International TEFL Academy: Everything To Know10 min read

We sat down for an interview with Erin Rydberg from International TEFL Academy’s Student Affairs Department to find out more about their program and what makes an ITA certification better than others. If you are interested in finding out more about International TEFL Academy you can visit their site:

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International TEFL Academy Interview Transcript

Note: The transcript has been lightly edited for readability.

Devin ESLJX: [00:00:05] What specifically do the admissions people look for. Like how common is it for them to deny people and what is the acceptance rate?

Erin ITA: [00:00:24] Yeah great question so anyone really can take our course as long as you’re 18 years or older. It doesn’t matter if you have a degree or not. We do prepare those who do not have a degree that this is a university level course. So it is going to be a little bit rigorous. As long as they have their high school diploma or higher, and are over 18, they can certainly take our course. We basically want to have people speak to an admissions adviser to make sure that their plan is realistic. We don’t want someone to be like “okay yeah I’m an American. I want to teach in Ireland”. You know Ireland is an English speaking country. We want to make sure that they have realistic expectations. I mean if they don’t have a degree and want to go to South Korea then hey, unfortunately, that’s not going to be an option. But you still have possibilities in Asia. So we just want to make sure that they have the right idea going into it which is why we have them speak to an admissions adviser.

Devin ESLJX: [00:01:38] Can you tell me what are some things that you feel set International TEFL Academy programs apart from the many other TEFL providers out there?

Erin ITA: [00:01:52] There is definitely a lot out there. I mean as I mentioned before not a lot of places offer an admissions advisor that you can talk to directly on the phone and speak to them about your plan to make sure that it’s correct and it’s the right path for you. This is a level five certification. It is equal to and at a university level course which not a lot of other TEFL providers have. And something that I think really sets us apart is our lifetime job search assistance. That’s actually something that we do whether you want to go a year from now or 10 years from now or 20 years from now no matter. We will help you every step of the way making sure you have a resume, cover letters, knowing where you want to go, and tracking the hiring seasons. We look over contracts and things like that and we’re constantly getting new partners with schools and recruiters all around the world. So I definitely think that’s something that sets us apart from most schools.

Devin ESLJX: [00:02:49] And what are some things that a person can do to actually prepare themselves before entering the program?

Erin ITA: [00:03:03] Yeah I mean research research research. I know that sounds a little bit cliche but it is important. We want you to go into this with the right expectations and so we are very transparent. We put everything out there. We have country lists, we put salaries, cost of living, and hiring seasons on our website right off the bat. So you can go into a call with an admissions advisor or a meeting with an adviser and know the expectations. “Ok, I saw on your website that in Cambodia you don’t need a degree yet. Perfect. Let’s talk about that.” So that’s really what I recommend. It’s not like you’re going to have a bunch of homework right before actually doing the course but being prepared is best.

Devin ESLJX: [00:03:49] Ok. Now, are there any specific times of the year to enroll in the course?

Erin ITA: [00:03:57] Great question again and we actually offer courses every two weeks so there’s never really a downtime except maybe around the holidays. Not a lot of people take courses then but we still have courses available for sure and we just work with what’s best with your time. I recommend looking at a higher end season. Say you want to go to Europe in January. I recommend maybe doing your course in the summertime so you have everything lined up. So kind of based on where you’re interested in going is what I would recommend when it comes to picking the best time to get your certification.

Devin ESLJX: [00:04:31] What can people expect as far as what they’re going to learn? What’s going to be covered and how can they take that into the actual classroom?

Erin ITA: [00:04:43] Yeah. So for our course, we offer an 11-week online course that is part-time. So you’ll still be able to keep working or going to school while taking this class. I typically recommend spending anywhere between eight and 14 hours on this course. Now that completely depends on the person. We have some who do it in less time. It just depends on you as a person and how you study. In the course, everything builds upon everything else so that in the end you have a culmination for your final project that you’ll be doing. You can rely on everything that you’ve learned throughout the course. We focus on things like grammar, teaching methodology, pedagogies, and we talk about tutoring. We have additional modules that focus on teaching English to young learners or teaching English at the business level. I mean it’s really everything that you can learn in an on-site course, which we also offer, just spread out over 11 full weeks.

Devin ESLJX: [00:06:01] What is the acceptance level of students into jobs and other programs after completing the program?

Erin ITA: [00:06:11] We don’t really have the numbers on that because not every student tells us but as I mentioned before we have lifetime job search assistance so some people will be putting it in their back pocket for later, maybe after they graduate. Maybe some people want to do this when they retire. You know we have students of all ages. So I mean I have students coming back to me from 2011 and they’re like okay, you know I’ve had this certificate and now I’m ready to use it. So they’ll talk with us and the Student Affairs department I’m in. You know we walk with them through the steps and we give them everything to be successful in getting a job.

Devin ESLJX: [00:07:00] Do you have any specific success stories of students who went on to find careers?

Erin ITA: [00:07:08] Yeah definitely. Last year we started a program called our ITA ambassadors and so we have students who are living around the world teaching and writing articles and submitting videos using social media, Facebook posts, or Facebook live and other things like that. Some specific ones that come to mind actually are our new ambassadors that just started last week. Adam has been in the Middle East for over six years after taking a course with us and then spent time teaching then became a photojournalist. Now he’s back into teaching while still in Middle East which is really cool. Another one of our ambassadors is Tammy Arietta. She started off teaching in Hamburg, Germany. She’s actually opened not only her own school in Hamburg Germany but a whole visa operation there where she helps teachers get visas to live and work in Germany which is pretty amazing. So this is kind of beyond obviously teaching ESL as a career in itself. But it’s also a stepping stone to other fields kind of within the same industry. It’s really cool to see where our alumni are going.

Devin ESLJX: [00:08:26] We talked about job placement but what other benefits does ITA provide for their students?

Erin ITA: [00:08:34] Yeah definitely. The one thing that we like to steer clear of is placement. We actually don’t believe in any sort of placement because my colleagues and I have been in situations where we didn’t really have a say and it didn’t work out well. So what we like to do is job search assistance where we let our students choose the job but we help them in every aspect of that like going over contracts and making sure that there are no red flags. We have a very large alumni community as well. So all of our students can connect with our 25,000 plus alumni. People constantly find jobs through our alumni which is really cool as an alumnus will be like “hey yeah my school has an opening for you come to work with me”. I mean we just had two ambassadors who were in different countries meet together on vacation and they went to a location in the Philippines together because they loved following each other. So I mean obviously we have this fantastic job network but we have a fantastic alumni network as well which I think is really beneficial when you’re in this kind of field because country hopping is a big thing.

Devin ESLJX: [00:10:04] Okay so just a few more questions. Are there any benefits to getting a TEFL certification for English speakers from non-native countries who want to teach English?

Erin ITA: [00:10:19] Yeah. Another really great question. We definitely do work with non-native English speakers who might be fluent in English but might be coming from a country that is considered a native English speaking country. And we do have some hoops that they’ll have to jump through because we want to make sure that they are setting themselves up for success. We want them to be successful so that might be, you know, doing an essay or we’ll be looking at their IELTS or TOEFL source things like that to make sure that they will be successful. First and foremost we will be making sure that they have realistic plans. Again, that might not be going to a country like Korea where you have to be from what is considered a major English speaking country. There are some other options you have maybe like Japan or others. We will provide you with the right assistance and the admissions advisor will lay out a very specific plan for you in advance. Like I said we do this before you even enroll. You can just talk to any of our advisors here and make sure it is a good step for you.

Devin ESLJX: [00:11:31] So last question. Are there any specific countries that are particularly popular with graduates?

Erin ITA: [00:11:46] Yes definitely. Europe and Asia are the two most popular areas. Spain for Europe and Korea for Asia. And those just seem to be the most popular probably because they’re the, you know, most often sought out by a lot of people who study abroad. Korean culture is kind of seeping into American culture as well. So I think those two regions would be the most popular. But as I mentioned before we have students in the Middle East and Latin America and Northern Africa. We have teachers in 80 countries currently so that’s perfect.