The CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) was my first step into working as a teacher. I had previously worked for a language school chain as an Activity Leader during university breaks, and the school I was based at offered the CELTA course. The Academic Manager suggested that I might enjoy the course and said that I would be hired as a teacher for the summer with them if I passed the course. I had never considered working as a teacher before that, but was hooked for the first time I taught.
This was over a decade ago now, but many of the fundamentals of the CELTA course remain the same. You can find more information about the course, along with a list of registered providers on the Cambridge English website.
The CELTA is the most prestigious and well recognised TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification in the world. It is standardised, with inspectors and assessors from Cambridge University visiting course providers to ensure that standards are being maintained. It is because of this that it is a popular qualification amongst employers; they have a level of certainty that employees who have a CELTA certificate will have a certain level of skill and knowledge. This is not always true of other TEFL courses. This doesn't mean it is the only option for you if you are thinking about becoming TEFL certified. This blog post talks through some of the other options available and how to make a choice that is right for you.
I was lucky when it came to choosing a course. I lived near a reputable CELTA provider, had worked for that provider before (in a non-teaching role) and knew that I would have a few months of teaching work after the course. I am grateful to have been in that fortunate position, but it means that I do not have experience of making the choice of course myself - I did not consider any other options at the time. I have since worked as the hiring manager for a chain of summer schools and know that a candidate with a CELTA is favoured over other qualifications. This is because a CELTA fits easily into the British Council Accreditation criteria and because I knew that the CELTA prepared teachers well.
In the video I briefly discuss my experience of the CELTA. If you do not have time to watch the video here is a brief summary of my CELTA experience; it was intense, rewarding and I learnt a lot. I had never taught before and really enjoyed it. I had to learn a lot in terms of grammar, which I was never explicitly taught at school, and would recommend brushing up on your grammar foundations before the course if you feel the same. At the end of the course I felt prepared to teach my own classes. I continued to learn, as I taught, throughout my career but am grateful for the solid foundation that the CELTA provided me with.
If you are thinking about becoming an online or freelance teacher our ebook is a good place to start; Getting Started in Online and Freelance Teaching Ebook
Written by Claire Collis, Founder and Managing Director of The ELT Skills Academy