Our guide to CELTA

Our guide to CELTA

First published date February 26 2014 Amended date November 10 2015

Would you like to teach English language abroad? Maybe you’re already a teacher and want to increase you career opportunities? Taking a CELTA course will prepare you for teaching English as a foreign language, either abroad or in the UK. Successfully gaining the CELTA qualification can take you all across the world teaching children the English language or increase your teaching possibilities back at home.


What is CELTA?

CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a globally recognised qualification that is a required credential for teachers of English as a foreign language. It’s a four week intensive course awarded by the Cambridge English Language Assessment, part of the world famous University of Cambridge. CELTA is aimed at those who have little or no teaching experience and opens them up to a broad range of teaching opportunities, especially abroad. Many people who take CELTA are people who either want to take a gap year teaching abroad or want to forge a career in teaching English in a different country.


 What will I learn?

The CELTA course involves a minimum of 120 contact hours which will cover five main topics which you will have to pass to successfully gain the qualification. The five topics will be:

  • Learners and teachers, and the teaching and learning context.
  • Language analysis and awareness.
  • Language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing.
  • Planning and resources for different contexts.
  • Developing teaching skills and professionalism.

To pass these topics you will be expected to pass two types of assessment; teaching practice and written assignments.

The teaching practice assessment will involve six hours of teaching at two levels of ability. An external assessor, appointed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, will give you your grade based on your overall performance at the end of the six weeks.

You will also have to complete four written assignments throughout the duration of the course. These will focus on; analysing and responding to learner needs, analysing language for teaching purposes, teaching language skills and finally reflecting on classroom teaching. Upon completion of the CELTA there will be three pass grades; Pass A, Pass B and Pass.


Can anyone apply?

CELTA is open to almost anyone, however there are a few requirements that must be met to gain a place on the teaching course. As you could be teaching English anywhere around the globe, you will be expected to have a standard of English which will enable you to teach at various levels.

There is no age restriction on those who can study for the CELTA however you must possess a standard of education that allows you to apply to higher education. This means that you will most likely be aged 18 or over and have completed either A-Level or college qualifications. You must also be able to fund the course yourself or via the English Teaching Graduate Scheme.


Where can I teach English Language with CELTA?

CELTA is recognised across the world so you can teach virtually anywhere once you have successfully gained the qualification. Despite this, there are huge differences in the teaching methods and cultures of most countries, so before jetting off, it’s extremely important to do your research. Fortunately, you won’t be expected to learn the local language, and schools will absolutely love your western presence and knowledge of the English language. At first you may act as a teaching assistant while you settle into the schools culture.

When deciding where to teach it’s also very important to take into account your finances and to create a budget. A personal finance course can help you to organise your money wisely. Some countries are more renowned for the economic rewards they offer, whereas others aren’t. Places in East Asia are well known for having more job opportunities and paying more to the teachers they employ. Places such as Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and China have some of the world’s largest job markets for teaching English abroad and if you’re lucky you may be able to save up to £1000 a month from your earnings, even as a first time teacher.


Tips for teaching abroad

  • Research, Research, Research: We can’t express this point enough; every country has different cultures which will affect the way in which you will have to teach the students. You don’t want to offend anyone on your first day.
  • Plan your finances: If you go to work in Europe or Latin America then don’t expect to earn any savings, plan your finances well and expect to break even. If you head to Asia then you may find that you will have money to save.
  • Save enough money for start up costs: Even if you have a job waiting for you, you won’t get paid on your first day. Make sure you have saved enough for living costs for the first month.
  • Enjoy yourself: You’re not only there to teach the pupils but also to progress your own character. This is an adventure so just relax and enjoy the ride.