Ask me Anything: How did I get my TEFL certification?
This week there was another really good question from De_Ann. She wanted to know about how I became TEFL certified and the process for signing up for the class. As you know I’m always happy to answer any question about my past travel and work experiences that may ultimately help you prepare for yours as well 🙂
Let’s get into it!
First things first. The Why.
The two main reasons I decided to become TEFL certified were to increase my job knowledge and to increase my pay grade. At the time of taking the plunge to take the course I had been teaching in South Korea for about five months. If you are applying today to teach in SoKo it’s required to have at least a 100 hours TEFL certification( if you actually want to compete for good placement). If you are not familiar with what this certification does, let me explain.
There are several acronyms and courses you can choose from; TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, and DELTA.
TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language
TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
DELTA = Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
The major differences between the TEFL and the CELTA is the course work, number of hours and the recognition. Recognition meaning that more schools and universities place a high value on the CELTA than the TEFL. Oh yea an the price! TEFL courses are usually cheaper.
If you are considering taking either test make sure your course is a minimum of 120 hours since this is the standard that is accepted worldwide.
Now I won’t explicitly say the name of my course providers because I don’t recommend their program but I will detail the process from application to graduation.
The steps (that I took!):
- Figured out which certificate would be the most beneficial
- Ask some ESL teaching friends via FaceBook their experience becoming certified and program choice
- Figured out how many hours and how much I wanted to pay for the class
- Decided between an online or in person class
- Figured out my my timeline since I wanted to finish before leaving South Korea
Once I received a few suggestions of programs I researched them and chose the one most suitable for me. At the time I was contemplating staying in South Korea for a second year, going to Vietnam, or the Middle East for a new position.
I decided to do a TESOL program that was both online and in person.
The class was super expensive at $1500. And thinking back I should have just done a CELTA at that price.
In January 2012 I started the online portion of the classes. It also came with a tutor who corrected all my homework assignments, gave feedback, and was available for help whenever needed.
The program had a few locations world wide where you could take the in person portion of the class. I chose to go to Phuket Thailand. I finished the online part of the class in about six months working on the assignments a few times a week.
In August of that year I did my in person classes which were two weeks long. The class allowed for six hours of solo teaching. There were two graded teaching sessions and if you met the minimum requirement you were given your certificate of completion.
The school provided housing options and it was included in the total price of the class. But if you wanted to stay in a hotel you could. I actually stayed in a hotel for about two nights during the classes because my room was not clean. I ended up buying cleaning products so that I could clean the bathroom properly.
Yea I know…#gross!
I remember having to ask my school for permission to leave for the two weeks of the class. We just worked out my school schedule and my vacation days so it wasn’t a problem.
The TEFL certificate doesn’t “expire”. And I still have all the course work materials in my email should I feel the need to revisit any lesson.
I hope this response helps Dee_Ann and anyone else who needs it.
Just to reiterate:
- I chose to do a TESOL certificate class
- The certificate actually says TEFL
- I applied online and paid $400 for the class
- When I arrived in Thailand I paid the balance
- The course was 120+ hours with 6 in class teaching hours. It says this on the certificate
- The program is “accredited and nationally recognized” (very important!)
- There were about 12 students in my in-person classes
- I do recommend anyone interested in ESL teaching to get certified
- You can find cheaper online course and sometimes coupons on Groupon. Just remember you get what you pay for!
If you would like to know why I don’t recommend the program I did, you can ask in the comments. I have no problem with sharing!