Choosing a TEFL course provider is a headache. There are so many of them out there, some which don’t seem legit, and others which bamboozle you with pictures of exotic beaches and special offers which always seem to be minutes away from expiring.

I know. I’ve been through it. Not only do you have to choose a provider, but then sift through the various options – online, in-person, 120 hours, Level 5, specialisations. It’s overwhelming.

The aim of this article is to make the decision easy and painless.

I recommend you choose International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) and pick either the 120-hour course or a combined course which is partly online and partly in one of many locations around the world. Clicking the link gets you 15% off all courses and helps me out.

Full disclosure: I have an affiliate arrangement with ITTT in which I receive compensation for purchases made when you click the links in this article. However, nearly every TEFL course provider uses affiliate marketing, so I could have chosen any of them. I went for ITTT because, for me, it’s the best quality and value.

Why ITTT stands above other TEFL/TESL providers – combined courses

Every TEFL course provider offers online TEFL qualifications. Many also have the option of in-person courses which take place either in your home country or at various destinations around the world.

Online courses are cheap, and you can do them in your own time. The downsides are that they lack personal interaction and genuine teaching practice with real students.

In-person courses let you meet new people and get some good teaching experience, but are expensive because you have to be on location for a month or more.

Combined courses take the best of both worlds. You do most of the theoretical work online in your own time, then finish the course with some in-person teaching practice over the course of 5-10 days.

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Admittedly, they’re still quite expensive, but they’re cheaper than in-person courses (you pay less on accommodation, too) and you can still do a lot of the work on a flexible schedule rather than committing to four full weeks.

International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) is the best for combined courses. In fact, they’re one of the few major TEFL course providers to offer them.

Now, you may ask, why not do it all online? And that’s a good question. It’s much cheaper, and you don’t need to organise travel and accommodation. But the online course can’t give you real teaching practice.

Teaching practice makes a huge difference. Imagine you play music in a band and you’re preparing for a concert. You can practice your part at home, learn the notes and chords, or memorise the words. But you’d want to rehearse with your bandmates, right?

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Going into TEFL teaching is the same. Before you get a job and walk into your first class, you want to have had a few practice runs first. Especially under the guidance of an expert tutor.

That’s what you pay the extra money for. And it has to be with real students, not with other people doing the course. Other course providers claim to offer teaching practice, but it’s peer-teaching only, which is much less valuable.

And if travelling to a far flung location isn’t possible, don’t worry. ITTT has an option for getting your Observed Teaching Practice online, via zoom.

Is International TEFL and TESOL Training legit?

The short answer is yes.

It’s a major company which has been around for years with accreditation and recognition around the world. It has great reviews at Tefl Course Review and Trustpilot.

If you want to learn more about the legitimacy of the TEFL industry in general, read my article Is TEFL Legit? Guide to trustworthy certificates and jobs.

How does ITTT compare to other TEFL course providers?

In this section, I’m going to compare ITTT to four other major TEFL course providers: The TEFL Academy, i-to-i TEFL, Premier TEFL, and International TEFL Academy.

Before we start, I’d like to point out these are all respected and accredited companies. Courses from all of them are recognised around the world.

Prices listed here will vary. Seasonal offers, discounts and bundles make pricing difficult to compare. I’ve taken the base price in all cases, but be aware that you can often get the courses for cheaper.

We’ll compare the price of the industry standard 120-hour online course, the 168-180 hour Level 5 online course, and the cost of in-person and combined courses in a popular TEFL destination, Barcelona.

TEFL Course Provider120-hr OnlineLevel 5 OnlineIn-PersonCombined
International TEFL and TESOL Training$340$420$1749$1600
The TEFL Academy$432$500$880*
i-to-i TEFL$429$759
Premier TEFL$439$659
International TEFL Academy$1,499$1,650
* The TEFL Academy’s combined course does NOT include teaching practice to real students

Online course prices

As far as the base price for online classes goes, International TEFL and TESOL Training is the cheapest. Saying that, the likes of Premier TEFL and The TEFL Academy often have significant discounts, meaning they may be cheaper than ITTT when you’re reading this.

The big outlier is International TEFL Academy. It doesn’t offer a 120-hour course, and at $1,499 its 170-hour Level 5 option is almost double the price of the second most expensive in the category, i-to-i TEFL.

Why? Teaching practice. Lots of it. A full 20 hour practicum of observed teaching which is incredibly valuable. For reference, if you were to take the 150-hour ITTT course with a similar practicum (although only 6 hours of teaching practice instead of 20), it’d cost you $898.

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In-person class prices

When it comes to in-person classes, International TEFL Academy has a good offer – it’s not much more expensive than the online version, and a little cheaper than ITTT. Unfortunately, they don’t have combined courses.

Bear in mind, in-person classes will have different prices depending on the destination, in terms of tuition fees, accommodation and living costs while you’re there.

Combined course prices

Only ITTT and The TEFL Academy have combined courses. It’s important to note, The TEFL Academy’s combined course does NOT include any teaching practice and evaluation, instead, you just learn some of the theory in a real classroom instead of online.

For me, without the teaching practice, there’s no point in doing the combined course. That’s why ITTT is the only good combined course. It also offers the cheapest online course, and similar rates for in-person courses to International TEFL Academy.

Remember to click here for a 15% discount off all ITTT courses and support this website in the process.

Which ITTT course is best for you?

Another positive of ITTT is the array of different courses you can take. However, it can be confusing. With so many options, you can end up choosing one you don’t need, such as the 550-hour diploma course.

Personally, I think it’s nice to have a choice, as long as you understand them all. People have different needs. While an online course might be enough for one person, another might require that real-life experience to have the confidence to succeed.

If you’re strapped for cash, go for the 120-hour online course. You’ll learn enough to get started, and have a qualification suitable for most Asian or South American countries.

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For a little more depth in your teaching and extra power in the job market, especially in Europe, you might consider the 170-hour Level 5 option.

But if you have the time, money and inclindation to travel, go for either a combined course or an in-person course to get the full benefits as well as genuine teaching practice with real students.

Not only that, but you’ll get an introduction to the local language, and a vital foothold in the country you want to work in. With contacts and knowledge, you have a platform to find somewhere to live, and a good place to work.

What’s included in the ITTT courses?

What’s in the online course?

The 120-hour online course has 20 units. These include some grammar, such as the past, present and future tenses, but the majority are on developing teaching skills, like phonology and assessment.

Each of the units finishes with a short quiz. At the end of the course, there’s a summative written task which will contribute towards your overall grade.

There are options to add tutor and video support, as well as complete a mini-practicum if you can find your own classes to teach. If you can organise this, I’d recommend doing so. At the end, there’s some guidance on writing your CV and getting TEFL jobs.

At the time of writing, the basic price is reduced to $249 ($212 with my 15% discount link) but if you choose to add tutor support, video lessons and the practicum, it’ll go up to $399 ($339 with my 15% discount link).

To find out all the details of the 120-hour online course, go straight to the ITTT page with all the information. This link will get you 15% off all purchases and supports this website.

What’s in the combined course?

The combined course has an online element similar to the 120-hour online version and includes tutor support. You have 6 months in which to complete it.

Then, you choose to spend either 5, 8, or 10 days doing the in-person part. The 8 and 10 day options get you 6 hours of Observed Teaching Practice, which is extremely valuable. The 5 day option has no teaching practice.

At the time of writing (early 2022), the world is still suffering from the effects of the COVID pandemic, so there aren’t as many locations to choose from.

What’s in the in-class course?

The fully in-person courses take about 4 weeks and offers more than what you get online.

You do 120 hours of study, then 6-10 hours of Observed Teaching Practice with real English learners of all different levels and group sizes.

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On top of this, you get lessons in the local language and work closely with an individual student to direct their progress.

Half of your grade is based on the teaching practice, while the other half is made up of phonology, grammar, material compilation, lesson observations and progress in the local language.

Are the ITTT TEFL courses hard?

If you’re worried about failing, be assured that the vast majority of people pass, and the ones who fail usually don’t complete the required work. As long as you’re committed to finishing all the tasks, you’ll be fine.

The theoretical material in the courses is relatively challenging, but definitely achievable for the majority of people. Grammar can be a pain, but it’s not too bad.

Teaching practice can be overwhelming at first. Don’t worry, though, with expert tutors helping you through it, you’ll be fine!

If you’re wondering if being a TEFL teacher is hard, check out my article answering that exact question: Is TEFL Teaching Hard? A guide to whether TEFL is right for you.

Decisions, decisions

I hope by reading this article you feel more informed about which TEFL course is best for you, and which provider to go with.

There’s no one correct answer for everyone. Whether you choose online, combined, or fully in-person depends on your needs and budget. Pick what’s right for you.

In terms of course length, for most people starting out in the TEFL industry, a 120-hour course is enough to find work in most destinations. You may consider a Level 5 course if you want to work in Europe.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Don’t be swayed the “best value” or “highly recommended” tags on some of the big, expensive courses. You’ll spend too much time and money on a qualification you don’t need.

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter which course provider you go for, as long as it’s a major, established brand that gets good reviews. My pick is ITTT, but the four other companies listed in the article (i-to-i, Premier TEFL, The TEFL Academy, International TEFL Academy) are also great.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck in your TEFL journey!

To get the 15% discount off all courses and help me out, go and check out International TEFL and TESOL Training.

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