Whether you’ve just left college, are thinking of taking a break or making a career change, teaching English can be a great way to see the world, meet people and build a career.
There are many options for getting certified as an English teacher, though CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Speakers of Other Languages) stands out from the rest due to its affiliation with Cambridge University and strict adherence to a unique teaching framework.
In a CELTA course, you can expect to be teaching in a real classroom within your first week of class. You’ll receive feedback from your students, fellow classmates, as well as instructors, and can expect a minimum of 120 contact hours split between class time and student teaching (practicum). While this might seem daunting, it’s instrumental in your development as a teacher and remains one of the reasons CELTA courses are so highly regarded in the world of English teaching.
While countries with English as the official language, such as Ireland, England, and Australia are popular destinations for CELTA courses, they can be found anywhere from Cambodia to Chile, and everywhere in between. CELTA courses are only available through Cambridge approved providers, so you can be sure that you’re getting a quality education regardless of where you choose to study.
Where can you take a CELTA course?
Trainee teachers like CELTA because it’s widely accessible -- with over 1,500 courses offered in 60+ countries around the world, as well as online. It's also flexible, with full-time study (usually 4 weeks), part-time study (around 6 months) or part-online options available.
Each option includes a real-life teaching practice module and all courses are inspected by an external Cambridge assessor to ensure that standards across the world are equally high.
Teachers also appreciate the extra support provided by Cambridge English -- including a free one-year subscription to Cambridge English Teacher, the online professional development resource.
So whether you are looking for a gap-year adventure or a lifelong career, CELTA can help you get the most out of your opportunities for teaching English.
What do hiring schools look for?
Whether you call it TEFL, TESOL, ELT or any of the other myriad acronyms for English Language Teaching, getting the right qualification is essential to maximizing your chances of getting the right job in the best place. So, what do language schools and other employers look for?
Teaching English is a serious profession. As such, hiring schools want first of all to feel confident that, in addition to being fluent in English, you know how the language works. They want you to know teaching techniques that will allow you to plan and deliver inspiring lessons that meet students’ needs and turn them into confident communicators in English.
Secondly, they look for experience. Being a new teacher is not an obstacle to getting work, but employers won’t be impressed if you’ve never stood in front of a class before.
Having a CELTA certificate in hand demonstrates both of these qualifications. You've had time in a classroom with the practicum (practice teaching) component required of all CELTA courses, and you have learned the same teaching techniques that all CELTA graduates learn.
Are CELTA's globally recognized?
A recent survey of TEFL recruitment found that 70% of jobs advertised globally required CELTA (91% in the UK). Employers trust CELTA because it is accredited by Cambridge English -- part of the University of Cambridge with over 100 years’ experience of English language learning and assessment. The course is widely respected for providing the core knowledge and skills for teaching English.
Basically, it's an easily recognizable name and institution. Several other TEFL course providers also carry the same clout but CELTA -- in the UK especially -- is immediately recognizable to employers.
What will you learn in a CELTA course?
Importantly, the CELTA course also includes 6 hours of practicum, teaching real students in real English language classes. Don’t accept teaching ‘practice’ classes on your peers as an alternative -- employers won’t and they know that CELTA graduates will have authentic teaching practice assessed by experienced, highly-qualified instructors. Employers know even new teachers with CELTA will have some practical experience.
How much does a CELTA course cost?
Though the tuition for a CELTA course does vary from location to location, they typically hover around $2,000. For example, the online CELTA course at Insight costs $2,000. However some on-site courses, like those at U.S. based TeachingHouse can run as high as $2,700.
In short, CELTA is definitely not a budget option, but rather a choice for teachers who want a quality and easily recognizable (by employers) certification.