You can easily get an online TEFL certificate. Because the industry is still not regulated well like in Vietnam or Japan, in China it is common for people who aren't qualified to be teaching. If you are serious about being a teacher then you should get a teaching certification from your home country and/or a degree in Education, that will allow you to work at the higher level schools. Generally speaking in order to teach English on a foreign experts certificate you are supposed to be from one of the main recognized native English speaking countries, have a university degree of a BA or higher, no criminal background, and a TEFL certificate. Those are the requirements, however, some people can get around those requirements depending on the relationships they have with people in high places and they can be hired as a consultant rather than a teacher..... which is just a loophole. The best TEFL certificate is the CELTA which is accredited by University of Cambridge, and that's the certificate the better schools look for. A quick search on the web will easily direct you to an online TEFL course.
Thanks for the reply! Actually, I've been a EFL instructor for over 25 years, most of it in Japan (where the industry is definitely NOT well regulated at all except at the college or university level) and it is only in the last five years that this 'TEFL certificate' hassle has been cropping up like weeds all over the world. I'm pretty sure it was a brainchild of Cambridge who started it in Thailand. Everyone saw that it was a good chance to make some cash and here's where we are: unregulated TEFL certificates.
My question is, is it 'really' the law? I have never seen 'TEFL' certificate required in the translations covering Z-visas for teachers. The term 'certificate' is used, but the main requirement is for a BA and two years teaching experience in ESL or in a related field. Suddenly however, FAO's and bureaucrats all over China are saying it's the law and they give no credit for experience, no matter how long. I also have five credits in TESOL from my university, but that course is also completely ignored. I can understand the need for training for someone with no experience, but for people like me it's ridiculous.
To illustrate how ludicrous this all is, let's start with privatization of education. Cambridge may be a public institution, and the CELTA may indeed be a good program (depends on the coach you get stuck with from what I hear), but the fact remains that from the CELTA on down profit is the driving force behind the spread of these certificates. I'm now taking the ITTT 120 online course with no tutor. For me, it's a skip through the woods but I need the damn thing, because they're always heaping more on us, making us experienced instructors resentful of young 'working visa' teachers who are not really teachers but adventure seekers and the companies exploiting the market. And by doing so making it possible for more and more inexperienced people get jobs. In Japan for instance, your biggest asset is your youth and looks, and wages have plummeted for average jobs, from $30 per hour to $15, regardless of experience. If your over 45 let's say, good luck in finding work in Japan. As far as surveys of TEFL go, the course I'm taking is quite good, but it's a long, long shot from actually preparing someone with no experience for the ESL classroom. The gap between a CELTA and the course I'm taking is huge in terms of preparing someone to teach. What I believe is that you should have at least a BA to teach, period. But the individual schools should also be able to set their own requirements.
In the U.S. where I come from things are a lot stricter. Public school instructors are being required to get MA's and even PhD's to advance, and the workload is far more demanding. Foreign teachers like me have it far easier in China. Our Chinese counterparts have far greater demands on them than we do. However, we don't have much security. I'm not really complaining about taking this course- it's a good brush up- but I am complaining about the lack of clarity. And I'm really p'd off at the privatization. Why can't my university credits be converted into a certificate equivalent? Why aren't universities offering certificates to their alma maters? Education is for everyone, not for private cottage 'schools' no one has ever heard of; that may just exist on a server somewhere. I doubt I'll ever be putting 'ITTT TEFL certificate' on my resume after being employed by the Ministry of Education in Japan to write curriculum- that will definitely be on my resume. If anyone can show me the Chinese that states that a TEFL certificate is now required EVEN IF you have a BA and over two years experience, you will have my gratitude. Because I believe that this is just BS. But since they're acting as if it's the law, I'll comply.
This is not a rant by the way. I just write a lot about things I feel strongly about.