Is CELTA an exam?
No. CELTA stands for the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. It is a certificate awarded by Cambridge English Language Assessment to the candidates who complete the CELTA course and meet the required assessment standards. It does sound serious and a bit opaque. Let’s try and explain it in simple terms.
To get the Cambridge CELTA certificate, you need to meet the expected standard in these areas:
- Attendance: Complete the course by attending 100% of the scheduled sessions
- Teaching Practice: Teach 8 observed and assessed lessons (6 clock hours, in total) and meet the Pass standard for the entire Teaching Practice (TP, for short)
- Written Assignments: Submit 4 written assignments and pass at least 3 of them
- Professional Conduct: Meet the professional standards required from a teacher
- Anti-Plagiarism: Submit the work which is all your own. You can be inspired by other sources but they cannot be copied verbatim and the sources need to be clearly cited
In other words, the two or more tutors you work with during the course will assess your progress based on your coursework, step by step. This is done through ongoing assessment so every bit of your coursework matters.
Your lesson plans and resources as well as your written assignments are part of your CELTA Portfolio, which is reviewed by the Cambridge CELTA Assessor to ensure the CELTA grading standards are the same globally. CELTA Tutors grade your work and the CELTA Assessors ensure they are fair and in line with the Cambridge CELTA standards.
There is no test or exam to take.
There are four possible grades on the certificate:
- Fail – when the candidate does not meet the standard
- Pass, Pass B or Pass A – when the candidate meets the standard. Pass B could be roughly compared to a merit and Pass A – to a distinction
The detailed assessment criteria are outlined in the CELTA Syllabus and Assessment Guidelines. You can download the Syllabus by scrolling all the way down HERE.
Since the very first course, at Lang LTC – the only Cambridge English Platinum Centre in Poland, we have not had a Fail certificate and our graduates have completed the course with a fair share of all Pass grades.
We are happy to award Pass B and Pass A certificates and – from experience – we can assure you that the grade depends not so much on the candidate’s previous experience but on their work during the course. Experienced teachers will have a lot to unlearn and relearn. New teachers and complete newbies will have a lot to learn. Everything depends on the effort and… enjoyment of teaching during the course. The best teachers are happy teachers!
Can CELTA be done online?
You can take the CELTA course, choosing one of these course formats:
- Fully online CELTA – your Teaching Practice and all the input sessions are organised online. These courses help you save commuting time, accommodation and boarding costs as you can take them from any location at a centre in any location. Check the once-a-week online CELTA courses at Lang LTC
- Face-to-face CELTA – your Teaching Practice and all the input sessions are conducted in physical classrooms. Use the Cambridge browser HERE to find face-to-face courses in your selected location. Then, apply through the centre’s website
- Mixed-mode/Combined CELTA – your Teaching Practice and the input sessions are done partly online and partly in physical classrooms. Use the Cambridge browser HERE to find mixed-mode/combined courses in your selected location. Then, apply through the centre’s website
You may wonder: Is online CELTA better or worse?
We strongly recommend online CELTA programmes to candidates who:
- want to save on travel, boarding and accommodation
- started teaching online with no preparation and are tired of winging it
- prefer to follow a part-time programme, with fewer sessions per week spread over a longer period of time, as they need to combine CELTA with other commitments. You may want to check the Saturday-only online CELTA at Lang LTC HERE
- want to be more flexible and ready to teach online on demand (as well as face-to-face if needed and desired) e.g. digital nomads, homeschooling parents, frequent travellers, teachers working for private schools running both face-to-face and online courses, people who want to teach online as a side hustle for extra income
- have ample experience teaching face-to-face but lose the magic when teaching online… and they cannot work out why
- have mobility problems and prefer to work from home
At Lang LTC, we believe the online CELTA programmes may not be suitable for people who:
- know they will definitely need to work face-to-face in the future and also
- have never faced a group or are seriously intimidated by the very thought of standing or sitting in front of a group of learners
If this rings a bell, you will need more practice in the physical classroom to find your feet and find your voice.
You can start with an online CELTA course and pass it with flying colours but – afterwards – be prepared for a transition period of pro bono face-to-face teaching first, before you can fully enjoy a proper face-to-face teaching job.
As always, there are exceptions to the rule, but teaching face-to-face will always require a dose of confidence which comes with practice. Personality-wise, if you are on the shy, highly introverted and/or insecure side, then a fully online CELTA programme won’t let you develop your real-life confidence to the extent a face-to-face programme would. The question is: Would you ever want to teach face-to-face if facing a group generates so much anxiety?