Pros And Cons Of CELTAs And Other TEFL Certificates

Before you even think of starting this, check out my post on Impartial TEFL Certificate Advice (Or Not).

Pros of a CELTA

  • It’s well-known, even if it is not always required. Employers may need to investigate the details of a lesser-known course, but my read is that in countries where certificates are required, employers who know certificates know the CELTA.
  • Yes, tutors vary, but the CELTA is externally assessed by Cambridge and this in my mind ensures some level of regularity no matter where you do it. I did mine in one Eastern Europe country and worked in another, and there wasn’t content specific to the first country, so everything was potentially applicable…and will be potentially applicable wherever I go. The school where I did my CELTA – which I worked for later but not the first year – itself provided information on language issues specific to its learners during a new teachers orientation (for teachers who would work there).
  • No, a CELTA won’t get you far in the US…but will some other TEFL certificate? I’d say not. In the UK, my intuition is that a CELTA may be somewhat more highly regarded (correctly or not) because of its Cambridge connection.

Pros of Another Type of Certificate

  • The CELTA may be slightly more expensive than other courses – an average cost might be between $1600-2000 depending on location – and other course are also considered internationally recognized. A course run by thoughtful and experienced trainers which includes teaching practice is likely to be good and useful, regardless of whether it is a CELTA or not.
  • If you know which country you want to work in or feel confident about a particular placement program and it has its own training course, these may be good enough reasons to take that course.
  • Some teachers really just don’t like the CELTA. I most frequently frame this as people who have another certificate and anticipate CELTA-holders marginalizing theirs…I have yet to see this other-certifiate-marginalizing in action but I’ll acknowledge that my perception is just that – a perception.

In conclusion
I’m not saying that the CELTA is God’s gift to TEFL by any means – and I don’t think it’s accurate to assume that all training courses that have teaching practice are necessarily interchangeable. It’s almost humorous to me, though, to see teachers get heated about the merits of one four-week course over another…but sometimes they do.

Much depends on where you go and what you want to do. Is part of what you pay for with the CELTA the name? Sure. In the US…this happens with university degrees too. Is the CELTA necessarily twice as good as a course that costs half as much? Hard to measure…but it is probably not ideal to make it come down to cost in the long run.