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Whether to take the CELTA or TEFL?
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tellersquill



Joined: 08 Apr 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:44 pm    Post subject: Whether to take the CELTA or TEFL? Reply with quote

I'd just like to ask for opinions on taking a CELTA course.

I'm about to finish my law and social policy degree over the next month and my long term goal is to teach English in Vietnam. My initial instinct was to take a standard TEFL course - in fact, there's one in my city for £300 that offers 100 online and 20hr practical. But then, as I read more and more online, I begin to see a lot of people mention the CELTA and they all note that it is the most respected ESL course. However, much to my dismay I find out the two negatives: the cost (four times the cost of a tefl) and the added difficulty (quite high failure rate).

Now, my question to those who work in education in Asia is: will having a CELTA really affect my chances of finding good work and higher wages?

As it stands, I have a £3,000 student loan coming in this May, and I can cling on to that and throw it at a TEFL and have more money to set myself up in a new country, or I could take the CELTA and have less money but a better qualification.

Based on these factors what would you advise?

(Any further questions then please ask)
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10370
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tellersquill wrote:
My long term goal is to teach English in Vietnam.
....

As it stands, I have a £3,000 student loan coming in this May, and I can cling on to that and throw it at a TEFL and have more money to set myself up in a new country, or I could take the CELTA and have less money but a better qualification.

Get a CELTA if your plan is to teach EFL long term.

You've never mentioned if you're currently employed. If so, hold off heading to Asia until you've saved enough to cover your training, your startup costs (i.e., visa-related expenses, airfare, lodging, food, ground transportation, etc.) and an emergency fund. Factor in your debts/student loan as well. If you're not presently working, then reconsider your plans altogether.
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tellersquill



Joined: 08 Apr 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm still a student!

I've got four weeks left and then I finish my degree. I'll get my degree in hand in early July and I plan to fly to Asia at the end of July.

In terms of money, I will have £3,000 (my student loan comes through next month) and I also have a £1,000 overdraft for emergencies.

Flights are £600
Celta course is £1,300
Visa and criminal record papers is £100
Money to live off for two months is £1,200 (for rent and food).

This comes to roughly £3,200 which is just about doable.

I'm genuinely afraid of doing the CELTA in case I fail and then I my plan to teach abroad will be destroyed.

I hope you folks can understand why this is such a tough decision.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1292
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Whether to take the CELTA or TEFL? Reply with quote

tellersquill wrote:
I begin to see a lot of people mention the CELTA and they all note that it is the most respected ESL course.


Let's clarify this perception ^.

First off, there is no worldwide accreditation for a certificate to teach ESL/EFL. Some countries (like Canada) have national standards, but globally, there's nothing to say that XYZ is the "most respected".

Many certificates are only one-month long and some come with a "name brand" status, such as CELTA. It is a common certificate with fairly rigorous standards for one-month of study and most employers will know what it is. Other certificates vary drastically in quantity/quality of teaching hours. Some are much longer and intensive, many others are worth toilet paper in terms of education.

I hesitate to say that a CELTA will bring you "higher wages" because really, a one-month is just a few weeks, right? It's not necessarily a qualification that results in a substantial upgrade. A lot of teachers have postgrad certificates or degrees in TESL/TESOL and have never bothered with a CELTA (I'm in that camp).

I guess my answer to your original question is "a CELTA is good, there are others that are fine too; if you want to make this a long-term career and want higher wages/better work, it will take more than entry-level certificates but that's a topic you can revisit later".
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11347
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The main value of the CELTA is that it's the name brand; employers don't have to take time to research what your generic TEFL cert entailed. In other words, not necessarily the most respected, but the most recognized.

Generic courses range from all-online (not very respected) to CELTA - equivalent, meaning that they are a month long and include supervised teaching practice with real students. The better courses focus on input and practice of actual language teaching, and focus less on 'how to get a job abroad' or 'enjoying your time abroad' and etc.

So, there are some generics that fit the criteria, but it's up to the job seeker to highlight to prospective employers what his/her course entailed. And those who hire for more competitive positions may choose to save time by not considering any application that doesn't have a known TEFL cert on it.

As nomad says, if you plan to do this longer-term, the CELTA is probably worth it. If you aim solely for a couple of years in Vietnam, research (see the country-specific forum below) how much a CELTA is valued specifically in Vietnam.
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tellersquill



Joined: 08 Apr 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Whether to take the CELTA or TEFL? Reply with quote

santi84 wrote:
tellersquill wrote:
I begin to see a lot of people mention the CELTA and they all note that it is the most respected ESL course.


Let's clarify this perception ^.

First off, there is no worldwide accreditation for a certificate to teach ESL/EFL. Some countries (like Canada) have national standards, but globally, there's nothing to say that XYZ is the "most respected".

Many certificates are only one-month long and some come with a "name brand" status, such as CELTA. It is a common certificate with fairly rigorous standards for one-month of study and most employers will know what it is. Other certificates vary drastically in quantity/quality of teaching hours. Some are much longer and intensive, many others are worth toilet paper in terms of education.

I hesitate to say that a CELTA will bring you "higher wages" because really, a one-month is just a few weeks, right? It's not necessarily a qualification that results in a substantial upgrade. A lot of teachers have postgrad certificates or degrees in TESL/TESOL and have never bothered with a CELTA (I'm in that camp).

I guess my answer to your original question is "a CELTA is good, there are others that are fine too; if you want to make this a long-term career and want higher wages/better work, it will take more than entry-level certificates but that's a topic you can revisit later".


My plan is to do a PGCE in two or three years and then work in international schools.

I've spoken to people in Vietnam who earn £1,400 per month and yet only spend £600 per month to live off. Based on this they can save close to £800 per month (some do and some do not). If I saved up that much I could afford a holiday a year and also afford to study for a PGCE in the UK in two years. Plus, I will get loads of classroom experience.

I just need to figure out if the celta or the tefl is the most cost effective over a two year plan.
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tellersquill



Joined: 08 Apr 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
The main value of the CELTA is that it's the name brand; employers don't have to take time to research what your generic TEFL cert entailed. In other words, not necessarily the most respected, but the most recognized.

Generic courses range from all-online (not very respected) to CELTA - equivalent, meaning that they are a month long and include supervised teaching practice with real students. The better courses focus on input and practice of actual language teaching, and focus less on 'how to get a job abroad' or 'enjoying your time abroad' and etc.

So, there are some generics that fit the criteria, but it's up to the job seeker to highlight to prospective employers what his/her course entailed. And those who hire for more competitive positions may choose to save time by not considering any application that doesn't have a known TEFL cert on it.

As nomad says, if you plan to do this longer-term, the CELTA is probably worth it. If you aim solely for a couple of years in Vietnam, research (see the country-specific forum below) how much a CELTA is valued specifically in Vietnam.


Based on my own research last night - a CELTA is very valuable in the Middle East and Europe, but from it isn't as important in Asia.

But this is just based on what others have said in forum posts - I don't know if its true or not.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1292
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Whether to take the CELTA or TEFL? Reply with quote

tellersquill wrote:
santi84 wrote:
tellersquill wrote:
I begin to see a lot of people mention the CELTA and they all note that it is the most respected ESL course.


Let's clarify this perception ^.

First off, there is no worldwide accreditation for a certificate to teach ESL/EFL. Some countries (like Canada) have national standards, but globally, there's nothing to say that XYZ is the "most respected".

Many certificates are only one-month long and some come with a "name brand" status, such as CELTA. It is a common certificate with fairly rigorous standards for one-month of study and most employers will know what it is. Other certificates vary drastically in quantity/quality of teaching hours. Some are much longer and intensive, many others are worth toilet paper in terms of education.

I hesitate to say that a CELTA will bring you "higher wages" because really, a one-month is just a few weeks, right? It's not necessarily a qualification that results in a substantial upgrade. A lot of teachers have postgrad certificates or degrees in TESL/TESOL and have never bothered with a CELTA (I'm in that camp).

I guess my answer to your original question is "a CELTA is good, there are others that are fine too; if you want to make this a long-term career and want higher wages/better work, it will take more than entry-level certificates but that's a topic you can revisit later".


My plan is to do a PGCE in two or three years and then work in international schools.

I've spoken to people in Vietnam who earn £1,400 per month and yet only spend £600 per month to live off. Based on this they can save close to £800 per month (some do and some do not). If I saved up that much I could afford a holiday a year and also afford to study for a PGCE in the UK in two years. Plus, I will get loads of classroom experience.

I just need to figure out if the celta or the tefl is the most cost effective over a two year plan.


Well, you'd be best off by asking the Vietnam forum. Here in Canada, your CELTA or TEFL wouldn't make a difference (quite frankly, neither of them would net you any work). In Vietnam, the rule may be completely different (as I suspect it is but I can't confirm), perhaps a cheaper TEFL is just fine. Aside from cost, you also want to make sure that you take a certificate that well help you learn how to actually teach with basic skills. A long-term plan is fine but don't neglect how miserable teaching can be if you're in a room and have no idea what you're doing.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1148
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tellersquill wrote:
I'm genuinely afraid of doing the CELTA in case I fail and then I my plan to teach abroad will be destroyed.


tellersquill wrote:
My plan is to do a PGCE in two or three years and then work in international schools.


If you can't cope with the demands of a 4 week training programme (whether that's a CELTA or equivalent brand), then a full PGCE is unlikely to be a realistic option for you.

From what I have seen, people tend to fail the CELTA, etc over issues with personal organisation and time management rather than the actual teaching component. For those who struggle with the actual teaching, it's often connected to the anxiety and stress of standing in front of a class. There are many exceptions of course.

I would generally say that most people don't fail, but if you are going to fail because of something along those lines, better to do it on a training course than in a classroom of paying students.
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tellersquill



Joined: 08 Apr 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HLJHLJ wrote:
tellersquill wrote:
I'm genuinely afraid of doing the CELTA in case I fail and then I my plan to teach abroad will be destroyed.


tellersquill wrote:
My plan is to do a PGCE in two or three years and then work in international schools.


If you can't cope with the demands of a 4 week training programme (whether that's a CELTA or equivalent brand), then a full PGCE is unlikely to be a realistic option for you.

From what I have seen, people tend to fail the CELTA, etc over issues with personal organisation and time management rather than the actual teaching component. For those who struggle with the actual teaching, it's often connected to the anxiety and stress of standing in front of a class. There are many exceptions of course.

I would generally say that most people don't fail, but if you are going to fail because of something along those lines, better to do it on a training course than in a classroom of paying students.


Interesting. I'm fine with public speaking because I've had to give presentations to first year uni students and I did quite well.

As for handling a CELTA, I've spent the last 3 years studying law and social policy, and the two years preceding that were studying politics, psychology and sociology. I haven't studied English formally for around ten years so there is a certain amount of trepidation when people mention how difficult it is.

I certainly feel intelligent enough to pass the course, but I feel that i'd need a strong refresher on the rules of English grammar before I do so.

Even though I'm still finishing my degree I've been spending my evenings looking at TEFL classes on youtube and looking grammar blogs online. Hopefully this will serve me well, and perhaps it could be enough to refresh my knowledge before my tefl/celta begins in July.
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tellersquill



Joined: 08 Apr 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Whether to take the CELTA or TEFL? Reply with quote

santi84 wrote:
tellersquill wrote:
santi84 wrote:
tellersquill wrote:
I begin to see a lot of people mention the CELTA and they all note that it is the most respected ESL course.


Let's clarify this perception ^.

First off, there is no worldwide accreditation for a certificate to teach ESL/EFL. Some countries (like Canada) have national standards, but globally, there's nothing to say that XYZ is the "most respected".

Many certificates are only one-month long and some come with a "name brand" status, such as CELTA. It is a common certificate with fairly rigorous standards for one-month of study and most employers will know what it is. Other certificates vary drastically in quantity/quality of teaching hours. Some are much longer and intensive, many others are worth toilet paper in terms of education.

I hesitate to say that a CELTA will bring you "higher wages" because really, a one-month is just a few weeks, right? It's not necessarily a qualification that results in a substantial upgrade. A lot of teachers have postgrad certificates or degrees in TESL/TESOL and have never bothered with a CELTA (I'm in that camp).

I guess my answer to your original question is "a CELTA is good, there are others that are fine too; if you want to make this a long-term career and want higher wages/better work, it will take more than entry-level certificates but that's a topic you can revisit later".


My plan is to do a PGCE in two or three years and then work in international schools.

I've spoken to people in Vietnam who earn £1,400 per month and yet only spend £600 per month to live off. Based on this they can save close to £800 per month (some do and some do not). If I saved up that much I could afford a holiday a year and also afford to study for a PGCE in the UK in two years. Plus, I will get loads of classroom experience.

I just need to figure out if the celta or the tefl is the most cost effective over a two year plan.


Well, you'd be best off by asking the Vietnam forum. Here in Canada, your CELTA or TEFL wouldn't make a difference (quite frankly, neither of them would net you any work). In Vietnam, the rule may be completely different (as I suspect it is but I can't confirm), perhaps a cheaper TEFL is just fine. Aside from cost, you also want to make sure that you take a certificate that well help you learn how to actually teach with basic skills. A long-term plan is fine but don't neglect how miserable teaching can be if you're in a room and have no idea what you're doing.


I asked on a facebook group and the answers were so mixed that it is hard to know what to think. Some were saying you don't even need a degree, some were saying any tefl will do, others were saying that without a celta you will be earning way less.

Essentially they all contradicted one another and I am non the wiser.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1148
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tellersquill wrote:
I certainly feel intelligent enough to pass the course, but I feel that i'd need a strong refresher on the rules of English grammar before I do so.


This is a common misconception. Explicit grammar knowledge is actually a fairly small part of the course. A good grasp of English is sufficient to get started, and a decent reference book will help you on the way (e.g. something like Swan's Practical English Usage, but there are many others as well).

These are 4 week courses, you aren't expected to know everything at the end of it.

You will usually at least have access to course books and materials, even if you aren't working from them directly. They will have a grammar explanation in them, so you just have to make sure you allow time to review it and do a bit of research if you don't understand something.
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tellersquill



Joined: 08 Apr 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HLJHLJ wrote:
tellersquill wrote:
I certainly feel intelligent enough to pass the course, but I feel that i'd need a strong refresher on the rules of English grammar before I do so.


This is a common misconception. Explicit grammar knowledge is actually a fairly small part of the course. A good grasp of English is sufficient to get started, and a decent reference book will help you on the way (e.g. something like Swan's Practical English Usage, but there are many others as well).

These are 4 week courses, you aren't expected to know everything at the end of it.

You will usually at least have access to course books and materials, even if you aren't working from them directly. They will have a grammar explanation in them, so you just have to make sure you allow time to review it and do a bit of research if you don't understand something.


Interesting, thanks for the info.

I think i'll still swat up because you never learn too much!

I wonder why so many people fail then?
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1148
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The combined dropout/failure rate is usually less than 5%, although it varies considerably by country. I don't consider 5% to be excessive.

These are the stats for 2016.
http://gradestatistics.cambridgeenglish.org/2016/celta.html

Total withdrawn: 3.7%
Total fail: 0.7%
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tellersquill



Joined: 08 Apr 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HLJHLJ wrote:
The combined dropout/failure rate is usually less than 5%, although it varies considerably by country. I don't consider 5% to be excessive.

These are the stats for 2016.
http://gradestatistics.cambridgeenglish.org/2016/celta.html

Total withdrawn: 3.7%
Total fail: 0.7%


Very interesting. Maybe I should do a celta.
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