International TEFL Academy reviews from real graduates
The question of what TEFL course to take to become an English teacher is a very common one. It’s not surprising, as there are thousands of courses out there of varying quality and acceptability, from cheap courses with a few multiple choice tests, to full in-class programs with teaching practice.
You can read which courses we recommend in our post on what TEFL qualification you should take. However, I will tell you now that one company we like is the International TEFL Academy (ITA). In this post, we will tell you why we like it, and also give some reviews of International TEFL Academy from real English teachers working abroad who took their course. There’s nothing better than personal reviews, right?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to the ITA courses. If you use our link, we get some money. This pays for the upkeep of this blog. We do not use affilates for anything we do not personally recommend. If you don’t feel comfortable using the link, feel free to just Google it.
What is the ITA TEFL course?
International TEFL Academy is a teacher training organisation that has been running since 2010. It is based in the USA, but has partner schools around the world. Most people we know who took one of these courses were from the USA, but you don’t have to be. They are very proud of their reviews on the Go Abroad website.
Read all of our posts about TEFL, including country and city guides and interviews with other teachers on our Teaching English page.
What types of TEFL courses do International TEFL Academy run?
Onsite TEFL courses
ITA has TEFL courses onsite in 20 countries in the world. As an American company, it runs courses in the USA. Its partner schools run courses in Europe, Asia and Latin America too. The classroom based courses are generally 4 weeks long, with input, opportunities to observe your tutors teaching, assignments to produce and assessed teaching practice of real students with feedback from your trainers.
These are factors which schools look for when recruiting teachers. Many schools want their teachers to have had experience teaching, as well as feedback on this to help them develop. It’s all very well taking a fully online course, but teaching is a practical profession. If you don’t get any opportunity to put what you learn into practice during the course, it is hard for you to really consolidate what you learn.
Doing teaching practice as part of your course means that you try things out before you are in front of a group of students who are paying you! Starting out in your first teaching job is stressful enough, without it being the first time you have ever been in front of a group of students!
Online TEFL courses
There is an intensive 4 week course online, as well as an 11 week part time course.The four week course is instructor led, and includes both watching others teach, and teaching your own lessons, while being observed by your trainer. This is all done using the Zoom platform, giving you perfect experience if you want to teach English online. However, what you learn can also be easily transfered to the classroom, if that is what you prefer.
The 11 week part time course is self-directed, but you work as part of a group so you have support from peers taking the class at the same time. You also have a tutor who you can have live chats with online to get support and help with the course. Instead of the built-in teaching practice, the part-time course requires you to do 20 hours of teaching, which you then reflect on, write up and submit for assessment.
This 20 hour practicum may not be as accepted by schools as the observed teaching practice of the 4 week course, though, which is something to consider.
If you want to specialise in a specific area of teaching, then ITA has some add-on courses. If you are interested in teaching young learners, then you can take their specialist course in that. The same goes for business English, and online teaching. If you are a native English speaker, you may be a bit worried about English grammar. In that case, there is a course in the fundementals of English grammar for you.
These are all run online, and you can take them either after your ITA course, or after another TEFL course. You can take just one, or a bundle for a reduced price.
Why do we recommend an ITA TEFL course?
A comprehensive TEFL course
The onsite courses include input sessions, where you learn about aspects of teaching English, including lesson shapes to use and classroom management techniques, often through taking part in and observing demo lessons run by your trainers. You work together with your peers on various tasks in class, and complete assignments in the evenings.
The online courses include input delivered through text and video, with discussion tasks to do with your peers, assignments that you need to complete and video lessons to watch. You not only need to read material, but apply it to teaching tasks.
If you compare this to the cheap TEFL courses where you sit at home, alone and just read some text and answer some multiple choice questions, you can see that you really get what you pay for. After an ITA TEFL course, you will feel prepared to teach English either in the classroom or online. You will have prepared lesson plans, considered learner needs and had experience teaching real students. The peer interaction means you will share the learning experience with other teacher trainees. You won’t be alone at home, struggling with tasks, but you’ll have people to bounce ideas off. As well as your peers, you will have your tutor to talk to, to give you advice and support in helping prepare you for the classroom.
The onsite courses, and the 4 week online course, include teaching practice of real students, with feedback provided from qualified trainers. This is something many schools worldwide look for in a course.
Depending on the type of ITA course you choose, there is international accrediation. The online courses are accredited by TQUK, who accredits various training organisations. The classroom based courses are accredited by different bodies, including ministries of education.
To be honest, there isn’t actually a single accreditation body for TEFL courses. There are a lot. Many are real accreditation organisations. Some are set up by the TEFL company to accredit themselves. Some ONLY accredit TEFL courses, others accredit all kinds of courses. The organisations that accredit the ITA courses are real and you won’t have a problem finding work with them.
Well qualified trainers
Their trainers all hold higher level qualifications in teaching, such as MAs. This is important, as some other TEFL training schools use trainers who only have the same certificate that they are training you in, and some only have 6 months experience themselves!
Partner school worldwide
As we said, ITA has partner schools offering TEFL courses in various countries, including Spain, Vietnam, Costa Rica and Mexico. These include other courses we recommend, including SIT.
Some TEFL schools will accept anyone, so long as they pay the money. This results in people who get their TEFL certificate, and then can’t find any work with it. This could be because their English level isn’t high enough to teach abroad yet no one has told them this before. It could be because they don’t actually qualify for the work visa for the country they want to go to.
At ITA, they give all potential students a pre-enrollment interview. In this, they speak to you and tell you if your teach abroad dream is achievable. If it is, they will also give you advice on where you can teach after your course, perhaps giving you ideas of places that you had never considered. If you are a non-native English speaker, they will also tell you if your English level is high enough to suceed in the international teaching market.
If you want to know more about the English level required for international teaching work, read our advice for non-native English speaking teachers on how to find work abroad.
One of the things that impresses us about International TEFL Academy is the post course job support. After many TEFL courses, you are on your own in finding work. Even courses that boast ‘job support’ sometimes just send you a Word document with a list of schools to apply to. Others may help you find your first job (and often it is with a school that pays them to send you) but after that, the support ends.
ITA offers lifetime job support. It doesn’t matter if you did your course 10 years ago, they will still provide help finding your next role. Their Job Search Advisors help with writing your c.v. and covering letter. They have videos explaining the application process and requirements for different countries. You will be sent their worldwide school directory of over 20,000 schools, and/or refer you to schools and recruiters that they have contacts with.
We have seen ITA graduates working with language assistant programs in Spain and Hungary, with the EPIK program in South Korea and with JET in Japan
They have a very active Instagram account and have their graduates doing regular stories on their daily lives wherever they are teaching. As well as this, there’s an Alumni group on Facebook, so you can find out about schools from other graduates.
These really are services which few other TEFL course providers will give you, that will really help you in your career as an English language teacher.
Another nice thing about International TEFL Academy is that they are committed to helping others. They have donated over $100,000 to various charities, which is a good touch.
International TEFL Academy reviews from real teachers
You don’t need to trust our opinion. We haven’t actually taken it, so we can’t give personal International TEFL Academy reviews. However, we know a lot of people teaching English abroad, including many who took the ITA TEFL course. We asked some of them to give us their reviews of the International TEFL Academy. Of course, we could have written these ourselves, so we have also included links to their personal social media channels, to check them out for yourselves.
Perlie Yang taught English in South Korea and is now starting a new job in Instanbul, Turkey
Why I chose ITA
I chose ITA to obtain my TEFL certificate from because it’s a well-known accredited program that offers lifetime job guidance. The course I took was the online 11-week course, which felt like a legit online course with weekly assignments, a final thematic project, and required practice-teaching hours.
From my experience, I learned so much about teaching the English language as well as classroom management, despite the course being conducted online. ITA also offers an extensive 4-week online course and in-person courses in other countries to allow you to become acclimated with the country you’re interested in living and teaching in.
Getting a job in South Korea
After completing my TEFL course, an advisor assisted me until the very end with my job search in Korea, such as suggesting which recruiters to use and even looked over my job contracts for any red flags. At least for South Korea (where I taught shortly after obtaining my certificate), ITA has a list of recruiters they are affiliated with that put you as their first priority simply if you’re an ITA alumni. ITA made the entire process so swift and easy for me that I already had five job offers nearly just a month after completing my TEFL course.
The ITA alumni network
Additionally, since there are so many alumni from this program, you gain a large community of people that you can reach out to about teaching English abroad. There are Facebook groups for alumni in each country to teach in, which acts as a great resource for advice and a way to meet people abroad (this is actually how I met my boyfriend!). The process of obtaining all of your documents for a work visa is a long & confusing one, so I attribute these Facebook groups for my success in doing so.
I, as well as so many others, have hosted story takeovers for the ITA Instagram account to broadcast a day in our lives teaching English abroad, to talk about our experience and the process we took to get there, and to answer any questions people had for us. These frequent story takeovers allow others to gain a first-hand glimpse in the experience of so many different countries and have grown to be so popular amongst both ITA alumni and non-ITA alumni, contributing to the account’s 26K+ following base. Moving to and living in a different country, especially one you’ve never stepped foot in before, is very scary when you don’t know a single soul, but the ITA Instagram page acts as an amazing way for alumni to meet other people. Without ITA and its alumni community, I can undoubtedly say that I would have never met so many amazing people abroad.
My next move
After completing my TEFL course, I moved to and taught for one year in Busan, South Korea. Although it had its ups and downs, my experience was nothing short of amazing and one that I would never trade for the world. With that said, I’m not yet ready to hop off this train of teaching English abroad… I am excited to announce that my boyfriend and I will begin our next teaching contract in Istanbul, Turkey this upcoming summer!
See Perlie’s Story Takeover on the ITA Youtube and follow her on her Instagram
Read more experiences of people teaching English in South Korea
Alex Wilson teaches English online from the Czech Republic
Why did you choose ITA?–
I chose ITA for a few reasons. ITA had great reviews, and I wanted a school that seemed to care about their students. I also wanted a school that was flexible and offered both online options and in-person options, as well as full-time and part-time courses, since I wasn’t entirely sure what my plan was yet. However, the most important deciding factor was my advisor. He was extremely helpful and informative, and he solidified my decision to choose ITA.
What did you think about the course?–
I don’t think I truly appreciated how helpful the course was until after I started teaching. Only when I started having to make my own lesson plans and answer questions that would have stumped me if I hadn’t taken the course did I really comprehend how helpful it was. The course teaches you grammar tips and classroom activities that I’ve been using ever since, and the practicum really prepares you for the real world.
What have you done since completing the course and how has it helped you?
I have taught online courses to adult students from countries throughout Latin America and Europe, ranging from beginner to advanced levels. I also worked for an English summer camp this year, teaching English to teenagers through fun activities and drama workshops. Additionally, I worked for an English-learning podcast for a while, writing scripts about idioms and common phrases for intermediate to advanced learners. The course prepared me for these jobs by providing me with a solid grammar foundation and useful teaching skills to properly run a classroom.
Read our post for other ideas on how to teach in Europe without an EU passport
Abe Merino is an English teacher in Mexico
I choose ITA because it seemed to be the most recognized and legitimate TEFL program out there. Also ITA seemed to have many resourses to help you find a job after you finished your certification. I took my ITA course in Barba Costa Rica. The course was pretty helpful in regards of material and instruction . I learned alot about how to prep a class and interact with students of all ages and different types of class. The teachers Luke and Melony were great and they contibues to help me out long after I finish the course. They are even helping me out wirh my cover letters and resume a year and half after I had finished the course.
Since finishing in my course in Costa Rica, I have been working in Mexico. I started as a TA at a pre-school and then during the pandemic I became the English teacher in charge of K2. I continue to work at the same pre-school, but at the K3 level
ITA are now helping me currently find a job for this upcoming year, so you can see why I give such a positive review of the International TEFL Academy.
Find out more about Abe on his Instagram channel
Jenny Chang teaches English in Japan and gives this review of International TEFL Academy
I chose ITA because they offered an online TEFL certification course. I usually prefer taking in-person classes; however, since I was still a full-time student when I decided to get my TEFL certification, an online course worked better with my schedule. I was a little hesitant at first, because I have always had a more difficult time keeping up with online courses. In the end, the course was excellent. In my opinion, the readings and assignments were all relevant and very straightforward. The course portal/website was easy to navigate. Most importantly, I was fortunate enough to have had an instructor who was extremely helpful and responsive—which I think is very important when it comes to taking an online course.
After completing my TEFL certification, I’ve taught at a university in South Korea through a summer program at my university, and I am currently living and teaching English in Japan through the JET Program. Although both teaching experiences did not require me to have a TEFL certification, I still reference and use what I learned from the ITA online course.
See more on my life teaching English in Japan on her Youtube Channel: c.jliving and Instagram
Joceyn teaches online from the USA
In the summer of 2019, I took International TEFL Academy’s (ITA’s) online TEFL course to realize my dreams of teaching English and traveling the world. Since taking their course I have taught online for Vipkid, Cambly, and Outschool and have been able to travel to Central and South America, in addition to two cross country trips within the United States. I can proudly say that since taking their course I have been able to become a true digital nomad; teaching online and traveling both internationally and domestically!
I chose ITA’s program for several reasons. One major reason is that it exceeds the basic requirements of accreditation required by many schools abroad. ITA is a 150-hour credit course with an additional 20-hour practicum which gives you hands-on teaching experience. This meant that by the end of the course I earned a total of 170 credit hours; much higher than the 100 credit hour minimum accepted by many foreign schools The required practicum is an invaluable experience to help put to use the things you learn in the course and feel comfortable teaching in either the online or in-person classroom. The individual who was teaching the course at the time also had their Masters’s degree in English which made me feel confident in their ability to teach the material correctly. The final thing that pushed me to choose this course over other options is that ITA offers job assistance after you complete the course. Each of these points made me feel that the company was invested in my success and would prepare me to teach English as a foreign language.
I feel so grateful that I took ITA’s online course. I have met so many other ITA alumni through Instagram and Facebook and these connections have been so inspiring and insightful. I know that taking this course helped me gain the confidence I needed to achieve my goal of teaching and traveling!
Jocelyn’s Instagram channel has some great content for online teachers. Check it out Teaching Nomad
Read our blog to find out more about how to teach English online
Like the International TEFL Academy reviews and interested in taking the course? Download their free information brochure today.