Is CELTA worth it?

I have to admit, I am shocked at how many people see the CELTA course just as a money-making scheme.  True, it is not the cheapest TEFL course on the market but if you want quality you have to pay for it.

euro money
Invest in your future – CC 2.0

I did my CELTA certificate over 20 years ago and was amazed at how much I learned in just four weeks.  Not only did I feel like I was ready for the world of teaching but the reputation of CELTA ensured I was given the first job I applied for.  I ended up working with a team of highly experienced teachers which enabled me to continue to grow as a teacher.

I later decided to do the Trinity College London Diploma rather than Cambridge’s Delta, not because I didn’t like the Cambridge Delta but because the DipTESOL was taught at the college I was working for, therefore it was more convenient.  This course confirmed to me that both Trinity College London and Cambridge are both good institutions, offering quality courses.

If you are planning to learn how to teach EFL, I would suggest that when deciding on a course the most important factor should be whether the course includes assessed teaching practice – if this is not included in the course, stay well away from it.  No self-respecting employer would employ someone who has never had any classroom experience.  Those who do, are probably not paying a fair hourly rate for their teachers and should also be steered clear of.

When deciding on where to do the course, you should consider a variety of factors:

  • can I afford the accommodation?
  • could I get a job there once I am qualified (if I wanted to)?
  • do I need a visa?
  • does the centre have a good reputation?*

*As CELTA centres are constantly being assessed by Cambridge Assessors all centres should be offering the same quality, however, to be sure it would be wise to do some research yourself.

There are TEFL courses run by private language schools in-house which are probably suitable if you are only planning on teaching for such schools but if you think you are likely to continue your TEFL career elsewhere then perhaps you should consider taking a CELTA course or Trinity’s Cert.TESOL to ensure you remain employable.

The main point here is that it is very unlikely you will be turned down because you have a CELTA certificate.

I often hear people suggesting that the CELTA method is not the best way to teach – to those people I would firstly ask what they consider to be the CELTA method – I wasn’t aware that it had a specific method?   I know that the CELTA tutors I have worked with have a variety of teaching styles and all use different methods – our trainees see exemplary lessons and input sessions from at least two different tutors and are very much aware that different teachers use different methods.  Furthermore, CELTA, as an initial teaching qualification, gives the trainees a good insight into how to teach but does not suggest this is the only way.  As with many things, you need to learn the rules before you can break them!

What do you think?  Have you done CELTA, if so, would you say it was worth it?  Perhaps you did a different TEFL course and feel that your course was as good, if not better?


Author: Emma Jones

A CELTA Tutor based in Munich and co-author of The Ultimate Guide to CELTA

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