Alert! Real human being here on the other side of the screen talking about TESOL training. If you’re new here, I want you to know that I am an experienced ESL teacher and I have taken both university ESL courses and online TESOL training.
Why take TESOL Training?
I have to tell you, I was SO reluctant to take a TESOL training and get a certificate because I have an ESL endorsement from my state. However, I finally bit the bullet in August 2019 because
I saw the value in it I was forced to. 😂
My boss said: Nikki, you’ve got to get a TESOL certificate or you will get terminated. Please have it by the end of the month. 😳
I was kind of irritated, but at the same time, since I am on the be-positive-train I looked at it as an opportunity to review and share what I learn with others.
Why was I forced to take TESOL training?
By the way, the reason my boss told me I had to get a TESOL is because China is changing the law. For newbies that don’t know, I work for an online ESL company based in China. Anyway, when China implements a law you have to abide by the regulations exactly as they are stated. In this case, China says that all ESL teachers, including online teachers, must have a TESOL, TEFL or CELTA certificate. Certificate is the operative word here.
My ESL credit hours provided me with an endorsement on my teaching certificate. Also, my certificate and endorsement are digital. To be honest, the digital images look down right janky. I have to take a photo of my online credentials from the state of Illinois to prove that I have an ESL endorsement. I haven’t called my Regional Office of Education to find out about getting a paper copy because if I remember correctly they already told me they don’t do that. Because I know how time consuming it is to call and find out for sure, I just caved and got my TESOL instead. Plus, my boss said I had to.
Now that you know my back story, let’s dig into the best ESOL certification programs online and find out if you should get a TESOL or TEFL. Before we jump in, we’ll discuss the difference between TESOL and TEFL.
What is TEFL
Whenever people start researching TESOL or TEFL they always ask: What is TEFL? What is TESOL? Are they the same or different? I’m here to tell you they are virtually the same. TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
TESOL is all encompassing, while TEFL is teaching English to people in foreign countries.
You might also be wondering about CELTA. CELTA is the Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults. It is accredited by Cambridge University in the UK and is the most internationally recognized TEFL qualification in the world and the longest running TEFL Certification Course. Although that sounds amazing, in reality, how many of us are going to take get our CELTA through Cambridge? On top of that, most online ESL schools market to kids. So you’re better off looking at TESOL or TEFL options if you plan to work with children.
Best TESOL Certification Programs Online
How do you know you’re taking the best TESOL certification programs online? It must be accredited by a recognized accrediting organization that examines the course’s academic and professional standards.
To ensure that you are taking an accredited TESOL/TEFL course, make sure that the company has been accredited from one of the following:
What TESOL training did I take?
I’ve taken a course that’s accredited through TQUK and CPD, and my sister took a course through a company that’s accredited through OTTSA and is a member of International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL).
I’m only telling you guys about these two options because if we dig into too many schools it’s overwhelming and most courses offer similar content so it’s not worth hemming and hawing over dozens of options.
The main difference between the two courses I’m going to tell you about is that:
- there is a TESOL option and a TEFL option,
- one is cheap and one is a mid-range price,
- the TESOL course is a better option for Online teachers and the TEFL course is better for those who want to travel abroad
TESOL Online Program
I received my TESOL through the International Open Academy and to my knowledge, it’s the cheapest TESOL course if you get the link from an affiliate. Yes, I am an affiliate, but I wouldn’t recommend something that isn’t worth it. With my background in ESL and in education I know it offers everything you need to get started as a teacher and as an ESL teacher. It took me around 10-15 hours to complete the 120 hour certificate.
You can get this course for $19 compared to $119 without the referral link. Pricing aside, here’s what you get inside the course:
- Teaching and Learning
- Lesson Planning
- Classroom Management
- Getting a TESOL Job
First, in the teaching and learning section you’ll learn about motivation, understanding cultural backgrounds, the importance of a student’s first language while learning a new language, and tips for teaching your first ESL class.
Next, the linguistics portion of the course covers phonology, morphology, lexicology, syntax and semantics.
The reading module covers developing reading skills, auditory and visual discrimination, forming associations, decoding and reading for purpose.
In the writing section you’ll learn about sentence structure, grammar, informative and explanatory writing, and persuasive writing.
The speaking portion covers sounding out words, reading out loud, responding to questions, and presenting new ideas.
In the listening module you’ll learn transcribing, paraphrasing what you hear, conversational English, and using what you hear to present new ideas.
In the pedagogy section there’s information about exposition, modeling, knowing where you are going and providing constructive criticism.
The lesson planning part of the course covers standards and objectives, following curriculum, varying instruction, teaching strategies, and meaningful assessments.
In classroom management there’s information about setting expectations, respect, accountability, choosing your battles and using unique strategies.
Finally, in the module about getting a TESOL job you’ll get advice about what you need to apply, building your resume, interviewing tips, possible destinations to teaching, and preparation for living in a new culture.
Best TEFL Online Certification
Now let’s talk about the MyTefl.com course. Remember, this is the best option if you plan to go abroad or if you want a slightly more in depth 120 hour course. The course goes in depth on grammar, linguistics and assessing students.
This course covers:
- introduction to EFL
- effective classroom management
- language systems
- teaching reading
- using teaching materials and aids
- curriculum planning
- form, meaning and use – grammar
- verb tenses and time
- modals and stative verbs
- designing testing systems
This is the course my sister took and she absolutely loved the grammar refresher it offers. We discussed details about the course in my YouTube video.
If you are seeking ESL certification from a university, keep in mind that it will likely be useful domestically, but it might not be valid globally.
I spent thousands on my ESL certification for the state of Illinois and as an online ESL teacher I was forced to get a TESOL because that’s what the Chinese government wants.
ESOL Certification is the same as ESL certification. Different states refer to English as a Second Language using different abbreviations. I’ve heard of the following names for ESL:
- ELL – English Language Learners
- EL – English Learners
- ESOL – English Speakers of Other Languages
- TESL – Teaching English as a Second Language
If you know of any others, let me know in the comments!
If you’re new to teaching ESL and you are looking for ESOL/TESOL training, you’re in the right place. What is ESOL/TESOL training? It’s coaching that prepares you for teaching English language learners.
This type of training is for you if:
- Maybe you don’t want a certificate because you don’t have time to get it, but you do work with English language learners in your school
- You want to pursue an Online ESL job or career, but you’ve never taught or you’ve never worked with English learners
- Perhaps you’ve taught English learners, but need a refresher and are looking for some new ideas
- You want to learn from an experienced ESL teacher and see how she teaches
Stop here if you don’t want to work with me as your ESL coach.
Disclaimer: The paragraphs that precede are about my own course. This blog post isn’t here to sell to you. I wrote this post to serve you. You get to decide what options are best for you. I don’t believe in selling. I believe in people making decisions based on what works best for them.
I’m working on an online course to help teachers learn ESL strategies. Most importantly, the difference between my course and the TESOL/TEFL courses above is that I provide videos whereas the certification programs provide reading materials without any mentoring or mock classes.
As of now (September 2019) I’m not 100% sure when my course will launch, but I know it will be sometime in 2020. The reason I’ve decided to work on this course is because ESL is my area of expertise. I’ve been working with ESL students since I was 17. First, I started as a volunteer at my local community college and continued to volunteer when I was in college.
In college, I majored in Spanish for my bachelor’s and got my master’s in education. After graduating, I taught high school Spanish. Then I taught first grade bilingual (ESL), and my last position from 2012-2017 was as a middle school ESL/bilingual teacher.
I have worked with all ages, from babies to people in their 70s. I started teaching ESL online in 2016. From there I decided to start a YouTube channel. I created a nice ESL community where people started asking me questions about best practices, strategies, and career inquiries.
Because teaching English to speakers of other languages is my passion and I am a go-to person in my community, I realized making a course is the perfect fit. Not only that, but I learned how to become my own boss while serving students globally. If you think you might be interested in working with me, get the details by clicking here.
Dean Cui says
I was watching you on YouTube, which led to your website, where I found you were also from Chicago Area. I wanted to apply for online teaching at VIPKID and wondered if you can help as a recruiter?
Nikki Lubing says
Hi Dean, I can definitely help. I saw your name come in under the application. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Tabanguil says
Hi Nikki. I have been wanting to get my TESOL Certification through International Open Acadyfir 19.99 for 120 hrs. But I was very skeptic about it because I actually don’t have any idea what’s on it! I just want help that it really works for just 19.99
Nikki Lubing says
Hi Jennifer, I used this specific TESOL certificate for iTutorGroup, VIPKID and Gogokid. The reason it’s that cheap is because I have a discount code as an affiliate. The actual price is over $100.
Thank you so much for making the process so much easier than many do. It can be overwhelming when you first start out and I don’t feel that way anymore after reading the info above. Especially trying to figure out which company to TESOL with. Thanks again.
Nikki Lubing says
Thank you very much for the kind feedback.
Thanks so much for your blog and your YT video on this topic. Very helpful indeed. Appreciate your effort ❣️.
I’m from the UK, would this TESOL certification work for me and help me get an online TESOL teaching job? I see that it’s usually people from the US that are talking to you. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Does your discount code still apply?
Also do you know of any others from the UK that have done this course and how did it work out for them. Have you coached clients from the UK as well? Be great to hear about it so as to further encourage those who maybe in the same situation as I’m in looking for direction and advise.
Many thanks x
Nikki Lubing says
Hi Anne, actually the International Open Academy is based in the UK. The discount code still works, but you might not see the discount applied until checkout. I would say about 30% of my community is from the UK. I have coached several people from there. If you are interested in working together you can see all the options at kajabi.nikkilubing.com/work-with-nikki
Hi Nikki. I’ve worked with ESL/ELL for 6 years but as a paraprofessional. I’m a single parent and want to continue my education to get a bachelors in teaching …BUT student teaching is 6-7 months and It’s hard bc my jobs have to be daytime same as student teaching. I’ve seen this TESOL and wondering if a person with out a bachelor degree can get it? I do have an associates degree.
Nikki Lubing says
Hi Joyce, I didn’t see this comment until now. You don’t need a degree to get a TESOL, but most online ESL companies require a degree. You should check out Outschool here: nikkilubing.com/outschool-application.