Why You Should Take a TEFL or TESOL Course Right Now
In this blog post, we discuss some of the main reasons for taking a TEFL or TESOL course now rather than later. Why does it make sense to do it sooner rather than later.
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Reason #1: It makes sense to take a course now is from a financial standpoint.
The first reason it makes sense to take a course now is from a financial standpoint. The reason this makes sense is because when it comes to Teaching English abroad you are going to be faced with three main expenses. The first expense will be your TEFL or TESOL certificate course. The second one is transportation and flights, so how to get you from where you are currently to your new destination country where you're going to be teaching. The third expense is the basic start-up costs to help you through until your first paycheck, as you have will probably have to work at least a full month before you get your first paycheck and it may sometimes be even longer like six weeks or two months. So if you wait until the last moment to do all of these three things together, you're going to have a reasonable expense to cover. It therefore makes sense to break these payments down to a more affordable time scale. You can spread out these three main expenses, you don't have to pay them all in one go.
Let's have a look at one possible teaching English career timeline. 1. Choose your course
2. Work through the course
3. Receive your certificate
4. Apply for jobs
5. Start your teaching career
As you can see there are five steps suggested here and this could take anywhere from six months to a year depending upon where you want to teach.
Choosing your TEFL or TESOL course.
The two acronyms basically mean the same thing; one is used more in the UK and the other in the USA respectively. There are a variety of different TEFL and TESOL courses on offer throughout the world, so you really need to do some research and to check you know which course is the right one for you. The course best for you will depend upon a number of factors, such as your personal background, your qualifications and also where you want to go. Other factors will include things such as your budget for the course, your time available and whether you want to take the course online or in-class.
Work through the course.
If you take the course online you would work through the course units and depending on how much time you have available to work on it this may take from a few weeks up to six months. If you take an in-class course these typically last four weeks and involve some form of teaching practice.
Receive your certificate.
Once you successfully complete your course choice you will receive your certificate. This document along with others will be needed when you move to the next stage.
Apply for jobs.
The application process time will vary depending on which country you want to go to, what kind of school you want to work in, for example a private school, a state school, or do you want to work for a government program? The application process might be shorter or longer depending on the employer, so you also need to kind of take that into consideration. Part of the jobs application process includes, the transportation costs, which could be your second expense we talked about earlier. Some employers in countries in Asia, such as China, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan will actually pay for your airfare. Also in the Middle East, most employers will actually cover the airfare so you don't really need to worry about that. However there are many regions where you do actually have to pay for your own transport to get you there, so be sure to check this as part of the application process.
Start your teaching career.
You are now ready to begin your teaching career. There will be one further expanse that you will still need to cover. Employers usually require you to work a month ‘in-hand’ which means not only will you not be paid until the end of any month, but your first month may not be paid until the end of the second month and so forth. This allows the employer to be sure that you are always owed money and not the other way around. Depending upon where you are teaching and the contract you have which may or may not include accommodation expenses, this one or two months without pay may add up quite quickly.
Reason # 2: Take advantage of as many options or opportunities as possible.
Reason number two for taking a course right now is that once you have it you can get started on your job search and take advantage of as many options or opportunities as possible. It can often take between three and six months to line up a teaching position abroad, so this would be the whole application process, or even more depending on where you want to teach. For example there are some government programs in countries like Japan and South Korea and they hire teachers to work in their public schools. These programs are very well organized and they have been running for years and they hire every year at the same time, so they have hiring seasons. Another example, if you want to go to South Korea and work in a public school through their major hiring program called the EPIK program then hiring could take place up to a year before you would expect to go and teach.
Reason # 3: A TEFL/TESOL Certificate never expires.
The third reason for taking a course now, is that the certification for one of these courses is life-long. The certificate does not have an expiry date, so you may use it whenever you are ready to do so.
Even if you are not sure yet exactly where you want to go or what type of classes you want to teach having a certificate under your belt will give you confidence in the later steps.
One important note regarding your certificate. It should be verifiable by an employer, so they should be able to confirm with which ever company you took the certifications with, what your course was and the certificate number you received.
Reason #4: You'll have more time to get your mind ready.
The fourth reason for taking the first step and enrolling in your teaching certification course is that it gives you more time to think about teaching abroad. The first and second reasons we just talked about look at things from a financial and logistical point of view, now this one the fourth reason is more focused on the mental and emotional aspects of things. Once you take the first step of enrolling and starting your teaching course then you are already so much closer to your goals of living and working abroad.
It is appreciated by those who have taken this step already that moving abroad, especially if you have not travelled extensively is a very major life change. You do not want to be worrying about the next steps whilst doing your certification, so the earlier in the process you can get that out of the way the better.
Once you have your certification this will allow you to concentrate on deciding on where and when you want to go and to thoroughly research the destinations and more importantly the typical job requirements. You do not want to waste time in this phase of applying for jobs that you are never going to get, for reasons such as lack of qualifications or work visa rules. All of this requires extensive research and should not be rushed.
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