I was recently reading Alex Case’s truly excellent and insightful TEFL blog when I found this older article on certificate courses that is packed with useful tips (although the author is not Alex but TEFLista, a fellow TEFL blogger).
The problem with a certificate course, which in itself is a good idea, is that there are hordes of shady organizations out there offering you a ‘four week course in the Bahamas’ for the same price as a four week course in Luton. Of course the Bahamas is going to appeal to you! The TEFL.net blog, though, contains some cautionary advice.
What to look out for
Perhaps the most valuable point is to check the credentials of the trainers. This doesn’t mean the history of the school offering the TEFL course, but the TEFL trainers themselves whose qualifications should be in full detail to assure you of their quality. You should also find out how many trainers there are in comparison to the size of the class.
The end result
A second thing to be aware of is what the course actually involves. If the certificate is worth doing it should include real, observed teaching practice, and a total study time of at least 100 hours. You should always be on the look out for the recognized CELTA or Cert TESOL qualifications as the end result.
Getting it right
On the positive side, though, there are many colleges and universities who are trying to run respectable training courses. It only takes a bit of research to ensure the quality of the course you are taking – time well spent.
I have written previously on the merits of online certificates, which you can read here. TEFL is a highly enjoyable profession; just make sure you get your training right and get off to a good start!