Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is an ESL school that offers "guaranteed job placement" likely to be a scam? I say probably yes.

Someone asked me in an on-line forum,

"How can I tell if A TESOL certificate school is a scam?

I am looking at a place that is offering me a 1 week course in TESOL for $900 and they offer a guaranteed job placement in Saudi Arabia where I would make $3800 per month and get free housing, and plane tickets. 

I find this very suspicious, yet I really really want to believe its true. How can I know who to trust in the business of certifications?"

First, I'm not an expert on teaching in Saudi Arabia. I've taught in China and Tawian and was once offered a job in South Korea, but never outside of East Asia. Yet I do know a bit about scams. The essence of a scam is to make you "to really, really want to believe it's true." 
Guaranteed job placement? Sounds suspicious. Let's use an analogy. You decide to open a school for plumbers and decide to offer guaranteed job placement. One day you get a student who has no aptitude for plumbing and should not be in the field. Every time he touches a pipe he busts it and floods a building. Every single time. What do you do? Oh but wait! You promised him guaranteed job employment, didn't you? So I guess you must send him somewhere knowing that he will cause thousands of dollars of damage every time he tries to do his job. Hmmm, this is not a good way to run a school and who would want their graduates? My advice. Run away! Run away! Don't look back! Especially if they are talking about also putting you on a plane and sending you to an oppressive middle eastern country with a medieval justice system as part of the plan. Run away!

There are a lot of scams out there in the world of teaching English abroad. It's a bit sad, really. Be careful, do your research. Remember if you've actually taken the time to find a blog like this, then you're one step ahead of many people who haven't, and be careful.


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