Earning a TEFL certificate is your first step to career freedom, opening the door to traveling and teaching in practically any country in the world. But before you jump head first into verbs, vocabulary, and visualizing yourself kicking back on a Thai beach after a day’s teaching, there’s an important decision to be made: exactly how many hours of TEFL course study should you go for?
Why choose a 160+ hour course over a 120-hour course?
TEFL and TESOL courses come in all shapes and sizes. The standard course length is 120 hours, so why dedicate more of your precious hours towards your qualification?
- More hours of study means you can take a deeper dive into important grammatical points which can be tricky to explain even for native English speakers.
- You can gain more thorough and comprehensive training in areas beyond the traditional nuts and bolts of TEFL tuition, such as business English, teaching young learners, and preparing students for official English language exams.
- You may find that these extended courses help you to stand out when compared to the standard 120-hour TEFL certificate every other teacher is applying with on their resume.
- A 168-hour TEFL/TESOL course is equivalent to a UK level 5 qualification. That means it is also comparable to the CELTA and Trinity Cert TESOL teaching qualifications.
With that in mind, we pulled together a list of the most highly-rated level 5 TEFL and TESOL courses that give you a substantial boost in the number of hours you'll spend on the course.
1. Premier TEFL
Best for online teaching practice
Type of study: Online with live sessions
Number of hours: 310
Price point: $$
Requirements: You must be a native or fluent (C1 level) English speaker
What's included: 26 hours of optional live classes over Zoom, specialist courses including business English and young learners, 3 eBooks, personal tutor support, access to study app, job board access, job coaching seminars
- Premier TEFL teaches you to plan lessons that reach your students -- learn how to utilize apps they use like TikTok, YouTube, and Spotify.
- Two specialist courses are included with your tuition.
- Live teaching sessions are held on specific days and times which may be hard for some students to plan for.
- You only have access to the materials for 6 months after purchase so this isn't for learners who plan to study over an extended period of time.
If you’re an interactive learner, the 310-hour TEFL Advanced Diploma from Premier TEFL is what your TEFL training dreams are made of. It prides itself on the dynamism of its lessons, which run the full gamut from videos through to podcasts and quizzes, all with the goal of helping you expand your learning.
Offered fully online with 24/7 access, you can work through the material as and when you please, with the course available for a full six months after the day you sign up. The 10 modules are comprehensive, to say the least, covering everything from the principles of teaching English as a foreign language, to lesson planning and even how to make the most of resources in your classroom. The 10 hours of teaching practice will help you stand out from other teachers with no practicum experience.
You will also be assigned an academic tutor who’s on hand via email for any queries and can give you expert guidance on securing that post-course job.
This 310-hour TEFL certification is regulated by Ofqual, a governmental body from the UK that oversees exams and qualifications, and is equivalent to both the CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL qualifications.
"After browsing through many different TEFL programs online, I selected Premier TEFL and am so glad that I did because it has so far been an excellent platform. The modules are clear and well organized, and the customer service is incredibly helpful."
2. The TEFL Academy
Best for in-person practicum abroad
Type of study: Hybrid (in-person and online) or fully online
Number of hours: 168
Price point: $$
Requirements: You must be a fluent (C1 level) or native English speaker and at least 16 years old
What's included: 24 optional live webinars via Zoom, 3 specialist courses, 2 eBooks, tutor support, access to the TTA job board, study app
- TTA offers 114 free optional top-up webinar hours for teachers who want to dig a little deeper into their studies.
- Past participants liked how user-friendly and intuitive the study app was.
- The online-only option doesn't include teaching practice.
- Access to the course is limited to 6 months so make sure you get it done in time!
The TEFL Academy offers two ways to complete your 168-hour TEFL training: fully online or online with 10 hours of teaching practice in locations around the world. If you're having trouble deciding between the two, know that all of the modules are taught online.
The only difference is that for the hybrid option, you'll travel to a city abroad like Rome or Amsterdam in Europe, London or Dublin in the UK or Ireland, Cape Town or Johannesburg in South Africa or even right here in the US. There you'll get real teaching practice with instructor feedback over 10 hours. Doing your teaching practicum overseas will give you a look into TEFL as a career right where it's happening.
The TEFL Academy's 168-hour courses are accredited by Ofqual (UK) and DEAC (US). The hybrid course that includes 10 hours of teaching practice is equivalent to the CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL.
"I've learned a lot of valuable information that played a large role in my getting a job shortly after qualifying. I would happily go back to the TEFL Academy to further my studies with their more specialised programs, such as teaching Business English."
3. UNI-Prep Institute
Best for specialized modules
Type of study: Online and at your own pace
Number of hours: 250
Price point: $
Requirements: You are recommended to have a high school diploma
What's included: money-back guarantee if you don't pass the course, 10 specialization modules, letter of recommendation, tutor support, lifetime job search support, diploma hardcopy mailed for free and digital copy sent by email
- Specialization modules teach you to teach exam prep like TOEFL and IELTS as well as business English, young learners, and more.
- Past students enjoyed the clear and engaging video content in each lesson.
- Some graduates found the workload too simple.
- The online practicum doesn't involve teaching practice.
An affordable and extensive TESOL Diploma course, the 250-hour Advanced Diploma from UNI-Prep is a good option if you want to be able to work at your own pace while also getting a thorough understanding of TEFL teaching. If you’ve taught TEFL previously, but want to formalize your experience and credentials, this is also a top choice of course.
Taught online via their student portal, this diploma can be completed over a period of 12 months. End-of-module assessments and quizzes are submitted as and when you please, but the assessments are comprehensive, requiring you to reflect on the content you’ve learned during that module.
This course is accredited by ACREDITAT, a UK-based training site, so you can be positive that the teaching you’ll receive has been quality-assured.
"I loved this course! I just want to do it again! It is so much useful and practical! It covers the whole range of every single aspect of teaching English, whether it is teaching English to adults, business students, exam classes, online Learners or Young Learners."
Best for professional development
Type of study: Online and at your own pace, optional practicum placements across Canada
Number of hours: 250
Price point: $$$
Requirements: You need to have a bachelor's degree and be a fluent or native English speaker
What's included: all materials, tutor support, access to a job board, interview and resume prep
- Past learners felt fully supported in their job search, including benefitting from help preparing their resume.
- An additional 50-hour practicum allows you to become a fully certified ESL teacher in Canada.
- If you're looking for a quick certification, OnTESOL requires a minimum of 2 months of study to complete the course.
- Some commented that the written materials were a bit dense and they would have preferred more videos.
If you’re a native or fluent English speaker and already have a Bachelor’s degree, then this 250-hour TESOL Diploma from OnTESOL makes for a savvy training choice, particularly if you have plans to teach English in Canada.
For the diploma course - which is open to students regardless of nationality - teaching is through video tutorials and filmed ESL lessons with captions guiding you through the initial lesson plan and how it came to fruition. A range of small tasks, bigger assignments, and more lengthy exams comprise the rigorous assessment structure of the course, and you have up to eight months to complete it.
Once you’ve nailed the course, OnTESOL can give you some rockstar job support through their advisors, who grant you access to over 1,000 ESL schools across the world.
For Canadians wanting to teach at home or anyone wanting to teach ESL in Canada, you have the opportunity, for a fee, to add an additional 50-hour practicum, where you observe, assist, and teach in an ESL school. OnTESOL can help you organize this in cities across Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax, and Edmonton. Completing this practicum qualifies you for TESL Canada Professional Standard 2 accreditation.
"I must say that it is worth it for anyone aspiring to be a good ESL teacher to go for any of the OnTESOL courses. They are carefully designed to meet different needs with regards to teaching. Above all, you are going to meet wonderful people that would help you succeed."
5. ITTT TEFL
Best for extra study time
Type of study: Online and at your own pace
Number of hours: 220
Price point: $$
Requirements: You must be over 18 and be a native or fluent English speaker
What's included: tutor support, added young learners and business English modules, optional teaching practice, job guidance after completion
- You have up to 18 months to complete your training if you have other life obligations.
- Optional teaching practice can be recorded and submitted to ITTT for review and feedback.
- The teaching practice is optional and not observed for the online course.
- Some past participants hoped the online materials were more interactive.
If you're looking for a straightforward extended TEFL certificate course, the 220-hour Master Package from ITTT is a great choice.
This training is divided into three sections: the 120-hour foundation training, a 50-hour young learners module, and a 50-hour business English module. For each section, you'll have 6 months to complete the materials and subject assignments. This means you have up to 18 months to finish your course.
A tutor is available throughout your course to give guidance and feedback. You'll be sure to get a response to your questions within one working day.
At the completion of your course, ITTT offers lifelong job assistance which includes resume preparation and support in finding jobs as well as applying and interviewing for them.
"ITTT provided me with the tools and support to succeed, not only during the time of completing my TEFL course online, but also helped tremendously afterwards, with any other questions I had. They're a fantastic and reliable company. As an ESL teacher with over 6 years of experience in the field, I can strongly recommend ITTT as the top teaching certification provider available."
6. International TEFL Academy
Best for immersive experience
Type of study: Online and structured
Number of hours: 170
Price point: $$$
Requirements: You should be over 18 and be a native or fluent English speaker
What's included: all materials, online teaching practice, tutor support, lifetime job support, live peer participation, access to their alumni network
- Classes are capped at 20 students guaranteeing you personal attention.
- All instructors have an MA or PhD and at least 10 years of teaching experience.
- The course is not go-at-your-own-pace so they won't be suitable for learners who need a flexible program.
- The ITA course is pricier than the other options.
Whether you choose to study full-time for 4 weeks or part-time for 11 weeks, the International TEFL Academy (ITA) offers an immersive course for aspiring English teachers. Both options include teaching practice and observation with real ESL students, giving you insight into what you can expect in your own future classroom.
With small class sizes and live webinars, lectures, tutoring, and teaching practice, you're sure to feel confident coming out of your TEFL course. While other courses are more independent and may make you feel like you're going it alone, ITA supports you throughout your program and beyond. As an ITA graduate, you'll have access to lifetime job support even years beyond the end of your course.
ITA's 170-hour TEFL certificate is accredited through TQUK as an Ofqual Level 5 qualification in the UK and is internationally recognized.
"The International TEFL Academy costs more than your average TEFL certification program but you get what you pay for. Unless you are already a seasoned teacher in the field, the value of the program is well worth the cost. They provide you all the information you need to succeed, and support you beyond your course with job search assistance."
Supercharge your TEFL career!
Whichever TEFL course you do take, expect to gain a comprehensive knowledge of TEFL that'll wow the socks off your future employers and students alike. Thanks to the high demand for English as a foreign language teachers across the globe, you're never going to be short of a new school to teach at or a new country to explore, so say hello to a lifetime of opportunity!
Find out what's next in your TEFL journey: