Welcome to TEFL & TESOL courses in Greece

Getting Started:
Choosing your TEFL Certificate Course

Before you make a decision about whether you want to do a TEFL certificate course, and if so, where and who with, we recommend that you read through the advice here in detail.

Choosing a TEFL certificate course can admittedly be a daunting prospect for those who don’t know the industry well to begin with. You’ll find a wealth of different advice and information on numerous websites: some of it honest and correct, some technically correct but misleading, some contradictory and some simply untrue.

Who should I take my TEFL course with?

The problem with this question arises from the fact that there is, as yet, no one overall global body for the issue and moderation of TEFL certificate courses. The market is competitive and there are many companies, schools and organizations around the world that offer various kinds of TEFL and TESOL certification courses.

Some TEFL courses are excellent and will be recognised as such wherever you go. Some are maybe less good but still fulfill international standards. Some, conversely, may be very good and professionally run courses but fail to fulfill all basic accepted industry standards and can thus leave you struggling to find employment in many areas of the increasingly competitive EFL teaching world. Some may be a complete waste of your time and money, and you’ll find that the certificate you paid for isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Some TEFL course providers offer help with finding you a job, some don’t. It can even be the case that the ones who give you the most help in finding a job aren’t always the ones with the highest level of international recognition. Do your homework, ask questions, and remember that a great website doesn’t always equate to a great TEFL course!

We believe that Via Lingua manages to combine all the best aspects of the above by offering you a high quality, fully recognised, externally moderated course as well as a wealth of job contacts through our large and expanding number of international offices. However, we’re clearly open to a charge of bias here: we recommend you to read the guidelines below in detail (written to assist you through what can be a bit of a minefield, rather than necessarily to persuade you to do our TEFL course and nobody else’s!) and if you have any remaining questions, feel free to contact us for clarification. If you find information elsewhere which appears to be different or contradictory, please let us know, or, if you prefer, ask a knowledgeable and independent advisor for help. If you decide after this that you feel that a TEFL course other than ours is the best route for you, that’s just fine and we wish you all the best. Hopefully the info here will still be of use to you.

Firstly, there ARE internationally accepted standards for the governing of TEFL and TESOL certification courses worldwide. They’re laid down by organizations such as TESOL (in the US) and the British Council (in the UK). Neither of these organizations ‘accredits’ TEFL courses as such, but the guidelines they issue are widely accepted and most employers worldwide are aware of them and will want to know whether your TEFL or TESOL course fulfilled these basic rules. The most important of them are:

  1. Your TEFL course must be at least 100 tuition hours and 4 weeks in length. Shorter courses than this are not generally accepted. The Via Lingua course is 4 weeks and 120+ tuition hours in length. There are many other TEFL and TESOL course providers around the world who likewise fulfill this requirement: in fact, most courses do, good or bad. It’s one of the easiest regulations to comply with as it says nothing about the quality or validity of the training you’ll receive, only the amount of it.
  2. Your TEFL course must include at least 6 hours of real, face-to-face, observed teaching practice with real groups of students. The Via Lingua course includes 10 hours of teaching practice. Many other reputable providers offer a similar amount. Please note that on-line courses which do not offer real classroom teaching practice do not therefore normally qualify, however long they may be, unless there’s also an on-site, practical teaching element to the course. In general, as far as employers are concerned, the more real, observed teaching practice you’ve had during your TEFL course, the better.
  3. The TEFL course must be externally moderated by a recognised University. This is the area where many (indeed most) course providers fail to meet international standards, and also the area where you’ll find the most conflicting information. You’ll also, unfortunately, come across a lot of deliberate confusing of the issues from those who are offering TEFL courses without such moderation arrangements to guarantee their standards. You need to ask your prospective TEFL course provider, prior to parting with your money, ‘Who moderates your course? Are they a proper, accredited University? If I want to confirm this with them, can I contact them directly? If so, on what address?’ If you don’t ask these or similar questions beforehand, you may find your prospective employer later asking them of you.

The Via Lingua course is externally moderated by the prestigious ELT Institute Hunter College in New York City. See external moderation for full details. There are other good and reputable TEFL course providers in the world who are also moderated by recognised Universities, including by Trinity College in London and the by the University of Cambridge. Any of these courses, irrespective of their other merits (such as exact academic content or the help they will or won’t give you in finding a job) will normally be accepted as valid certificates by employers worldwide without further question.

For TEFL course providers who are unable or unwilling have their courses externally moderated, there are many ‘alternative’ non-University bodies that agree to ‘accredit’ or ‘validate’ TEFL courses, usually for a fee. Whilst some of these bodies and/or arrangements have some limited validity, most are spurious and some are downright deceptive. We don’t comment on individual competitors as a matter of professional policy, but in general, would suggest you beware of any course provider who seems to be less than clear about exactly who their external moderator is. In short:

Finally: remember that the best advertisements for any TEFL course are the teachers who emerge from it. Their opinions are likely to be the most useful to you. Ask any prospective TEFL course provider for a list of contact email addresses from people who’ve done their course in the past. Don’t be put off by the excuse that ‘we can’t give these out owing to confidentiality reasons’. This is technically true, but most TEFL course providers also maintain lists of past graduates who’ve given permission for their names and addresses to be passed on. At the very least, they should be able to pass your own contact details and queries on to some of their past graduates and ask them to reply to you.

Questions to ask here include: ‘Did your TEFL course provider assist you in finding a job after the course? Was your certificate readily accepted by your employer? Was the TEFL course professionally run according to the principles and guidelines laid down on the course provider’s website?’ – you can, undoubtedly, think of many more.

Where should I take my TEFL course?

There are now TEFL courses on offer, of one sort or another, in most popular traveling and working destinations around the world. In some very popular locations, such as Prague or Barcelona, you can take your pick of any one of a dozen course providers. This gives you a great range of choices, but remember that the cheapest isn’t always the best option! Likewise, just because a course is more expensive doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better. Of course the price is an important factor, (we all want value for money!) but bear in mind that this is an important investment in at least a part of your future and try to choose wisely. If one TEFL course is going to land you with a decent and enjoyable teaching job after completion and another isn’t, a difference in price of a hundred dollars or so may be a cost worth bearing. Remember also that very popular destinations such as those listed above are also places where hundreds of teachers want to work. Generally this means that wages there are lower and jobs can be harder to find.

If you know where you want to work, it makes a great deal of sense to take your TEFL course in that country, wherever possible. More and more these days, employers are unwilling to offer positions to teachers without their attending a face-to-face interview first. This is especially true for Americans (and other non-EU nationals) seeking to work in Western Europe. Unless you’re prepared to travel half-way round the world for a 40-minute job interview, bear this in mind! A well-established local school can offer you far more help in finding work in a particular location than can one in another country or continent, however good or professional their course may be.

At Via Lingua we try to ease this problem by offering all our graduates, irrespective of where they took the course with us, access to local job guidance and help from any one of our schools around the world, at any time in the future. To the best of our knowledge, no other TEFL course provider does this.

For certain regions, such as in the Far East, where demand for teachers is high and interviews are normally conducted over the telephone, where you take your course isn’t such as issue, and we can assist you in finding work in these areas at any time of year, wherever you take you TEFL course, without your having to travel for a face-to-face interview. We deal only with reputable schools and can arrange for many to also cover your flight costs and find your housing. In Europe, however, especially for non-EU nationals for whom work is always more difficult to find, we work on a basis of continuing local contacts and having well-established and reputable local partner schools who regularly employ our graduates in Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Hungary, Turkey and elsewhere.

We understand that it isn't always possible to answer every question you may have on our website. We also appreciate the difficulties people may have in reaching someone by telephone from different countries and time-zones all around the world. If you would like a member of our staff to call you at home at a time convenient to you and discuss any particular queries you may have before making a decision about where and whether you take a TEFL course, please just click the link below.