CELTA is a long-established qualification for people who want to work as English language teachers. Based on 4 week in presence courses, 5 week fully online courses or 14 week part time courses, it combines theoretical and practical study with extensive face-to-face teaching practice. CELTA courses are available at over 300 approved centres in more than 70 countries.
The UK government has recently made CELTA eligible for the Advanced Learner Loan scheme, giving individuals the opportunity to apply for financial support to help them complete the course at a college or through a training provider in England. There are currently over 30 CELTA centres in England that accept Advanced Learner Loans.
CELTA is run by Cambridge Assessment English, a not-for-profit department of the University of Cambridge. CELTA forms part of a suite of qualifications for language teachers, including the more advanced DELTA diploma and the modular Teaching Knowledge Test.
Before the course
Do you need to have teaching experience to enrol?
No, though if you do, it obviously helps you to cope with being in the ELT classroom. However, it’s interesting to note that some past trainees who did have previous classroom experience (usually in other fields) have said that they sometimes felt it was more difficult for them because they had to “de-program” and “re-learn” quite a lot. The course assumes that the majority of trainees have no experience, so nothing to worry about!
Do you really need to do a TEFL course in order to gain employment?
Most reputable schools, not only in Europe but also in most other parts of the world, will expect their new teachers to be trained to teach English. The Cambridge CELTA is probably the most respected and well-known training course, and the one which the majority of people refer to when they ask “Have you got the TEFL?” or “Are you trained to teach English?” The second consideration here is your own confidence. Starting to teach English is made a great deal easier if you have some idea of what you are doing, why you are doing it and how to go about teaching. The course gives you this confidence and means you can walk into a classroom as a prepared teacher.
What is the application / interview procedure?
In outline, the application procedure is as follows:
• Complete the application forms and pre-interview task (see next question) and email them back to firstname.lastname@example.org
• You’ll receive a message setting up a time for you to call us for an interview. The interview will take 60’. You are told during the interview if you have been
• Wait for the acceptance email with registration details. Nerina will send you this electronically within 24 hours.
• Payment: four weeks before the course begins, or immediately if the interview is less than four weeks before the course.
• You will then receive the pre-course task (see below) to do before your course starts.
What does the interview consist of?
This usually lasts up to 60 minutes and we ask you some questions about yourself and the pre-interview task you have done. We also tell you about what you are letting yourself in for, i.e. the course. You can also ask any questions you may have.
The pre-interview task is not a test – obviously you don’t know all the answers without having to think hard about them and even having to look them up in reference books (which is what teachers do all the time). It’s more a test of your attitude and instinctive approach to teaching, your inner resources and, where language is concerned, how you would react if a student asked you this type of question.
This gives us a good idea of your skills and qualities and, therefore, of how you will respond to only four weeks of training – whether it will be enough to bring you up to pass standard and allow us to award you the Certificate.
What are the deadlines for registration for the course?
The real deadline is when the course is full. To be sure of a place, we recommend fees are paid four weeks before the start date or as soon as you have been accepted.
What level of knowledge of English grammar is expected prior to enrolment?
Rather than “level”, we prefer to look at it as “instinct”. Our pre-interview task helps us to see whether you can instinctively analyse grammar, i.e. whether you have a “feeling” for language so you can help students with their problems. Your learning of the grammar really takes place when you teach it, because you have to research it when planning a language lesson. But we also include some input sessions on the course to help you develop this area.
Once you’ve been accepted…
What is the pre-course task? How much time and preparation is involved?
The pre-course task involves about 10-12 hours of work. Although it isn’t assessed or marked, it’s very useful as initial preparation for the course, especially the sections on Language Awareness and Phonology. We’ll send it to you as soon as you’ve confirmed your place with payment.
Should I get a TEFL/TESL certificate, or go for a master’s degree?
It depends a bit on where you want to teach. A master’s degree is sometimes required in the USA but other countries, particularly European, look for a course which has a strong practical element with at least 6 hours observed and assessed teaching practice. This is exactly what the CELTA course supplies. There are other countries of course which will employ you simply by virtue of you being a native-speaker graduate. However, this is not a serious option if you want to do justice to your learners and yourself.
During the course
A CELTA course involves a minimum of 120 contact hours with tutors. These are broken down into:
Practical Seminars on
• Language analysis and awareness
• The Learner, the Teacher and the Teaching/Learning Context
• Classroom Management Skills
• Teaching Procedures and Techniques
• Use of resources and materials
Supervised teaching practice
• Lesson preparation and planning
• Classroom observation
• Teaching practice
• Feedback on teaching practice
Teaching practice is an integral part of the course. This is organised in small groups of 5-6 trainees with volunteer students at two different levels. After each teaching practice session an evaluation is led by a course tutor.
Trainees are expected to liaise within their groups outside course hours in order to plan teaching practice classes, according to guidelines provided by course tutors.
Observation of experienced teachers
Specifically set up live observation classes to be taught by the tutors or other experienced teachers and observation of filmed lessons.
• Help with effective CVs (resumes)
• Job-search tips
• What you can expect from a language school
• What language schools expect of you
• Local job adverts
• Internet sites for job vacancies
• Lists of language schools
• Interview preparation and techniques
• Advice on teaching young learners
• Advice on teaching business students
• Advice on contracts
• Internet access for job search and online applications
Fees & Payment
- CELTA Online Course Fees (C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C14): €1200 ($1357.61 or £998.04)
- CELTA Online Course Fees (C8, C10, C11, C12, C13): €1300 ($1470.77 or £1081.26)
- Course Fees In Presence (C9): €1700 ($1923.32 or £1413.93)
How to pay for the course
You should not pay anything until you have submitted your application and have been interviewed.
The procedure starts by downloading the Application Form for the CELTA course, in the Application Forms section of this website.
Please see the information on a separate page on how to pay for the course.
The centre cannot reserve a place on the CELTA until the deposit has been paid.
Deposits cannot be transferred (either to another course or candidate), or refunded under any circumstances.
The balance of the fees must be paid at least four weeks before the start of the CELTA course. If you have not paid your fees by that date you may lose your place.
In the case of cancellation six weeks or more before the course starting date, 20% of our total fee will be retained. With less than six weeks’ notice, 50% of our total fee will be retained. If cancellation occurs in the final ten days before the starting date our total fee will be retained. However, in certain exceptional circumstances we will consider transferring the fees to another course. No transfer will be made if notice is insufficient to allow time to find a substitute candidate. In the unlikely event of a course being cancelled all fees will be refunded.
Once the course has started, no refunds will be allowed. For this reason, you might consider taking out an insurance policy to cover you in case anything happens and you need to leave the course.
To secure a place once you have been accepted you should make a down payment of 500€. You will need to ensure that the full fee is paid at least four weeks before the course begins. Applicants applying less than four weeks before the course are required to pay the fees on acceptance.