International Recognition and Acceptance of TEFL Courses

This question finally needs to be answered! As usual this post is inspired by questions asked by our readers.

The question asked was:

I just do not know much about [a certain language training organization] and how widely recognized it is.

The truth about “international recognition” is that there is really no such thing. ALL TEFL course providers address it as it is one of the most commonly asked questions, so it has to be answered. And we all join such organizations as we need an answer when people ask.

The reality on the ground is that schools either accept an online course or not. I’ve never heard of a school accepting one brand or another and chosing to not accept a different one based on organzations of which they are institutional members – or not.

This is also true of the Full Monty courses (100-120 hour in-classroom TEFL course). Employers generally accept them or not. Often whether schools want certification at all or not is more the result of the legal requirements for a work permit rather than their personal preference.

In fact, it is only the Full Monty (if I may use that term!) courses that SOMETIMES have a problem as countries that have a strong preference for British English will sometimes prefer a CELTA. If I was going to teach in the EU – CELTA might be the way to go.

In Asia and most of the rest of the world, no one cares. And the the great majority of times I’ve seen a name brand mentioned in a “Help Wanted” type advert was when the school looking for people also SOLD that name brand.

In other words, ECC chain of schools in Thailand, for example, tends to prefer CELTA as they are a school that sells CELTA courses, so of course, they would prefer their name brand. BUT they don’t exclude someone who took the course from Text-and-Talk or from TEFL International, as examples.

As a general rule, most people giving advice on forums about “international recognition” don’t know what I have written here. Most have an affiliation with a brand – or a school – from which they took their course and tend to repeat what they have been told. And some believe that there is really one guiding force out here for such courses. There just isn’t.

I’ve trained teachers in Korea, Saudi Arabia and Thailand and have never run into that one guiding force. Additionally I’ve taught in general in the USA, Botswana and Taiwan. Probably most of the people giving advice on forums have been in one country maybe for a year or two, may have a personal anecdote or two, or heard something from someone else that they are repeating, but they just don’t really know. (Just my opinion!).

You might want to read: TEFL Course Standards
I wrote that several years ago. But the whole nature of that website is set up focusing on the Full Monty type courses and if you decide to take one at some point – use the five checklists provided on that website to help you decide on from whom you might want to take a course.

TED’s Tips™ #1: If you plan on teaching in Europe, take the CELTA course. But another popular course in Europe is TEFL International, they are gaining wide acceptance these days.

TED’s Tips™ #2: If you plan on teaching any where else, name brand is not going to matter.

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