We want to clear up a few misconceptions regarding the TEFL industry, TEFL certificates and accreditation for them, as well as explain regarding our accreditation policy for our TEFL courses which we train people on in Thailand.
There are really three types of TEFL certificates – CELTA, CertTESOL and TEFL (TEFL is also synonymous with TESOL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language / Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). It’s important to understand the difference with each and how it works in terms of gaining employment. At the end of the day, the person who matters the most regarding accreditation is the future employer!
The CELTA is accredited by the University of Cambridge. The Trinity TESOL (also called CertTESOL) is accredited by the Trinity College London.
– Expensive but geared for career driven people
Both of these are for more career-minded people who want to have a long career in teaching English, and generally a lot of people who start with a TEFL certificate go on to do a CELTA or CertTESOL if they decide they enjoy teaching English. The most prestigious employers normally ask for these types of certificates, and you normally can acquire a higher paid job with these than you could with TEFL – but it’s not a general rule because you can still get high paid jobs with TEFL – it just depends on the employer. For example, some Japanese Language Schools we know pay you 2400 GBP per month and ask for CELTA as a recruitment requirement – but they will still accept TEFL and train you up in CELTA as you work for them (for free too!).
CELTA and CertTESOL are also more expensive and are more intensive (approx. 1500 GBP without accommodation) and can last between 4 and 6 weeks long. Despite sounding like a complete “cure-all” qualification, both of these certificates are still only introductory certificates, and teaching experience will always shout louder than someone who only has one of these certificates.
– No overarching body for TEFL
There is no overarching accrediting body for TEFL and so because of this, many TEFL providers try to put themselves in the same market as CELTA and CertTESOL by finding a smaller accreditation provider, or pretending they are accredited when they actually are not! Some TEFL certificates state they are accredited by certain accrediting bodies, but upon inspection, these accrediting bodies do not have any accrediting programs specifically geared towards TEFL or have any TEFL experts in their midst and so the accreditation process becomes a bit more like quality control than accreditation. Some Thailand TEFL providers state they are accredited by the Thai Ministry of Education – what they mean is that they have a licence from the government to be a school – nothing to do with TEFL!
– A lot cheaper but no less valuable
TEFL certificates are a lot cheaper, meaning they bring a lot more teachers into the industry (which is good!) and can be of varying degrees of quality, but the people who decide how good the training is, are the candidates who do the TEFL and the employers who ask the candidates at interview what the training entailed! The TEFL is basically for people who want to try out the industry or want an affordable way to teach and travel, but having a TEFL certificate is no less valid or valuable to most future employers than the more expensive CELTA or CertTESOL! The reason for this is that employers know that in order to get the more expensive certificates there has to be a significant financial investment from the candidate and less people make this commitment than those who go for TEFL. TEFL is a good way into the industry for many reasons, but financially it opens doors to a realm of people who would not be able to afford it otherwise.
All three certificates (CELTA, CertTESOL and TEFL) are still only introductory certificates. Candidates should make sure they get teaching experience and be able to demonstrate, at interview, what they know about teaching English. The teaching experience should build upon the training, and the candidate should continue to learn from the training well into their teaching career, because of the principles they can review from their course.
TEFL Heaven has had different accreditations through the years. Then the decision was made to get rid of the accreditation because where TEFL Heaven is placed in the market is not in line with CELTA and CertTESOL, it’s more in line with affordable, non-accredited certificates. We decided after having these accreditors that it was just not needed – these accreditation providers were small and the accreditation process was more like quality control rather than real recognized accreditation like Cambridge University or Trinity College London.
In order to enhance TEFL Heaven’s credibility to those considering our courses, lots of testimonials have been put up on ETA’s website and you can decide for yourself whether TEFL Heaven is a quality course or not.
Taking away this accreditation does not make your TEFL invalid or less valid or anything like that, because employers should be asking you about the training and your experiences in order to pass you at interview, and if they are prestigious employers who pay a lot, they will normally not accept TEFL anyway, no matter who it is accredited by, because they cannot tell the quality of the course due to the fact that there is no overarching body for TEFL.
So in closing, if you want a career in teaching English and you know you do, go and get a CELTA or CertTESOL! If you want to try it out first and don’t want as big of an investment, go for TEFL!