One issue that is common among those who want to teach English online is choosing the right TESOL certification course. Here are some things that I’ve learned.
Is TESOL Certification Needed?
When it comes to teaching English abroad, just because you speak English, doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to teach it or that you’re necessarily qualified. This is why some reputable schools will require that you be not only a native English speaker but have a college degree and a TESOL certificate at the minimum.
Sometimes when I tell people that I teach English they kind of look at me like it’s a hobby and like they don’t really consider it a real job. But the truth is that its hard work and this is why I’m grateful for the training I received in my TESOL certification course.
Questions to Consider
Here are some questions to consider when looking at a TESOL certification course.
- Do you want to get certified online or on-site?
- How much time can you dedicate to earning your certificate? Can you do a full week intensive course (or longer), or do you need to take your time and study part-time?
- Does the school have a practicum teaching component?
- How many hours of instruction does the school provide?
- Is the school accredited and recognized internationally?
Online or Onsite TESOL Certification
One commonly asked question is whether someone should take an online course or an onsite course? It really comes down to flexibility. Both courses will be able to train you on the basic methods and theories of teaching English.
The onsite course may be more hands-on and intensive while the online course will provide more flexibility and let you learn at your own pace. Another thing to keep in mind is the cost. Onsite courses tend to be more expensive than online courses. You also want to consider your own learning style. Some people may be disciplined enough to learn online whereas others need in-person instruction.
Another important factor is what is known as the practicum component. This is a section of the course where you practice teaching in front of an experienced teacher and get feedback.
Many online courses are starting to provide this, usually around twenty hours. Some courses will even provide internships so that new teachers will be able to come away with experience and maybe even a job after obtaining their certificate. The practicum component is very important for newbie teachers because it helps them to put into practice what they’ve learned and feel more confident.
Job Assistance and Training Hours
Many of the better TESOL certification courses will provide job assistance after graduating. This is useful because you can take advantage of the network that the school has and possibly land a job in your desired location.
Generally it is better to have a course that offers more hours. The best would be 120 hours (typically 100 instruction and 20 hours of practicum). However this is not required for everyone and the hours you choose depend on your goals and what you want to do with your certificate. In general, the majority of teaching companies will look for teachers with at least 120 hours of training minimum.
When choosing a TESOL certification program it should be viewed as an investment. Sometimes I hear about really cheap TESOL courses on discount sites for $59 or $90 with a really low amount of hours. More times than not these courses may not provide any practicum, job placement assistance or accreditation.
Granted these courses will provide you with some benefit, but will they really be able to provide you with the skills and guidance you will need to be prepared to teach in a real classroom? Or will they provide you with assistance after you get your certificate to find a job?
TESOL Course Accreditation
This is huge. If the course that you are looking at is not accredited or internationally recognized it will do you little good when you are looking to find work.
You will want to do your research to make sure that the organization providing the course is accredited by a respected independent body or that it is affiliated with a reputable university.
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