The TEFL Academy X Online TEFL Course Scams

The TEFL Academy certification review

This ‘The TEFL Academy certification review’ article uncovers the extremes that this program will go to, to present and maintain a positive public image. Fake Reviews | Affiliate Links | Ambassador Program | False Accreditation Claims.

The TEFL Academy certification review.

The TEFL Academy (TTA) is not a legitimate online TEFL/TESOL certification company | The TEFL Academy (TTA) is not a fully accredited online TEFL/TESOL certification courses program.

Trusted TEFL Reviews recommends avoiding The TEFL Academy (TTA).

Is The TEFL Academy (TTA) Legit and Accredited? No. Offering continuous (Up To 60% Off) course discounts should also be a red-flag warning. Verified customer reviews complain about not being able to use this TEFL/TESOL certification internationally and write that because of this, they lost money and strongly felt they had been scammed by The TEFL Academy – TTA. Yikes!

The main reasons for this Buyer Beware Warning:

  1. This program has attempted, on a number of occasions, to get reviews written by their staff employees published on Trusted TEFL Reviews. Trusted TEFL Reviews only publishes verified Online TEFL/TESOL customer reviews – we don’t publish fictitious reviews, self-written by Online TEFL/TESOL programs.
  2. The TEFL Academy (TTA) claims to be accredited by a bunch of “external bodies” but these are in fact only regulatory bodies – AQC | DEAC | OfQual | QUALIFI. The TEFL Academy (TTA) is only regulated by the bodies that it claims accredits them.

The TEFL Academy (TTA) provides unaccredited Online TEFL/TESOL certification courses, that are only recognized within the United Kingdom and Ireland. This is further backed up by the poor The TEFL Academy (TTA) verified student reviews: https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/the-tefl-academy/

Instead, we recommend choosing to take your international TEFL/TESOL certification course with a program offering a fully accredited course equivalent to The TEFL Academy.

The three highest-rated The TEFL Academy (TTA) fully accredited alternative course options:

  1. CIEE TEFLhttps://www.ciee.org/
  2. OISE Toronto TEFLhttps://teflonline.teachaway.com/
  3. TEFL Online Prohttps://teflonlinepro.com/

CIEE TEFL, OISE Toronto TEFL, and TEFL Online Pro are Level 5 and CELTA-equivalent Online TEFL/TESOL certification programs. The TEFL Academy claims to be CELTA equivalent, but it is not.

  1. CIEE TEFL verified customer reviews: https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/ciee-tefl/
  2. OISE Toronto TEFL verified customer reviews: https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/oise-university-of-toronto-tefl/
  3. TEFL Online Pro verified customer reviews: https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/tefl-online-pro-teachers-choice-award-winner-2020/

CIEE TEFL, OISE Toronto TEFL, and TEFL Online Pro certificates are Fully Accredited and internationally recognized. The TEFL Academy (TTA) certificates are not fully accredited and are not internationally recognized.

TEFL Online Pro won the Teachers’ Choice Award in 2019 and 2020:

https://trustedteflreviews.com/2021/07/14/the-teachers-international-online-tefl-tesol-certification-course-choice-award-winner/

CIEE TEFL, OISE Toronto TEFL, and TEFL Online Pro have been shortlisted for this year’s (2021) Teachers’ Choice Award:

https://trustedteflreviews.com/2021/03/29/teachers-choice-award-2021/

The TEFL Academy certification review.


19th May 2021 UPDATE:

The TEFL Academy has been exposed by The TEFL Watchdog, for falsely claiming to telephone inquiries from prospective students that The TEFL Academy is accredited by Ofqual. When further questioned on this false claim of Ofqual accreditation – in two separate telephone calls – both TEFL Academy sales reps put the phone down on The TEFL Watchdog.

It does need to be clarified that the TEFL Academy sales reps assumed that they were having a conversation with real prospective students, and had no idea that they were speaking with members of The TEFL Watchdog.

Further details can be read in the ‘X TEFL Watchdog’ section of Trusted TEFL Reviews:

https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/x-tefl-watchdog/

Trusted TEFL Reviews would like to repeat that The TEFL Academy (theteflacademy.com) is not a fully accredited and internationally recognized TEFL certification program.

If you telephone The TEFL Academy and ask who accredits them, they will reply that they are accredited by Ofqual. This is a lie. Ofqual is a regulatory body and not an accreditation body.

If you press The TEFL Academy further on this bogus accreditation claim, they will likely put the phone down on you.

The TEFL Academy Level 5 TEFL certificates are only recognized within Ireland and the United Kingdom. Try using the certificate anywhere else, and you will likely be met with puzzled looks by school employers and government work visa officers.


The TEFL Academy Certification review.

This is a long, informative article that we recommend reading through from start to finish before purchasing a TEFL Academy/TTA ‘Level 5’ Online TEFL/TESOL course.

We will be looking at this program’s “accreditation” claims, how this program floods the internet with fake reviews, this program’s ‘Ambassador’ program, and the dirty tricks that The TEFL Academy employs to inflict damage on their competitors. And at the end of this article, in the spirit of karmic justice, we will be comparing The TEFL Academy with one of the programs that they have been attacking online: TEFL Online Pro.


TEFL News! Which are the highest-rated Online TEFL TESOL courses in 2021?

Find out here: The 5 best Online TEFL TESOL courses to take in 2021


The TEFL Academy certification review.

The TEFL Academy Certification Review Part I: Fake Reviews and the spreading of misinformation.

  1. The TEFL Academy (TTA) brought in a new Marketing Director, Thomas Gibbons, in 2020.
  2. Not long after, Trusted TEFL Reviews (TTR) began receiving a lot of unverified TTA reviews, supposedly written by students of TTA. None of the reviewers could prove course participation. TTR took the correct decision not to publish the reviews because there was no way of knowing whether TTA graduates had written the review or employees of TTA.
  3. These reviews have since turned up published on other review websites, where there exists little or no verification process. Such websites include TrustPilot and Reviews.co.uk
  4. Thomas Gibbons contacted TTR to ask if we could delete a (verified) TTA negative student review on TTR. When we said that we wouldn’t, Thomas began pressuring TTR for a face-to-face video call. TTR politely declined the request.
  5. In March of this year, an individual left a review for TTA on TTR. The review was flagged for containing commercial content, and we soon discovered that the individual works for The TEFL Academy as one of their ‘Brand Ambassadors’ – earning 20% of all TTA courses purchased through their website. When we took a look at their website, we saw a website set up to sell TTA courses and a website full of exaggerated promises and misleading facts – such as the claim that teachers can earn $100 per hour teaching English online, and the claim that teachers don’t need a college degree to teach in South Korea.
  6. In response to our refusal to publish the above reviews, TTA decided to attack TTR. They have done this in two different ways:
  1. Through Black Hat SEO. As a direct result of our refusal to publish the above reviews, TTR has been receiving a large number of spam emails from x-rated websites. We know that this is because of TTA because we began receiving these emails from the time just after we exposed their Brand Ambassador for submitting commercial content to TTR.
  2. TTA has begun spreading the lie, via one of their Brand Ambassador’s websites – the Brand Ambassador whose review was flagged for commercial content – that TTR is run by TEFL Online Pro. This is a blatant lie and is one more inaccuracy on their commercial website. With regards to this second point:

Ian Leahy from ESLinsider was the person who first started spreading the lie that TTR is run by TEFL Online Pro. ESLinsider has also claimed that TTR is run by OISE University of Toronto. Ian Leahy from ESLinsider is famous in the TEFL world for his scams and deception. Just Google ‘ESLinsider Scams Asia’ and you discover a treasure trove of complaints and warnings.

This, btw, is the same (Ian Leahy) ESLinsider that has been exposed for making illegal purchases with the credit card details of some of his clients and being indirectly responsible for the imprisonment of western teachers in China.

You can read all about Ian Leahy’s ESLinsider well-documented scam here: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2020/02/03/eslinsider-reviews-scam/

It just makes us feel so frustrated when TEFL programs behave this way – spreading false rumors about TTR online – because we originally established TTR to be a genuine source of trusted TEFL reviews. Some TEFL programs are so used to being able to manipulate the reviews websites where they have affiliate marketing agreements that they don’t seem to know how to behave when they are faced with an authentic reviews website.

TTR has noticed a pattern in behavior: A TEFL program asks for a (verified) negative review to be deleted from TTR, TTR refuses to delete the review, and the TEFL program responds with attempts at reducing the credibility of TRR – thereby, hoping to reduce the credibility of the negative review.

Three TEFL programs have chosen this path: ESLinsider, MyTEFL, The TEFL Academy.

TEFL Online Pro seems to be the favored target of these attacks, given that TEFL Online Pro is an award-winning program on TTR. As well as OISE University of Toronto TEFL, CIEE TEFL, and Maximo Nivel TEFL have also been the targets of similar claims. What do all these programs have in common? They are the highest-rated Online TEFL TESOL programs on TTR.

It is rather coincidental that when some Online TEFL programs receive negative reviews on TTR, they claim that the site is biased against them. And it is rather coincidental that the top-rated Online TEFL programs are the ones that are claimed to be the owners of TTR.

TTR is an independently-run Online TEFL/TESOL reviews website. We are not affiliated, in any way, with any of the Online TEFL/TESOL certification programs listed on this site.

If an Online TEFL/TESOL certification program has a high rating on TTR, it means that they are doing something right when it comes to the product they offer and how they treat their customers.

If an Online TEFL/TESOL certification program has a low rating on TTR, it means that they are doing something wrong when it comes to the product they offer and how they treat their customers.


The TEFL Academy Certification Review Part II: False claims regarding accreditation and the recognition of The TEFL Academy courses.

TTA boldly claims that their Level 5 TEFL courses are Ofqual and TQUK accredited. They also claim that they are ‘Accreditation Partners’ with QUALIFI, DEAC, and AQC.

QUALIFI, DEAC, and AQC are organizations that simply confirm that a course meets certain criteria, whereby the student can be assured that they are receiving the education that is advertised by the course provider, i.e. they check if what TTA claims they are teaching in their courses is what TTA is providing to their customers. So whilst TTA claims that they are accredited by these organizations, they are not. At most, they should state that they are loosely regulated by them.

TTA also claims, on the TTA school website, that TTA is accredited by Ofqual and TQUK, and that a ‘Level 5’ TEFL certificate is the same as taking the 4-week, in-class CELTA certification course.

Ofqual and TQUK are often (incorrectly) claimed to accredit Online TEFL programs offering a ‘Level 5’ certificate. Some Level 5 programs even go as far as to claim that the Level 5 TEFL certificate is the same as the CELTA certificate. ‘Level 5’ refers to one of the levels on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In other words, it’s a United Kingdom qualification that means very little to anyone outside of the UK. Furthermore, a qualification assessed at Level 5 doesn’t mean that it is “equivalent to the CELTA qualification”. Instead, it means that the level of education, knowledge, and skills required to complete the course is the same as that required to complete the CELTA, i.e., to be over 18, and to have a level of English and education that is equivalent to the average UK high school graduate.

Ofqual and TQUK are regulatory bodies, not accreditation bodies.

However, and bearing in mind that there is no single accreditation body for Online TEFL/TESOL certification courses, Trusted TEFL Reviews considers courses regulated by Ofqual and TQUK as ‘Accredited’. This is because there should be strict guidelines in place which Online TEFL programs that are regulated by both organizations need to adhere to.

Ofqual and TQUK ‘accredited’ courses are not necessarily internationally recognized.

This is one reason why TTA is not considered to be a ‘Fully Accredited, and internationally recognized” Online TEFL course provider. They are merely ‘Accredited’.

More information on Online TEFL/TESOL accreditation can be found in The Accreditation Guide: https://trustedteflreviews.com/tefl-accreditation-guide/


Part III: Affiliate links/Brand Ambassadors.

Since the arrival of Thomas Gibbons, TTA has aggressively adopted the affiliate’s marketing model.

Like some other Online TEFL programs, such as MyTEFL, TTA also uses ShareASale to gain an advantage in the market.

If you Google search ‘The TEFL Academy reviews’ you will find unverified reviews on the reviews websites which we have already mentioned at the beginning of this article, and you will also find websites that have been created solely for the purpose of selling TEFL courses through affiliate marketing.

There are two types of TTA affiliate marketing websites:

  1. A travel blogger writes articles about many different TEFL course providers and agrees to also write an article about TTA. This person has never been a TTA customer and, therefore, knows nothing about the TTA customer experience. This person writes an article about TTA, and included in the article is a promo code – where the reader can get a TTA course discount when they use the promo code at checkout. The blog owner receives a commission on each sale when their promo code is used.
  2. A TTA Brand Ambassador – a sales rep for TTA – creates a website in the guise of someone wanting to help people with useful teaching tips and other TEFL/Teaching-related information. They begin reviewing other TEFL programs and also some online teaching platforms. The sole purpose of the website is to get people to click on a link, where the ‘Brand Ambassador’ receives a “small commission” for recommending TTA courses. This small commission is 20% of the sale. This means that if you pay €448 for your TEFL Academy course, you are actually paying The TEFL Academy €358 and you are paying the Brand Ambassador a finder’s fee of €90.

The big problem with people writing about a product that they may or may not have taken when they are motivated by the money that they could be receiving from what they have written is that they tend to exaggerate what the product or service can do for you. We have witnessed this with posts and websites created for TTA courses: unrealistic claims, and outright lies, about the results of taking a TTA certification course.

TTA’s Brand Ambassadors have two roles:

  1. Sell TTA courses through affiliate links and receive a 20% commission on every sale.
  2. Write negative things about TTA competition, and in doing so strengthen the brand awareness of TTA courses and earn a 20% commission if someone believes what has been written and decides to buy a TTA course through the Brand Ambassador’s website. The Brand Ambassador knows that by writing a critical post about a TTA competitor, it will show up in search results for that competitor. And TTA helps the post to climb to the top of the search results by asking all of their affiliate partners to link to that particular post in their travel blogs. This is what is known as ‘link farming’. And this last point now leads us onto our final part of this article – the part where we dish out some karmic justice.

Part IV: The TEFL Academy vs TEFL Online Pro.

Having extensively looked through both The TEFL Academy and TEFL Online Pro school websites, we can conclude that:

  1. Both programs offer identical courses in terms of what is included in each course syllabus. This means that the information taught in TTA’s ‘Level 5’ 168-hour course is equal to the information taught in TEFL Online Pro’s 120-hour TEFL/TESOL course.
  2. Both programs appear to offer identical support services.
  3. The TEFL Academy is ‘Accredited’ and TEFL Online Pro is ‘Fully Accredited, and internationally recognized’.
  4. TEFL Online Pro has won the Teachers’ Choice Award two years in a row – 2019/2020.
  5. The TEFL Academy relies on affiliate marketing to win new customers. TEFL Online Pro doesn’t use affiliate marketing.
  6. TEFL Online Pro is a more affordable option than The TEFL Academy.

If we had to choose between The TEFL Academy and TEFL Online Pro, we would choose to take our international TEFL/TESOL certification course with teflonlinepro.com.

Visit the TEFL Online Pro school website

TEFL Online Pro reviews on Facebook

Read TEFL Online Pro verified trusted TEFL reviews – 2020/2021

Read TEFL Online Pro verified trusted TEFL reviews – 2019


The TEFL Academy vs. TEFL Online Pro further reading:
https://trustedteflreviews.com/2021/05/01/the-accreditation-watchdog-the-tefl-academy-versus-tefl-online-pro/


This ‘The TEFL Academy Certification Review’ article was brought to you by Mia Williams at Trusted TEFL Reviews.


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12 comments

  1. Thomas Gibbons, Marketing Director at The TEFL Academy.

    This message is in response to the third time today of you insisting on a telephone chat, despite me making it crystal clear from your first request that we prefer all communication with Online TEFL/TESOL certification course programs to be in written form. I do not wish you to encroach on my privacy. Besides, to maintain transparency and mutual professional relationships, we always prefer written communication.
    Trusted TEFL Reviews (trustedteflreviews.com) is an unbiased Online TEFL/TESOL certification course reviews website, and we welcome real customer reviews of all the (currently-active) 46 Online TEFL/TESOL certification course programs listed on Trusted TEFL Reviews.
    However, we reserve the right not to publish one-liner reviews, and we reserve the right not to publish spammy content. One example of “spammy content” is when we receive a bunch of 5-star reviews of one program, within a very short period of time – as we did with The TEFL Academy, last November.
    This may work for other review websites, but it doesn’t work with Trusted TEFL Reviews.
    Graduates of The TEFL Academy are welcome to leave a review of their Online TEFL/TESOL course experiences, and once verified they will be published.
    As you can see, a number of your graduates have already taken this path:
    https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/the-tefl-academy/

    Mia Williams
    Trusted TEFL Reviews

  2. I recently purchased a Level 5 TEFL Course with TEFL Academy and I am most definitely NOT happy with what I have received so far from this company. I chose them because of their hellopeter.com customer reviews, most of which I am 99.9% certain are written by the company. It’s the only reason I can think of why TEFL Academy have so many positive reviews when the course is overpriced and not what was promised. I will continue with the course but I am not learning a whole lot so far. Customer service is non-existent too.

  3. Hello Trusted TEFL Reviews,

    I’m a recruiter of foreign English teachers for Shanghai-based language schools, here in China.
    We employ approx. 3,000 teachers every new semester to teach in the Shanghai area and because we pay some of the highest annual salaries we are one of the more popular agencies for teachers wanting to teach in China.

    I can honestly write that after reading this article that our company will no longer be accepting applications from teachers with a TEFL Academy teaching certificate.
    I’m also not going to include the name of the agency whom I work for because I wouldn’t want a critical article to be written about us either.
    My advice for anyone thinking about taking a TEFL Academy course would be to avoid and choose another program.
    I have spread the word and I know of at least five other big agencies that have followed my lead.
    I can also confirm that we do accept job applications from teachers who have graduated from the TEFL Online Pro TEFL TESOL program.

    Chris.

  4. In the email exchange with the Tefl Academy, before I enrolled and paid, I was told that I wouldn’t be required to have a college degree to teach in South Korea. Now that I have completed the course and begun my job search, I have discovered that it is impossible to teach in South Korea without a college degree. TEFL academy lied to me just so I would take their course.

  5. I’m afraid I also had an expensive lesson on scamming 101 with my TEFL Academy Ireland course certificate.

    The course was billed as being the cream of Online TEFL courses and I totally bought into it. I was partly convinced by The TEFL Academy office staff and partly convinced by all the wonderful 5-star reviews I read about the program online. Reviews which I now can only assume are written by an energetic TEFL Academy member of staff. Caitriona possibly?

    When I began applying for teaching online jobs I never got past the initial interview process because my TEFL academy certificate wasn’t recognized as an accredited document.

    The schools were actually quite nice about it and warned me that they have to give the same bad news to between 10 – 20 other TEFL academy graduates each week.

    I’m going to contact my bank to request a chargeback.

    I was expecting to receive a TEFL certificate from an accredited school. Instead, all I received was a fancy-looking piece of paper with the word “Level 5 TEFL” on it. It means absolutely nothing if you can’t actually use the qualification.

    I’m so embarrassed that I fell for a scam like this because I did my due diligence and I consider myself tech-savvy and generally a highly knowledgeable person.

    What this company is doing is borderline criminal.

    I’m taking the advice of Trusted TEFL Reviews and I’m going to enroll in the teflonlinepro.com certification course instead. I asked some of the schools that turned me down with my TEFL Academy certificate if they would accept one from TEFL Online Pro, which is accredited by ACTEFLC.com, and they confirmed that they would.

    The irony is that the TEFL Online Pro course is cheaper than the TEFL Academy one, and you can actually use the TEFL Online Pro certificate to teach online and internationally.

    The TEFL Academy certificate, on the other hand, is only recognized in Ireland and Great Britain.

  6. Signed up in Tefl Academy’s Level 5 TESOL certification course online based entirely on the promises of work for when I completed the course. Tefl Academy gave me their word I would not find it difficult getting a job with the certification. Took the course, got my certificate. Got no help from Tefl Academy with finding a job, despite their promise they would help. Have found a job teaching online. Have also had my job application rejected a lot. Can’t recommend this TESOL program. Would recommend other programs.

  7. I took the Tefl academy online Tesol course in 2020. The course is not bad but the customer service is awful. The charges are not clear, they don’t tell you that after the course is expired the fees go up. Contacted the manager and she said “We don’t have to make you aware of the charges” They are doing this for the money only. They hide costs and don’t take responsibility for it, disgusting.

  8. Carolina,

    I’m sorry to read that you had a negative experience with The TEFL Academy’s customer service.
    I can’t write that I’m all that surprised though.

    Trusted TEFL Reviews has received a significant amount of poor reviews of The TEFL Academy since the company brought in a new director last year.
    Also, their claims that only their Level 5 TEFL certificate is good enough for TEFL employment is just flat-out ridiculous. If it were true, none of the other TEFL schools would be in business.

    The TEFL Academy attempts to increase its market share by trashing other TEFL schools, but I think the karma is finally catching up with them – I can see that The TEFL Academy is now offering 60% discounts off their courses. That is not a good sign, and likely signals significantly lower interest in their courses.

    All the best!

    Mia Williams

  9. Sounds like the TEFL Academy is the Fyre Festival of 2021.
    So thankful i didn’t go ahead and pay for one of their courses.
    Dodged a bullet there!

  10. Jade,

    Thank you for your comment.

    One thing I just noticed on the https://www.theteflacademy.com/ website is they are running a 10-year anniversary discount – the 60% courses discount which I previously referred to. It just doesn’t make sense that the current The TEFL Academy management team has been around for 10 years, given that they only took over from the former management team in early 2020.

    Again, we need to stress that The TEFL Academy courses – https://www.theteflacademy.com/ – are only recognized within the UK. Despite their claims, they are NOT ACCREDITED. If you plan on teaching online or abroad, outside of Great Britain and N. Ireland, a The TEFL Academy certificate just won’t be fully accepted in all schools.

    More info about this here: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2021/05/17/fake-accreditation-warning-theteflacademy-com/

    The more we peel back the onion layers of this company, the more deceit we discover. Yikes!

    Mia Williams

  11. I also noticed that 10-year Birthday 60% Off courses discount.
    It’s still showing on the TTA website, only now they are calling it an ‘Olympics Discount’ LOL.
    I recently interviewed a teaching applicant who took their Level 5 course.
    The worried look on his face when I told him his TTA certificate wouldn’t be valid for the work visa here in China still keeps me up at night. The poor guy had to start over with a different TEFL company after that and $350 out of pocket.
    I’ve also noticed how TTA employs people to write fandom blogposts about their courses.
    Hopefully, more and more people are now getting wise to the TTA TEFL scam.
    All the best to you Mia and Trusted TEFL Reviews. Keep up the excellent work!

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