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What is the difference between a CELTA and TEFL qualification?

Posted on 10-01-2013 by samhudson - 2 Comments.

So you’re thinking about teaching English?  You want to travel the world, meet interesting people, help improve the lives of others or you simply have a passion to teach?  Yes?  Then you’ll need a recognised English language teaching qualification.  However, with lots to choose from, which one is right for you?

There are many centres that provide qualifications, from large organisations such as Cambridge to smaller, independent companies such as LoveTEFL.  The first question you should ask yourself is: are the courses accredited and is the certificate recognised in countries around the world?  It is a given that you should enrol on an accredited course in order to secure overseas employment and ensure you are receiving the best possible tuition and support.  Other important considerations are cost, time and flexibility.

To help you choose, here is a quick summary:

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

This is by far the most common acronym you’ll come across; that’s because TEFL refers to the industry, not a specific type of certificate.  A good course provider, such as LoveTEFL, will train you to become a TEFL teacher and, once qualified, your certification will be considered on par with the widely recognised CELTA and TESOL.  TEFL qualifications are the most commonly held qualifications by teachers living and teaching overseas.

There are lots of options, ranging from short intensive weekend courses to an advanced 140 hour online course.  TEFL courses are certainly the cheapest teaching qualification available today.  An intensive weekend TEFL course will give you around 20 hours of instruction and can cost anywhere between £90 and £300.  Online courses vary in length, but a typical 120 hour course, the minimum required for overseas employment, costs between £99 and £450.  Taking up to 3 months to complete, these online courses allow you to study at your own pace, at a time that suits you.  Both courses provide you with a solid introduction to TEFL and give you the skills and techniques to begin working straightaway.  The weekend course has the added benefit of a practical element where you can teach the other trainees.

CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults)

The Cambridge CELTA is a specific type of TEFL certificate.  It is standardised and courses are run in centres all over the world.  It is an incredibly intensive course, lasting four to five weeks, full-time, and costs between £1,500 and £4,000 plus expenses if the centre is not near your home – this makes the course a fairly expensive option.  In addition, to enrol on a CELTA course you need to be at least 20 years old and have formal education qualifications (whereas to study for a TEFL qualification the minimum age is 16 and you just need a native-level ability to speak English).

TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

TESOL courses, like the CELTA, are standardised courses which often require four weeks of intensive, full-time study.  They are much more common in North America and Australia and differ from TEFL in that they are mostly for teachers who want to teach in an English speaking country, typically teaching immigrants or refugees.  These qualifications tend to be mid-priced between a TEFL course and a CELTA.

For someone looking to gain new skills and have an adventure, a qualification in teaching English as a foreign language is the perfect starting point for an exciting future.


If you would like more information on TEFL Courses and how you can become a TEFL teacher click here

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2 thoughts on “What is the difference between a CELTA and TEFL qualification?

  1. Please am interested in working as an english teacher which is also my current job

  2. samhudson says:

    Hi there phyllis, if you would to like at our current TEFL Course then please visit

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