Few careers offer as much excitement and adventure as that of the international TEFL teacher and luckily due to the high world wide demand for qualified English teachers, it’s a career that’s easier to get into now than ever before! One of the requirements for pretty much all ESL teaching jobs is a TEFL certificate. Not all TEFL courses are created equal though and one should be very careful to thoroughly look into all the pros and cons of each offered course to see which one suits them best. One of the big decisions one must make regarding their TEFL course is whether to do one that is onsite or online.
They both have their pros and cons for sure but for most people, an online TEFL course is the better choice due to factors of cost, time and commitment.
Most TEFL teachers are recent college graduates with little to no experience with a “real job” and as a result, little to no money. Of course, this will all change with a new TEFL job (sorta) but until then, there are a few overhead costs one must take into consideration. The main one obviously is the cost of the actual course. Online TEFL courses can range anywhere from about $200 to $400 which is still a pretty hefty sum for most recent college graduates already a few thousand dollars in debt. Onsite courses on the other hand start start at around $1,500 minimum and can range high into the thousands depending on where you want to study or what TEFL academy you choose to go with. And then there’s additional costs associated with taking an onsite course. For one, onsite courses last about a month and take place in a foreign country so on top of the tuition costs, one needs to pay for an additional month of food and accomodation. And then once you get placed in your teaching position upon completion, there’s going to be a solid month at least before you get your first paycheck. That first month of teaching can be a pretty expensive month too with many expenses coming up like apartment deposits, work permit and bank fees popping up. So that’s two expensive months in a foreign country on top of the high course costs. With online TEFL courses, you only have one (admittedly still expensive) month of not getting paid but all the money saved by taking the online TEFL course should pretty much cover it.
While money is the the first commodity most people think of, time can be a very important one as well. Onsite TEFL courses typically take about a month. This is a month that you are fully devoted to your studies for. There will be full 8 hour days 5 days a week with homework, group projects, exams and all that other stuff you loved from high school. Online TEFL courses however are usually self paced. You can do an online TEFL course alongside your regular life with little to no disruption to your daily routine. This is really great for someone who is a student, or has a job they rely on to pay their bills. Being that it’s completely self paced, one can choose to rush through it in a few weeks or stretch it out slowly over three months, whatever works best! There is also no need to worry about falling sick and missing a day or not being able to deal with any emergencies that may come up; it’s all entirely up to the individual.
The topic of commitment is a bit of a taboo for TEFL academies. They will always focus on the positives (and there are a lot!) to TEFL teaching, while choosing to ignore the underlying negatives. Because as amazing of a career as being a TEFL teacher is, the truth is that it’s not for everyone. One might sell their car, quit their job and say their goodbyes and fly to the opposite end of the world only to realize that they hate the local food, miss their family and have absolutely no knack for teaching and want nothing more than to go back home. Now this is quite a rare case, most people have amazing and life changing experiences but it’s a possibility one must be open to. With the huge time and money investment sunk into the onsite TEFL course, finding out that you just aren’t meant to be a English teacher can be a devastating blow to your life. With an online TEFL course however, the loss need not be so bad. Sure you spent a bit of time and money on the online course, and it will suck for sure, but you can still try teaching out for a few months (or weeks if you’re absolutely certain) and go home a little poorer but a lot wiser. With an onsite TEFL course, you’ve spent a lot more money as well as invested a whole lot of time into a career change, and not liking the change could send you home a lot poorer (and a lot wiser too!). With the huge choice of TEFL options out there today, it can be tough for the aspiring ESL teacher to make an informed decision as to what TEFL course is right for them. One of the big divides between Courses is that between online TEFL courses and onsite TEFL courses and while both types have something to offer, an online TEFL course is the right choice for most people due to factors of money, time and commitment.
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