Are there any free TEFL courses for the unemployed?

No. There are some TEFL volunteering opportunities where you go and teach English for an agreed term through an organisation. However, you will not get TEFL certified; you will not be paid for your time but may receive accommodation and food as compensation.

A rewarding life-choice

Getting your TEFL certificate is such a rewarding life choice. However, the truth is that providing TEFL courses is a business with overhead costs. In an ideal world, EBC Trinity College CertTESOL would love to allow everyone to get their TEFL certificate for free.

When you think about the life-changing impact a TEFL certificate can have on your life, compared to how much it costs, it is not expensive. It is, in fact, quite a worthwhile investment.

An investment in your future

Look at your TEFL certificate as an investment. Many organisations are willing to help you; go out and find them. Ask a family member, friend, or even your local benefits office if they can invest in you taking a TEFL course and making yourself more employable.

Think of it this way. Suppose a school or a community college has a lot of immigrants wanting to learn or improve their English. In that case, they will need to hire a qualified and certified TEFL professional. It will be a bad idea if they hire just any native English speaker. A teacher from an entirely different discipline won’t be any better. TEFL is a particular type of teaching that has to be properly learned. It is and has always been a misconception that if English is your L1 or your mother tongue, this qualifies you to teach English. Many experienced EFL teachers will tell you that this way of thinking will harm your TEFL career. A question arising from this misconception is if it were necessary to know the local language to effectively TEFL. The answer to this is No. An ELL (English language learner) will always learn better and faster if he only uses English.

Why would you want to take a TEFL course?

Think about why you want to take a TEFL course. Is it for a gap year? Is it for a change of career? Is it for the opportunity to work abroad? Is it simply to find TEFL jobs while you’re travelling?

Finding reputable employers interested in you might be difficult without your TEFL certificate. What work will you do in your gap year or when travelling? How will you make yourself employable? And, more importantly, employable in doing something you love? You can work in an office, a bar, a restaurant or a shop, but how can that compare to teaching, inspiring and motivating people and giving them the skill to help make them more employable. Most TEFL professionals have found that on many occasions, that ever-important TEFL certificate has brought them a lot of unforgettable travel experiences.

Many people who got their TEFL certificate have never looked back as TEFL is such a rewarding career. Teaching English in different countries is the most practical way to learn about other cultures and a new language. You also become more employable when you return home. It is a given that most companies value work experience abroad as this shows them that you are aware of different cultures and work practices. You could come home with a good level of Spanish, Mandarin or French! You could even be multilingual due to having lived in many countries.

Study with a reputable school

You must study with a reputable school that includes an external moderation. In all our Trinity College London courses, there is always external moderation. An independent, external moderator from  Trinity College will be assigned to interview the trainees. If you plan on investing time, money and effort, only go for the best, a gold standard dual TEFL and TESOL certification. The Trinity CertTESOL is externally moderated and renowned worldwide.

Do your research

Do your research, do your homework. Speak to ex-graduates of the school you intend to study with. However, speaking to the school is the best way to get a feel of what they are all about. Ask all your questions. A well-run and trustworthy TEFL school will know how to advise all applicants about the best path to pursue. They should have pre-admission testing procedures to test your English language skills. At the EBC Trinity College CertTESOL course, the pre-admission testing procedure comprises a: Handwritten 200-word essay and a Spoken interview. It is a red flag if the school you are interested in will take you without checking that you are qualified for the course! Stay away because all they want are numbers. This kind of school strikes me as someone who will accept everyone’s money regardless.

It is always best to ask them about teaching practice classes; who will you teach in these practice classes? What is the course outline? What is external moderation like? There are many more questions that you should ask. Ask away until you are satisfied with the answers.

Make your choice

In the end, it’s your choice. Go with your gut feel.

The school that effectively answers your questions is the one you choose.

Again, I wish you the best with your travels.