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Discounted online qualifications - worth the paper they are written on?
Increasing popularity of group-buying sites means that many are making choices based on price rather than quality
The perils of group buying are often overlooked. One example of a sector being changed by group buying sites is that of TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) providers.
Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is an increasingly popular travel, work experience and employment option. It’s also a great way to earn money whilst seeing the world. Increasingly people are seeing these courses on group buying sites like Groupon and Living Social and making their decision based on price of the course rather than on quality. With so many TEFL providers with various claims, TEFL job sites and course options, picking the course and the provider that’s right for you can be confusing. In the end this can mean they are left with a TEFL qualification which isn’t accredited, doesn’t cover the right material and realistically doesn’t compare with others, meaning finding a TEFL job could be very difficult.
This can cause a lot of upset and can leave your bank balance significantly lighter. Because of the huge demand for TEFL teachers worldwide, it’s becoming more and more important that customers understand what they are purchasing, and who exactly they are purchasing from.
A representative from TEFL England, one of the UK’s leading TEFL providers stated:
“Many students come to us saying they were quoted extremely cheap course prices online, often via special offers or deals. We ultimately would warn against these providers, and urge people to look into exactly what they are paying for. We want people to have the best TEFL experience they can, but this might not go to plan if the course they enrol on isn’t a good one and there are nasty hidden charges along the way. Our courses are tutor-led and of the highest quality, and we find that our students have a much better chance of finding TEFL employment after studying with us. Securing employment is the ultimate purpose of enrolling on a TEFL course and we go the extra mile to help our students to find work either at home or abroad.”
Important in reflecting the quality and standard of the training you’ll receive are the accreditations your TEFL provider has been awarded. These accreditations convey a superior service and standard of learning, and so should be a priority in your provider or course consideration.
The price you pay for your course should be your only real expense. Beware of cheaper initial costs because it’s extremely likely you’ll be excessively charged for things that come at the end of your course like your certificate, access to jobs listings and tutor reference letters. Beware of these job finder fees – with a good TEFL certificate, you shouldn’t need to pay to find work.
Another important thing to consider is the level of support you’ll be given. Many TEFL providers will sell you a course but their follow-up service will be poor or non-existent. An important asset in aiding you through your different modules, the absence of a tutor or any kind of help can leave you very much in the dark, not to mention frustrated and annoyed.
Finally, be aware of the time you have to complete your course. Some providers give you only a couple of months, which can be difficult if you have a busy schedule or other commitments. Some providers do give much longer however, some even allowing 6 months for completion, which should be ample time for you to work through a 120-hour online course.
Whatever your TEFL decision, make sure it’s one that suits you. Some qualifications are not worth the paper they’re written on, so do a bit of research beforehand and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting. Hopefully then you’ll choose an accredited and high quality provider which will lead to a great TEFL job and ultimately, the experience of a lifetime.