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International TEFL Academy (ITA) is one of the top TEFL certification programs around. In this International TEFL Academy review, I’ll share my personal experience getting TEFL certified through ITA and what you can expect if you choose to go the same route.
Why do you need a TEFL certification?
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Langauge. A TEFL Certification course is a training program that will prepare you to be an English teacher to students in another country.
Getting TEFL certified will open the door to countless teaching opportunities – both abroad and online. An internationally recognized, 120-hour TEFL certification is a requirement for almost all international English teaching jobs.
It is also a requirement for the majority of online ESL teaching companies.
Unless you have a university degree specifically in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, you’ll probably need a TEFL certification if you want to start teaching English abroad while traveling.
About International TEFL Academy
After completing their program, I definitely understand why.
ITA TEFL courses are fully accredited and thoughtfully designed to cover everything you need to know to begin a new career in teaching. Most teaching abroad jobs require a 120-hour TEFL certification, but you’ll graduate with a 170-hour TEFL credential. This could give you a leg up in the hiring process.
But The International TEFL Academy program is so much more than just a TEFL Certification Course. When you enroll, you’re getting a lifetime of access to job search assistance, mentorship, and community.
It’s been years since I took my course with the International TEFL Academy and I still feel a close connection with the team at ITA. Through social media and their fun alumni newsletters, I know that I have a resource to turn to with any TEFL-related questions.
I’ve met some of my best travel friends through the ITA network. There are meet up opportunities all over the world where you can meet cool traveling teachers. You’ll also have access to country-specific alumni facebook groups where you can ask questions before you go and meet people on arrival.
Whenever I go somewhere new, I use these Facebook communities to find new friends and learn more about the destination from people who know it well.
With International TEFL Academy, I get to connect with like-minded travelers, learn from other talented teachers, and feel supported and connected no matter where my travels take me.
Is International TEFL Academy Legit?
Yep, The International TEFL Academy is totally legit! They offer internationally accredited TEFL courses and have thousands of happy students who are now teaching English abroad.
International TEFL Academy Accreditation
International TEFL Academy is accredited by TQUK (Training Qualifications UK). TQUK is regulated by Ofqual which is an organization in the UK Government that oversees educational standards. Courses run by International TEFL Academy are considered Level 5 Qualifications (comparable to a CELTA or Trinity TEFL Course).
In simple terms, International TEFL Academy courses are fully accredited and widely accepted.
International TEFL Academy Certificate
Students will receive a digital copy of their TEFL certification by email shortly after finishing the course and their practicum hours. They will receive a hard copy in the mail within 2-4 weeks.
Awards and Alumni
ITA has over 25,000 alumni teaching in +80 countries. In addition to winning awards for Best US TEFL Course and Best Online TEFL Course, the International TEFL Academy reviews on GoAbroad, GoOverseas, and the Better Business Bureau are excellent.
International TEFL Academy Course Reviews
The International TEFL Academy offers three different course types: a fully online course, an in-person course, and a hybrid course. They also offer specialty add on courses you can take to deepen your TEFL knowledge.
International TEFL Academy Online Course
I took the ITA online course when I was getting certified. I picked this option because I was working full time as a science teacher and I needed something that suited my schedule.
The ITA online course includes 150 hours of online coursework and 20 hours of hands-on practicum experience. When you’re finished, you’ll have a 170-hour TEFL Certification, which is more than enough for most TEFL employers around the world.
The online TEFL course lasts 11 weeks and students can expect to spend about 10-12 hours per week on coursework. Courses start on a rolling basis every few weeks, and ITA recommends that you sign up for a course 2-3 weeks in advance.
Courses have a maximum of 20 students and are taught by university-level professors. My instructor was fabulous! She was engaging and gave us helpful feedback on assignments and activities. I really appreciated the energy she brought to the course and I loved hearing about her teaching abroad experiences.
Even though you’ll be following an 11 week schedule with an instructor, these courses are flexible and can be completed on your own schedule, to some extent. There aren’t any live sessions you have to attend, so it’s easy to do this course in addition to a job or school.
Online Course Content
The online TEFL course is broken down into two parts: the online informational portion and the practicum (practice teaching). These are the main modules:
- Grammar Refresher/Self-Study guide
- The Role of the Teacher
- Creating a Student-Centered Classroom
- Cultural Sensitivity
- Teaching Methods and Approaches
- Lesson Planning and Assessment
- Grammar and Lexis Teaching
- Listening and Reading Teaching
- Speaking and Writing Teaching
- Using Visual Aids and Technology
- Classroom Management
Throughout each lesson, students will submit assignments and tasks to their instructor for a grade. There is also a mid-way evaluation and a final evaluation.
After completing all the modules, students will submit a final Thematic Unit project. For this project, you will use what you’ve learned to create a mini-unit with three lesson plans and activities. This will be evaluated by your instructor.
It’s a big project, but once you’re finished you’ll be able to use the lessons from your thematic unit in your future classroom or as a portfolio to show prospective employers! That gives you a huge advantage over other applicants!
International TEFL Academy Practicum
After completing the online course content, students must do their practicum. The International TEFL Academy practicum is a chance to observe real classrooms and practice your teaching skills. To finish your TEFL certification, you must get 20 hours of practicum experience.
These hours can come from a range of activities such as:
- Observing ESL classrooms
- Student Teaching
- Teaching Online (some companies like Preply and iTalki will hire tutors without a TEFL, so you can work for them before your TEFL certification is completed)
I did my practicum hours by volunteering at the Adult Education Center in my city. I reached out to a local school district and they told me I could observe the evening ESL classes offered to the community. After observing a few sessions, I asked the lead instructor if I could student-teach a few lessons and he agreed.
I also met a woman in the class who wanted extra tutoring, so we met at the library for a few hours each week to practice one-on-one. Overall, it took me about 4 weeks to complete my practicum hours.
The practicum element of the ITA online course sets it apart from other online courses. You finish your certification with a better understanding of how a real TEFL classroom looks and operates. This chance to observe and practice tutoring made me feel more confident when I started applying to TEFL jobs.
International TEFL Academy In-Person Course
If you want to get TEFL Certified in-person, you’re going to LOVE the course options provided by International TEFL Academy! Basically, you can get TEFL certified all over the world!! How fun is that?
At the time I’m writing this post, you can get TEFL certified in-person in the following locations:
- North America: Chicago, New York City
- Asia: Chiang Mai, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Phnom Penh
- Europe: Barcelona, Prague, Toulouse, Crete, Florence, Sardinia, Rome, Madrid, Istanbul, St. Petersburg
- Latin America: Heredia, Quito, Ciudad Guzman, Guadalajara, Arequipa
If you decide to take the ITA in-person course, you’ll be working on your TEFL certification full-time for 4 weeks. Classes run from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday-Friday and there are 10-14 students in each course. You’ll also get to practice teaching with local language learners in the town where you’re studying.
International TEFL Academy Hybrid Course
International TEFL Academy offers two hybrid courses as well. These courses give you even more choices for how to get certified.
New York Hybrid Course
For the New York TEFL Hybrid Course, you’ll start by completing your 11-week online TEFL coursework. Then, instead of finding a place to do your practicum on your own, you’ll hop on a plane to fabulous New York City! In New York, you’ll participate in one week of hands-on teaching practice, classroom observations, and receive feedback on your teaching.
This option is great for students who need the flexibility of the online course but also want in-person guidance and experience. With the New York Hybrid Course, you’ll get to practice teaching, observe ESL classrooms, and get professional suggestions on how to improve lesson plans and delivery.
Spain Hybrid Course
Get TEFL certified in Barcelona, then stay around a while! With this hybrid course option, you’ll spend the first four weeks of your time in Spain getting TEFL certified at ITA Barcelona. After that, you’ll enroll in 7-11 months of language courses at a partner school. This qualifies you for a student visa where you can study and work 20 hours per week while living in Spain.
The Spain hybrid course is a good option for anyone who wants to get TEFL certified in Spain, learn a new language, and get some experience teaching at the same time!
Other TEFL Courses by ITA
ITA also offers some shorter add-on courses that can make your resume stand out even more to employers. These courses are offered to students who have already completed one of the full TEFL programs listed above. They allow you to specialize even more in the area of teaching that interests you.
Teaching English Online
This 30-hour specialty course about teaching English online is perfect for students who know the online teaching life is in their future! You’ll learn about popular platforms for teaching online, how to prepare online English lessons, online classroom management tips, and much more.
Teaching English To Young Learners
If you plan to teach English to young students, this 30-hour specialty course will help you hone those skills. Learn more about developing language skills, encouraging young student participation, and classroom management strategies for younger students, among many other skills.
Teaching Business English
The Teaching Business English Specialty course is perfect for those who plan to teach professionals and adult students around the world. This 30-hour course covers English for general business purposes, English for specific business purposes, choosing materials for business english lessons, understanding cultural differences when conducting business, and more!
How much does International TEFL Academy Cost?
With the International TEFL Academy, you’re getting a university-quality course for a reasonable price. Even though I wasn’t exactly rolling in dough when I took my TEFL course, I chose ITA because I wanted to expand my knowledge – not just get a certification. With top-notch educators, robust course work, and a caring support team, the International TEFL Academy was worth the price.
- Online TEFL Course: $1,399 USD
- In-Person TEFL Course: $1,500 – $2,800 USD (depending on location)
- Hybrid TEFL Course: $715 USD + Cost of Online TEFL Course
- Specialty TEFL Course: $279 USD
ITA offers a $500 scholarship for students who are active duty in the military or a veteran. This discount is also offered to teachers who served in the PeaceCorps, AmeriCorps, Teach for America, or City Year.
As you weigh your TEFL program options, these are a few things to keep in mind regarding the cost:
- Your TEFL Certification never expires, so you only need to make this purchase once
- You get ongoing job assistance for as long as you need as well as access to active Facebook groups for alumni around the world
- Please be wary of very cheap TEFL courses you find on coupon deal sites. Those courses often aren’t accredited which could mean that you’re ineligible for the jobs you want. An accredited, professional course like the ones offered through ITA might cost more upfront, but you won’t have to worry about unpleasant surprises later on.
- I made back the entire cost of my TEFL course in my first two months as an online English teacher. Getting this certification is an investment in your future.
My Honest International TEFL Academy Review
My experience with the International TEFL Academy has been awesome! I took the online course while I was working full time. I liked having a flexible option that still had plenty of teacher support and feedback. After completing my course, I was able to talk to an ITA Advisor and decide what job path was right for me.
They helped me explore all my options and ultimately I ended up becoming an online English teacher with VIPKID, which has been my main job and low-key obsession since summer 2017! With a remote teaching job secured, I was able to start traveling all over the world without having to worry about draining my bank account. (If you want to know more about how I started traveling and teaching online, you can check out this post about my first year of full-time travel!)
Since completing the course, I used the networking opportunities provided by ITA to meet friends all over the world. Some fo those connections turned into my closest friends and travel buddies!
In this part of the review, I’ll break down the biggest pros and cons of the International TEFL Academy to help you decide if it’s the right fit for you too!
Highlights of ITA
Quality Course Content
There’s a lot to love about getting TEFL certified with ITA! One of the biggest highlights is the course itself. The quality of the material and depth of information is impressive.
As a professional teacher with years in the classroom, I know good course content when I see it! The course materials offered by ITA are professional, clear, and thorough without being overwhelming.
Even though I had years of teaching experience, I still learned new skills in the course. I also loved how I left the course with actual TEFL lesson plans and activities I could use in my future classroom.
Just a fair warning, these courses are rigorous! You’ll need to put in the time and work to earn your certification. The result? You’ll feel prepared and confident as you walk into your first classroom.
International TEFL Academy only uses university level instructors to teach their courses. My instructor was great at explaining the class material and giving us constructive, genuine feedback on our assignments.
All online TEFL Course instructors have a masters degree or higher in a relevant field. They also all have experience teaching abroad and experience leading an online course.
Lifetime Job Support Assistance
Once you finish the course, you won’t be left out in the cold. Graduates have a lifetime of job support and assistance. In fact, ITA has a whole department of Student Affairs Advisors dedicated to working with graduates one-on-one.
All students receive a comprehensive Job Search Guidance Manual and access to an updated directory of teaching jobs around the world. If you ever feel stuck, all you have to do is email one of their Student Affairs Advisors and they’ll help you find your way.
Active Alumni Community
By far, one of my favorite things about ITA is the amazing community they have built around their program. If you read International TEFL Academy online reviews, you’ll notice that many alumni feel the same way.
I can honestly say over half of the friends I’ve met around the world have been through ITA connections. Whether through Instagram, Facebook Groups, or word of mouth, ITA alumni always seem to find each other.
This isn’t by accident. ITA has designed their course and the social scene around it to bring people together. They host meet ups and events in cities around the world, provide country-specific facebook groups for people to connect, and share alumni stories through their newsletter.
All this results in a close-knit and supportive teacher family you can lean on, no matter where in the world you might be.
Online Courses Take 11 Weeks
One potential downside is that the ITA online course is not self-paced. You’ll receive material on a week to week basis. I personally didn’t mind this because I liked having more structure in the course and it made the information easier to digest.
But it could be a problem if you have an extremely busy schedule and can’t commit 10-12 hours per week for the duration of your training. It also isn’t ideal if you have a lot of time on your hands and want to move through the course quickly.
Higher Course Price
The ITA program is more expensive than some of the other TEFL classes on the market, so if you’re very strapped for cash it might not be the best choice. You can see some alternatives at lower price points in this blog post.
That being said, you get so much more than a TEFL certificate for the price tag. When you consider that you also get ongoing support, job assistance, and an active teacher community as you move forward, the price is very reasonable.
Is the International TEFL Academy a good value for money?
Even though it has a higher price tag than some of its competitors, ITA is an excellent value for the money. If you choose to get TEFL certified with International TEFL Academy, you’ll receive a high-quality course, a network of teachers around the world, and ongoing support in your TEFL career.
It’s won some of the highest awards in its field and ITA alumni reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
If you want to get an idea of what ITA graduates are up to, check out the ITA Instagram account. They feature traveling teachers from all over the world and it’s a great place to get inspired for your next steps.
You can also reach out to ITA directly through their website or through this interest form (you’ll also receive a free TEFL brochure!) They’re very nice people who are happy to answer your questions without sales pressure. Get in touch below to learn more or enroll, and happy teaching!