There are many reasons why people choose to become an English language teacher. Some want to know they are making a difference in other people’s lives. Some want to travel, live in new countries and immerse themselves in a new culture. Others want to work with children, or do a creative, interesting job. Whatever your motivations, you’ll be sure to meet fascinating students and help them develop valuable new skills.
But choosing the right English language teaching course for you can be a challenge. There are so many different TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses to pick from. The question is, which is the best one for you?
Here are four reasons why we recommend taking an official Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) qualification from Cambridge.
1. Employment opportunities
Finding the right English language teaching jobs can be a difficult process, regardless of whether you have professional experience or not. It can be challenging if you also throw moving to a new country into the mix.
The right qualification can give you a much needed advantage. However, there are many kinds of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) courses available. A quick search online uncovers weekend short courses, online courses, courses that only go into theory, and courses that include observed teaching practice.
Unofficial courses are of varying quality. Some may have very good programmes, but they are not standardised and there is no external moderation. Future employers will therefore not know if your course has really prepared you for the job.
That’s why it’s important you choose an accredited qualification.
CELTA is recognised and trusted by language academies and educational institutions everywhere. It is certified by Cambridge and regulated by Ofqual, the government office that regulates qualifications in England. As such, it is the gold standard teaching qualification. It ensures your CV will be at the top of the pile during hiring season.
A 2018 study of 600 English language teaching job adverts in over 60 countries revealed that Cambridge English’s CELTA is the qualification most often requested by employers. In fact, three out of four English language teaching jobs require it.
2. Rigorous training
If you are serious about becoming an English language teacher, you’ll know it takes more than just being able to speak the language fluently. It requires lesson planning, an understanding of grammar and vocabulary, teaching skills, the capacity to manage a class, and the skillset to work with a wide range of ages and abilities.
A 120-hour CELTA qualification offers rigorous training. Unlike many less in-depth courses, it will also provide you with the tools you need to continue learning autonomously, even after you’ve completed your qualification.
While you will be guided and supported by your tutors, 80 hours of the course are allotted for self-study. This will also allow you to learn at your own pace and engage in self-reflection – an important part of developing as a teacher.
Experienced teachers can also benefit from a CELTA qualification. CELTA’s focus on practical classroom activities and communicative language teaching complements the knowledge you gained in teacher training at college or university. The feedback on your teaching practice can really help you hone your skills – helping you do an even better job for your learners.
3. New skills and confidence
Unlike many unofficial TEFL qualifications, the CELTA course includes observed teaching practice. This experience will give you the opportunity to develop your teaching skills with real groups of learners. It will also give you the confidence you need to step into the classroom or teach online lessons as soon as you’ve completed the course.
Your trainers will give you in-depth feedback on your lesson plans and how you can improve delivery. In addition, by passing the course, you clearly demonstrate to future employers that you have the knowledge and skills it takes to deliver effective and engaging language classes.
Why is this important? As Luke Worsnop of CELTA training school Oxford TEFL explains, ‘most employers don’t accept courses lacking an observed teaching element.’
Unaccredited teacher training courses do not have a standardised level of training. While you may have an excellent instructor on your course, it’s also possible they lack experience and qualifications.
At the very least, CELTA trainers must have a Level 7 or equivalent qualification, e.g. a Master’s in TESOL, or a DELTA. They have also been through an in-depth training programme. Standards are monitored closely by Cambridge and all courses are moderated.
4. Career progression
CELTA is the perfect way to start your English language teaching career, or to improve on the teaching skills you’ve already acquired.
It will enable you to take on a range of different roles as an English language teacher and even step into new areas of interest. For example, if you are considering staying in TEFL for the long term, you might also be interested in moving into teacher training, management, materials writing or another position in the industry.
Offering a firm foundation in teaching methodology, CELTA will also pave the way for further qualifications. It can lead on to the DELTA, for example, which can open the doors to even more exciting career opportunities.
Find out more about CELTA from Cambridge
CELTA can be taken in many ways: face-to-face, online or a combination of both. You can study full time, usually 4–5 weeks, or part time over the course of a few months to a year.
There are more than 350 authorised centres around the world that run CELTA courses.
Find a centre near you and start your CELTA journey!
Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA)
Three quarters of ELT jobs ask for Cambridge CELTA
Worsnop, L (2021) TEFL vs CELTA, what’s the difference?