Identifying a good TEFL course and a great course provider with sound graduate services is becoming increasingly difficult. One way to gain some perspective is to check the accreditation that a course possesses, as well as independent reviews of the course.
Why are courses accredited?
Almost every TEFL course provider has some form of external accreditation for their courses. Without external accreditation, the qualification and manner in which it was achieved could come under scrutiny when applying for jobs and work visas. After all, governments and schools want English teachers to be skilled and of significant benefit to their students.
Who provides accreditation for TEFL courses?
The provider of the accreditation should be an independent third party that is recognized for being able to assess the quality of the training and the professional standards of individual TEFL schools.
The company or institution providing the accreditation is a strong guide to the quality of the course and the TEFL school's standing in the industry. There are 2 main types of accreditation that you are likely to come across when looking at TEFL courses.
1) University Accreditation
University accredited courses are typically recognised and accepted in all countries worldwide. Universities generally only provide accreditation for programs that they have created or personally oversee. Cambridge and Trinity are two of the better-known universities with established ESL certification programs.
A small number of universities with TEFL degree programs provide accreditation to long-standing TEFL programs. This is more commonly seen with in-class TEFL courses, but in recent times all of ITTT's online courses have been included. More information about our university accredited courses can be seen here.
As well as being internationally recognised, many university accredited TEFL courses accrue credits that can be transferred to other university programs for further study.
2) Private Accreditation Providers
This type of accreditation is usually seen alongside cheaper online courses. The accreditation or validation of the course is listed on the website of the accrediting company when basic requirements are met. Some private accreditation providers work specifically within the ESL industry and have many TEFL schools listed on their websites.
There are also several accreditation providers that extend their services to different types of vocational training across multiple industries. These companies don't always have an education professional as part of their staff and might not require the TEFL course to meet the standards expected by governments internationally.
In some instances, the external accreditation isn't what it seems. Be mindful when an accreditation website only mentions a small number of courses or one specific TEFL school. The website may be set up by the TEFL school rather than an external and recognised accreditation provider.
It is important to check the accreditation and external reviews of any course that you wish to join. A little diligence before the course can save you the hassle and expense of completing an inferior course or even being denied a work visa.