The best TEFL course to take

What is the best TEFL course to take in Thailand or anywhere else?

That is a question you will read in every few days in Teaching groups on the internet whether it be here in Thailand or anywhere else in the world. You will also get about 1000 different answers to confuse the hell out of you. Which is the best? Which one do I take? Trust me, I get it. You’re on information overload. Your buddy Matt is here to help you out.

Before I point you in the right direction, we have to talk about something first.

The Elephant in the room.

Don’t bother getting a TEFL, you can get a job without one. Thailand is desperate for teachers. 

That’s a general response that you are going to get from some people here who don’t have a degree or even an TEFL certification. There is a word to describe the type of person who gives people advice like that. Douchebag.  If you’re reading this, and you’ve told people that they don’t need to get a TEFL to teach here in Thailand, guess what?

Yes you!

I mean seriously, here is what you’re telling people.

Whaaaat? You want to be properly trained so you know what you’re doing in the classroom? Nah, you’re good. You don’t need that stuff. 

That’s essentially what you’re in a nut shell.

Before you get pissed at me, and scroll down to leave a mean comment….

I’ve worked with some really damn good teachers before. They were ones who had no formal TEFL training, and didn’t even have a degree. They are also the naturally annoying people who do everything right the first time. If you’re reading this and you’re someone who kicked ass from the get go, and told people they don’t need a TEFL, you have to remember, not everyone is going to be like you.

There are plenty of schools that have decent books you can teach from and figure things out until teaching English comes to you more naturally. There are also schools like my first job here in Thailand. It was a K-12 school and I taught English in the secondary side. Guess what? No teaching materials. They just told me to “teach them something” for summer school. From what I understood during the regular school year that was the same too. Now if that happens to you, how are you going to handle that? I was fortunate enough to work in a language school the year before in Indonesia so I fell back on that training and it helped that I already had a TEFL certification that I worked my ass off for. It’s was still scary though.

Do you think you could have handled that if you didn’t have formal training?

Rant over, let’s move on. What’s the best TEFL course to take here in Thailand, or anywhere for that matter?

I have two certifications. I got my TEFL back in 2013, and I just recently got my CELTA certification.

First, let’s talk about my TEFL.

The place where I got my TEFL certification is with International TEFL and TESOL Training.  They are internationally accredited, which is VERY IMPORTANT if you want people to take your certification seriously. They have classes in three separate ways. 1) 30 day intensive 2) 50/50 2 week intensive/online work 3) 100% online. If you click on my link, you’ll get 15% off no matter which option you choose. For choice #1 and #2, you’ll only get 15% off on the deposit for the class.

I personally chose the online course because I already had years experience in the classroom as a substitute teacher. It was a lot of work and took me about three months but it prepared me for teaching English big time.

If you want the in house courses, they’re about $1200, but if you’re going to spend this much, pay some more to get a quality certification. I will explain why if you keep reading.

Let’s talk CELTA and TRINITY.

The CELTA certification is from Cambridge University in England which is one of the top 5 Universities in the world. It is the “Gold Standard” of TEFL certification. Another is TRINITY TESOL certification that is taught here in Thailand too. With a few Philosophical differences, both the TRINITY and the CELTA are virtually the same. CELTA is geared more towards adults since the acronym stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, but it still can be applied to teaching kids too. Trust me if the choice to fill a spot for teaching is between you with a CELTA and someone from “Bob’s TEFL” and employer is going to those you.

What’s cool about the TRINITY TESOL certification is it looks like this year they’re going to help with job placement for graduates. If you already have a TEFL I wouldn’t bother asking them for job placement unless you already have a TRINITY or a CELTA. They did tell me they could help me get work since I am a CELTA graduate.

Why are jobs so snooty about the CELTA and TRINITY TESOL only?

That’s a reasonable question. Take the TEFL that I have for example. It is very top notch and highly respected. Many TEFL’s have different accreditation and standards and yadda yadda yadda. Some of them have no accreditations at all. Those I call, “point and click TEFLs”.

CELTA on the other hand is assessed and accredited by Cambridge standards itself. The same goes with TRINITY TESOL, since Trinity College was the first one to come out with exclusive certifications. If i decide to start a TEFL business and I want to sell CELTA or TRINITY courses, I can’t magically create a “CELTA with MATT” business. I need to meet the schools standards to use their name, or else it’s not legit.

There are some jobs out there who will only hire TRINITY or CELTA graduates exclusively, and the pay is much higher than the run of the mill jobs you can get with a basic TEFL. If they don’t hire TRINITY or CELTA graduates exclusively, you’re going to be moved to the top of the list of applicants because people who hire English teachers know the standard of certification of both Universities.

I’ve had people tell me they don’t need Trinity or CELTA because other schools say on their websites that their TEFL is just as good as a TRINITY or CELTA because it’s University accredited. Two things you have to consider 1) Even though it doesn’t have the name recognition of Cambridge or Trinity, you would be fine with the certificate. 2) Pardon my language, but OF COURSE THEY’RE GOING TO FUCKING SAY THEY ARE JUST AS GOOD! What do you think they’re going to say on their website?


Q: Are the CELTA or TRINITY TESOL just as good as the TEFL you offer? 

A: CELTA is a certificate put out by Cambridge University and Trinity TESOL is a certificate put out by Trinity College of London. Both are the “Gold Standard” of TEFL education in the industry. I don’t even know why you’re on our page since we are nowhere near as good as them. Here is a link to their websites. Go sign up with them instead.” 

It’s the Truth.

These other schools are still businesses. They are in it to make money, so of course they are going to say “Hey, we’re just as good.”

I just ask if you are willing to pay $1200 for a TEFL, why not pay the full $1600 (not counting the lodging and meals) for the CELTA and get something top notch, or the price for Trinity where everything is inclusive for a month?

Got it Matt. So in your infinite wisdom, what should I pick?

Before I answer that, you have to ask yourself an important question. What are your goals? If you want to do this for the long term, please go and get your TRINITY or CELTA certification.The Trinity TESOL here in Thailand is about $2300 in price (according to the time I wrote this, February 2017), but if you look at what you’re getting, it’s “All Inclusive.” It’s about 150 miles north of Bangkok and it pays of EVERYTHING for the month. Food, lodging, internet, electricity, etc etc.  The CELTA certification I took was at International House Bangkok (They also have classes in Chiang Mai too). The course straight up is $1600. I paid that because I already live here in Bangkok. Their all inclusive is $2595 in Chiang Mai (according to current fees in February 2017, fees are subject to change so don’t try and cheap out saying I said a lower price), is the better inclusive option in my opinion due to the beauty of the area compared to Bangkok.I lived in the complex where they house you for CELTA here in Bangkok. Although it’s a nice complex, the transportation to and from it is a royal pain in the ass. Trust me, Chiang Mai is the way to go for all inclusive.

If you’re not sure if this life for you and don’t want to spend all that money, you can do what I did.

If you click on my link here for the online course that I did, you save about $50 on the purchase so it will cost approximately $300. Yes, I also do some money if you buy it through me too. The good side to this TEFL certification is it’s one of the best online TEFL courses to take. It has high accreditation and and some top shelf certifications. It also has the same work that you would do if you take it in house in your home country or if you come to Thailand or the over two dozen other countries where this course is taught. Scam courses aren’t exactly taught world wide. I was happy I picked it and it did a hell of a job preparing me to be a teacher of English. If you go this route, don’t forget I said that it’s going to take about three months to finish.

I get into more details in this video since this post is already long enough as it is. Feel free to do your laundry and listen to this video since it will take you about as long to listen as it has been to read my post haha.

The down side to taking the online certification is there are schools looking for certifications taught “in house” that shows your have had teaching practice. Will that be a hindrance to get a job? Maybe. There will still be places who will hire you. Look at my resources page for help. Just do your best to find your first job here in Thailand or whatever country that you want to go to, and THEN be picky.

After I saw that this was something I love doing and would like to do long term, that’s when I decided to step it up and get my CELTA.

What am I going to plan on doing with my CELTA? That’s another blog post entirely.

Tell me what you think. Did this help you make a decision on where to go for a TEFL? Or am I a fool for giving this advice? Am I a jerk for using the word, “Douchebag” ? Let me know in the comments below.

If you read this far, thank you so much, and I’ll see you again with another blog post.

Karawacimatt signing off SEEYA!


  • Luckily the CELTA and TRINITY courses are certifications from Trinity College and Cambridge University, two of the top Universities in the world then.

    Thanks for not reading the full article and completely missing the point of what I said. 🙂

  • This was really very helpful Matt – very many thanks! Have always been a bit fuzzy about the distinctions among all the various TEFL Courses and this has definitely clarified the matter. Much though your own Course appeals, I’d very much like to do the CELTA and from what you advise, Chiang Mai is the place to go. I’ll just start have to start saving the pennies, or rather baht! Am looking forward to learning lots more from the rest of your website. Thanks! Mairead (just completed my third week in my first teaching job in Chainat)

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