International TEFL Academy

International TEFL Academy


International TEFL Academy is passionate about two things:

1) Providing the highest quality TEFL certification classes.

2) Ensuring all of our graduates find professional, paid English teaching jobs abroad & have a wonderful experience overseas.

All of our staff at ITA have worked, lived & traveled abroad extensively. We "get it," and we're passionate about helping you have a great international adventure like we did.

Based in Chicago IL, ITA is a worldwide leader in TEFL certification for teaching English abroad offering accredited TEFL classes in 25 locations worldwide & a state-of-the-art Online class. We certify 5,000 people per year to teach English abroad and we have graduates teaching in 80+ countries.

In addition to earning an accredited teaching qualification recognized worldwide, all of our students receive lifetime job search guidance & access to a full array of alumni services and networking opportunities.

ITA has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.


916 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614
United States


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Yes, I recommend this program

From my first inquiry to my last week with the program I was impressed. I loved that I has the same support counselor to talk to before diving into the program. My instructor was no different and very attentive to our class. The lessons and practice assignments made my transition as an English teacher much easier. I was well prepared for my first interview and job. The certification has never been rejected and I had many offers before selecting my current school. I can't thank them enough for helping me to change my life/career and to follow my dreams- who knew it was so easy if you just put in a little work!

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Yes, I recommend this program

I have been trying to figure out which direction I wanted to take my life. I was close to the end of getting my degree in school and I was desperately trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I knew that I wanted to travel and see the world, but I wasn't sure how. Then I kept hearing people talking about teaching English abroad. It was something I've always heard people talk about, but it never really crossed my mind as something I would do. I put in my information and received a call from Chelsea, my admissions advisor. I had PLENTY of questions to ask Chelsea had an answer for every single one of them. She was very nice and patient and I appreciate her being so clear.

So after months of deciding, I finally got on board and signed up for the online course. I really enjoyed it. It was an active class, where you had a chance to create your own lesson plans, and learned about different teaching methods for students. Emily, the online instructor, gave very informative and great constructive criticism which helped me improve weekly. Erika, my Student Affairs advisor is awesome! She helped me narrow down which place I should go, and she helped me polish my resume and my cover letter.

Now I currently teach English online and I absolutely love it! I finally feel like I am heading down my destined path and I can't wait to continue this journey and move to Costa Rica summer of 2019. I think that this is a great school to attend because not only do you get a lot of information on countries, they prepare you for it. When I found out that the advisors I've been assigned to will always be my advisors as long as they are there, I knew this was a good decision. It brings the opportunity to build a great rapport.

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly can't think of anything that really sticks out, but maybe the price? It may be expensive in comparison of other programs, but you are paying for more than just your certification. You get a large community of support and resources behind it. Plus,they have opportunities to gain discounts and you can also do a payment plan.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I have been thinking about teaching abroad for so many years. I finally decided to go through with up because... why not!? I found ITA Costa Rica in Barva, Heredia, through searching ESL teaching programs abroad. ITA Costa Rica was the one I found the most positive reviews about. While reading about the program I had the best feeling about the program. It was a sense of comfort and I felt like it was a true educational program that would prepare me the best for teaching English as a Second Language. Once choosing ITA Costa Rica I had a sense of peace and I felt like I was about to make the greatest move of my life.

* Reasons why you SHOULD take this course:
- The course instructors, Luke and Melanie are absolutely amazing. You are given so much guidance throughout the whole process. They are both experts in TESOL and give you so many helpful resources & tools throughout the course.
- Starting with the first day of class, your mind will be put at ease with what you'll have to do and what is expected of you throughout the course. Everything is organized very nicely day by day. You are shown how to navigate the calendars, teaching schedule, moodle (where all course info will be available online), and where all the essential things are in Barva to help you be successful throughout the month.
- Without a doubt you are able to walk into this course with out any teaching experience and walk out feeling confident about how to be a teacher in the TESOL world. So don't be intimidated!!!
- It is not overwhelming if you stay on top of the work and if you have good time management skills - you will be fine!
- It is a very affordable program!
- You have the opportunity to stay with a homestay family - and you should definitely do it!! It gives you such a sense of security to have a family and they truly do care about you. They are supportive, extremely nice and cook amazing food! It's an easy way to experience the culture and practice Spanish.
- You are living in a beautiful country - obviously :)

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, nothing. You will need to be open to new opportunities and different cultural approaches.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My expectations were very high coming into this course, and still they were exceeded. I met some of the best people in this course & they have prepared me amazingly to be a teacher. They introduced us to many people who are directors of language academies. Most of them personally know Luke and Melanie & they trust that the class prepares us well. I was even hired before the course finished because they knew that I would be able to teach efficiently if I made it though the course. That being said, the course is so doable. It’s all very practical and the instructors help you every step of the way. Overall this course was so fun and helped me not only be a fantastic teacher, but it helped me be familiar with Costa Rican culture!

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Yes, I recommend this program

I completed the ITA TEFL course in Costa Rica. The coursework was very challenging and kept me busy with work the entire month, however, my classmates and I still found time to get away on the weekends to enjoy the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

While I understood a lot of Spanish before arriving, my speaking ability was very limited. Staying in a homestay, I had the opportunity to learn so much, as well as getting excellent meals and having my laundry done, allowing me all the time I needed to complete my coursework.

The instructors were very knowledgeable and although I was wondering during the first two weeks if they were trying to weed us out due to the intensity of the workload, I came to understand that they were just ensuring we were fully prepared.

3 weeks into the course, I applied for a job teaching English in the Galapagos Islands, a dream location for a former science teacher! Within three days, I had been interviewed and offered the job! The morning after completing my TEFL course, I was on a plane to Ecuador.

At least once a day, I use specific information, tricks, activities, or grammar learned during my course, and I can still hear my instructors voices as I teach.

Don’t expect this course to be an easy A, even for the most experienced student. I have 2 masters degrees, and this was the most work I’ve had to do for a course ever, but every assignment has proven to be valuable.

What would you improve about this program?
More organization of the course schedule and assignments. I found myself having to check multiple documents to find the information needed to understand the scope of each assignment, and had different ways to turn in different assignments. Streamlining this process would reduce the already high stress that naturally accompanies an intensive course such as this.


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Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Ambrosia Maddox

Ambrosia has taught English as a TEFL teacher in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Whenever she isn’t booking a flight for her next great adventure, Ambrosia may be found exploring the outdoors of her current city of residence, snapping photos with her GoPro, or learning something new about world history. She is also a fan of five-dollar Tuesday at her local movie theater in Chicago.

A woman and a young girl.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the program offered by International TEFL Academy (ITA) because the course was available at a classroom location in person as well as online. The ITA website provided a wealth of information regarding tuition, course dates and availability, the length of training, class locations, job search guidance, accreditation, and numerous other topics.

I phoned the contact number on their website and spoke with an ITA adviser who answered my remaining questions and helped me select an online class that worked well with my 40+ hour work week. He also set up a payment plan so I was able to pay the tuition in a timeframe that worked well for me. It was evident from the start that the ITA staff really wanted me to succeed in their TEFL program, and that played a major factor in my positive first impression of the program.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

ITA’s descriptive website provided me with the knowledge I needed to select a TEFL course, and the adviser assisted with enrolling me into the course. The instructors lead the 11-week course that resulted in my becoming more culturally sensitive and an overall better TEFL teacher for my students.

The ITA website also has job guidance advice, and there are numerous social media platforms with ITA groups where alumni offer tips and suggestions on finding work after completing the TEFL course. I’ve even seen alumni offer other prospective teachers a place to stay while they find a place to live once they’ve arrived in their country of choice. There’s a great support system with ITA, and I haven’t felt alone in organizing anything so far.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

A piece of advice I would give to someone going into my program: do not procrastinate on the readings and assignments. The workload may seem heavy at times, but the instructors provide a syllabus and a course calendar prior to the start of the class so students are able to prepare a plan for completing the work by the deadlines. All of the assignments are relevant and beneficial to someone with the desire to travel to a different country and become a TEFL teacher, so it’s important to complete all of the work and do your very best.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

For a participant of ITA’s online TEFL program, the course runs for 11 consecutive weeks and includes an additional 20 hours of in-person practicum teaching. Students are provided with a syllabus at the start of the course as well as the textbook so they are able to plan accordingly. At the start of each week, assignments are posted to the online portal for students to complete prior to the weekend. Assignments include chapter readings, quizzes, a discussion board, course projects, and various other activities that transform students into well-equipped TEFL teachers.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear when going abroad was not succeeding. It was extremely intimidating to travel to a different country on a different continent where I didn’t know anyone or the language. I wanted to be a great teacher for my students but the road to achieving that goal seemed so uncertain.

I overcame my fear by not expecting everything to go perfectly and having a backup plan if “plan A” didn’t follow through. Traveling overseas to be a teacher required me to “roll with the punches”, and I quickly realized that the unexpected twists of the journey made the entire experience even better.

Do you have to be rich to become a TEFL teacher?

No, you don’t have to be rich to become a TEFL teacher. I was fresh out of college when I first went abroad as a TEFL teacher to China; I paid around $950 for a one-way flight to Shanghai, and then I had around $500 left in my pocket. The school I was working for had on-campus apartments for teachers, so I didn’t have to pay rent or utilities, and I had no additional expenses upon my arrival to China.

I was able to save a few thousand dollars during my first year of teaching in China, and that allowed me more financial freedom for the next year. There are different opportunities available, and it’s important for prospective TEFL teachers to find the position that is the right fit for them. I recommend saving as much money as you’re able to prior to embarking on your new adventure. You don’t have to be rich to take that first step.

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Staff Interviews

Staff interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

John Bentley

Job Title
Senior Admissions Advisor & Head Writer
A lifelong traveler who grew up in Cairo, Egypt, John Bentley wrote for the Egypt-Israel Edition of the famous Let’s Go! guidebook series during his student days at Harvard and has worked in the fields of international travel, education, and journalism ever since.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Volcano in Nicaragua

Having grown up overseas in Cairo, Egypt there are too many to count - from camping & fishing on desert islands in the Red Sea to exploring ancient monasteries in the Sinai and visiting the Berlin Wall at the end of the Cold War in 1989. Our high school in Cairo even had our high school graduation at the Great Pyramids of Giza.

But really the most rewarding moments of travel are the small ones you experience when immersing yourself in a foreign culture: strolling through a market in Saigon, riding a train through the countryside in India, interacting with the locals at a coffee shop in Cairo or a pub in Liverpool. These are my favorite travel moments.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

One of the great aspects of working at International TEFL Academy is that we are constantly encouraged to learn as individuals, as team members, and as international travel experts.

We are constantly receiving new training and updates on all aspects of teaching English abroad.

From work visas in Poland to hiring requirements in South Korea, we are constantly getting updated on job markets and TEFL course options to provide the best information to our students & graduates.

Personally, I have also been able to learn a ton to enhance my skills in areas like writing, blogging, personal communications, and social media.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

There are too many to count, but certainly the most rewarding aspect of working at International TEFL Academy is seeing the people you work with realize their dreams of living, traveling, and teaching English abroad.

I love following my students' blogs, photos, articles and videos after they've gone overseas to teach English, especially for those for whom teaching English abroad is their first international travel experience.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would take my TEFL class online or in Chicago and then teach English somewhere in East Asia like Japan, South Korea or Vietnam, though it would be hard to pass up an opportunity to live and work in a tropical country like Nicaragua, or even a class European country like Italy.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

The passion of our team for helping others realize their dreams of teaching English & traveling abroad. International experience is the number one requirement to work at ITA so each member of our team understands personally the challenges and rewards of living and working overseas.

We also do our best to provide the most comprehensive and realistic information possible about teaching English abroad - this is why have more than 600 blog articles, FAQs, alumni interviews & videos on our website.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Passion for what we do and providing the best possible experience to our students so that they can realize their dreams of living, traveling and teaching English around the globe.

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