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tefl accwweditation and elmer fudd

Wondering which online TEFL courses are accredited? Well, most of them are actually, but accreditation is not required with TEFL courses and there is no 'one' accrediting body for TEFL.

99% of the courses out there get their "accreditation" from a business not any sort of governmental organization. And even one of the courses accredited by a so-called government organization is an organization that accredits 190 other unrelated programs like golfing, fashion, banking, diving, plastics fabrication, hypnosis, etc. so they are not so-called TEFL "experts" and it comes with a pricetag of $2,500 for an application.

The idea behind accreditation to prevent scams might be good, but it's easy to fake (1 example) and GOACTA (non-profit educational organization) says accreditation doesn't work.

And here's a word from a teacher abroad.

"The accreditation of a TEFL certificate doesn't matter because no one cares about a 120 hour certificate. Governments and schools just want to see a minimal effort on your part to do something unrelated to your bachelor's degree." - Timemachine2

And here's another from Reddit by none other than the TheFlyingSlothMonkey

...Course providers use the term for bragging rights, but what it means in reality is that they have paid a fee to have some group of randomers "accredit" their course and make it look more appealing (read: expensive) for prospective students. Ultimately, the only difference between a £1000 course from The International TEFL Academy and a £40 course on Groupon is the name of the provider and the quality of the content.

Does it matter where your TEFL certification comes from?

Here is a list of "accredited" online TEFL courses 

Some people ("accredited" TEFL course providers) advise that you look up the accrediting company and check for how legit it is. Just like some of those reviews you might have read are fake there are also some accrediting bodies may be fake and/or created by the same company using a different name.

  • TEFLonline, Bridge TEFL accredited by ACCET
  • i-to-i, accredited by ODLQC
  • The TEFL Academy, accredited by TQUK
  • OnTESOL, accredited by ACTDEC
  • OxfordTEFL, accredited by Trinity College London
  • Enjoy TEFL, accredited by ACCREDITAT
  • Global English TEFL, accredited by ACTDEC
  • TEFL Boot Camp, ???
  • International TEFL academy, accredited by TQUK
  • Premier TEFL, accredited by TQUK
  • Global Language Training, accredited by ACTDEC
  • UK-TEFL, accredited by TQUK
  • University of Anaheim TESOL, accredited by DEAC
  • TEFL Org UK, accredited by BAC
  • CIEE TEFL, not accredited
  • ICAL TEFL, not accredited
  • University of Toronto's online TEFL, not accredited
  • ESLinsider, not accredited (and proud of it)

"Keep in mind that “accreditation mills” also exist..." -

"They’re even “accredited” by fake accreditation agencies." -

How important is accreditation?

It depends on who you ask.

Many TEFL providers will say it's extremely important because they have an accredited course to sell, but remember there is no one body for accreditation. In fact I counted more than 23 TEFL accrediting bodies.

But many courses say they are accredited?

Yes, it means someone has supposedly 'inspected" a course and deemed it worthy, but do you know who that someone is?

A few quick facts from GOACTA's pdf above:

  1. Accreditation is done secretly
  2. Accreditation does NOT guarantee quality
  3. Accreditation involves an exchange of money
  4. Accreditation reduces institutional autonomy (have you started to notice that most TEFL courses look and sound the same?)

There are A LOT of copy cats out there.

And from my point of view most are all CELTA copy cats - at least on the surface. They try to LOOK official and sound like CELTA...

"120 hours" (those are fake "hours" online), "internationally recognized", yadda, yadda, yadda.

"I can promise you no hagwon will bother to check up on the accreditation and quality of the course you took. They will just see that you have the certificate and maybe then place your resume at the top of the pile." - Guyforbes

What that comment means is that in many cases to 'most' schools certificates all look the same and that includes that cheapo on Groupon and that pricey $1200 certificate.

But instead of an accredited piece of paper...

Instead of focusing on a piece of paper that makes it look like you know something you might want to focus on learning.

It's not the destination it's the journey, right??? I mean getting a fancy certificate might sound nice, but that fancy certificate has much less value than you probably think.

Think about your "accredited" degree.

Did that guarantee you a position anywhere? Your degree actually carries a lot more weight than any TEFL certificate. You'll need that degree in most places to get a legal working visa.

A degree and a certificate are extrinsic rewards.

Extrinsic rewards only make you happy in the short term. If you want to be happy in the long term then you want to focus on intrinsic rewards.

Intrinsic rewards are the process such as learning.

Does accreditation make a course "internationally recognized"?

Claims such as "internationally recognized" or "recognized worldwide" are mainly marketing terms and many TEFL course providers use these terms. But they don't actually mean much.

What do employers think?

Employers in Asia are just like employers in your own country. They have their own preferences. They'll look at your whole resume (especially your picture), experience and qualifications.

One certificate or another doesn't automatically guarantee you a job teaching anywhere.


TEFL certificates are typically 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even further down the list in some places compared to actual experience (see data on what employers in Asia want in a teacher).

Yes, there may be courses that are more recognized or known, but that is dependent on the school and location. Courses like CELTA and Trinity TESOL are more recognized, but in my experience teaching in Asia I would say that are not that recognized. 

Here is another girl's opinion who took the CELTA on how recognized the CELTA is in Asia.


I gave you a list of online TEFL course providers and their accreditation. I told you a bit about accreditation and offered some different viewpoints on it that you probably didn't know.

On one hand accreditation could be a marker of quality, but on the other there's more to it than meets the eye. 

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