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TEFL Course or CELTA?

Are you looking to teach English as a foreign language? If so, you may be currently searching for the right course to give you the skills, knowledge, and qualifications you’ll need to start your career in this industry and find the teaching opportunity you’re dreaming of. Whilst there are many courses to choose from, most employers favour candidates who have completed a TEFL course or CELTA qualification.

TEFL course or CELTA - which is right for you?

You may have heard of both TEFL and CELTA; however, it can be difficult to choose between the two. This is because they’re both entry-level EFL teaching qualifications with good reputations. Ultimately, your decision will probably depend on both time and financial commitments.

A basic TEFL certification won’t take as long to complete and it’s often more affordable. CELTA courses often require a month of in-class or online teaching practice and are usually more expensive. Keep reading to find out more about the two qualifications.

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What is a TEFL certificate?

A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate has quite a broad scope. This is because there isn’t a central authority that offers TEFL courses. As such, there are hundreds of providers offering this qualification in the marketplace. Many can be found online and are incredibly easy to access.

A TEFL certification is a globally recognised qualification to teach the English language abroad to students (both adults and children) whose first language isn't English. A TEFL is what many schools look for on a teach abroad application.

TEFL courses usually have no entry requirements, with a strong interest in teaching abroad often all that’s needed. Previous teaching experience isn’t necessary. However, it’s recommended that you have a native level or a good grasp of the English language. A TEFL course is ideal for those seeking their first teaching post abroad. It’s also suitable for qualified teachers who want to improve their skills teaching ESL students.

One of the biggest benefits of a TEFL qualification is that many good courses are offered online and are often more flexible. This means they can be completed at your own pace alongside your commitments such as other academic studies or work.

Woman travelling the world after studying Fast Track online CELTA course

What is CELTA?

‘CELTA’ (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is an internationally recognised qualification that teaches English as a foreign language. CELTA is often viewed as one of the most prestigious TEFL-related qualifications in the world. One of the reasons for this is that obtaining it requires rigorous learning which often takes a month to complete.

Many courses require you to learn in-class, however, you can complete CELTA online if you prefer. Online lessons for practice are also available. The qualification is certified by Cambridge Assessment English, making it even more highly respected.

CELTA allows learners to gain hands-on teaching experience. During the 120-hour program, you’ll gain a wealth of teaching practice. You’ll teach other students, allowing you to improve your skills whilst being observed by both your instructor and your peers.

The course also requires you to undertake four written assignments along with ongoing homework. Providers of the CELTA qualification must adhere to strict standards, with teachers needing to be certified by Cambridge.

CELTA is a comprehensive course for those who want to teach English to students either in their home country or overseas. Due to the time commitment required to undertake a CELTA course, as well as the high financial cost, it’s usually better suited to students who are serious about pursuing a career teaching English long-term.

Before you can enrol on a CELTA course, you’ll usually need to go to an interview at a CELTA training centre, where the course leader will assess whether you’re a suitable candidate for the course. They will also assess whether your spoken and written English skills are of a high enough standard.

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Should I choose a TEFL course or CELTA?

Whilst both TEFL and CELTA courses are both internationally recognised and fully prepare teachers for teaching English abroad, there are some important differences in time, cost, and format. TEFL is usually a lot less expensive, making it more accessible for many learners.

The format is different too, with all CELTA courses requiring a minimum of 120 hours of contact time between candidates and course tutors. Many TEFL courses can be carried out solely online and are often entirely self-paced, allowing learners to fit study around their existing commitments.


Need sure whether a TEFL course or CELTA is right for you? Talk to our Teacher Training team now and let us help you.