Are you thinking of teaching English abroad but aren’t sure what certificate to get? We get it, when you are thinking about becoming an English teacher, it can be confusing knowing where to start, especially with all of the acronyms. Who really knows what TEFL, TESOL, TESL, CELTA, and DELTA mean? Don’t worry, we have laid it all out to help you figure out what path is best for you!
The “Teaching English as a Foreign Language” (TEFL) certificate, is the most commonly accepted certificate worldwide. This certificate allows you to teach English to non-native speakers across the globe. The main qualifications to get a TEFL is to have the ability to speak English at a native-level and then complete a course. You can complete a TEFL course either online or in a classroom. The different courses vary based on the number of hours it takes to complete. The minimum required course hours are 120 with the highest level of TEFL education being the Government Regulated Level 5 TEFL course.
TESOL is “Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages” and is used interchangeably with the TEFL acronym. The main difference between TEFL and TESOL students is that TESOL students tend to be living in an English speaking country. In other words, as a TEFL teacher, you would likely be teaching English abroad (i.e. not in an English speaking country). Meanwhile, as a TESOL teacher, you would likely be teaching in your home country to students whose first language is not English.
“Teaching English as a Second Language” aka TESL is also interchangeable with TESOL. Similar to TESOL students, as a TESL teacher, you would likely be teaching English in your home country to students who have moved or live in an English speaking country. In other words, they are continuously surrounded by the language. The students will be using it every day outside of the classroom, unlike TEFL students who are likely learning in their home country.
CELTA stands for “Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults” and is a very prestigious certification. In order to receive a CELTA, you must complete a 120-hour course along with six hours of teaching real ESL students. The majority of the programs are held over one-month and are full time. However, you may be able to find some courses that are part-time and are spread out over three months. The CELTA program must follow a strict regulation created by Cambridge University. Due to its intense nature and requirements, the cost also tends to be much higher and can be up to €1700!
The last main certification is a DELTA, aka the “Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages”. In order to receive a DELTA, you must first be a qualified English teacher with several years of experience. If you are already qualified and have the experience, then you can complete an intensive course. The course is similar to the CELTA certifications however, at the end you will receive a DELTA.
Overall, the main difference when first getting certified to teach English is between a TEFL certificate and a CELTA. We highly recommend getting your TEFL if you are simply looking to get your foot in the door to start your English teaching career. It is the first step in launching your English teaching career abroad!