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How to Get Your TEFL Certification Online

by - Published September 13, 2017

GoAbroad helps you navigate the world of getting your TEFL certification online

Thinking of teaching English abroad? Before you start packing those bags, consider this: are you TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified? Teaching English abroad is no picnic, especially if you’ve never stood in front of a classroom before. No one wants to freeze up on their first day and look positively stupid in front of very impressionable foreign students.

Getting TEFL certified also tells your employer that you’re no joke, and that you want to have a serious go at the job. Not only that, once you learn the ins and outs of English language education, you’ll be more efficient and won’t have to go back to the drawing board every time you have to plan lessons.

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If convenience, independence, and timing are all important to you, getting your online TEFL certification is perfect for you.

How do you get TEFL certified? You have more than a couple of options. However, if you don’t live near an onsite TEFL program provider or you’re pressed for time and money, one option you should consider are online TEFL courses. Next question: how do you get TEFL certification online? Read on to find out more!

6 hassle-free steps to help you earn your TEFL certification online

Step 1: Choose a Program

One of the first questions you should ask yourself is: how much time have you got? In general, online TEFL courses can start from 20 hours of instruction and run up to 200 hours and more. Short courses may seem attractive if you don’t have loads of hours or dinero but in the end, they can hardly be worth it. Sure, they are great if you’re just looking for a short introduction to English language teaching or thinking doing a very short stint of volunteer teaching. However, these short courses hardly matter to schools that offer better teaching salaries because the majority of employers overseas will only recognize TEFL certificates with at least 120 hours’ teaching time.

Although some online TEFL certifications courses are purely theoretical and can be completed at your own time and pace, others offer online courses with an in-class option. This practical element is highly recommended if you’ve never taught before and need to build your confidence in the classroom with real students. This combo allows you to get TEFL certified online, but translate your skills to the classroom with actual practice.

Once you’ve narrowed down how much time you want to devote to your TEFL training, start researching your program options. Read reviews thoroughly, talk to program alumni, and compare programs side-by-side with MyGoAbroad. One of the tricky things doing courses online is finding out whether they’re valid. This is where accreditation comes in. Unfortunately, the global TEFL industry does not have a single accrediting body which means you can get scammed if you don’t do your research. Always check whether each online TEFL course provider has some kind of verifiable accreditation. 

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Online TEFL certification doesn’t mean you can slack off, you’ll still need to study up!

Step 2: Sign up!

Okay, this is a no-brainer. Easy, peasy lemon squeezy, sign up for your chosen program, and get ready to learn! Keep in mind that there is a online TEFL certification cost, but it's usually lower than what you'd pay for in-person, on-site courses.

Step 3: Get organized

One of the advantages with online TEFL courses is that you can learn from the comfort of your home. However, no one can really do serious brain work if the dog’s barking, the TV’s on, and the blender’s on full speed in the kitchen. Create a quiet, clean, and organized workspace with all your study tools so you can get into learning mode quickly. Tip: turn off notifications on your computer or device so you can work without distractions. 

Step 4: Pace yourself

If it’s a self-guided course, you’re in luck! This means you get to control how much you learn and how fast you learn. Whatever you decide, make a schedule and stick to it. Make a note of all deadlines in advance so you can plan and prioritize your learning tasks. 

Step 5: Ace your online TEFL course 

Want to pass that online TEFL course with flying colors? Here’s the super secret to acing your TEFL course! Bonus: if you follow steps 3 and 4, you’re already on your way to success!

Step 6: Start your hunt for the perfect teach abroad placement

Teaching abroad can be one of the most fulfilling things you can do in your life but it’s no one-way street. In fact, you can learn a lot from the experience. Here are 13 things you may realize when teaching abroad. Still need convincing? Read whether teaching English abroad is a good idea. If you’re ready to take the plunge, do some advance reading for your online TEFL course with these 3 ESL lesson plans for any TEFL teacher. Once you’ve done that, have a look at these teach abroad placement providers. 

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Work on your certificate from anywhere, at your own pace!

Popular online TEFL certificate & teach abroad programs

Knock it all out in one go! Check out these six awesome online TEFL programs and teaching placement programs (of many!). Any of these folks can help you get TEFL certified online fast.

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1. University of Toronto 

The University of Toronto’s online TEFL course is affiliated with one of the world’s leading tertiary level institutions and is designed by experts from its Faculty of Education.

  • Pros: The course is 100% online and self-paced. The program is also customizable to cater to your teaching experience level. Bonus: it can also be accessed from mobile devices so you can learn on the go! It is also affiliated with Teach Away, one of the leaders in international teacher recruitment so after you complete the course, you have instant access to this provider’s vast network of international English language teaching jobs. 
  • Cons: This online course will cost you a pretty penny: 100 hours ($995), 120 hours ($1,295) and 150 hours ($1,495). 
  • Related: Read reviews of University of Toronto |
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2. International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT)

ITTT is a well-known TEFL provider and its online courses are internationally accredited.

  • Pros: The course is 100% online and comes with added support in the form of a personal online tutor. This TEFL certification online cost is surprisingly affordable, starting from $150. Online course options include 50 hour specialist courses for those interested in teaching Business English or young learners as well as a diploma in TESOL (250 hours).
  • Cons: Since it’s only administered online, it lacks the practicum component that is essential for newbie teachers.
  • Related: Read reviews of ITTT |
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Even with an online TEFL course, make sure you get some real-life teaching practice.

3. UNI-Prep Institute

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Based in the US and Canada, this program provider offers online and in-class TEFL courses. It is accredited by the Professional Education Accreditation Council and a reliable avenue to get TEFL certified online.

  • Pros: The 120 hour online course offers videos, tutor support, job support, and international placement. It also offers a price match guarantee: a promise to beat the price of any competitor offering the same course. Cost varies to suit your pocket: $250 (120 hour online course) and $750 (250 hour advanced TEFL diploma course).
  • Cons: It doesn’t have an in-class practical teaching component. 
  • Related: Read reviews of UNI-Prep Institute |  
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4. PremierTEFL

This program provider is no newbie to the the world of English language teacher training, with over 30 years’ experience in the industry.

  • Pros: PremierTEFL  is accredited with ACDL (Accrediting Council of Distance Learning). Among its courses, it also offers an 180 hour blended course at four locations: Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, and Romania. This course combines 120 hours of online instruction with 65+ hours live teaching experience. It also offers tutor support, city pickup and transfers, hotel accommodation, meals, and a half-day tour of your city of choice.
  • Cons: The blended course experience can get quite expensive since you have to factor in these additional costs: return flight to and from your chosen destination, police clearance fees, visas, spending money, and travel insurance.
  • Related: Read reviews of PremierTEFL |  

[Still not finding what you’re looking for? Browse all online TEFL programs]

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Once you get TEFL certified online, soon you’ll be offline and teaching out in the real world!

5. The International Educator (TIE)

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TIE boasts one of the most comprehensive networks for competitive teaching jobs abroad.

  • Pros: TIE can link you up with the international school of your choice at various locations teaching grades K-12. With a wide network of accredited partners, the world is really your oyster! Plus, TIE offers tons of great resources to help you throughout the process and make you the best TEFL teacher you can be. 
  • Cons: In order to apply, you need to be TEFL certified first and have at least two years’ teaching experience with a bachelor’s degree. That might take a little more time to get lined up, and you might not have that kind of time!
  • Related: Read reviews of TIE |
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6. International TEFL Academy

This is one of the largest and reputable international TEFL program providers.

  • Pros: Alumni teach English in 80 countries so the world is literally your oyster! International TEFL Academy also offers participants lifetime TEFL job placement help and interview guidance. 
  • Cons: You can’t access the placement service without doing a TEFL course with the program provider first.
  • Related: Read reviews of International TEFL Academy |  

Succeed in the classroom with online TEFL certification

If teaching English abroad is your number one goal, then getting TEFL certified is an investment you should take seriously. Whether you do it online, offline, or both, remember that it will make you a better teacher and equip you with the skills to succeed in any classroom.

Get TEFL certified online ASAP

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