girl who took a CELTA course had to say about how "recognized" a CELTA course is in Asia.

What many TEFL course providers say

There are many TEFL course providers out there that will tell you that "their courses" are the most reputable because they are accredited or that their course is 120 "so-called" hours.

But this is mostly just hype, lies and marketing. In my experience the majority of employers in Asia don't care where you got your certificate from.

There may be a few schools like that, but definitely not most. Schools usually care more about experience than they do TEFL certification.

Did your degree make a difference?

You usually need a degree to teach abroad. Did you go to a reputable university? Did it make a difference? In some ways TEFL certification is similar to that degree you have. 

Did that degree privilege you some way? TEFL certification is similar. By itself it's probably not going to get you into some incredible high paying position in a so-called "reputable" school.

Schools usually look at your whole resume and experience just like employers do in your own country.

Again, you are going to meet some TEFL course providers along the way that tell you differently, but keep in mind that they are selling to you.

I think your degree is similar to that TEFL certification. Because you might have been told or thought that certain things may come from getting that degree. The same thing happens with TEFL certification.

Does the cost of certification matter?

If you believe that you get what you pay for then this might be true. But in my experience it's not going to matter for most schools. What that means is that a $1200 certificate from the university of Toronto's course is not going to be much different than a certificate from Groupon.

Sure there may be schools out there that say, "Oooh, he has a certificate from a university". That's possible, but like I said most schools won't care. The cost of a certificate is just one factor.

What actually matters?

What you take away from the course matters. What you learn from it matters. Many online courses are low quality or boring. If you want to learn and be better prepared to do your job then you need a higher quality course like this one that is focused more on teaching children which is a large part of the job market in East Asia.

What's a higher quality online course? Read the research.

A certificate may only give you an edge over the person with NO experience

I think that is the reality of it most of the time.

Let's say you take U of T's so-called "reputable" online TEFL course. You apply to a job teaching in Taiwan or wherever. Then another guy without a TEFL certificate and a year of experience teaching in that country applies. Guess who is going to get that job most of the time?

The guy with experience.

Most of the time TEFL certification doesn't compare to experience or even teaching licenses. It doesn't actually compare to a degree either nor does it replace a lack of one. Your degree is required to get a work visa teaching English. However, in my experience TEFL certification is not usually required to do that.

It's just going to depend on the school.

And nothing is black and white and you are not a resume. Employers discriminate all the time. They are looking for who they think is the best person for their opening. And in Asia they may openly say they want a white teacher or a female teacher or young teacher.

It happens in your country too, but they just don't say that.

My brutal advice

If you found this page by doing a search for reputable online TEFL courses then I got to say I think you have it backwards and/or you are in this for the wrong reason.

You are focused on the carrot which is a certificate or a course that's going to do magic tricks and find you a great high paying job. Didn't you learn anything from college?


I mean wasn't going to college partly about getting a better job? And did you go to college to teach English abroad?

You are a new teacher and it doesn't matter what certificate you get because employers value real experience teaching English in terms of YEARS.

Although it could be required a TEFL certificate isn't going to make much of a difference.

Instead of focusing on the end (an extrinsic reward) thinking it's going to solve all of your problems I would focus on learning (an intrinsic goal) if you really want to have a good experience abroad.

It's not a vacation and you will be spending quite a bit of time in a classroom. And if you do not know what you are doing then you are going to have a rough time.

So if you are going to teach mostly kids then I would take this course (because it makes learning how to teach easier by the way of instructional videos and feedback not theory and text)... if you really want to have a better year abroad.

Most people only teach abroad for a year or two.

If you want a so-called "reputable" TEFL certificate then you are going to pay a $1000+ for that. But that certificate for most people isn't going to be any better to the majority of schools out there. 

So what you are paying for is going to be that name, but it's probably not going to bring you any better of a job then the one that cost $50 or $200 or $1000.

I would focus more on what you will learn in the course. If you are looking for the most "reputable" course than you are basically just focused on external factors. 

Getting your foot in the door is just the beginning.

Before you know it you will be teaching and what you know or don't know will determine to some extent how much you like teaching abroad.