The Best Online TEFL Courses: An In-Depth Look

Taking an online TEFL course is the fastest way to get your English teaching certification and start teaching English as a second language. 

For most people, the best way to learn is by doing it in person. However, in-person TEFL courses can be expensive and take up a lot of time.

It’s much easier and more time-efficient to get a TEFL certification online. But there are so many different options for online TEFL courses, how do you know which one to choose? I’ve done extensive research to show you the three best online TEFL courses.

Whether you want to teach English abroad or online, these ESL certification courses are for you.

In this post I will feature online TEFL courses in 3 main categories; the best online TEFL course to teach English online, the best online TEFL course to teach English abroad, and the best online TEFL course for a tight budget (discount code included!).

Watch the Video

Watch the video for some extra nuggets that aren’t in the blog post.

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What is a TEFL Course?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. A TEFL course is designed for those who plan to teach English to students who live in countries where English is not the native language like in China, for example. It will teach you the skill set necessary to control a class full of students who may not understand much or anything you say.

The most widely recognized teaching certificate around the globe is a TEFL certificate. It can also help you qualify for a higher-paying teaching position. 

You may have also heard some other acronyms tossed around in your research for how to get a TEFL certification. These acronyms might be TESL or CELTA. I’ve written an in-depth post about the different English teaching certifications and how to choose the one that’s best for you.

Since we’re all about travel and adventure, we advocate for teaching English online and abroad. For this reason, this post will focus on the best online TEFL courses.

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Hanging with my students and fellow ESL teacher in Beijing

Why You Need a TEFL Certificate

Simply put, showing your potential employers that you have invested the time into training to make you a better teacher will put you in a better position.

But there are legal reasons why you should get an English teaching certificate. If you want to teach English abroad in China, a TEFL certificate is a requirement for getting a working visa.

Also, if you want to teach English online for any of the companies based in China, as of March 2019, you will be required to have a TEFL certificate.

Beyond those requirements, here’s an embarrassing story that will show you why you need a TEFL certification:

We moved to China in 2010 out of desperation.

Sasha and I graduated from college the same year the economic crisis hit. It was a tough time for everyone and jobs were scarce for people like us. I got a degree in Music Business and Sasha got one in Telecommunications. We decided to try our chances in Nashville with it being Music City.

To keep this story short, I’ll tell you the worst that happened:

The house was robbed during the holidays. A few weeks later, my car was robbed. Everything I could’ve sold to help get my broke ass out of that situation was gone.

The one position I finally got an interview for was given to someone who had been laid off from a higher position (it was an entry-level position).

I was fed up. Finding a job as a college grad shouldn’t have been that hard.

Sasha had already lived in Beijing for a year and loved it. He convinced me to go and give teaching a try. Desperate to get out of our miserable situation, I bought a one-way ticket and hoped for the best.

Knowing What You’re Doing Makes All the Difference

Fast forward to my first job interview and demo. It was for a part-time position in a kindergarten.

I was incredibly nervous because I had no idea what I was doing. The demo was awful. All I got was blank stares from everyone in the room when it was finished.

Afterward, the principal of the school told the recruiter, “This teacher is no good. You need to find someone else.” Fortunately, the recruiter stood up for me and said, “She’s here now. I’m sure she’ll improve if you just give her a chance.”

That’s how I got my first job teaching English abroad.

Talk about embarrassing!

I could have saved myself a lot of embarrassment and made a much better first impression if I had gotten my TEFL certification and prepared myself for what I was trying to do.

Unless you’re a master con(wo)man, principals and recruiters will know if you have no idea what you’re doing. You’ll be much better off in the long run if you learn all the necessary skills for teaching English before you get started.

Furthermore, if you want to teach English online without a degree (which is totally possible), it’s in your best interest to get a TEFL certificate so that you get the necessary training. Most online teaching companies who will hire people without a Bachelor’s degree do require an English teaching certification of some sort.

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My first class in Beijing.

TEFL Certification Cost

The best TEFL courses cost anywhere between $200 and $500.

A note on cheap or free TEFL courses: investing in a good TEFL course is also an investment in yourself. 

The old saying “You get what you pay for” very much applies to online TEFL courses. Can you honestly expect to learn anything from a cheap or free TEFL course? Chances are, you’ll be in the same boat knowing just as much as you know now about teaching English.

It is extremely important that you choose a reputable program that is going to make you a better teacher. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Here are key things pricier courses have that the cheap ones don’t:

  • Instructional videos
  • Time
  • Job placement
  • Tutor

The best way to learn how to do something is by watching someone else do it and learning from their actions. Not only will videos help you learn, but they are engaging. When you need to read a bunch of text on a screen, it’s boring and you won’t remember much of it. Cheap courses are lacking in videos and engaging content.

Completing a course at your own pace is important. Whether you’re in a hurry to get it done or you’re busy with life and can only do it on the weekends, going at your own pace makes a difference. Cheap courses don’t give you much time to finish.

If you’re planning to teach English overseas, you may find a job placement program to be helpful. This is something that the cheap TEFL course will not provide. For those who have never worked or traveled abroad, having someone to help you through the process eases anxiety.

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Finding a good job teaching English abroad is easier when you have a TEFL certification

What to Look For in Online TEFL Courses

These are the most important things to consider when shopping for an online TEFL course:

  1. Accreditation
  2. Lifelong Certification
  3. Number of hours

If you’re getting your TEFL online, it’s important to pay attention to the TEFL course’s accreditation. What does that mean? It means that a professional, outside organization has reviewed the course to be sure that it meets international standards. The review is quite rigorous. Getting an accredited TEFL certification online will ensure you find the perfect TEFL jobs abroad and online.

You also want to be sure your TEFL certificate won’t expire as some of them do. I hate that I have to include this tip but it’s a thing, unfortunately. You wouldn’t want to apply to the perfect TEFL job only to find out you don’t qualify because your certification has expired.

The online TEFL courses I recommend will give you a certificate that does not expire.

Finally, the number of hours is important but it depends on your goals. If you only plan to teach English online, you don’t need 100 hours of TEFL certification training. However, if you plan to teach English abroad, then you should definitely go with a course that offers 100 hours or more as this is what most TEFL jobs abroad require.

There is one exception to this. Most schools in China will accept TEFL certifications that are less than 100 hours. The more prestigious schools do have this requirement. But if you get a job in a training center or if you’re placed through a recruiting agency, you can get by with having less than 100 hours of TEFL training.

Best Online TEFL Course for Teaching English Online

Finally, I’m going to tell you about the best online TEFL courses. That’s why you’re here, right?!

First, the best online TEFL course for those who want to teach English online is the Teaching English Online specialized course offered by BridgeTEFL.

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The best way to prepare yourself for online TEFL jobs

Why Choose BridgeTEFL?

There are several reasons you should choose BridgeTEFL:

First, they’ve been in the business of training teachers and teaching languages around the world for 30 years. They are the largest provider of TEFL certification training in the United States. With over 4000 graduates every year, they have helped many teachers realize their dreams of teaching overseas and now also online.

Second, they are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training or ACCET for short. This accrediting body is recognized by the US Department of Education so you know it’s legit! This means they are recognized by many schools and companies. All of their certifications are lifelong and do not expire.

Third, Sasha and I have taken their courses and can personally vouch for their quality and excellence.

About This Online TEFL Course

The full course is 120 hours total, split into two 60-hour courses: Foundations in Teaching English Online and Advanced Methods in Teaching English Online.

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Modules in the Foundations course

Both courses consist of 5 modules.

The Foundations course starts with an introduction to teaching online and includes teaching to children and adults, tools & technology for the virtual classroom, and lesson planning & assessment.

The Advanced Methods course begins with preparing for the online classroom and includes lesson planning, error correction, and teaching for a specific purpose.

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Modules in the Advanced Methods course

Pros of BridgeTEFL Teaching English Online Course:

  • The course content is all about teaching online so there’s no irrelevant fluff content
  • There is extra content to make it engaging such as case studies and pop quizzes along the way
  • Each module ends with a quiz that you must earn a certain score on to pass the course
  • You are assigned a tutor to help you along the way
  • You can track your progress as you go.

Many of the super comprehensive, 100+ hour TEFL courses have detailed information about classroom setup and how to control a classroom full of students in a foreign country. You don’t need to know all that if your goal is only to teach English online. This course sticks to the most relevant content about teaching English online.

The pop quizzes along the way helped me stay focused. Reading the case studies provides a glimpse into real-life examples of how to implement the methods you’re learning.

Being able to see your progress brings about a sense of satisfaction. It’s also motivating.

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There is a quiz at the end of each module as well as a question to encourage you to reflect on the topics raised in that section. You’ll need to write a thoughtful response that your personal tutor will review and provide feedback. Having a personal tutor provide feedback and answer questions along the way is incredibly beneficial.

You’ll need to complete the quiz and get feedback from your tutor on the writing before you can move on to the next module.

The final assignment requires you to submit a lesson plan supported by rationale as to why you used specific procedures.

Cons of BridgeTEFL Teaching English Online course:

Waiting for your tutor to give feedback on your writing may take longer than you’d like, thus delaying your progress. The course is fully self-paced but you need the tutor to check your work before moving on. This may take longer during weekends or holidays when your tutor is enjoying some time off.

Aside from this, I really can’t find other cons. The material is comprehensive, engaging, and easy to follow.

Online ESL jobs are rapidly growing as e-learning becomes more available thanks to advances in technology. That’s why this is the best online TEFL course to teach English online – it’s the only one of its kind. I haven’t found another specialized course like this one. 

Ready to get started?! Click here to enroll now 

Full disclosure – I’m an affiliate of BridgeTEFL and will earn a commission if you purchase through my link at no extra cost to you.

Not sure it’s for you? Keep reading.

Who This Online TEFL Course is For

I’m enrolled in both of these BridgeTEFL courses for teaching English online. When I’m finished, I will have 160 total hours in TEFL certification training!

Is it necessary for me to do both 60-hour courses?

Not really.  But I want to do both for two reasons: 1) I only had 60 hours of TEFL training and 2) doing both of them will help me write an honest review for you.

I’m a believer in continuing your education and training. This course is very comprehensive and I’m really enjoying it so far.

I want to be clear about the best course for YOU. Not everyone needs to enroll in the full 120-hour course.

Read these conditions carefully:

  • Enroll in both courses if: you have little to no experience teaching English; you don’t have a 4-year Bachelor’s degree; you’re not a native English speaker; you want to teach more full-time and plan for it to be your primary source of income.
  • Enroll in the Foundations course if: you have little to no experience and don’t plan on teaching English online full-time; you only need it to supplement/diversify your income. 
  • Enroll in the Advanced Methods course if: you already have some teaching experience but haven’t done it in a while; you already have some TEFL training.

If you’re confused about which category you fall into and not sure what to do, leave a comment or contact me and I’ll try to clear it up for you!

If you think one or both of these courses are for you, click here to enroll now! They are the first two courses listed on the page.

As this is a specialized certificate, Bridge typically recommends this course for people who have prior TEFL/TESOL training and experience. People who are new to TEFL/TESOL are best served by starting with a more general course, like the Bridge 120-hour Master Certificate. You can find more information about that in the next section.

Full disclosure – I’m an affiliate of BridgeTEFL and will earn a commission if you purchase through my link at no extra cost to you.

Best Online TEFL Course for Teaching English Abroad

I’m going with BridgeTEFL again for this category. It is one of the best accredited TEFL courses. 

They offer courses ranging from 40 hours up to 150 hours and they make it easy for you to add hours to your current enrollment, meaning you don’t have to pay for the full course again.

BridgeTEFL has a 92% rating on and an 8.94 overall rating on

All BridgeTEFL courses include instructional videos, case studies, examples of different lesson plans, and in-depth instructions for how to teach grammar and phonics. Their courses also cover important topics like classroom management. This is important if you’re teaching a classroom with 30-50 students who maybe can’t even answer the questions “How are you?”

Schools all over the world will accept these TEFL certificates:

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BridgeTEFL’s online TEFL courses have everything you should look for in an ESL certification course. They offer highly interactive courses that include videos, case studies, and other content to make it interesting, with expert instructors, and the most up-to-date content.

Furthermore, you will have a personal tutor to help you along the way no matter how many course hours you enroll in. 

I had very little experience teaching English when I arrived in China. After finishing my online TEFL course with Bridge, I was much more confident. I was able to plan and execute more organized lessons because I knew how to make a solid lesson plan.

Have I sold you on this awesome TEFL provider? Click here to enroll in a course. 

Full disclosure – I’m an affiliate of BridgeTEFL and will earn a commission if you purchase through my link at no extra cost to you.

Who This Online TEFL Course is For

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One of the best online TEFL courses on the market

This course is best for anyone who wants to teach English abroad. You’ll get a full immersion training with videos, a personal tutor, and writing assignments.

Do you learn best by seeing strategies in action? This course is for you. The instructional videos are fantastic. Do you prefer a mix of engaging content rather than reading information and regurgitating it on a quiz? This course is for you. Do you like writing as a way to process the things you’ve learned? This course is for you.

If you’ve ever dreamed of teaching English in exotic places like Japan, China, Oman, or even Kazakhstan, look no further than BridgeTEFL’s online TEFL courses.

BridgeTEFL has a fantastic job placement program. This is helpful if you’re not sure where you want to go. You can check their list of approved schools and see their TEFL certification requirements to help you decide which course to enroll in.

BridgeTEFL taught me how to plan and execute lessons that resulted in smoother classes.

Click here to get started.

Full disclosure – I am a proud affiliate of BridgeTEFL. I will earn a commission if you purchase a course through my link at no extra cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend brands and products that I have used and believe in. Sasha and I both were  BridgeTEFL students before this blog came into existence. When I started promoting teaching English abroad and online as a way to travel and see the world, it only made sense to partner with them. Thank you for your support!

Best Budget Online TEFL Course for Teaching English Abroad

Another great online TEFL certification provider I’ve found is myTEFL.

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One of the best cheap online TEFL courses

They tick all the boxes. They have multiple course options ranging from 40 to 120 hours. They’re members of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) which is accredited by Online TESOL and TEFL Standards Agency (OTTSA).

You’ll find that they’re highly rated around the web with a 4.78 rating on TEFL Course Review, a 98% rating on, and a 9.9 overall rating on

In addition to all that awesomeness, they offer job placement in multiple countries across the world – including Thailand, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam – once you finish your course.

If all that wasn’t enough, myTEFL donates a portion of the payment of all courses to a charity. Getting your TEFL certification with myTEFL helps the world in more ways than one.

I also have a special discount for you, so keep scrolling.

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A portion of your payment for your online TEFL course with myTEFL goes to a good cause

Who This Online TEFL Course is For

This course is for people who are on a budget but still want a comprehensive online TEFL course.

If you are not a visual learner and don’t care for instructional videos, myTEFL is for you. Are you in a hurry to finish and get your TEFL certificate? This is the online TEFL course for you. There are no writing questions. All you need to do to unlock the next module is take the quizzes. 

Which course should you choose? I would highly recommend the full 120-hour course. Why? At this price, you might as well go for the most comprehensive course they offer. 

myTEFL allowed me to have a look at this course and it has everything you need to know to be a fantastic ESL teacher. It starts with basic reasons of why teaching English abroad is an awesome choice and takes you all the way through different types of learning styles, classroom management, and how to teach difficult grammar points, phonics, and curriculum planning.

And to make this choice even better, we’ve partnered with them to provide a 35% discount for our readers on all their courses!

Enter the code gypsies35 at checkout. This code will get you $100 off the 120-hour course.

Click the button below to learn about myTEFL!

Full disclosure – I’m an affiliate of myTEFL and will earn a commission if you purchase through my link at no extra cost to you.


You might be thinking that I’m only promoting these courses because I’m an affiliate. In fact, it’s the opposite. These are the best online TEFL courses and that is why I chose to become an affiliate and promote them. 

To recap, the best online TEFL course for teaching English online is BridgeTEFL’s Foundations and Advanced Methods in Teaching English Online.

The best online TEFL course to teach English abroad is BridgeTEFL’s 100 to 150-hour TEFL certification courses.

And finally, if you’re on a budget, you should choose myTEFL’s 120-hour online TEFL course

I hope you’ve found this post helpful and informative! If you still have questions, drop them in the comments or contact me directly.


More posts about teaching English:

21 thoughts on “The Best Online TEFL Courses: An In-Depth Look”

  1. Taylor Edwardson

    Hey Rachel!

    I just graduated from college and am just starting my TEFL journey. But I have very little experience teaching English. Ideally, I want to begin teaching online while I do camper life for awhile in the U.S.. Yet, I would love to eventually be able to teach English abroad as my career. Based on these goals, do you recommend the 120 Master Bridge TEFL course or the 240 Bridge TEFL Bundle course that includes the 120 Master and both the 60 hour courses for online teaching?

    Thanks so much!

    1. online tefl courses

      Hi, Taylor!

      Congratulations on graduating from college! That’s awesome! I have to say, I love your plan. I would go ahead and get the 240 Bridge TEFL Bundle that includes all the courses. You might as well get all the certifications while you’re still in learning mode. Then you’re good to go teach abroad once you get some #vanlife. I’m so excited for you! Please feel free to reach out if you have other questions 😀

  2. Hi! I am from the Philippines and I am planning to study TESOL/TEFL. I’ve been searching and reading articles about good/best centers for TESOL/TEFL, yet I am still confused as to what center to enroll to. I am afraid to enroll thru online and I am also afraid to enroll in centers here because I don’t know if it will be accredited. Can you suggest or help me with what to do? Thank you very much.

    1. online tefl courses

      Hi, Mikaela! Thanks for the comment! Both TEFL course providers in this post are accredited. I wouldn’t recommend them otherwise. BridgeTEFL is great. It’s where we got our TEFL certificates. They have a great course with videos and case studies. myTEFL is a great option if you have a smaller budget. They are just as good as Bridge but they have fewer overall course offerings and the course is just reading information and taking a quiz to progress to the next module. Either one will look good on a resume, they are both accredited, and the certificates won’t expire. Hope this helps 🙂

  3. Hi Rachel

    I have noticed that the websites require Eligibility to work in the US or Canada etc. to teach online. Do you know of other sites that do not have this requirement? I want to register on myTEFL but I want to be sure that it is a viable option for me as I do not live/work in those territories.

    With thanks

    1. online tefl courses

      Hi, Curlene!

      Thanks for reaching out! I’m sorry for my late response. There are plenty of online teaching platforms that do not have this requirement. I have listed them in my blog post about online English teaching jobs. You can read it here. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions.


  4. Rachel what do you recommend as laptop ? technology? I need to purchase a laptop to get started because I cannot do this at work on my work computer. I work FT during the day.

    1. online tefl courses

      Hi, Tony! You should get a laptop with enough memory and at least a Core i5 processor. That will ensure it’s fast enough. I use the Lenovo Yoga 730 and I love it! You can see it in this post about the best tools for traveling teachers. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions 🙂

  5. Hi Rachel,
    I have a question and I would like your honest advice. English is my second language. My birth language is spanish. I’m a graduate from a bilingual school. I speak and read english fluently but still not confident like a native english person. I want to teach english abroad. I lived in South Korea for almost two years while getting my master degree. all my classes were in english. I feel my english is much better than people from asian countries. I would like to teach english in one of those countries but I don’t know if I will be accepted because I don’t come from a english speaking native country. Should I pursue TEFL certificate? Do I have the possibilty to teach english abroad? Thanking you in advance for your advice 🙂

    1. online tefl courses

      Hi, Lindsay!

      This is a great question and the answer depends on which country you’d like to teach in. I’m most familiar with China. The official rule in China to get a working visa as an ESL teacher is that you must be a native English speaker. However, we taught English in China for five years and while we were there, I met many non-native English speakers who were teaching English. One friend was able to do it and get a working visa because she has a master’s degree in something related to linguistics. Another friend from Italy was also able to get a working visa to teach ESL because she had a degree in something related to the study of languages. They both had to jump through some extra hoops in the visa process.

      I do think having a TEFL certificate will increase your chances of getting hired as a non-native speaker but you should do some research into the countries you’re interested in living in. Find some job boards and read the requirements, reach out to ask questions, and find online communities you can ask such as Facebook groups or Reddit forums. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions 🙂


  6. Hello Rachel! I have an English degree and no teaching experience. I am interested in BridgeTEFL, what would you recommend? With COVID around I know it will take some time to actually leave the US, but it will be something nice to look forward to.

    Thank you!

    1. online tefl courses

      Hi, Ashley! Thanks for reaching out. It depends on your goals; do you want to teach English abroad in a classroom someday or do you only want to teach English online? If you want to do both then I recommend the 120-hour Master TEFL course as it will qualify you for both. If you only want to teach English online, then I recommend getting the specialized courses for teaching English online.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions 🙂

    1. online tefl courses

      Hi, Bonny! Thank you so much! I’m glad you love the site 🙂

      I’m also happy to hear you’re enjoying myTEFL. Feel free to reach out when you’re ready to start applying to ESL teaching jobs!

  7. Hello. I just discovered your YouTube on Playa del Carmen today and I appreciate the information you provided both in your video and online. I plan to relocate to Playa next June and am trying to decide the best program that I can take this year that will allow me to support myself teaching English. I am currently a certified elementary school teacher in Colorado and hold a Master’s Degree in Education. I appreciate any suggestions. Thanks

    1. online tefl courses

      Hi, Chad! Apologies for the late response. Different online teaching platforms have different requirements. Because you are already a certified teacher, some platforms will accept that and you won’t need any more certification. However, some platforms require a certification specific to teaching ESL. As you’re primarily interested in teaching ESL online, I think the Advanced Methods in Teaching English Online course from BridgeTEFL would be sufficient for the platforms that require a TEFL certificate. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions 🙂

  8. Hi, so after investing in these course and when you manage to complete them and get certified, what can one expect to earn as an Online English Teacher?

    1. online tefl courses

      Hi, Eddie! I’m so sorry for my late response! Our travel schedule has been pretty hectic lately.

      How much you can earn as an online English teacher depends on your qualifications (degrees and previous teaching experience) and which company/platform you work for. It ranges from $10 – $50 per hour. We have another post about the best online English teaching jobs that includes how much they pay. Here’s a link so you can easily check it out:

      Please reach out if you have other questions! 🙂

  9. Sorry!! forget the prior comment!! I thought the “gypsies35” promo code was for BridgeTEFL. I just reread and realized its for myTefl.

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