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  • Can TEFL make you more employable? January 24, 2011
    So you’re thinking about making the big move and traveling half way around the world to become a TEFL teacher, but you are starting to have doubts about whether all the hassle is really worth it? You don’t really want to make a career out of teaching kids, so how will it help you? This, suggests […]
  • To Teach Grammar or not to Teach Grammar January 14, 2011
    William Lake poses the eternal TEFL question. This article is about teaching grammar to ESL students. The advantages and disadvantages of teaching grammar to ESL students will be discussed. At this point, it must be noted that different people learn English for a huge number of different reasons. It is my opinion that a vary degree of […]
  • Do I need a TEFL cert to teach English as a Second Language? January 11, 2011
    William Lake poses the question and proposes the answer. So, do you need a TEFL certificate to be an English Teacher? The simple answer is no! There are many options available to you with regards to qualifications and this article is going to look at the TEFL Certificate. TEFL stands for Teach English as a Foreign Language. A […]
  • The History of English Grammar December 12, 2010
    Want to know how it all began? John Lismo explains. The first stage of development of the English grammar started during the early 16th century. William Bullokar wrote and published a book entitled “Pamphlet for Grammar” in 1586. Bullokar wrote the book to purposely address the development of the English language in Latin America. The book contained […]
  • The First Teaching Job in China November 29, 2010
    By Mark Dykstra Its February 24th, 2003, in a 40 degree humid heat, i stepped off the train in Hangzhou City. I gasped for breath, as i dragged my western worldly belongings trying to maintain a fix on where my Teaching Manager was. Void of a teaching certificate, void of speaking any Chinese and having absolutely no […]
  • Bridging the gap between ESL and EFL: Using computer assisted language learning as a medium November 20, 2010
    Dr. Saad Al-Hashash discusses how the use of computer assisted language learning can bridge the pereived gaps between English as a second and English as a foreign language. 1. INTRODUCTION As Warschauer and Healey (1998) point out, computers have been used for language teaching since the 1960. However, the decision to integrate Computer Assisted Language Lea […]
  • The top 5 TEFL questions… Answered! November 9, 2010
    Are you thinking of teaching English abroad, but feel like you’ve got a gazillion questions swimming through your head? You’re not the only one! So, Emma Foers asked TEFL tutor James Jenkin, who has over 15 years’ experience, to answer people’s most common TEFL questions. Q) Which TEFL course should I do? A) There is such demand for […]
  • How a TEFL certificate can help you live and earn abroad October 30, 2010
    Louisa Walsh suggests how to get started in the TEFL profession. About TEFL There is an absolutely huge demand worldwide to learn English from a TEFL qualified native or near-native English speaking person. This enables thousands of teachers to live and earn abroad in their dream location. The first step into the industry is to take a TEFL […]
  • Popular movies – Teaching English online using scenes from YouTube October 21, 2010
    Websites like YouTube, notes Rowan Pita, have given us the capability of quickly and easily embedding videos into our own sites, blogs and through links. A great way to make teaching English online more creative, is to use this resource with students of any level as an online teaching tool. There are lots of different ways […]
  • Analysing teaching through student work October 20, 2010
    As a parent and a teacher educator, I am acutely aware of the need to “practice what you preach.” Yet, in both roles, I often find it a challenging axiom to carry out. When I warned my eldest child about the latest research on sleep deprivation, I resolved to make adequate sleep a priority in my […]

TEFL training courses – accreditation and certification

Every TEFL teacher training course should be accredited with “accredited” meaning that an outside institution has reviewed the course, course content and the trainers delivering the course. Accreditation is important for teachers looking to enroll because it is a way of telling that the TEFL course meets a minimum of standards with regards to curriculum and teacher-trainers. In addition, the accreditation is important when that teacher begins to look for employment because many schools only want TEFL teachers that have received TEFL certification from a ‘recognized’ or ‘approved’ TEFL training course. Accreditation by an outside organization is an assurance to the teacher and the schools that the training course meets minimum industry standards.

tefl courseWhen talking about TEFL training course accreditation, the first thing is not to confuse recognition with certification. While there are some organizations that certify TEFL courses, these organizations are not officially recognized by any international governing body. Why? Because there is no internationally recognized governing body for TEFL teacher training. Most accreditation organizations are national or regional so many organizations tend to have no recognition beyond the legitimacy a school in another geographic location is willing to give them. As a result, teachers tend to be at the mercy of national or regional preferences with regards to TEFL training certification. In addition, the type of TEFL course taken affects whether a school will accept the training course as ‘legitimate’. The two types of courses to be considered are traditional on-site courses and online distance learning course, each with their own pros and cons as well as accreditation organizations. Finally, courses such Trinity TESOL ( and Cambridge ESOL ( rely on self-accreditation by virtue of the fact that they have become industry standards that are universally recognized and accepted. Regardless, there are some accreditation factors to take into consideration when considering TEFL training course options, whether traditional on-site or online distance learning courses.

Traditional On-Site TEFL Courses

Traditionally, local or national government agencies, or more “genuine” agencies tend to provide accreditation to traditional on-site TEFL teacher training courses. The accreditation requirements and criteria will vary depending on where in the world the course is offered. In addition, the accreditation agencies don’t typically guarantee the quality of the course so it is still up to the teacher to do some research on the TEFL training course they are interested in. Regardless, traditional on-site courses tend to have more stringent requirements to meet and provide practical application practice of skills learned within the classroom. Therefore, they are usually more recognized by some schools. For those teachers that have the time and money to invest, they should consider this option.

Following are a list of the more “legitimate” accreditation agencies though it is not remotely close to a complete list because of all the organizations that provide accreditation to university programs, regional university accreditation organizations (USA), etc.:

• University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) –
• Trinity College –
• College of Teachers –
• Education Development International (EDI) –
• London Chamber of Commerce International Examinations Board (LCCIEB) –
o Associated with EDI
• Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) –
• Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) –

Online or Distance TEFL Courses

Unlike traditional on-site programs, online or distance TEFL teacher training courses don’t have any official accrediting organizations. In addition, the standards associated with the various accreditation organizations of online/distance TEFL courses vary greatly from one organization to another. Regardless, these training courses can be “accredited” but this is where recognition versus accreditation is even more important. Therefore, if accreditation is important to you or the school you wish to apply to, you should closely review the accrediting organization’s accreditation process and requirements. This will tell you more about the recognition of the accreditation. In addition, you should review the course content offered as well as teacher feedback regarding the course.

Some of the better known accreditation agencies of online or distance learning courses are:

• Accreditation Council for TESOL Distance Education Courses (ACTDEC) –
• European Association for Distance Learning (EADL) –
o Formerly known as AECS
• European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) –
• Open and Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC) –
• Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) –
• U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA) –


There is no hard and fast rule with regards to what TEFL teacher training course will be recognized by the school you are applying to. Accreditation versus recognition will always be an issue with some schools. Therefore, it is best to ask schools within the countries you are planning to work what TEFL training courses they accept so you can choose the course most preferred. It should also be noted that most schools prefer training courses that include observed teaching practice within their course content. For those not sure where their TEFL teaching careers will lead them and who are willing to make the significant investment in time and money, the Trinity TESOL ( or Cambridge ESOL ( would be the best option to consider. Regardless, every TEFL course out there, and the accreditation organizations that certify them, have their benefits and draw backs so it is best to choose the course that best meets your short term needs/limitations and fits with your long term plans.

About the author

Michael G. Hines is the Founder of Icon Group Thailand (IGT) – Educating the Future:

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