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best online tefl certification

8 Best Online TEFL Certification Courses

Embark on your TEFL journey with confidence! Whether you’re a novice or an experienced educator, this handpicked TEFL course guide is your gateway to selecting the perfect course that aligns with your teaching aspirations. Start exploring now and take the first step towards a transformative TEFL teaching experience!

Best Online TEFL Certification Course Overview

1. TEFL Hero 120-hour TEFLBest Value
2. International TEFL Academy 11 Week Part-Time TEFLBest for Teaching Abroad
3. Premier TEFL Hybrid 130-HourBest Hybrid: Live Online + On Demand
4. International TEFL Academy In-Person TEFLBest In Person
5. Bridge TEFL 120 HourBest University Credits
6. i-to-i TEFL 420 Hour TEFL DiplomaBest Teaching Practice
7. Premier TEFL 300-hour TEFLBest Advanced TEFL
8. TEFL Hero 40 Hour TEFLBest Free TEFL

Quick note – all of these courses are accredited, which means they have been reviewed and approved by an independent organization for quality and curriculum.

TEFL Hero 120-Hour Online TEFL Certification Course [Best Value]

Hands down, the TEFL Hero 120-hour Online TEFL Certification Course is the best deal for an online ESL course you’re going to find.

Program Details

  • Price: $99
  • Number of Hours: 120
  • Format: online, self-paced
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.5/10 stars

Curriculum

TEFL Hero’s 120-hour self-paced, online ESL course covers all the essential elements of teaching English to non-native learners, spanning 11 modules ranging from classroom management to the four basic English proficiencies (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).

The course does not, for all its comprehensiveness, include advanced modules for online teachers – although TEFL Hero does offer this in the 180-hour course with 7 additional modules for teaching ESL online.

What Students Are Saying

“This program was laid out very well, in logical steps. While I was specifically focusing on online 1-on-1 work, also being made familiar with classroom, and group methods was very enlightening. The lessons were also presented in a way that they could be referenced later, which is very helpful for beginners.”

-Joseph Picard on GoAbroad

Pros

  • The best value for any 120-hour online accredited TEFL course
  • Accredited by leading TEFL accrediting agency ACCREDITAT
  • User-friendly platform and instant digital TEFL download
  • 24/7 tutor support

Cons

  • No specialized certification training for ESL niches such as business English or young learners
  • No live or instruction (although this critique applies to all self-paced online courses)

International TEFL Academy 11-Week Part-Time [Best for Teaching Abroad]

As one of the bigger names in the global TEFL industry, International TEFL Academy’s 11-Week Part-Time is a good option for prospective teachers who work or go to school but are interested in a comprehensive live online TEFL course. We’ll dive more into why this may be a good choice for teaching abroad hopefuls in a moment.

Program Details

  • Price: $1,499
  • Number of Hours: 170
  • Format: Live online instruction + live teaching practicum and observation
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.6/10 stars

Curriculum

The 170-hour course offers about 40% more content than 120-hour courses. In addition, teachers get 20 hours of supervised, live teaching practicum and observation – which can be great practice to help get the jitters out of the way.

The course, which is accredited by Level 5 Ofqual (British Government) accreditation, only requires 10-12 hours of time commitment per week.

It contains 11 chapters covering many oft-overlooked elements of ESL, including a quite valuable section on cultural sensitivity that many online TEFL courses do not offer, concluding in 20 hours of combined live teaching practice and observation.

This is a great option for teachers who may be interested in teaching abroad and who would be interested in supplementing the course with guaranteed job placement abroad (for a fee). Their guaranteed job placement programs cost an additional $1,732 (not including the TEFL certification) and guarantee a 12-month job to teachers who qualify in the following countries: Korea, Japan, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

What Students Are Saying

“ITA’s 11-week online TEFL certification course gave me an excellent foundation. The materials, examples, and videos were comprehensive, and the assignments made me put what I was learning to practical use. I found it challenging in a good way. I am now working with one of ITA’s student advisors to plan my next steps teaching abroad.”

-Paula on Go Overseas

Pros 

  • More comprehensive than standard 120-hour courses
  • Live teaching practicum element
  • Lifetime job search assistance guarantee
  • Experienced instructors have either an MA or PhD in TEFL

Cons

  • Much pricier than many self-paced online TEFL course options
  • Fixed schedule can be difficult for some to attend classes

Premier TEFL 130-hour Hybrid Course [Best Hybrid]

A TEFL “hybrid” course combines a self-paced element with a live instruction element. Premier TEFL 130-hour Hybrid Course is, in our estimation, the best of this course model. 

For a hybrid course model, it’s reasonably priced and well-reviewed.

Program Details

  • Price: $659
  • Number of Hours: 130 hours
  • Format: Self-paced + Live Online
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.1/10 stars

Curriculum

This unique course format blends a typical 120-hour self-paced element with a 10-hour live online teacher training element (resulting in the 130-hour certificate). If you want supervised teaching practicum conducted online to complement an otherwise entirely self-paced curriculum, this is your best bet!

The 130-hour hybrid course’s self-paced component consists of ten modules, the last of which covers job-search skills, which may be particularly valuable if you don’t have experience searching for ESL jobs online (based on extensive personal experience, it’s more of a skill than it sounds like).

The course is backed by Highfield accrediting agency.

What Students Are Saying

“I enjoyed taking the 130 hr hybrid course. I was able to move through the modules at my own pace and also have a small zoom classroom experience. I enjoyed meeting my peers and teacher on zoom and the teaching practice was helpful!”

-Serena on GoAbroad

Pros 

  • Innovative hybrid course design incorporates self-led study with live online sessions
  • Well-reviewed by real-world students
  • Very affordable for a course with live teaching practice
  • Small class sizes for online teaching practice

Cons

  • The quizzes and test questions are sometimes confusing
  • Many students report the modules taking longer than advertised to complete

International TEFL Academy 190 Hour TEFL [Best In Person]

International TEFL Academy provides in-person TEFL certification courses around the world. Priced at $2,299, these courses are certainly an investment but may be worthwhile if you’re seeking that genuine in-person classroom feel.

Program Details

  • Price: $2,299
  • Number of Hours: 190 hours
  • Format: In Person
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.8/10 stars

Curriculum

This 4-week intensive on-site TEFL course is taught by 2 TEFL instructors and is intended for students who are looking to take their newfound experience overseas. With job search assistance – you should be able to find a job in one of your preferred countries upon completion.

Included in the 190 hours is ten hours of live teaching practice. Similar to the Premier TEFL course, we think this can be a godsend for teachers who are looking for a bit of practice before jumping into their first classroom.

What Students Are Saying

“I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking for the opportunity to teach and travel abroad. I think that it is super beneficial to take the in person course as opposed to the online course. I think it makes a big difference to be able to form the relationships with the other teachers and the instructors of the course.”

-Mary on GoAbroad

Pros

  • On-site TEFL classroom locations span 4 continents
  • 10 hours of live practice helps get out the jitters before teaching your first class
  • Job search assistance for jobs in 80 countries

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Does not include job placement guarantee (this can be supplemented for an additional $1,732 if you qualify)

Bridge TEFL 120-Hour Online TEFL/TESOL [University Credit/CEUs]

Bridge.edu is one of the OG players in the TEFL game. Its Bridge TEFL 120 Hour Online TEFL/TESOL is accredited by numerous agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education’s ACCET.

Program Details

  • Price: $710
  • Number of Hours: 120
  • Format: online, self-paced
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.3/10

Curriculum

The course contains a plethora of resources to suit all sorts of learning styles: discussion boards, videos, quizzes, other activities, and multiple downloadable resources. Its wealth of resources sets it apart from the other courses we’ve featured here.

Here’s the biggest upside for students currently enrolled in university: you can earn 6 college credits through ACE Credit and up to 12 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by completing the course.

Here’s how the 120-hour curriculum breaks down:

  • 60 hours of core teaching training
  • 40 hours of grammar review
  • 20 hours of specialized teaching modules

What Students Are Saying

“The education that the student receives at Bridge-Education Group-Bridge TEFL is top-notch! The tutor was responsive and her analysis of the work that I submitted was obviously informed by years of education and experience. The administrative office made certain that there were no technical difficulties. The platform is intuitive and easy to access. I enjoyed this Bridge-TEFL course so much that I am now taking another.”

L. Holverstott, via GoAbroad

Pros 

  • Earn university credits
  • Full access to Bridge Job Board
  • User-friendly interface/platform
  • Tons of excellent resource materials with high production values

Cons

  • More expensive than many 120-hour online, self-paced courses
  • No observed teaching practicum that many courses in the same price tier offer

i-to-i TEFL 420 Hour TEFL Diploma [Best for Teaching Experience]

If you have the time (and the finances) to afford this 420-hour TEFL course, and you want to seriously pad your resume with one of the most respected TEFL providers out there, give i-to-i TEFL 420 Hour TEFL Diploma serious consideration.

Program Details

  • Price: $2,349
  • Number of Hours: 420
  • Format: self-paced, online + live online teaching practice
  • Go Abroad Rating: 10/10

Curriculum

The 420-hour course is admittedly costlier and more time-intensive than the other courses here, but the premium might be worth the price for teachers who want a more fully-immersive experience.

The lengthy course is broken up into five parts:

  • Fundamental Basics of Teaching
  • Level 5 Teaching One-to-One & Online Course
  • Level 5 Teaching Business English Course
  • Level 5 Teaching Other Subjects in English
  • Level 5 Coaching Exam Preparation (IELTS) Course

The last element of the curriculum, Coaching Exam Preparation (IELTS) Course, is unique among the TEFL courses here in that it specifically trains you to tutor students who are preparing for this popular English proficiency exam (which a lot of global ESL students do as passing it is a common work and school requirement).

Trust me, based on extensive personal experience: Students worldwide, but particularly in Asia, and their parents are intensely interested in scoring well on the IELTS – and they’re willing to shell out a lot of money on a good tutor to make it happen.

Finally, enrollees get 4 hours of live online teaching practice.

What Students Are Saying

“I was expecting the course to be heavy on teaching grammar from the beginning but was very happy to find this was a module later on, and it didn’t feel other whelming. The course was very well structured and each module flowed nicely from one to another.”

-Benjamin on Go Overseas

Pros 

  • Perfect 10/10 review score on GoAbroad
  • Features specialty training to teach business English, teaching young learners, etc.
  • Excellent, highly responsive tutor support throughout the course

Cons

  • More expensive than other TEFL courses with fewer hours
  • Takes 12-20 weeks to complete (longer than many courses)

Premier TEFL 300-hour TEFL [Best Advanced TEFL]

We mentioned Premier TEFL’s 130-hour hybrid course earlier as the best choice for hybrid courses.

Now we’re going to explore another of the company’s stellar lineup of TEFL courses: the advanced Premier TEFL 300-hour TEFL.

Program Details

  • Price: $1,699
  • Number of Hours: 300
  • Format: online self-paced +  live online
  • Go Abroad Rating: 8.6/10

Curriculum

The 300-hour course is broken down into three parts: 180-hour Level 5 TEFL course and two 60-hour Level 5 TEFL-Pro courses.

The biggest benefit curriculum-wise to Premier TEFL is that it offers specialized training for teaching English online, teaching English one-on-one, and teaching Business English. So if you’re aiming to find employment in a particular niche, Premier TEFL’s 300-hour course might be for you.

Like other courses here, Level 5 Ofqual (British Government) accreditation lends its seal of approval to the curriculum.

What Students Are Saying

“Customer service was great before purchase of the course. After I got confused with some information not matching what said before but Tutors are really efficient in giving always answers needed.”

-Dave on Go Abroad

Pros:

  • Pass guarantee (backed by money-back pledge if you don’t pass)
  • Lifetime access to exclusive TEFL jobs board
  • Specialized training in different ESL sub-fields (business English, one-on-one instruction, etc.)

Cons

  • More expensive than other options
  • More time-intensive

TEFL Hero 40-hour Online TEFL [Best Free TEFL]

The best things in life are free, after all. TEFL Hero 40-hour Online TEFL is a great way to wet your beak if you’re interested in teaching English as a foreign language but aren’t sure how committed you are.

Program Details

  • Price: $0
  • Number of Hours: 40
  • Format: online, self-paced
  • Go Abroad Rating: 9.7/10

Curriculum

TEFL Hero’s 40-hour course is shorter and freer than any other option you’ll find out there.

The curriculum consists of 32 lessons across 4 modules. The curriculum covers, in order:

  • The TEFL Environment – Key Elements
  • Grammar
  • Speaking
  • Classroom Execution and Management

What Students Are Saying

“Doing the TEFL course was one of the BEST choices I have ever made, no regrets. It’s an excellent course! the material is clear and easy to understand. I can’t wait to complete the 120 hr and advance my skills. I would highly recommend it!”

-Shons on Go Abroad

Pros 

  • It’s free
  • It’s a short time commitment
  • Certificate available immediately after completion
  • 24/7 tutor support

Cons

  • 40-hour courses are not sufficient for every employer. Many schools require at least a 120-hour TEFL course as a qualification.
  • The curriculum is not as comprehensive as longer courses

Learn more about this course in our rankings of the 5 best free online TEFL certification courses

How Did We Come Up With This List?

How did we come up with this list? When deciding on the best online tefl certification courses, we wanted to look at a few key factors:

  • Price – is this course price consistent with its offerings?
  • Student reviews – what do students say on independent review sites?
  • Curriculum – does the course cover what’s needed for teachers to be successful in their first class?
  • Student Support – does the course offer quick and effective student support and other assistance such as job placement assistance or guarantees?

Who Needs a TEFL? 

Every teacher, no matter how experienced or well-credentialed, will benefit professionally from earning a TEFL certification. However, certain teachers might benefit more than others depending on personal circumstances.

Here’s who definitely needs a TEFL certification to make themselves competitive in the job search:

  • Non-native English speakers
  • Teachers without a college degree
  • Teachers new to the industry without prior experience

TEFL vs TESOL – What’s the Difference Between These Certifications? 

One of the most frequent questions that teachers uninitiated in the world of ESL ask pertains to the difference, if any, between these two acronyms:

  • TESOL, an acronym for “teaching English to speakers of other languages”
  • TEFL, an acronym for “teaching English as a foreign language”

The short answer is that these two acronyms represent a distinction without a difference. Used interchangeably in the business, they are functionally the same and you shouldn’t worry about parsing through the technical distinction.

Do I need a TEFL certificate to teach English online? 

It depends. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of reputable online ESL platforms, each with its own teacher requirements. Some insist on TEFL certification and others do not.

Some leading online platforms that do require TEFL certification include:

Comparatively, a handful of platforms that do not necessarily require TEFL certification but consider it a valuable credential are:

Get Certified to Teach Anywhere!

What to look for in a TEFL

The following are the key features to look for when you’re vetting potential TEFL courses.

Accreditation

I’ve been diligent about listing the accrediting agencies that lend their name to the TEFL courses on this list because accreditation is critical. I would go so far as to say that it’s the #1 feature to look for in a TEFL course.

Without accreditation, your TEFL course is essentially useless for employment purposes, no matter how well-designed or instructional the actual course was.

Number of hours

The global standard course length for TEFL programs is 120 hours. Anything below that, while perhaps worthwhile in its own right like TEFL Hero’s 40-hour free course, is not likely to get you where you want to go career-wise. See more about how long it takes to get a TEFL certificate.

Student reviews

As part of the vetting process, it’s always a good idea to seek feedback from students who have already taken a course you are considering.

But here’s the most important caveat in this regard: look for reviews from third-party, independent review sites like GoAbroad.com rather than relying solely on the reviews featured on the company’s site, which may be carefully curated to instill a skewed impression.

Course format

Let’s briefly review the three main types of TEFL course formats, each of which we’ve featured here:

  • Online
    • Increasingly, TEFL certification courses are conducted online. Such is the gift of modernity. Within this course format, there are two sub-formats: on-demand, which entails a curriculum that is entirely self-paced and self-directed and live online, which features live instruction at scheduled times more similar to traditional classroom models
  • In-person
    • The in-person model, which features live, interpersonal instruction delivered in a physical classroom, is less and less common. It tends to be more expensive and logistically challenging than online alternatives, although many people tend to learn better in a physical classroom with more direct interpersonal interaction.
  • Hybrid
    • In one iteration of a “hybrid” model, the term refers to a curriculum that features both online and in-person elements. Alternatively, “hybrid” is sometimes used to refer to an all-online course that contains both self-paced, on-demand material and live instruction.

Student support

You’re probably going to need some sort of support – either technical or curriculum-based in nature – at some point, especially if you’re going the online, self-paced route.

Do your due diligence by investigating the channels of support and how responsive, based on student reviews, the company is to these types of issues.

Practicum

Teaching practicum, as the name implies, refers to supervised teaching experience in a controlled environment designed to mimic a real-world ESL classroom.

For some, it’s an invaluable component of a TEFL course.

Most online, self-paced 120-hour TEFL courses do not have any teaching practicum element. For logistical reasons, it’s more common for in-person courses longer than 120 hours to feature practicum.

If teaching practicum is a must for you, consider an in-person course longer than 120 hours or an online course that features virtual teaching practicum.

Online TEFL Certification FAQs

Rounding out this comprehensive survey of the top online TEFL courses, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions on the topic.

Where can I teach with an online TEFL certificate? 

As long as your certificate is from an accredited program that’s at least 120 hours, you’ll be able to use it nearly anywhere in the world.

How many hours does my online TEFL certificate need to be? 

If you are earning a TEFL certificate for employment purposes, 120 hours is the minimum standard course length.

Do employers care if I got my TEFL online or in person? 

No. I have never heard of an employer differentiating between the two formats or even asking about the course format. They are mostly concerned with accreditation.

What are the requirements for online TEFL certifications? 

For most courses, the minimal requirements are 18+ and English fluency. More advanced courses might have more stringent requirements.

If you’re just experimenting or prospecting to see if you’re interested in the field, consider TEFL Hero’s 40-hour free course

The Bottom Line on Online TEFL Courses

Here are the key takeaways for online TEFL courses:

  • Most employers don’t discriminate between online vs. in-person TEFL courses
  • The major drawback to taking an online TEFL course vs. in-person course is the lack of hands-on teaching practicum in a brick-and-mortar classroom
  • Online TEFL courses provide greater schedule flexibility and fewer logistical obstacles – ideal for students with prior work and/or school commitments
  • 120 hours is the minimum industry standard requirement for many employers
  •  Accreditation is essential for any TEFL course 

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