5 Worst Online TEFL Courses 2023 Blacklisted Online TEFL Programs ESLinsider TEFL Footprints Recruiting ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd ITTT MyTEFL The TEFL Academy World TEFL Institute X Fake TEFL Accreditations X Online TEFL Course Scams X TEFL Programs Fact-Checked X TEFL Watchdog

Worst TEFL Courses 2023 – The 5 Worst Online TEFL TESOL Courses in 2023

The 5 Best Online TEFL and TESOL Courses in 2023 are TEFL Online Pro, OISE University of Toronto TEFL, CIEE TEFL, Maximo Nivel, and Vantage TEFL Certification

5 Worst TEFL Courses 2023, written by Mia Williams – co-founder of Trusted TEFL Reviews.

This 5 Worst TEFL Courses 2023 article has been updated on May 13th, 2023.

April 14, 2023 Notice:

It has been brought to our attention that ITTT TEFL, My TEFL, and TTA The TEFL Academy have been offering their TEFL graduates free “bonus” courses (which are totally worthless) in return for writing a positive review on their Facebook pages and for the other review websites where they have hundreds of positive reviews – such as Google Business listings, reviews.io, and TrustPilot.

This is the reason why ITTT TEFL, My TEFL, and TTA The TEFL Academy have such awful reviews on trustedteflreviews.com and amazing reviews on other platforms.

This is a scam.

Due to the negative impact of taking a TEFL course with ITTT TEFL, My TEFL, and TTA The TEFL Academy, such as the certificates they issue not being internationally recognized, an increasing number of TEFL students are choosing to take, instead, alternative, Fully Accredited programs.

Trusted TEFL Reviews is an impartial, independent TEFL and TESOL reviews website and we do not actively recommend any of the TEFL and TESOL courses listed on trustedteflreviews.com.

What we do recommend, however, is checking the TEFL Course Directory and the 5 Best TEFL TESOL Courses in 2023 for an overview of which programs are the highest recommended by schools and students:



Trusted TEFL Reviews 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.

Only the winner of the Teachers’ Choice Award is granted the ability to publish the award on their school website, and they also enjoy a whole year’s free exposure on Trusted TEFL Reviews, where they may post, for example, any current course discounts or promotions on the Trusted TEFL Reviews website.

This year’s winner is TEFL Online Pro, a Fully Accredited TEFL and TESOL online international certification course program.

Verified student and graduate reviews of the TEFL Online Pro program:


tefl online pro | 50% Off Fully Accredited TEFL/TESOL Courses + Free Shipping on Hard-Copy Certificates. Offer Ends 23:59, May 31st | Get Discount >

There are some excellent Online TEFL/TESOL certification course options out there, and there are some that you should avoid.

The best Online TEFL/TESOL certification courses come with excellent support and offer certificates that are Fully Accredited and internationally recognized.

The worst Online TEFL/TESOL certification courses lack sufficient student support and lack international recognition, and they are notorious for launching smear campaigns on their business competitors – they can because they don’t have an official accreditation body to answer to.

We have received complaints from a number of TEFL/TESOL programs – Fully Accredited programs – that have complained of being targeted online by these 5 Worst TEFL Courses 2023, with misinformation campaigns launched against them.

Here are the 5 worst TEFL courses in 2023, in all their Upside Down glory – starting at the 5th worst and continuing all the way down to the worst of the worst:

5. ITTT International TEFL and TESOL Training

ITTT International TEFL and TESOL Training Fake accreditation

There are a few stand-out issues with the ITTT TEFL program:

  1. It employs aggressive affiliate marketers that hype up the course on platforms such as Quora. The most prolific of these is Linda Dunsmore – Marketing Manager at (yep, you guessed right) ITTT. Linda spams Quora with helpful posts about how she was an ITTT graduate and how the course worked for her. What she doesn’t come clean about, though, is that she is on the ITTT management marketing team.
  2. ITTT doesn’t just have one program website. Instead, it has more than 10 of them. They all look similar, but each contains slightly different claims and each looks different enough that the waters are muddied when it comes to pinpointing the true identity of the core company website.
  3. ITTT is a company headquartered in Thailand, and they are accredited by some pretty dodgy accreditation companies. One of these is OTTSA, and another is The Teacher Training Council. Both are registered in Thailand, and both have been exposed as fake accreditation websites. The Teacher Training Council can’t even spell “Accreditation” correctly. They spell it, “AccrediDation”.

ITTT International TEFL and TESOL Training is Accredited but is not Fully Accredited.

You can read further information about ITTT, including verified customer reviews, in the Trusted TEFL Reviews ITTT TEFL category:



The Third Worst TEFL Course in 2022 | MyTEFL

MyTEFL exploded into the Online TEFL training arena about 5 or 6 years ago.

It claims to have been around for a lot longer, but 5 or 6 years is a more realistic and honest assessment.

Students tend to like the course.

That’s where the positives end.

  1. MyTEFL is propped up by a fake accreditation body ( Online TESOL and TEFL Standards Agency – OTTSA) and another one that they recently created: International TEFL Accreditation Council – ITEFLAC.
  2. Graduates regularly complain that they were ripped off by bait-and-switch scams on the job placements abroad that they accepted through MyTEFL and its parent company, Footprints Language Education Ltd. Teachers arrived to find that the accommodation and pay weren’t as promised, and some discovered that a percentage of their monthly salary was being deducted and paid back to MyTEFL/Footprints Language Education Ltd.
  3. MyTEFL has tried to have fake reviews published on Trusted TEFL Reviews and reacted very poorly when we refused to publish these unverified “customer” reviews. Its response was to launch a campaign against us, claiming that this review website is biased toward certain TEFL programs. They even went so far as to claim that Trusted TEFL Reviews is owned by OISE University of Toronto TEFL and/or TEFL Online Pro. Yep, the true sign of a reputable company is to attack the reviews site that refused to publish its fake “customer” reviews.

MyTEFL is Accredited but is not Fully Accredited.

You can read further information about MyTEFL, including verified customer reviews, in the Trusted TEFL Reviews MyTEFL category:


3. TTA The TEFL Academy

TTA The TEFL Academy Company

This company is a car crash waiting to happen, so go grab your popcorn and a comfy couch.

TTA The TEFL Academy claims to be “Fully Accredited” by a few organizations, with one of these being DEAC.

We sent out an inquiry to DEAC yesterday, and they responded that TTA The TEFL Academy is not accredited by them.

The helpful people at DEAC directed us to a page on their website, where the public can check whether a TEFL program is listed in their database.

Here is that link: https://www.deac.org/Student-Center/Directory-Of-Accredited-Institutions.aspx

  1. TTA The TEFL Academy claims to be accredited by AQC, DEAC, QUALIFI, and even by Ofqual. It is accredited by no company. It is only regulated by Ofqual and QUALIFI, and it also appears that QUALIFI might have been created by the good folks at TTA The TEFL Academy.
  2. TTA the TEFL Academy has tried to have its staff-written reviews published on Trusted TEFL Reviews. Last year, one of its full-time Brand Ambassador employees became infuriated with me because I wouldn’t publish her review that read like a TTA TEFL brochure. What was her response? She said that Trusted TEFL Reviews is biased and began writing rubbish about me and my reviews site online. Oh, and, of course, she claims that Trusted TEFL Reviews is owned by TEFL Online Pro because it is the top-rated program on this site currently. And all because we wouldn’t publish her review.
  3. Despite having its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, TTA The TEFL Academy certificates are not recognized for English teaching jobs in Ireland. In Malta neither. In fact, the one place where you are guaranteed to be able to use your TTA The TEFL Academy certificate is in the UK. Reviewers have complained about not being able to use their TTA The TEFL Academy certificates for some online teaching jobs and for some overseas jobs.
  4. TTA The TEFL Academy aggressively promotes itself through a network of affiliate marketers – people that may or may not have taken one of its courses. These marketing minions earn a 20% referral fee every time someone books a TTA The TEFL Academy course through their affiliate website. This is one of the reasons why we feel that TTA The TEFL Academy courses are overpriced.

TTA The TEFL Academy is Unaccredited. It is neither Accredited nor Fully Accredited.

The TEFL Academy, via its network of Brand Ambassadors, aggressively pushes the notion that it is fully accredited and aggressively pushes the notion that some of the reputable organizations that are competitors are Fully Accredited are, in fact, fake. I hear defamation lawsuit bells ringing! 🙂

You can read further information about TTA The TEFL Academy, including verified customer reviews, in the Trusted TEFL Reviews The TEFL Academy category:


2. ESLinsider

The Worst TEFL Course in 2022 | ESLinsider

The popcorn and couch time might have already passed with this program because our research has shown that ESLinsider is not a full-time-functioning TEFL program anymore, despite still selling unregulated and unaccredited courses to anyone naive enough to fall for his scam.

I spent a lazy Sunday searching through the many Reddit user names of the owner of ESLinsider TEFL (Ian Patrick Leahy) and I read how he returned from Japan to New Hampshire because his website wasn’t doing so well. In the two years since then, Ian has worked on ski and snowboarding slopes in New Hampshire and Montana.

It appears that he is now planning on working a summer season this year in Oregon.

I also read some of Ian’s Reddit questions – enquiring about traveling to either Chile or New Zealand for under-the-table paid work.

May 13th, 2023 update: Ian has bought a van and is operating his TEFL course from his van as he drives across the United States in search of seasonal manual labor.

A few reasons why the ESLinsider program is so poor:

  1. Ian Patrick Leahy began the ESLinsider TEFL program because he hated teaching English and wanted to earn a quick buck by running online TEFL courses, which he called TEKA courses. The problem was that he didn’t have enough experience or knowledge to really even teach, never mind running a training program. This didn’t deter Ian and he soldiered on, creating linguistic minefield disasters as his objective grew.
  2. He was clever in one respect. He created a blog for ESLinsider, where he tried to convey the impression that he was an ESL expert. He also “reviewed” his competitor’s TEFL programs (which he never even paid and took) and wrote critical feedback on them – all the while linking back to his blog and to his ESLinsider course. This meant that you could Google any well-known Online TEFL program and you would see ESLinsider’s take on it. The obvious reason for spending so much of his time doing this was that he hoped to convince people that his TEFL course was better and that they should pay him to take his course. His MO is to claim that such and such a course or person is a “scam”, “fake”, “fraud”, etc. He also went after reputable accreditation bodies too – after all, his courses were unaccredited so he had to try and angle it that accreditation bodies are all fake.
  3. Ian (ESLinsider) was the first TEFL program that we received a fake review and it was the first time that a TEFL program retaliated against us for not publishing its fake review. Ian Patrick Leahy from ESLinsider was the person that began the misinformation that Trusted TEFL Reviews is biased and owned by CIEE TEFL, OISE University of Toronto TEFL, and TEFL Online Pro. Or course, this is not true.
  4. He is also alleged to have conned his paying customers out of their money. This is one example of a group of Ian Patrick Leahy’s ESLinsider TEFL students, who were left out of pocket by Ian:

ESLinsider is Unaccredited. It is neither Accredited nor Fully Accredited.

You can read further information about ESLinsider, including verified customer reviews, in the Trusted TEFL Reviews ESLinsider category:


1. ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd., and World TEFL Institute

ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd Homepage
World TEFL Institute legit?

The ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd., and the World TEFL Institute programs are owned and operated by one guy – a British ex-pat living in the Philippines: James Anthony Dwyer.

Both programs are registered in the UK, but James lives full-time in the Philippines and for all purposes, both programs are operating out of the Philippines.

These programs really are the worst of the worst.

They are the bottom of the TEFL barrel for so many reasons that it just isn’t possible to list all of the reasons here, so we will provide you with some of the main ones and then show you where you can read all of the information about the vilest TEFL owner in the industry and his TEFL program scams:

  1. Fake Reviews – the owner writes his own reviews.
  2. Fake Accreditation – the owner owns the accreditation website that “accredits” his courses.
  3. Doxing Customers – some customers have reported having their personal information sold on the dark web when they successfully won a chargeback for their TEFL course with this guy.
  4. Click Farms – James pays click farms to upvote or downvote posts about his programs on complaints websites, and he has used click farms to add thousands of Likes to his Facebook pages – pages that have the Reviews tab disabled and pages that have very few interactions. Most of the interactions on both pages are from James’s wife and their friends in the Philippines.
  5. Fake Level 3-5 TEFL Courses – James recently repackaged his one course into many separate courses as Level 3-5 courses. They are all the same course.
  6. UK Government Regulated – James claims that his courses are regulated by the UK government. They are not. James just registered the two companies in the UK and they are regulated by James only.

ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd. Trusted TEFL Reviews Category:


World TEFL Institute Trusted TEFL Reviews Category:


Our Tip!

To avoid falling victim to a TEFL scam, check how high or low a program is ranked in the TEFL Course Directory: https://trustedteflreviews.com/tefl-course-directory/

The top-rated schools in the directory are top-rated for a legitimate reason.

You can also check the TEFL Accreditation Guide, to see which organizations provide Fully Accredited certificates: https://trustedteflreviews.com/tefl-accreditation-guide/

Worst TEFL Courses 2023 related links:

OTTSA Accreditation: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2020/02/18/warning-the-ottsa-accrediting-professionals-scam/

ITTT TEFL Accreditation: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2022/03/23/ittt-tefl-accreditation/

TTA The TEFL Academy Scam Warning: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2019/03/25/the-tefl-academy-certification-review/

The MyTEFL Scam: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2020/01/24/the-mytefl-com-scam/

The ESLinsider Scam: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2020/02/03/eslinsider-reviews-scam/

Affiliate Marketing Scam: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2022/02/07/tefl-affiliate-marketing-scam/

ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd. Scam: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2022/11/14/itt-international-tefl-and-tesol-ltd/

December 1st, 2022 Update:

World TESOL Academy must also be added to this Worst TEFL Courses 2023 list:


New! Click here for the online TEFL/TESOL international certification course Teachers’ Choice Award winner. International Online TEFL/TESOL course certification at its best.

Verified Online TEFL/TESOL certification course program reviews, ranked in order of customer satisfaction: TEFL Course Directory

TEFL Accreditation Guide | 6 TEFL Red Flags | TTR Home | TEFL Course Special Offers

The 5 Best Online TEFL and TESOL Course Training Programs in 2023 - Image 2

1 comment

  1. Trusted TEFL Reviews published an article related to this ‘Worst TEFL Courses 2023’ article.

    The related article is titled, ‘The 5 Best Online TEFL TESOL courses to take in 2023’.

    You can view this article here:


    This article is monitored and updated regularly, to reflect which Online TEFL TESOL certification course programs remain top favorites with TEFL course students and TEFL teacher employers.

    The Best Online TEFL TESOL courses to take in 2023, based on verified customer reviews:

    1. TEFL Online Pro.
    Verified Customer reviews:

    2. OISE University of Toronto TEFL.
    Verified Customer reviews:

    3. CIEE TEFL.
    Verified Customer reviews:

    4. Maximo Nivel TEFL.
    Verified Customer reviews:

    5. Vantage TEFL
    Verified Customer reviews:

    Mia Williams – Trusted TEFL Reviews

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