5 reasons to do a CELTA

Are you unsure whether or not to do a CELTA? Concerned about spending between £800 and £1000 for a course when you don’t know if you want to be a TEFL teacher? You’re not the only one. Here are five reasons why you should do a CELTA (updated 7/8/16 and here are 5 more reasons why you should do a CELTA) .

Get the best jobs

A CELTA is the University of Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages and is the most highly regarded TEFL qualification throughout the world. TEFL is a growing industry and there is a lot of competition out there. If you’re serious about becoming a TEFL teacher, want to travel the world teaching English while working for the most established language academies, then a CELTA is vital.
If you look on www.tefl.com you’ll notice that the majority of employers ask for a CELTA. The reason that a CELTA is the most highly regarded is because it is recognized by the British Curriculum Authority as a Level 5 qualification and all the teacher centres are authorized and moderated. In other words, to get the best jobs you need to be taught by the best. (Photo by Photologue_np)
A great tool
Can anyone teach? Yeah, I guess they can. After all, everyone has been to school and been taught by someone at some point in their lives, but is it easy? No. Teaching is not for everyone. Standing at the front of a class and trying to engage a group of learners who don’t speak your language is not as simple as it sounds; that’s why doing a CELTA is a great tool to have. Not only do you learn the theory behind teaching, classroom management, and grammar rules and terminology, but you also have experience actually teaching real live (well most of the time) students. (Photo by pennuja)
It’s a hard four or five weeks. You will get swamped with theory, have to write complex lessons plans, and be criticized on your lessons, but when you finally step into real classroom then you’ll realise how much you have learnt and how important the CELTA is.
Gain Confidence
Teaching has a lot to do with confidence. The longer you teach, the more confidence you gain, and the better teacher you become (in theory). A CELTA will give you the confidence to become a TEFL teacher. After learning different methodologies to teach and being grilled by examiners and other students on the course then your confidence will grow.
No one likes observations, I still have observations in my language academy and get nervous beforehand, but I always learn something and become more confident after. At the start of the course you may find it difficult to grasp all the new concepts and grammar explanations, but when you put the ideas into practise you’ll feel more able to teach.

Test the water

When I did my course I never expected teaching English would turn into my career. I just wanted to travel the world and it seemed like a good way to earn some money along the way. The only reason I did a course was because a mate pointed out that I’d probably spend all my savings on the piss within two months and that I’d need an extra income. (Photo by Brian U)
By doing a CELTA you’re testing whether you’re really capable of being a teacher. I know it’s an expensive test, but if you want to travel the world and earn a living then it’s worth doing. You don’t have to commit to a full CELTA straight away. I phoned a few local language academies and asked if I could sit in on a couple of lessons to get an idea. You can do online courses too to get an idea before you commit.
Cambridge is the way forward
When you get into the world of TEFL you’ll see that teaching English is a business. English is an essential qualification to many people around the world. English students aim to either improve their level of English for school, or get some type of qualification. Cambridge have a variety of exams where students can get a qualification, have a look at this detailed list of examinations. This year I am a PET Cambridge Examiner and will be examining in May.
Cambridge have a massive influence over the world of English. Whether you like it or not, a CELTA is an excellent qualification to have if you want to teach English as a foreign language.
Cambridge has not paid me to write this by the way (I wish), it’s my opinion. I’m not saying that it’s not worth doing other TEFL qualifications such as TESOL, or online courses, just that CELTA is an excellent choice.
Still not sure? Check out my experiences travelling the world after doing my CELTA and you’ll be sold.
Had a bad experience with Cambridge and want to tell the world? Leave a comment.  
Useful links

36 thoughts on “5 reasons to do a CELTA

  1. Hi Barry, I've found your comments very useful in terms of assessing where I go with my situation. The difference being I'm old (32) well all right not young anyway (like an 18 year old gap year backpacker) I am actually looking at a career switch from public sector to NGO/ (international) voluntary sector and am advised a CELTA would serve me well for this purpose if I wanted to work in a 'client facing' role ie such as teaching- I would in principle be enthusiastic about this.

    I wonder if you could relay your thoughts on whether teaching English at home (UK) privately or otherwise is a popular or even lucrative market? I would love to use the CELTA for travel and cultural appreciation etc but would be especially motivated if it could serve me on home soil. You mention TEFL becoming your career which also interests me- would you be able to elaborate slightly on a potential career path ie where you could aspire to get to at the top of your game as it were.

    I may sound more financially driven than anything else, which is not actually the case. I do however need to consider security given what would be a relatively late start in this area.

    Thanks again for your useful post, I hope to hear back from you- or anyone knowledgeable on the matter!!


  2. Hi Oliver,

    Sorry for the late reply, been busy coming back over to Seville and starting a new intensive course for a month, anyway here goes. Old? I wouldn't worry about age in the TEFL world. If anything it could be a good thing for potential employers because most youngsters are always jetting off to new places.

    Re teaching English in the UK it's hard to find a permanent job. I know a couple of people who have got lucky and work full time in England, but most of the work is in the summer. Year round work is hard to come by. Saying that, I'm probably not the best person to ask, if anyone else out there knows more then please leave a comment. Why do you want to stay in the UK?

    Once you've been a teacher for a couple, few, or many years, then the general career path would lead you to being a Director of Studies or even an owner of a language school. I'm doing the DELTA at the moment and hope to get into teacher training, materials writing, and also have my own language school one day…in the distant future at the moment in Spain.

    I'd definitely recommend the CELTA, you sound pretty serious about getting into teaching and it will set you on the right path.

    Hope that helps, sorry again for the delay. Good luck and keep me posted.


  3. I can't help but agree with all I've read above. First of all, you're not old – I was 37 when I first came to TEFL and have now been teaching in Greece for 7 years .. and I still love it! I think that an awareness of the business element to TEFL is essential if you're in it for the long haul – and if you're thinking of investing up to £1000 then you really should be in it for at least a couple of years. I have a basic TEFL Certificate, a Linguistics degree and teaching experience under my belt but, looking at the job vacancies, it is clear that CELTA brings a lot more choice. Thanks to your comments, Barry, I now know this is something I may have to get a loan off mum to do! Given the financial situation in Greece,the limited market when living on a small island and being married (not suggesting that's a negative, but as my husband is not a teacher we have to consider his job opportunities too)I may also be searching for a UK based job. I'd hate to have to give up teaching now – it took me 20 years to find out what I want to do – so wish me luck! PS. I do like the way you tackle the negatives and reality of working abroad – I always say to people who envy my life abroad, the grass isn't greener here, just a different shade!

  4. Hey Karen,

    Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for the comment. Indeed the grass is not often greener, it even rains just as much as back home sometimes, but things are different. Good luck in the job searching, keep up the teaching!


  5. Hey Karen,

    Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for the comment. Indeed the grass is not often greener, it even rains just as much as back home sometimes, but things are different. Good luck in the job searching, keep up the teaching!


  6. Hi All,

    I am thinking of taking CELTA, but I have applied once before and got rejected .. and now I am thinking of applying again.

    I am 29 years old and have tried teaching in a school, I Have teached the secondary stage and really enjoyed the idea of teaching and being among my lovely students .. but I couldn't continue for some personal reasons.

    So I started to think of taking TEFL … Please advise me which one is better. CELTA or TEFL 😀

  7. Hi All,

    I am thinking of taking CELTA, but I have applied once before and got rejected .. and now I am thinking of applying again.

    I am 29 years old and have tried teaching in a school, I Have teached the secondary stage and really enjoyed the idea of teaching and being among my lovely students .. but I couldn't continue for some personal reasons.

    So I started to think of taking TEFL … Please advise me which one is better. CELTA or TEFL 😀

  8. Hi Alaa, I am by no means a expert, but 29 years old myself and have been reading up for some time regarding the different options in the world of teaching english as a foreign language.. And Cambridge CELTA seems to be considered as one of the most widely recognized ones internationally, along with Trinity College UK. Cambridge have Franchises / affiliates all over the world and the material taught are thus standardized world wide, which is not the case with the general TEFL certificates. Go for something which includes class time though, which is also part of the CELTA.. and as i understand, even with the now new CELTA online option you can even volunteer at some schools to get practical hours in.., the class based course just combines everything nicely and you get assessed with feedback from experienced teachers, which i've heard have been very valuable during the process… So goodluck, i will be doing my CELTA soon aswell.. but it's a fairly intensive course, so make sure your life allows for a intensive month where you have time available after hours,etc…

  9. Hi Barry, thanks for publishing this post to share with readers information and your experience. I got my MA in English Studies but have no teaching experience and so I am very seriously considering taking the CELTA in order to enter the teaching profession in future. I am living in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the British Council here no longer offers CELTA and I believe I must go overseas to do one. I find it difficult to decide on where I should do the course. Could you offer me some advice?
    Thank you!

  10. Hey Alice,

    Thanks for writing. A CELTA is a great way to get serious about TEFL. I take it you want to stay in Hong Kong while doing the course, are there no language academies there? If not then you could pop up to one of the main towns in China, or even pop over to Thailand to do a CELTA. Becareful in Thailand though because there are a few dodgy outlets.

    I'd definitely do one where you have a lot of teaching practise and observations as this aspect is the most useful.

    I always wanted to visit Hong Kong, it looks like a great vibrant place to live.

    Good luck


  11. Hi,
    I have seven years of working experience in HR (training and development). From last 2 years I have changed my career path. Now I'm into English language teaching. I'm 40 years old. Is CELTA good option?

  12. Hi Anonymous….

    When you say you are into English language teaching, do you mean you are a teacher? I think the CELTA is the only real option if you want to get into TEFL. It's the most recognised and sets you off on the right foot. Good luck.

  13. Hi Barry,

    Great post…and I wondered if you could give me a little advice. I actually took the CELTA (and passed!) about 8 years ago…but ended up not doing anything with it. Now, 8 years later, I am seriously contemplating a move to Spain. I don't really remember very much about my course, but obviously don't want to fork out another grand to brush up. Any tips on how to get my knowledge up to scratch (online courses etc)

    Thanks for this great re-source by the way….

    All the best


  14. Hi Barry, Thanks, your article is very useful. I am actually looking at a career shift from Software to English Teaching purely out of the love for the language and gotten feedback that I would make a good teacher given how I used to tutor my ex-colleagues at work, correcting their grammar and teaching them to write emails and help in basic communication with the customers.
    Are there any chances of being rejected by CELTA since I do not have a teaching background? The website does say that the course is for aspirants who don't have experience. Do let me know your thoughts.

  15. Hi Barry ,thanks for a compelling article ! I am a 44 year old electrician and seriously considering taking a CELTA course.In view of this may I ask if you think I have left it a little late in the day ?
    Can you see me struggling to get jobs because of my age ? I am curious to find out !

  16. Hi Barry (and others),

    This is a very interesting and useful page for me to have stumbled upon. I, like one of your posters above, am 37 and in the process of being made redundant. I'm seriously considering investing the free time and 1000 GBP in obtaining the CELTA. This is not an overnight decision but one which has taken me a long time to come around to.
    I have a question about degrees. I went out to work at 16 and have no formal qualifications, except my GCSEs. Now, I'm an intelligent guy and have ended up living and working for a large international company in Zurich (I'm from the UK originally). But, I still have no bits of paper from university. Does having the CELTA but no uni degree in any way lessen my chances of employment?
    Thanks very much for your reply and thanks again for the post!


  17. Hi Michael,

    No definitely not. I think you can still find jobs, you can still speak English and hold a board market, can't you? I'd say go for it. We still have people in their 40's and 50's starting new to TEFL each year. Good luck.

  18. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for writing. Yeah that's a tricky one. A lot of schools ask for a degree, and also some CELTA courses, have you found a course yet? Saying that, if you can get on a course and then get yourself some teaching experience then surely you'd be able to move up the ladder, so to speak. I'd give it a try anyway if you are being made redundant.

    Sorry for the late reply. Good luck.

  19. Never taught in India, but try tefl.com, or jobsinindia.com, they might help you on your quest to finding a lovely job in the land of India!

  20. Do you think it makes sense to get a CELTA if I plan on doing an Auxiliares program in Spain in Fall 2015 that only requires a Bachelors degree?

    Ideally I would like to travel somewhere in Latin America this spring and teach for a few months before the Spain program starts next October. In order to do that I would need a certification. Do you think it is worth it? Do you know if employers will hire for 6 months or less?

    Thanks for your input!

  21. Hi, I have been wanting to take the Celta cerfification now for years. I should have done it before my son was born, now my free time is limited. Has anyone done it while having a young child at home? I am in Ottawa, Canada which means I would have to go to Montréal to do it as here in Ottawa it is not available. I also was thinking of doing the online version since it would be more convenient with my son. I just don't know how ill work around this, any advice? Has anyone done the online version? Also has anyone worked in Morocco after they got their cerfification?, If so was it a good experience? But mainly, I want to get Celta cerfified so that I can teach right here at home, is this common. Jeez I have so many questions, sorry!!Thank you for any feedback. Regards Tina

  22. Sorry for the late reply. Someone ate my laptop. I guess if you wanna teach before the program then it would be a good idea. Depends how sure you are that you want to be a teacher. You don't really need the CELTA to teach in some places in Latin America, especially if you're only going for 6 months. Some employers will hire you for that time, but most want a year. I did the naughty and lied to bosses in the interview, but I'm a bad boy. Where are you thinking of heading?

  23. Hey Tina,

    Thanks for writing. I know people who have done the DELTA with a little one and that was mental, surely you could squeeze in a CELTA. How old is your son? You can do it over 3 months I think, which would be less strain. I've been to Morocco and found it quiet dull, not sure what it would be like to live there, sorry. If you're up for teaching though then try do the CELTA, it will be worth it in the end. Good luck.

  24. Hi,
    I have an interview for a Celta course in Seville next week. I have a tefl certificate from Thailand, but the course was crap and even people who didn't turn up still passed. I taught in a kindergarten in Thailand for 5 years but have never taught adults. Quite frankly the Celta course terrifies me but I'd like a qualification that sets me apart from the backpacker teacher crowd. I'm 41!
    I have a job offer in gran canaria at a language school called Inlingua. They have branches all around the world. However, a Celta is not required and they do not focus on grammar, rather on conversation. Ideally I'd like to get work with the British council in the future which requires 2 years post Celta experience. My question is should I try to find a job that teaches more along the lines of the Celta course or go with Inlingua just to get experience?
    On another note, is there any reason why the Celta is so hard and intense? Couldn't they spread it out a bit, say over 6 weeks?!

  25. I would love to know the answer to this. At what point is a refresher course, or even a do-over required?

  26. I think I may have missed this one…Did you stay in Seville? I guess it's hard and intense just to prepare you for exam times in most Language Academies…that or to fit in more courses and make more cash?

  27. Hello there it's been a while since someone posted here so I hope it's still ok. I live in Mallorca and am really keen to change my career to teaching English. I am 43. Have an English A-level and a Psychology degree. I really want to take CELTA but I am struggling with the time because I work and can't take a month off. So I have been considering just doing a TELF online course (or perhaps combine online with a weekend course in the uk). I am thinking this could be suffice for a while and perhaps I could teach privately for a while until I am in a better position to take that month off work. I am in a real dilemma over this because I would prefer to just dive and do CELTA straight away. Are there any other options for me that I haven't yet come across? Thanks.

    1. Hi Claire
      So sorry for the late reply been making changes. Celta is still the best way to go with out fail. What did you do in the end.? Thanks for writing

  28. "You can do online courses top before you commit doing CELTA "
    Sir. . You have mentioned this. May I know what online courses you mean? I wanted to do CELTA.

  29. Thanks Barry nd others for enlighting my path to CELTA,cleared so many never ending doubts. Well I'm also looking forward to take
    CELTA, in coming summer, as one of my most reliable nd confident steping stone to give a kick to start my teaching career.Indeed,this is the most prestigious certificate course, for those who really want to earn respect nd love, after taking entery in the wonderful world of knowledge.
    Good Luck to the aspirants- of course to me also (much needed)!!

  30. Hi karen, i would like to chat with you. i am Eman Ahmed. I just want to improve my fluency. if you could.

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