A legitimate, reputable, accredited, internationally recognized, 120 hour online TEFL course, that’s cheap with a guaranteed job!

Jan 14, 2018 · 9 min read

Sounds perfect right?

Well, I lied there’s nothing like that here. Sorry if you feel mislead, but welcome to the TEFL industry.

I wanted to write this to help clarify what some of these terms mean.

A lot of these terms have become buzzwords in the TEFL industry, but what do they actually mean?

You may be disappointed to know that many of these words are not very accurate and sometimes they are straight out lies.

Let’s take a look at some of these buzzwords.


There is no one accreditation in TEFL. There is no one overarching body or organization that accredits courses. But “wait, I saw some courses say that they were accredited, what does that mean?”

It could mean a couple of things.

First it’s possible as there are some independent accrediting parties. It could be that they are accredited by one of these parties that require monthly or yearly payments for accreditation.

That’s right accreditation costs money.

Second there are some fake accreditation agencies out there. Some TEFL course companies will create their own accreditation agency using a different name.

These are fake organizations.

So what’s a legitimate or reputable course?

Well, that would probably be a CELTA, but it’s not an online course. It does have a blended course which is partly online, but not totally. CELTA is accredited by the University of Cambridge.

Other than that…

There are some accreditation agencies that are more reputable so to speak and then there are others that are lesser so.

Accreditation is not a requirement as again there is no TEFL law.

What about “internationally recognized” courses?

The term internationally recognized TEFL certification is used by many courses to imply that their certification will be accepted world wide.

I would say that all TEFL courses in a way are “internationally recognized” because the “F” in TEFL means “foreign” and most schools abroad don’t recognize the differences between all the brands of TEFL courses.

And some may say that CELTA is that course, but in my experience the reality in East Asia is different.

There, many schools don’t know what CELTA is.

Here are some comments:

Are there brands that are more well known than others? Well, probably to some schools. But many schools come and go and these schools are in a different country.

TEFL certification is not something that is available in their country.

How many TEFL course hours do I need?

TEFL course hours are another thing. Traditionally the hours are based on classroom study times where students will spend 4 weeks in a classroom and 8 hours a day for a total of 120 hours.

However, online there is no such thing, as far as I know. CELTA’s blended course online may contain actual class hours online, but as far as I know most courses don’t take nearly as long to complete as they suggest.

I took one of those Groupon TEFL courses that was “120 hours” and completed it in about 8 hours and there were others that had similar experiences online.

Yay! Guaranteed jobs

Part of the reason why you are thinking of taking a TEFL course is to get a job right?

Well, you are pretty much guaranteed a job teaching abroad somewhere as long as you have the basic requirements.

I took an in-class TESOL course that offered this. But they had very few jobs where I wanted to teach which was in Taiwan. I ended up flying there to find work.

That’s going to be the case for any TEFL company offering job assistance. You just have to look.

So if all of this is a bunch of bullsh*t, should I just take the cheapest online course I can get?

True, there is a lot of bullsh*t out there which can make people cynical about the industry. Many of the cynics on Reddit will just tell you to take the cheapest you can get online or take a CELTA.

While many courses may look and be the same there are some differences in the quality.

The first is that you probably won’t get much feedback in a cheap online course.

The second is that it will probably be a boring text based course without visuals where you are given a bunch of text to read and are required to take a quiz on it.

They are not very interactive or exciting. They are cheap for a reason.

Better online courses will be interactive and probably include instruction from real people.

TEFL certification is not like a college degree, but in some ways it is.

A college degree is usually more accredited/official or whatever, but TEFL is just an intermediate step for most. These are short courses that can vary considerably in quality and it’s a way to get a little experience on your resume and more importantly it should help you teach.

But TEFL is like a college degree in the sense that it’s not a guarantee of anything.

Did your “accredited” degree guarantee you a job anywhere or everywhere?

It’s the same with TEFL certification. Employers in other countries aren’t any different than employers in your country.

They’ll look at you, your personality and the experience on your resume.

As you can see much of the TEFL world is kinda murky. There is a lot of marketing hype and lies as companies try to out do one another by saying their certificate or course is more reputable, internationally recognized, has a better accreditation, etc.

But in my experience teaching in Asia none of these things matter.

What really matters?

The learning process is what matters. If you just chase the carrot (certificate) then you will learn less. Getting a job is just the beginning what you get out of the course is what really matters.

What you learn is so much more important than the accreditation or the certificate.


Well, let me sum it up.

  • “Accreditation” in most of TEFL is a business and all that means is that someone paid money to a mysterious 3rd party or it’s possible that the 3rd party is fake.
  • “Internationally recognized” doesn’t mean much. It’s just a marketing term because as mentioned earlier there is no one international accreditation with TEFL.
  • A “reputable” course according to who? Online TEFL course marketers? Maybe CELTA is the most “reputable”, but as mentioned earlier it’s not that known in Asia and if you don’t believe me take her word for it. Again most schools in Asia are not aware of any special course.
  • A “120 hour online TEFL course” may actually be required by some schools, but it’s not a brand it’s just a superficial label that may imply that it’s official like a CELTA course (w/ real course hours), but most anything online that says it’s a “120 or 150 hour” course is telling a little lie.
  • A “cheap” course is well a cheap course. Some people say you get what you pay for.
  • A “guaranteed job” is possibly marketing pointed at your naivety. You can find many more jobs on your own if you just look. If you have a degree, are a native speaker and are under the age of 55 you are pretty much guaranteed a job somewhere.

Most employers in Asia only know the very superficial level about TEFL courses. Many of them don’t know the difference between TEFL, TESOL, TEKA, and CELTA.

And many don’t give a sh*t if you took a course or not. However, most schools as you will soon find out care a lot more about experience than anything else. Why?

Because they wan’t someone that knows what they are doing.

They don’t usually know brands and the only thing “some of them” care about might be if it was in-class or online, or if it was 120 hours or not. That’s the superficial level of TEFL courses.

“They” might have read from someone that online courses are not worth it or that a 120 hours is more official (like a CELTA course with real in-class hours).

“They” might not know that you completed a cheapo “120 hour” Groupon course in 8 hours — like I did.

“They” is just some people.

I can’t tell you what every school wants. There are a lot of schools out there. I can just say — based on my experience teaching in Asia that some schools may care about the course if it was online or not or the hours and many more won’t care at all.

I worked in a lot of schools in Taiwan, China and Korea.

I took a TESOL course before I went to Taiwan and that course said it was “accredited”, “international recognized”, was a “120 course” (but I only finished “60 hours” of it which was like a few days in a classroom) and they offered a “guaranteed job”.

But in actuality they had very few jobs in Taiwan so I went there and found a job.

What I soon learned was that I didn’t learn sh*t from that course and teaching English to kids was DIFFICULT.

So in the years that followed I learned how to teach English (especially to kids) and then I started to make videos and then courses that make teaching English easier!

The whole point of going abroad is that you want to enjoy it right?

But lots of people don’t for various reasons. A big reason is that they don’t like their job, but your job is where you are going to be spending most of your time.

So what do you really need?

Since you are looking for a course I’d say you need one focused on teaching the students you are going to teach.

If you teach mostly adults then take a course focused on that, but if you teach kids you probably won’t be that prepared if you just take any course like I did.

I don’t know what exactly is the best course for you and your situation, but…

Here is a course targeted at teaching English mostly to kids in Asia.

Why not?

It’s not accredited because of a few different reasons.

  1. There’s no one organization for this. There are many so called accredditors for TEFL.
  2. You have to pay these mysterious people behind some website money.
  3. Accreditation is NOT required.
  4. I don’t look up to any of these organizations that do so-called accrediting at all. ESLinsider is independent.
  5. A number of them are fake.

ESLinsider doesn’t claim to be “internationally recognized” because that is just a superficial term without meaning. “Internationally” suggests that is something that countries are aware of.

If anything it depends on the school not a country. Foreign countries are definitely not aware of some business selling TEFL courses.

“Internationally recognized” is a big, broad, vague marketing term and that’s it.

There’s no 60, 120, 160, etc. “hour TEFL” course because online that is total B.S. and I don’t want to spread any more B.S.

And some in-class courses have B.S “hours” too. I have taken both and both of them had B.S hours and it’s not only me…

Take a look at this article on how many TEFL course hours you need and other peoples experiences with “hours”.

There’s no “guaranteed jobs” because there isn’t. It’s not that hard to find a job on your own if you just look. Don’t expect someone to hold your hand.

If you take the advanced course you’ll learn how to find a good job or at least a decent job (if you listen to your teacher) even if you have no experience and function as an adult on your own in Asia.

There are no reviews of ESLinsider on 3rd party sites like “teflcoursereview.com” or “goabroad.com” because you have to sign up and create an account there. Also if you want a good position you have to pay them money.

So I said f*** that and put a review functionality on my own site instead of using some other site. I am not into the whole 3rd party thing anyways. I never liked recruiters and I don’t do affiliate marketing.

The other reason is that ESLinsider is relatively small and teachers who have taken ESLinsider’s courses could have put reviews elsewhere, but they didn’t. They put them on my site.

ESLinsider in not operated by a “professional”.


I don’t consider myself a “professional”. I started of teaching abroad with no experience or background in teaching which is sort of like most teachers out there.

I just stuck with it long enough and endured my struggles and then decided to do something with what I learned.

I also didn’t like all the B.S. in the industry and wanted to tell a true story and not a superficial one.

If you really want to learn how to teach English to kids in Asia…

…then take this course.



Written by

I taught English in China, Korea & Taiwan. You can learn more about teaching in Asia at my site ESLinsider. Online TEFL courses, how-to videos, a blog, etc.

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