Skip to content

Is an online TEFL course better than an in-person option?


Is an online TEFL course better than an in-person option?

When retraining, there are many providers out there who can offer a range of both online and in-person courses that help you to gain the qualifications you need for your dream job.

But which is better?

To help you decide, we’ve compiled a comparison of the benefits and limitations associated with TEFL courses, both fully online, mostly online with in-person teaching experience, and fully in-person, and compare what this might mean for prospective students.

Which type of TEFL course is right for me?

Many prospective students come to us and ask, ‘which TEFL course is right for me?’

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always as simple as they might hope.

Essentially, the right course for you is one that gives you the qualification you need, but also allows you to study in a way that is accessible, easy to continue, and fits around your lifestyle – making it much more likely that you will complete it.

Most students will consider either fully online, a combination, or fully in-person course, but can struggle to compare the benefits and limitations of each as well as understanding what this means for their learning experience.

Types of TEFL courses

The most popular types of TEFL courses include:

Fully in-person

Some providers offer fully in-person TEFL qualifications, that allow those interested in learning in a classroom or college environment.

These rely on prospective teachers coming in for classes and talks, as well as attending schools for a teaching practicum – though exact locations depend on the specific provider.

Benefits of in-person TEFL courses:

  • Some prefer in-person learning – a classroom environment can be more productive for some people.
  • Your teaching practicum may be on-site – guided CPD style courses may take place in a school, giving you more time and experience with students.

Considerations of in-person TEFL courses:

  • You must attend all lessons and classes to pass – neglecting to do so can result in you failing the course, even if you are unwell or need unavoidable time off.
  • You may also need to complete self-directed study at home – check with your chosen provider.
  • Courses may be more expensive – you’ll need to check with your course provider of choice.


Combination TEFL courses are often a mix of online courses with in-person modules or elements.

These can be clearly named, like the following TEFL UK courses below, or can be found by studying course guides and FAQs:

These courses often include 20 hours, or more, of in-person classroom time (with the support of a class teacher) to help you develop the confidence to teach solo, full-time when you graduate.

These TEFL courses combine both the pedagogy of teaching that you learn online in your own time, with the classroom experience employers are looking for – making you the full package.

Benefits of combination TEFL courses:

  • The longest part of the course remains flexible – only the teaching time needs to be completed at a specific time, making it easier to fit in.
  • Combine high-quality teaching with real experience – boosting your confidence and giving you one less thing to organise.
  • Support to arrange your teaching practicum – you don’t need pre-existing connections with schools.
  • Self-directed study is still essential – if you choose not to study, you still won’t pass, even if you attend the classroom practicum

Consideration of combination TEFL courses:

  • Self-directed study is still essential – if you choose not to study, you still won’t pass, even if you attend the classroom practicum.

    Fully online

    As the name suggests, a fully online or E-course gives students the opportunity to study for a TEFL qualification from wherever they are.

    Like the 168hr Level 5 TEFL course – which is also Ofqual-recognised and accredited.

    Studying for this is most often from home once their traditional workday has finished or on weekends but can be from any location that has a secure internet connection.

    These online TEFL courses don’t need you to complete an in-person teaching unit or practicum and, as such, can rely on you having experience prior to starting or continuing your development in a classroom afterwards.

    Benefits of fully online TEFL courses:

    • Flexibility – fit studying around your life, not the other way around.
    • No compromise – receive the same high-quality, accredited teaching without paying more, as you often do with in-person teaching.
    • Learn when is best for you – night owl or morning pigeon? Study at the right time for you, regardless of your spirit animal.

    Considerations of online-only TEFL courses:

    • Teaching experience needs to be arranged before or after – though can be easily arranged with our 20-hour teaching practicum module.
    • Relies on self-directed study – if you choose not to study, you simply won’t pass.

    Find the right TEFL course for you!

    If you want to teach English as a foreign language without taking a traditional degree course, a TEFL qualification is your best option. On your TEFL course you will develop your understanding of the pedagogy of teaching, how to help students, how to plan engaging and yet effective lessons, and much more.

    What type of TEFL course you choose to help you develop these skills is up to you.

    To get started with either a fully online or combination TEFL UK course and receive your free lesson planning e-book - email us today at [email protected] or give us a call on 0800 368 9848 and our friendly team can get you started!