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I decided to review something that’s close to my heart. And that’s teaching English and where it all began with The TEFL Academy.
This has been a whirlwind of an experience, and I never knew where it was going to take me next. It has really shaped me and who I am today.
In this article, I am going to write about teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), my experience, and give an honest The TEFL Academy Review.
What Do You Need to Look for in a TEFL Course?
- At least 120 hours of training and courseware
- Accreditation from a recognized independent body
- Highly-qualified trainers with demonstrable experience who can prepare you for the realities of teaching
- Job support and tutor assistance to help you go from unqualified in the beginning to your very own teaching job
- Assessed teaching practice is a bonus
There are many courses out there and so much misinformation on the subject.
New TEFL courses are popping up every day from institutions with their own “accrediting body” that seem legitimate, but the truth is that they are not approved or recognized by the TEFL industry.
Make sure you ask any TEFL training provider that claims to be offering a level 5 TEFL Course to provide a link to the Register of Regulated Qualifications or related register.
If a course is not listed on the Register of Regulated Qualifications, then it is not really a level at all. Make sure you do your research!
The TEFL Academy provides all the help new teachers need. I completed a course with The TEFL Academy in 2016, but they’ve grown even bigger and better since then!
I recommend their courses to everyone, and they help with ALL of the points mentioned above.
TEFL Academy Review: Your Questions Answered
Don’t know if the TEFL Academy is right for you? Here is some information you need to know.
What is The TEFL Academy?
The TEFL Academy is a company that provides training for those who would like to become English language teachers.
Their course is officially recognized by both UK and US government authorities, and they pride themselves on being the most recognized TEFL certificate worldwide.
They offer opportunities to teach abroad or online upon course completion.
Who can take The TEFL Academy course?
If you are a fluent English speaker, you can take The TEFL Academy course.
Degree holders have the most choice in terms of where they can teach abroad.
Non-degree holders can teach in over 50 countries and online, so there is still ample choice. They can still teach in amazing countries, like Spain, South Korea (TaLK program), Mexico, Costa Rica, Cambodia, and more.
Non-native teachers have also reported getting a job abroad without any issues.
What does The TEFL Academy course cover?
The course contains highly engaged modules with in-depth training. Students cover topics such as:
- ESL Lesson Planning
- Speaking and Listening
- Reading and Writing
- Classroom Management
- Materials and Resources
- Case studies, cover letters and CVs
Course takers are expected to complete assignments that are corrected and graded within a few days! This will keep you moving in the right direction as you develop your teaching skills and abilities.
The course is not difficult but will require some time, patience, and dedication as it is a level 5 course.
When you’ve completed the course, you will be sent your TEFL certificate, which you can use to apply to companies abroad and online.
Benefits of The TEFL Academy Course
A review of the reasons why you might want to consider The TEFL Academy course:
- Internationally accredited: Their Level-5 course is internationally recognized, the same level as a CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL, but a fraction of the price.
- Get the Best Jobs: The minimum entry requirement for most well-paid jobs with the best packages is a level-5 TEFL certificate.
- Teach Abroad or Online: You will be qualified to teach English abroad and online. The best part is that you don’t need to speak any other language!
- Free Added Courses: You get a free ‘top-up course’ when you join their level 5 course. This means you get an extra course so that you can specialize in Business English, teaching English Online, or Teaching Young Learners.
- Classroom Experience: They provide weekend courses and classroom experience, which adds immeasurably to your teacher’s resume.
- Earn Some Money Back: Be part of a growing community. The TEFL Academy invites former students to tell their stories and/or become brand ambassadors.
- Comprehensive Course: An in-depth learning course for training teachers — not just a certificate.
- Helpful Tutor Support: They provide tutor support and help with finding jobs.
The TEFL Academy got me a job less than a week after completing the course, and I truly believe in what they teach. It got me this far, and I know it can get you teaching and traveling in no time.
The TEFL Academy provides a level-5 qualification, the same level as a CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL.
You can often see cheap “Level-5 120 hour TEFL Course” advertised on sites such as Groupon, but unfortunately, these courses are not the level they claim and are misleading.
Level 5 refers to a level that sits on the UK government’s Regulated Qualifications Framework (RFQ). A recognized level-5 course is comparable to a diploma of higher education (DipHe) or a foundation degree.
The TEFL Academy is an awarding-winning TEFL provider that is accredited by Ofqual (UK government department), Qualifi (UK government-recognized awarding body), and DEAC (US government department).
You can check that The TEFL Academy is listed on the Register of Regulated Qualifications here.
All regulated Level-5 courses are 150 hours long.
The TEFL Academy’s course goes above and beyond with its training by providing a 168-hour TEFL course.
This will help students stand above the competition and secure the best jobs and working conditions.
Some students have even decided to take up online teaching. This has enabled them to travel all around the world and work as they go.
Dedicated Recruitment Team
The TEFL Academy has a helpful recruitment team and dedicated jobs board for their students. Their students have free access to their jobs board so they can find paid or volunteer positions.
Students are qualified to apply for paid or volunteer internships when they graduate with a TEFL certificate.
The TEFL Academy gives its students support from professional English language teachers. All of their trainers have years of experience working as qualified TEFL teachers and are ready to pass their knowledge to new students taking the course.
Classroom Teaching Practice
If you purchase the Combined TEFL Academy course, you will gain practical teaching experience and the opportunity to practice all you have learned.
The practice will address the course’s core units and give you extra support in a group setting.
This teaching practice will help you understand how a typical class is run with hands-on experience.
Student Discount Card
Aspiring teachers who take the TEFL Academy course are also eligible to hold an International Student Identity Card (ISIC).
The ISIC card is internationally recognized and provides discounts and benefits in over 133 countries, making travel better no matter where you decide to go!
It offers over 40,000 discounts for goods and services from retail and food to accommodation to travel.
The TEFL Academy may also pay you a commission if you decide to become a brand ambassador after completing the course!
This will allow you to promote The TEFL Academy to family and friends or post on The TEFL Academy’s official Instagram page.
The TEFL Academy will also be in touch when you complete the course and offer you to share your story in written or video form, which you are paid for in return.
Free Bonus Course
The TEFL Academy gives students a free bonus course with their combined or online TEFL course. The bonus course is a 30-hour top-up course that allows teachers to specialize in a specific area of TEFL.
Students can choose between a top-up course in Teaching Young Learners, Teaching Online, or Teaching Business English (worth $150).
Shh… Insider Information!
The TEFL Academy also pays you to produce a 500-word post about your experience teaching after finishing this course. They also pay for videos of your teaching experience.
They benefit because you are marketing the course for them with your story, and you are benefitting because you do a relatively easy task for a great reward!
You can also become a brand ambassador (like me) and earn a commission on all sales by recommending The TEFL Academy to family and friends.
And if you don’t have people to refer, the TEFL Academy will let you post on their Instagram page, and you can encourage people to message you about their course.
Sometimes The TEFL Academy will ask you to produce content for them which you get paid for! They sent me fifty euros for making a few 10-second videos. This is an infrequent offering, but you could be lucky!
Drawbacks of The TEFL Academy Course
While you may not like the price, the fact is you pay for a higher-quality course. You are actually getting a lot of value for the price, including job support and teacher feedback.
The TEFL Academy provides a valuable learning experience and is considerably cheaper than other courses, such as the CELTA and the Trinity Cert TESOL (normally $1500-$4000). These provide the same level-5 qualification as The TEFL Academy course.
You Have to Complete the Course Within 6 Months
Some students attend the workshops and complete some of the courses, but they leave everything else until the course is about to expire.
Don’t do this! It takes at least three to four weeks to complete this course when you put the effort in. It is not like a 10% college project that you can pull an all-nighter for. It is a level-5 course!
While you should be able to pass all the assignments the first time around, you will need to work hard to complete the course in its entirety.
This course is truly for dedicated students willing to sit down and put some thought into their coursework.
Should you take the course, prepare for the assignments by reading through the unit first before completing the assignment. Assignments are marked fairly, and students should get their results within a few days.
The TEFL Academy Reviews
The TEFL Academy is a trusted and respected TEFL provider with countless reviews on its Facebook Page and other websites.
The TEFL Academy reviewers have said that the course was well-delivered, interactive, and engaging. It also allowed the teachers to meet wonderful, aspiring future teachers at the classroom practice.
When advising about the course, they said they would complete the assignments while completing the units instead of leaving them until the end.
Where are their students now?
Many students who take The TEFL Academy course choose to teach English abroad or online.
Students often teach in high-paying countries such as China and South Korea.
Other students want to explore Europe and teach in a central location, such as Spain, which gives them plenty of time to travel between countries.
Some students choose South East Asian countries with very cheap living costs, such as Vietnam and Thailand.
Most schools support teachers by providing free or cheap accommodation, insurance, travel reimbursements, and holidays while teaching abroad.
Teachers have much of their expenses paid for by schools, allowing them to live comfortably, travel, and save money.
Online Level-5 TEFL Course
This course is great if you have a busy life and you don’t have time to complete the course in person, as it is 100% online. You also get a free bonus course, such as “Teach Young Learners” or “Teach Business English.”
These 30-hour specialized courses normally cost $120, but you get this entire bundle (Online Level-5 TEFL Course and specialized course) for just $470.
What you can gain from this course:
- UK and US government-approved and regulated TEFL certification
- Level-5 internationally recognized qualification (same level as CELTA)
- Free 30-Hour Course in your specialization of choice
- Tutor support from teaching professionals
- Qualified for paid and volunteer ESL job opportunities
- Instant access to courseware upon enrollment
- Assistance with job-finding
- Specialist grammar unit
Combined Level-5 TEFL Course
The TEFL Academy also has a combined course, which includes 20 hours of classroom training. This will give you some insight into how a TEFL class works.
The Combined Level-5 TEFL Course includes the following:
- 20-hour classroom teaching practice
- Teaching experience and practice what you’ve learned in the class
The combined course is a great way to gain some teaching experience. I enjoyed the classroom experience because we became the students, and the teacher trainer taught us beginner Spanish. This immersive, interactive experience helped us understand what it was like learning a second language through fun and interactive games and activities employed in the course.
While you may not get much teaching time in the two-day event, the experience is very practical, and you learn a lot.
For English Language Teachers or Those Looking to Get Started…
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Is The TEFL Academy Course Worth Buying?
Here is my own review of The TEFL Academy and why I believe it IS worth buying (for some people).
Teaching English as a foreign language is a great way to converse with other cultures and see different parts of the world. It also presents excellent opportunities for those who wish to stay at home and teach online.
The TEFL Academy provides a highly-accredited course that gives us this opportunity to break free from our current lifestyle and work as a teacher.
However, their course won’t suit everyone. Those who wish to complete the course need to be self-determined, motivated individuals, as most of the course is online.
This is also not a quick fix for those who want certification fast. Time and patience are key to this course and all aspects of teaching!
If you think you are a good fit for a teaching position and like the idea of teaching kids or adults, then this course is for you.
What Led Me to Pursue Teaching English as a Foreign Language
I always liked the idea of teaching as a kid. I used to line up my teddy bears and have classes with them.
I used to create lesson materials for my cousins and grow impatient when they couldn’t complete the exercises.
I even kept a journal about things I liked and didn’t like about my classes, as I thought my future teacher self should not forget these things.
Really and truly, I thought I was going to be a teacher.
I had some teaching experience in my transition year of secondary school and returned to my former primary school.
I liked it a lot, even though I only had little tasks, such as helping the five-year-olds put on their coats or sticking printouts to their copybooks.
But there was still something missing. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I didn’t want to be just a regular teacher. It wasn’t entirely for me.
By the fifth year of secondary school, I was certain I was going to study science in college. After all, that’s where the jobs were.
Business subjects weren’t really emphasized in our school. Sure, we had business as a subject for our Junior Cert exams. But what exact job will I get from that?
I wanted to be able to define my job title at just 17 years old.
There was science – chemistry, physics, and biology. Everyone told me that’s where the money is, where the jobs are.
I looked into pharmacy by completing work experience there. No way.
I then looked into speech and language therapy. I met a speech and language therapist to talk about her experience, and it occurred to me that even she didn’t like her job. It was out of the question.
I then began to think I wanted a job like my mom… and even though she doesn’t have a degree, I realized the area I needed to look into was business.
This opened up a whole new world to me.
While accounting was something that I performed well in, it was not something I enjoyed.
Going to an all-girls school, we didn’t have the luxury of choosing economics and finance but home economics. So I decided to take on business for my Leaving Cert and see how that’d fair out.
So I studied business because I knew I loved it.
My school placed more of an emphasis on science, so I never really thought it was an option. But I discovered an amazing world.
I loved learning about local and national businesses. Some of the best inventions inspired me. And teaching was no longer at the forefront of my mind.
I decided to pursue business in college, only to realize that I was struggling to find part-time work in my local area.
I tried year after year since I was a teenager, yet I had no success. My mother told me about someone from her workplace who took a TEFL course, and it enabled them to travel to Spain.
Remembering my interest in the old teaching, I was inspired to have a look at it. No sooner had I put my name down for the TEFL Academy and I was in full swing learning how to teach English.
I had a hard time in my youth fitting in. I never really felt I clicked. I always felt there was something else out there for me.
I genuinely couldn’t find a job in my hometown, and I really wanted a change and go elsewhere. I decided to work even harder and completed The TEFL Academy course.
With things not faring too well at home, I decided to travel. The TEFL Academy gave me this opportunity. At 19 years old, I was flying out on my first venture to the north of Spain.
My Experience Teaching
It really did change my life.
It shaped me like nothing else. It was something I had never experienced in life, and I grew so deeply from it.
I wanted more and decided to start teaching English online. I started at Acadsoc, and payments were pretty generous at the time.
The online ESL industry was taking off, with generous payments, even during standby time. There weren’t as many regulations as now, and many companies didn’t require a degree.
The next summer, I decided to travel to the UK. I was 20, going on 21 at that time. It was truly an unforgettable, amazing experience, and I made many friends there.
I decided to continue teaching English online when I got home, joining sites like Dada.
I took a little break around my third and final year of college, as I was studying abroad in California and studying extremely hard in my final year.
Then I finished, and I had no idea what I was going to do.
I was so used to teaching online, deciding my own schedule. I genuinely wondered how I could adapt to any other lifestyle.
So, I kept going. I kept teaching English online.
I wanted to continue to put my best effort in. I always worried that I was doing the wrong thing.
So many influential people in my life told me that I needed to start a job in a firm, do a grad program, and work my way up. But that’s not where my heart is, at least, not right now.
So I am writing this TEFL Academy review as an online English language teacher. I teach English with Dada and have regular students whom I see all the time.
They tell me ‘I love you’ and text me ‘Good night‘ (my older student who insisted I add her on WeChat!) Where would I be without them?!
They are learning English and growing in confidence after each class! I am so proud of them, and I hope they achieve their goals in life.
What more fulfilling experience could you ask for in this world?!
In the future, I hope to have my own business and travel like a digital nomad… Thanks to The TEFL Academy!
Update: It’s 2021, and I teach privately with 40+ of my own regular students, have a thriving business, AND get to see the world… Next stop: Portugal!
Update: It’s 2023, and I am STILL teaching online and blogging. I had a few relatively minor health concerns recently, so I stayed at home. With Portugal and Spain ticked off the bucket list, I am now hoping to move to Vietnam!
This Course is NOT For You if…
While my review of The TEFL Academy mainly discussed the positive factors, I want to let you know why it doesn’t suit everyone. This course is not for you if…
1. You Want Results Fast
This course is not for people who want to complete a TEFL course on a weekend, nor for people who don’t want to put the work in.
This course is a level-5 qualification. You have to put the hours in and dedicate at least 1-2 months to its completion. But you will get there, and there is a lot of support available.
2. You Dislike Learning
The reality of being a teacher is that you are constantly learning. You learn from your students, and they learn from you.
If you can’t hack learning something new, there is no way you will have the motivation to complete this course.
During the course, you will be asked to complete coursework assignments. While it is possible to fail these assignments, you can resubmit the assignment at a later date.
You also receive very clear feedback on what you need to do to pass next time. So you have no excuse for not passing The TEFL Academy course.
3. You are Not Fluent in English
Natives and non-native speakers can complete the course, provided they are fluent.
You do not need a superior understanding of grammar, as that is covered in the course.
That concludes The TEFL Academy review.
Remember that wherever you dream of going or doing, this course can help you achieve it. If you are interested in teaching (and even seeing the world), I highly recommend this course.
Stay true to yourself. Follow YOUR heart and what YOU want to do. That’s what I did, and it was the best decision.
Did you like this post or find it helpful? Please leave a comment below!
P.S. Here is a cringeworthy video I made about my experience. I don’t particularly like making videos, but nevertheless, you may find it helpful, so I will share it with you. You may find some other great tips!
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.