What is CELTA? – part 3

Which is better, CELTA or TEFL?

The awarding body, professional standards & recognition

CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) as a globally recognised teaching qualification is awarded by Cambridge English Language Assessment. It has been around since 1962 and Cambridge gave it its seal of approval in 1988.

The course is based on the Cambridge CELTA Syllabus and can only be conducted by authorised Cambridge CELTA centres.
In other words:

  • the centres which want to run CELTA courses need to be first approved by Cambridge and the permission is granted only if the centre meets the strict requirements
  • the centre’s CELTA tutors need to be trained and accredited by Cambridge experts
  • the tutors need to participate in global standardisation on a regular basis
  • every single course is supervised externally by a Cambridge Assessor to ensure the same high standards are observed globally.

These are all the conditions that our centre, Lang LTC, has succeeded in meeting since 2014.

What level of qualification is CELTA?

For the UK, CELTA is considered a Level 5 qualification, which makes getting an ELT job there easier, considering the recognition CELTA has globally. This is below the MA degree.

TEFL courses can be designed and conducted by any teacher training institution. Each institution can design its own programme, decide who runs the course and what to include. There is no external awarding body. There is no unified syllabus. There is no standardisation or supervision. 

Some TEFL courses meet the Level 5 qualification requirement but it does not mean that they are recognised globally. Oftentimes, they are run by educational institutions which provide paid yet basic training for novice teachers they later hire or offer teaching jobs to.

The price and syllabus

You may wonder how much the CELTA course costs. It will depend on the centre and its geographical location. The expenses on the part of the centre are quite high, especially if the centre decides to run cosier groups with more time for each participant. So the price often depends on the size of the centre and how big the groups are: there is one tutor needed for every Teach Practice group of 6 teacher participants.

That said, when you pay for the CELTA course, the fee usually includes the Cambridge fees, the full programme of well-structured and supervised tuition by accredited tutors, and access to all the online apps used during the course – especially important during online CELTA courses like ours – all the resources and the shipping cost of your certificate.

Check the special Early Bird offer at our centre, Lang LTC HERE. A great bargain! You pay EUR 1052 if you apply early enough. Then, you need to pay the standard fee of EUR 1172, which is still quite competitive. 

How many hours does the CELTA course take?

CELTA courses include 120 hours of scheduled sessions, with 8 assessed lessons taught to real students at two different levels.
The course schedule is meticulously planned and approved by Cambridge. The sessions need to include interactive input (in the form of workshops), guided lesson observations including demo lessons run by the course tutors, guided peer observations, guided lesson planning, the above-mentioned Teaching Practice with group and individual feedback, individual tutorials, and four written assignments. Everything revolves around the practice of teaching and allows each teacher to develop from lesson to lesson, working with at least two different tutors. The additional self-study is estimated at a minimum of 80 hours.

In a nutshell, if you complete the CELTA programme, you have experienced enough planning, teaching and training to understand how to teach as a freelancer or in a language school.

TEFL courses are shorter, radically cheaper and do not include a robust Teaching Practice component with feedback on teaching provided by fully-qualified and externally-verified tutors. 

That said, employers will expect a teaching qualification which includes the so-called practicum – they want a teacher who has already experienced teaching, feedback on this teaching and customised training.
CELTA meets these demands.
Is CELTA worth it? Yes.

So, which is better for me, TEFL or CELTA?

Well, you know your priorities. Use this chart to make up your mind:

Decide yourself WHAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU:Consider:
Lowest prices?TEFL
Shortest possible programmes?TEFL
Any certificate will do?TEFL
No or little time to commit to studying?TEFL
No schedule or full flexibility (e.g.online platform only)?TEFL
Most widely recognised qualification among employers?CELTA
Quality tuition in real-time?CELTA
Working with accredited experts on
a one-to-one basis?
Focus on practical teaching?CELTA
Getting personalised feedback on your planning and teaching?CELTA
Preparation for working with real students?CELTA
Practical preparation for teaching online
and face-to-face?
Learning from and with other teachers?CELTA
External supervision?CELTA