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Certification Course Recommendations - Help!
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cherry cake



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:24 am    Post subject: Certification Course Recommendations - Help! Reply with quote

Hi there -

Im looking into taking my certification course in April, May or June of this year. After researching many schools and programs Im hoping someone can offer some solid advice on the quality of the programs, trainers, job placement assistance, facilities, etc. on the following to help make a decision:

- Instituto Britanico (IH)
- SIT TESOL
- BridgeTEFL
- EBC International
- Costa Rica TEFL

Am I over looking a school better than any of these?

IH and EBC seem the most reputable but I know things are not always what they seem Smile Costa Rica TEFL is by far the cheapest (and it would be nice to be on the beach), but that doesnt necessarily mean the best and I dont think they are accredited.

Im looking for a solid program that will hopefully serve me well into the future after the course is completed. Im not fresh out of university looking to teach for a year or so - Im in my 30s and looking to make a permanent career change.

Greatly appreciate any advice about the good,bad and ugly of the certification programs and if you want to add anything about teaching conditions, typical salaries, Cost of Living, best places to look for work and live in CR - Id love to hear about it!

Thanks much!
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OleLarssen



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Cherry!

I've never heard of a cherry cake. I thought they were pies. Oh well.

First off welcome. :) I suggest that you grab a piece of cherry, uh, cake and sit down and have a good, long read through the forums. You will find a lot of information about a lot of things. After that you can come back here and maybe ask some more specific questions.

I can't help you with the TEFL schools though, I didn't even know we had that many. :)
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cherry cake



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the thoughts - I had a feeling you might be one to reply!

Cherry Cake is actually a nickname from childhood Smile

Ive done a lot of digging on the forum its helped me piece together bits of information, but at the same time so much information can prove to be confusing at times! Nonetheless though I never stop combing the forum for details that's for sure.

With regard to the schools - if you do hear anything I would love to know.
These are the ones Ive found the most positive general feedback on, but getting first hand information would be more helpful. From what I have learned many good institutions can be stellar in some locations and complete crap in others and if Im going to spend the money it costs to get a CELTA cert. (in some cases TEFL is equally expensive) I most definitely dont want to throw it away on an institution that is going to give me a certification that isnt worth the paper its printed on! Wouldnt you agree?

If you do think of good dets to share about CR and the job process please do - otherwise if its ok to PM you with any questions after more digging I hope that is ok?

Best,
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OleLarssen



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can absolutely PM me anything, but unless it's something private/personal it's best to keep it public so the information is available to all.

I did my TEFL certification in Quepos/Manuel Antonio and it was great. Supposedly it's crappy now though - new management, and all.

Looking for English teaching jobs in Costa Rica generally means the metropolitan area of San Jose and surrounds (the southeastern half of Valle Central), including, but not limited to, Alajuela and Heredia. There's any number of nice areas to live it, but it's best to find a job first and settle as close and comfortable as possible to it since the bus system here is a bit eccentric. To find a good, solid job you're probably going to spend some time looking so have some savings. You can get away with 150-200 bucks a month in rent if you share or live with a family in a semi-private room/apartment. A small apartment will run you anywhere between 250 and 4000 dollars a month depending on the area and the quality. Living expenses per month depends on you, obviously, but you can easily get away with 200 a month if you're pretty frugal. More sensible and comfortable is 400.

Your salary will depend on your previous experience and your accent, because those often determine where you end up working.

Teaching is great and you won't regret choosing it as a career!
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aaronsimon



Joined: 09 Mar 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:12 am    Post subject: Decision Reply with quote

Hi Cherry Cake

What was you decision...I am considering Costa Rica for my cert.

Thanks.

Aaron Simon
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cherry cake



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Appreciate the COL figures OleLarssen - having that is definitely a help when it comes to budget planning. Think (hope) it would be doable to be in the mid range of expenses based on what youve said.

Question about the job search - at least in my circumstances I will probably have to return to the US after the course to finish up project work I have started here, how difficult to you think it would be to continue the job search after the course when not there in person??

I would of course do my best to at least obtain contact info and if possible have a brief face-to-face with any school Id be considering, but know it might not be doable 100%. Is it terribly difficult to find those good jobs by looking online and via telephone? The school season starts in August, no?

Aaron - I have yet to make a decision on the school though I am quite anxious to. I was hoping to get more specific feedback from people on their experiences/programs with these schools in CR and no one seems to have any to give! Im also waiting for a few of the schools to reply to the inquiries Ive made directly to them. Happy to advise what Ive found once I do get some details. What have you been able to find out about these or any other schools??

thanks guys!
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voegelae



Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys,

I am going to be getting my TEFL cert. at Maximo Nivel in San Pedro starting at the end of April.. I was debating between EBC & Maximo Nivel. EBC's website blew me away with how detailed it was, but something drew me to Maximo.

I have already paid and so Maximo Nivel it is - but, I have spoken with someone who took the course a few months back and had nothing but good things to say. Said it was an intense course, but if I'm spending this much $$ to do this, I'm expecting to learn all that I can. So I'm happy with hearing this. I've also spoken to the staff of Maximo on the phone and they are the most helpful people. Obviously that doesn't mean the school is the best, but it's nice to know that the staff are very professional.

Anyways, like I said, it's at the end of April so I'm more then willing to let you know how it goes throughout, but you'd have to remind me when the time comes:)

Hope the search goes well for you. I researched like crazy, and started to forget what even were the benefits between programs because I looked at the websites too many times. Hope I made a good choice.
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cherry cake



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really appreciate this info. I hadnt heard of Maximo Nivel before and have just checked out their site. It does seem like a decent accredited program.

I was blown away by EBC's site too, oddly enough EBC's dates match up with MN's and also BridgeTEFL's dates for CR - I wonder if they are at all connected, do you know??

The whole research process is most definitely overwhelming and its VERY easy to forget and mix up the details of the programs - even my spreadsheet gets confusing Smile Glad to hear Im not the only one!

If you dont mind my asking - are you taking this course to teach for a career, a career break or until you decide to find a 'real' job as some people call it bc you just graduated??

I will have most likely made my decision by the time you start this course, but in case I havent - I would most definitely like to know the details once you get there and get started.

Thanks so much!
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voegelae



Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there! Of course I don't mind you asking... yes, this is a career change. I've actually been out of college for a year, working with a really good company, but KNOW that teaching is my direction... I want to live abroad for quite awhile to really pick up on my Spanish (I know it pretty well but want to perfect it) and then sometime down the road, head back to the states to teach Spanish... unless after teaching abroad changes my decision. I've also studied in Costa Rica before, love the country, the culture, the people, and see myself staying there for quite some time.

So in short, yes it's a career change and not something I'm looking as "an escape from home" or "a fun little vacation". I'm really going to change my career path.

Good luck with all your decision making... I finally just chose one before dwendling too long (I have messages from back in early 2007 where I asked people information about teaching English abroad... it's about time I finally made the move!) Smile
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voegelae



Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One other note - I also have to head back to the states after the course due to a 2-week comittment back home. As you mentioned, I hope this won't hurt too bad as I know most companies will not hire online, so I hope to take advantage of my time there and try to meet as many companies as possible. I can let you know if I find this will be a problem with companies/schools I talk to or what feedback I get about coming back to the US after completing the course.
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LaineK



Joined: 04 Mar 2009
Posts: 15
Location: U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: " I was blown away by EBC's site too, oddly enough EBC's dates match up with MN's and also BridgeTEFL's dates for CR - I wonder if they are at all connected, do you know?? " I noticed that two in all my research - it seems like all the schools start and stop on the same days.

I finally made my decision on schools, after doing lots of research as well... I am applying to Maximo Nivel. They rated well in the Better Business Burea and for some reason I like you guys were drawn to them.

I would love to get into the April class but I have a huge confernce committment on April 25th - so I will be enrolling in the May class.

I would be interested to hear how the April classes goes and what you really need.
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cherry cake



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive requested some more info from MN and am leaning towards them as well. If I do go through with it, Ill be applying for the May program as well so we could be in the same course. I also want to find out what their grads are up to right now, etc. to get first hand feedback.

NatureGirl did point out an interesting bit of info to me that is posted about Maximo Nivels Cusco program on the Peru wall - check out the 'sticky' in the Peru section to read it.

There is both good and bad to read but it primarily relates to working for MN (in Peru) and not the certification course. Nonetheless it is good information to be aware of in case they offer a job upon completion and to be on the look out to see if the CR location is run the same way.

Voegelae - I would definitely love to hear about your experience while you are there in April, what the instructors, facilities and program is like, etc. I also very much appreciate the info you find out about the job search and the situation we both face about having to leave and come back that will be a tremendous help to me.

Thanks!
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LaineK



Joined: 04 Mar 2009
Posts: 15
Location: U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me know what they send you I would be interested in hearing about it - they have a pretty good website that seems pretty comprehensive.

Am going to check out the Peru section -- thanks for the heads up. There is an older post about M.N. in the Costa Rica section.

I liked that M.N. does not guarantee you a job - they are up front about it rather than sugar coat it.

If you decide on May we will have a great class Smile
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LaineK



Joined: 04 Mar 2009
Posts: 15
Location: U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just read the Peru section - humm dont' think I want to go to Peru with the illness there. Glad I am chosing Costa Rica. I am headed to the M.N. program but will keep my eyes open for things that appear to be not kosher. It will be interesting to hear what the April class has to say.
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OleLarssen



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somewhere in these last posts it was mentioned a curious bit of information about similar starting and class dates. If you look at the type of certification these schools provide I'm willing to bet they are the same. So, in fact, you will be going to the same TEFL or whatever course as people applying to other "schools" as they are simply different fronts for the same program. I supposed everybody was aware of this already, but since that's apparently not the case - now you know.
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