Online TEFL Worth the Cost?

by Matt

Hi, great site here,

So I understand that the authorities are clamping down a little bit tighter these days in Ho Chi Minh City.

I don't expect to get an legit work visa when I move there next month, but I would like to feel confident about landing a reasonable position.

I have a BA, but no TEFL certificate.

If I invest in a 100 hour TEFL online course, will it be worth it? Will having the mere certificate be better than not having any TEFL at all (even though its not the expensive, 4-week, 120-hour, in-class blah ...)

Or, is it an utter waste of time from an average employers standpoint?

Thank you!



Reply from

Hey, Matt.

You could get a Work Visa in Vietnam quite easily. The process is a very distasteful one because of the inflated prices for foreigners at every turn and poor service that is slower than the internet connection in Ethiopia.

Avoid it at all cost. I personally feel that it is less trouble to find a new job and even move house rather than go through getting your work permit in Vietnam.

But people I've known for a long time are getting worried and feeling the pinch. You can only keep telling authorities that you lost your documents or the work Visa is 'in process' for so long.

Sometimes the Government seems to wind up and lead a 'clampdown' (They will visit the schools and ask for your work permit).

So far, they have always accepted my excuse that my Vietnam Work Permit Application is 'In Process' (I say that I am waiting for the Criminal Record check to arrive back from my home country).

The next thing you know, all is quiet and no one even mentions it for months. I don't think this is a problem that you need to even think about for quite a while yet, Matt.

Having the BA is great but have you ever taught a class of any kind? They will ask you that at interviews in Ho Chi Minh City.

If you reply "No" then the next question they'll ask is,

"Do you have a TEFL Certificate"?

They seem to accept a TEFL Certificate as compensation for a lack of experience. What is the value of a TEFL Certificate, though?

If you have no experience then it will help to secure a job. If you have a gift for negotiating, it can mean up to an extra $2USD/hour on your paycheck.

So, it depends. A TEFL is both a bargaining chip and will make you more employable by more schools than if you were without one.

Is that worth $199USD to you? That has to be your choice.

Remember that a good TEFL course will also teach you a lot about conducting a class. You'll appreciate that more than you know. Especially if the school asks you to do a 'Demo class' as part of your interview.

You must teach 5-10 members of the staff for 15 minutes. They will ask you something like this, "Create a lesson Plan that focuses on teaching us a grammatical point, vocabulary or whatever you'd like".

They give you a piece of paper and a pen and give you 20 minutes to prepare your lesson plan for the Demo Class.

At that point in time you will be so glad that you did your TEFL. I was when my nerves got to me in front of a class of 34 people in Thailand. I fell back on some of the old lesson plans I had already written.

If you do the TEFL then you will learn to construct actual lesson plans that you can use to conduct and execute a good solid lesson.

If you don't get the TEFL then you will stand up in front of your boss and other employees and not know the process of executing a pre-made lesson plan (I am assuming you have no teaching experience ... sorry).

have anything to say. Where would you start if you've never learned where to begin?

Unless your jokes are really funny.

I am aware of the TEFL Outfit you asked me about. They are based out of Phuket, Thailand. I have a feeling that you have already chosen the area you want to take the TEFL in.

Phuket is a crazy place. Beautiful, interesting, crazy but not the place to get a TEFL. Do you know what it means to a Vietnamese person hiring you that you obtained your TEFL from Thailand. Very little. Even done online, that address under the school name is very important.


You are trying to save money but you are buying an inferior TEFL.

A TEFL done online from a company based in Thailand is not worth 1/10th of a TEFL Certificate issued from a company bases in a Western Country (Native English Speaking Countries).

You only get what you pay for. A TEFL earned in England is accepted everywhere. A TEFL from Thailand is frowned upon everywhere.

Thailand is well-known for issuing fake documents and has gained a poor reputation. The only course in Thailand that can guarantee the same high standard is the CELTA.

CELTA is $3,000USD in Thailand. It is the single best qualification a teacher can have. You need it if you want to land the very cream university positions in Ho Chi Minh City.

$3,000USD is a lot of money. If you don't mind just working in a private school then save your money.

P.S. I sent an email to i-to-i regarding your concern about their prices.

They sent me this reply,

"The 100 hour course offers a full introduction to the essential TEFL skills and includes a host of added extras to improve your confidence and the chances of you landing a well paid teaching job overseas.

You’ll learn about the tricky subject of English grammar and improve your employability. This TEFL certificate will help you specialize in teaching particular students and specific types of English class, the modules you will specialize in are 'Teaching Business English' and 'Teaching Young Learners'."

"Our price was at £289.00 but the course is currently on sale for £189.00."

"Check the Online TEFL course for only £99 / $199 / €149 in a couple of days for the upcoming sale price".

So, just check for the 100 hour online course on their site.

I hope that was of some help, Matt. Good luck to you in Vietnam.


Comments for Online TEFL Worth the Cost?

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Jul 24, 2015
nice post
by: Baru

Excellent team effort to make this site valuable. I also decide to make a informative website but I'm so much confuse among so many ideas and could not select anyone. Now this website help to solve this problem. I decide to make a website for multiple topics like your website. In short, you did good job and i like to appreciate your effort as well.

Oct 12, 2011
What differences in the 60-hour, 80-hour or 100-hour TEFL?
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the feedback Philip.

I actually do have some classroom experience, but it was in Korea and I never needed to teach much grammar. The whole lesson was laid out for me, or I could just get creative with the kids.

In any case, I will go ahead with i-to-i -if anyone. But I wonder, do the number of hours really matter (from the employers perspective)? Will a 60-hour online course be viewed much differently than a 100-hour in your opinion?

I have looked into the site, and I understand the difference in what is offered. I am just curious if it makes a big difference with employers with each online hour-level-up.

Thanks again,


Reply from

There is a huge difference, Matt. But there are only 2 courses you need know about.

Courses that include in-class experience and courses that do not.

A course that includes in-class experience (That is only the 140 Hour Combined TEFL Course or the 20 Hour Classroom TEFL Course) is what they want in Vietnam.

If you can take a class that includes in-class experience then there is a big difference in the status they will add to your resume.

Doing a 60 hour online class with no 'in-class' experience is the same to employers as a 100 hour class with no 'in-class' experience.

If they have 3 resumes....

One guy did a 60 hour course
The other a 100 hour course
The other had no TEFL at all

They will hire the person that is most presentable, easiest to understand and charismatic during the demo class.

The only reason to get the TEFL would be to improve your own knowledge or to qualify yourself to work with the high-paying Universities and top International schools.

That is why I did mine. There was also an unexpected side effect.

I learned a lot from my TEFL course and don't regret it. You don't realize how little you know until you take a legit course. You really need to know how to write a lesson plan and execute it well.

A TEFL also makes you look more serious about teaching. It puts you above the casual tourist who figures they can teach English just because they speak English.

I say you do it. You already have a BA so a strong 140 hour TEFL course will make you employable by any English school in the world.

Even consider a CELTA. You will place yourself in a position where you could even teach back home or in Europe. You would then be qualified and sought after everywhere. You need never look over your shoulder because you would be a legit teacher.

And once you have it, no one can ever take that away.

It is up to you whether paying the money is worth what you'll get in return, Matt.

Good Luck,


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