Here's how a everyday Joe finds a TEFL institute to enroll into. 1. Search TEFL online, 2. open up all the websites on the first page results 3. and enroll into the one that looks most professional. Savvy right?
Wrong. While internet does a great job of assimilating all the TEFL institutes in your region, giving you the opportunity to sort through a plethora of options, it does not vouch for the quality or pedigree of the courses. Indeed, short of contacting every person passing out of the institute, the only way of making sure that your preferred TEFL institute is reliable and offers excellence in education is by looking at their accreditation.
Accreditation is more than just a bunch of logos which TEFL institutes showcase on their home page but a symbol of excellence in recognition of high quality training offered by the institute. So let's learn more about accreditation and how they work in the real world
Two types of accreditation
When you look at a institute's Accreditation, it's important to understand what type it is, institutional or specialized.
Institutional Accreditation is given by national/regional bodies under the confines of the educational laws/department such as ACCET.
Specialized accreditation is given by specific organization of certain fields such as law, business, engineering, etc in recognition of course standards adhering to their requirements and field of expertise.
Institutional accreditation signifies that every aspect of a TEFL academy has been meticulously assessed and graded to be satisfy the agency's standards. This includes everything from goals and missions to course curriculum, institute operations, management, etc. Even the training staff, instructors and the infrastructure are analysed and reviewed. This is taken care of by site visits, class observations, students surveys, etc and almost every Accreditation involves annual assessments as well as reaccreditation every 3-4 years to keep up with the changing standards and educational progress.
An Accreditation is usually a multistep process involving many experts and mechanisms. The process usual takes 8-10 months and includes
•Report and review
•Accrediting Commission Action
The importance of enrolling into an accredited institute
Choosing to study in an institute that is not accredited is a risky proposition. Sure there's always the possibility that the academy might be of good standards but the probability of them being poor is far too large to make it worth the risk.
There's also the question of credibility and validity of your certifications as you start looking for jobs. How can an employer be confident of your abilities if they can't be confident of your TEFL certificate?
Accreditation isn't a one size fits all recognition either. There are many academies who claim to be accredited but have certifications from agencies with low quality standards. So it's important to see who has granted the Accreditation as well.
Always ask questions and double check the accreditation as well as the accreditating agency's credentials. Get physical proof of institutional Accreditation rather than just certain courses of the academy.
Look up on the standards and regulations of the accrediting agency and ensure the assessments are rigorous/regular.
Always remember that employers look to hire the best TEFL trainers and a certificate from an internationally recognised, accredited institute denotes your capability to them; and more often than not results in a better pay scale and better job profiles.