Is a Cambridge CELTA Worth the Time and Money? Teaching English Abroad TEFL


is the CELTA worth it well full
disclosure I’m going to tell you I don’t have one
I started out without one how did I do it I started out I did get to a point
where I needed that Tefl bullet on my resume I had it employer requested it so
I did a quick one online I’m not saying that that’s a one-size-fits-all I’m not
saying that if you do the same thing that it’s going to be accepted pretty
much always I can use to be you needed like a hundred hour or more now they
want 120 with a practicum but the CELTA is always going to be that gold standard
so it’s going to be the best one okay if you have CELTA on your resume nobody is
going to dispute that they’re never going to say that that your TEFL sucks
or anything like that it’s the CELTA it’s heavily scrutinized it’s it’s
internationally know right it’s got this going for it if you have a temple from
Bob and Larry’s English Academy and Phuket Thailand who knows you know I
don’t know I don’t think that anybody can answer that but you have to make
sure that it’s a legit program and it’s accredited so let’s talk about the
CELTA what’s the drawback why did I never do
it well I never did it personally because it takes a full month I was
working my ass off most the time and when I did have a month open I wanted to
like go scuba dive or go dive with great white sharks or you know do a motorcycle
trailer do something the idea of sitting in a class and doing teaching English
for free even worse paying for it to get a piece of paper that my employer was
not requiring at the time pretty much made me want to scream as I got further
into things as I had been teaching for a while you know the idea of going back to
square one and sitting through that class with a bunch of people with no
experience you know it they really made me cringe people that have been through
it will tell you that it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread is that
marketing isn’t the truth I’ll let you decide I would recommend the sell to
person who knows that they want to teach English for a long time they could get a
good deal on one and has the money to put into that and it’s worth it to them
okay and I have another video where I talked about the way to do it on the
cheap there are several places in Europe like Latvia Poland also there’s a cheap
course in Vietnam if you do the early bird payments like 1300 I think there
are cheap courses in South Africa there’s one I’m thinking Joburg Cape
Town or something but what I’m saying is if you can get it cheap enough it could
potentially be worth your while the good thing is once you have that something
you’re like done you don’t even nobody’s going to
criticize it or scrutinize and whatever all right I got my TEFL for the rest of
my life I have a lot of people who get a TEFL and then later on they want to go
back for the CELTA because they feel their TEFL is not good enough this
does happen okay so the sells up isn’t worth it it’s totally up to you I
personally don’t have one if you are a person who has started from scratch
you’re scared shitless thinking about getting in front of a class you don’t
know even how on earth you would begin to teach a conversation class you know you
could always watch my video on teaching conversation class and go from there but
if you want to build your confidence that could also be another really good
way to do it okay keep in mind that they interview you first and you have to like
pass an interview to get your spot with the CELTA I believe that this is kind of
a mental psychological trick a lot of people for whatever reason if you sign
up for it and pay not as many people will do it as if we’re gonna make you
sit an interview that they feel like oh I’m chosen I’ve been selected whatever
okay those are my thoughts on the CELTA is it worth it I don’t know I don’t have
one I never did one but it could be worth it for you

31 thoughts on “Is a Cambridge CELTA Worth the Time and Money? Teaching English Abroad TEFL

  1. Nice Video Ben!

    I did my CELTA after returning home from a one and a half of teaching in Korea. Like you said its a big 1 month commitment which is highly demanding both in terms of class time, planning time and also teaching. Essentially a month long boot camp. I will say however its given me a lot more confidence in my teaching ability and has helped me to expand my practice. I'd also agree that its definitely not worth it for those not planning to teach English in the future for a long time.

  2. Timing like you was off for me. You couldn't really do it in the USA, California. Or if you did, you need a car, high fees, and lodging.
    Later I worked at a Korean university, they gave Celta free to all as a few teachers taught it.
    If I was to recommend a place, I woukd Vietnam. It is 50% less then other places and many embassies close by to make a visa.
    Saying that beyond the 100 hour I have never needed it. 80% of my work has been public schools, univ and adults. My teaching degee is worth more.

  3. I think that it's very wroth it for non-western people like me. I'm in university right now and I'll be doing the celta course soon if everything goes as planned. ( i still didn't take it and never seen how it is but that's what i think of it as of the moment)

  4. Yes, getting a CELTA because in UK you can get a student loan from the government and at 56 I am not wasting 4 years on a degree; though you would get living cost loans for degrees and a cool excuse at my age to crash freshers week.
    I miss grants, but the government want their tax money back these days if they can get it.

    Everyone who is not British, I deeply sympathise with your situations but if you won't stay colonists you have noone to blame but yourselves.

    Hmm…application task 4 seems to need me to know a verb and a third person singular. Think I better learn those first too, bound to be in a dictionary or something. Rest will doubtless be easy because I'm British and I speak English right and spell proper too.

  5. I did the CELTA in Guadalajara, Mexico last summer, it was $1500 with the early payment deal. I definitely would recommend it for people without much experience, you’ll come out of it with a lot of confidence in your teaching. You also can do a part-time blended course if you don’t want to take 4 weeks off of work.

  6. Ben! I totally agree with you. I am going into a contract in Chile teaching conversation classes (easy!!) with just a TEFL. But I know many places I spoke to require a CELTA. My research and experience leads me to break it down like this: Is teaching English going to be a career for you? Are you passionate about it, ready to do it for a long time, and want to have the best credentials you can have? Drop the cash and get the CELTA. However, are you new and just trying it out? Never taught before? Just want to get a gig somewhere and see if you like teaching, living abroad, etc? Don’t waste the money. Get a cheap TEFL, and go back for the CELTA when you feel you need it.

  7. I think it worth the money if you don't have a degree or a QTS. In Europe, nowadays, many language schools hire you only if you have a CELTA or DELTA or a degree.

  8. I haven't started working but I had the disposable income and money at the time I completed it. I haven't seen other TEFL/TESOL's so I can't make a comparison. The CELTA does have some advantages over other certs but it's also multiples the price. One exclusive privilege it has is it allows you to administer IELTS exams, which can pay $40-50 bucks/hour in Ontario.

    Ultimately interview process is there to make sure you can handle the class, it can also be a psychological trick to make you think you secured something valuable. From the CELTA's standpoint, they can only accommodate 12 people per class per month (2 cohorts of 6 to teach a lower-level and upper-level proficiency in English). They interview to screen out people who may eventually drop out and hurt their bottom line – in the province of Ontario, private colleges have regulations allowing refunds up to a stipulated amount of time. On average, you get 1 dropout out of 12 – that's a revenue loss of up to 8.25% right there (depends on pro-rating). The interview is just to make sure that your life situation is compatible with the course, I saw a dude with a 3-hour commute get shifted to the part-time program because of the demanding workload (he wanted to do full-time). It's also to make sure your English is at an appropriate level – don't worry about being non-native if your language awareness/grammar is good. The best teachers in our class were foreigners, and the worst were Canadian native English speakers.

    I was often up till midnight doing work – some people were up till 3 am. It doesn't necessarily have to be that arduous, I think the more perfectionistic you are, the worse it'll be. We had some girl in our class who just did her work on her breaks/lunches and commutes and, as a result, took nothing home. Most people will work their asses off burning the midnight oil. You will teach on the 2nd day (20 min), many were afraid of this. By the end, everyone but 1 person (who is an extreme introvert) acclimatized to being able to deliver lessons from the front of the class. I wouldn't worry, you're only talking maybe 15%-20% of the time, talk too much and your performance drops (teacher talk time is frowned upon.) As an ESL teacher, you're more of a facilitator to spark conversation that applies the lesson that you taught through guided discovery (sheets where students learn concepts by applying them – fill in the gaps, matching, etc.)

    Overall, my view of money is skewed, but I felt like I received value for money out of the course, even knowing that it is basically an iPhone vs. a Xiaomi. Because I want to do this for the long haul, I don't mind having this 1 thing stay on my resume forever. If you only want to teach 1-3 years as a gig to travel then a regular TEFL is better. I think Europe and Middle East are more serious about the CELTA as a requirement from what I've heard. It is the best certificate on the market only because it is audited/regulated by a reputable institution (Cambridge University.) We had a Cambridge University assessor come in and inspect our operations, which happens every month. I think the competitor certificate is run by Trinity College of London – Trinity certTESOL?

    Another thing, my other objective for doing this was to secure an 'academic' reference for teachers college and to gain classroom experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it though, I learned a lot, which is unusual for someone who reads a ton (though not about language, clearly.)

  9. My first teaching job in Japan, two of us started as new teachers. I didn't have a CELTA and still don't but the second teacher did. We were earning the same. Maybe she didn't negotiate or maybe they didn't care, whatever. Many employers will not move an inch regardless in first year contracts and often the salary is set but in year two, sure it's a bargaining chip. I have a PGCE from the UK and that has opened the same doors as a CELTA so if you have the equivalent from the USA, Australia or wherever, that'll be a big thing to your employer that not only are you a TEFL teacher, you're a "teacher teacher" from your home country. Along with at least the 120 hour stamps on your TEFL certificate (I have 130), you won't need a CELTA. My last job absolutely required one but I got in due to my PGCE so I guess what I'm saying is, take a course in something that'll work oversea's and your own country because when the fun and games are over teaching English abroad…what're you going to do once back in your home country? The CELTA might only get you…well nothing really. But it's a question of time, money and personal opinion/circumstance. Saying all this, I'd like to get a CELTA one day as it sounds a little challenging…but not today.

  10. I got an online TEFL in 2013 and have been teaching ESL for adult individuals and groups (in Hong Kong) for almost 7 years. NOW, I want to become an IELTS Examiner, but British Council doesn't accept my online TEFL as a 'recognized institution'. So I'm going to get the CELTA. I was able to find a PART-TIME ONLINE option (February-May through Sheffield University) which looks to be fully legit through Cambridge, and costs just under $2000 USD. I hope this info helps anyone looking into a part-time online CELTA option. Peace!

  11. This is my experience, which is considerably less than Ben’s. I decided against doing the CELTA course because I have a PGCE. I figured that having a level 7 course (PGCE) trumped the level 5 course (CELTA). I am from England, and in the UK this is definitely the case. It’s not the case in every other country as some don’t recognise the PGCE. Some employers in Taiwan said I don’t have a TEFL, some remarked I don’t have a CELTA and I didn’t find work there. My PGCE is ESOL, English and Literacy, so I figured I wouldn’t have a problem. I have had a few. However, when the PGCE is recognised it surpasses the CELTA and it allows me to take jobs that are paid better than most. Personally I don’t think our little pieces of paper are the most important thing. Experience, and learning from it, is the key to being a great teacher. If I didn’t have a PGCE I would take a CELTA course. As Ben suggests though, once you are working, building up your experience and track record, the idea of using your well-earned break to do an expensive teaching course becomes less appealing. I am seeing more and more jobs that ask for TEFL/TESOL/CELTA, or two years teaching experience. Most of the time your qualifications are just to satisfy the legal requirements of you working in the country.

  12. I took the CELTA in Bogotá, where it was fairly cheap. Out of the entire class of 12 or so, there were only 2-3 (including me) that had no experience teaching English. Most had 5+ years, with one having around 15 years experience. They were going back to get it because some employers (mainly the British counsel) don't count experience unless it's post-CELTA and they could get higher pay.
    That said, in Asia, I've never had any employer care one way or the other. As long as you can get the Z-Visa and residence permit, Bob & Larry's English Academy is worth just as much as a CELTA.

  13. Would getting a teaching cert in ESL bypass the need for a CELTA? I'm already in the TeacherReady program and an ESL cert for the state of Florida is only 200 USD for the test.

  14. CELTA is very intense. The way it's structured. It takes four weeks. You sit in the classroom the whole day and virtually on the second or the third day you start doing demo classes. I think more than anything else it's about having nerves of steel, being able to handle working under pressure of being evaluated and not just by your CELTA instructor but also the students who actually pay to be taught by you. So the expectations are high. Also, at least the way it was in Manhattan, NY, you will have a long commute to the school and back home, unless you can afford to rent a hotel in midtown Manhattan for four weeks. So expect to feel really tired and having to prepare for the next day's lesson on the bus. I think CELTA is probably more useful if you plan on teaching in the EU or the middle east. It's not such a big deal in China.

  15. And yes, you can do CELTA for less money in Thailand for example. And if I remember correctly, it can be done there over five weeks instead of four. So it takes some of the pressure off.

  16. I have the other; the Trinity Cert TESOL. I would say it is not worth it. It would be much better to study for a degree or an MA in applied linguistics. In the higher paying Middle Eastern countries, such as the UAE. teaching English, only an MA in applied linguistics will do. Just to add, in my case, when I was teaching in Saudi Arabia, they only accepted the CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL if it had been taken in an English speaking country, such as the UK, USA, Australia or New Zealand.

  17. To me one month is nothing. I'm planning on going to another country to do it then stay an extra month and vacation. And I figure it only takes like a year of working to make back your investment. It will make you extra money in the long term and it will save you time because you'll be more likely to be selected for the jobs you want.

  18. I got my CELTA in 2016 in Cambodia. It was the best investment I ever made. I recommend taking a grammar refresher before you take the course to make life easier. People who don't take it seriously do fail. It requires a serious amount of dedication and time to complete.

  19. Ben, would it be better to just put that time and money toward a teaching license if you are a teacher from the U.S.? If you have a teaching license would a CELTA even really make a difference? Thanks!

  20. Hey Ben! First, I really like your videos, I've pretty much watched all of them, and as well as being very informative, I appreciate your straightforward, no bullshit style. Question for you: Here's my situation – I received My CELTA in 2003, and used it for a short time teaching in Ecuador later that same year…I haven't used it since. Now, I would like to use it in Vietnam, (preferably DaNang), I am older (will turn 60 in late April) and do not have a University degree. I, instead, went to a fairly prestigous acting school in NYC back in the early 80s, did quite bit of acting, improv and into stand-up comedy and a one man show. I am also a published author, with 3 books on the market, I have traveled extensively through South America, and have spent a lot of time in the Philippines. I say this not to try to impress anybody, but in your opinion, without a degree – what are my chances for a decently paying ESL job in Vietnam? Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Joe Montaperto

  21. Did mine right after my degree just after I quit my student job, and was hired as a teacher by the centre that trained me straight after. It’s basically mandatory if you wanna do any English (non public) school teaching in home countries like NZ/AU/UK/CA. The salary was good enough that I could save up for France relatively quickly and now working in a University department I’m really seeing the benefits of the lesson planning principles they teach. We’ve had a busy semester and some of my colleagues are pulling their hair out over basic classes.

  22. I've been watching your videos for 2 years now. When I decided to teach abroad I started doing research and I found one of your videos, I have been watching your videos since then. You make good points, you say it how it is and I like that. I guess that I had this fantasy in my head, but thanks to you I've been able to see the real picture. I am a certified English teacher that's starting a MA in ESL in January. And as soon as I finish my master I plan on leaving. I just want to know, if I have to prepare a 401k plan before I leave or how do I find one that will accommodate to my needs. I will appreciate it if you could make a video about that.
    You are like a mentor to me. 😁
    Love your videos.

  23. I did my CELTA in Buenos Aires coming up 10 years ago, it was useful because I didn't really have any experience in teaching English prior to that.(pretty much the example Ben gave on this video as the type of person that maybe should consider it) It was hard work, but rewarding. Just bear in mind it usually focuses on teaching adults. I teach younger students now and I find teaching kids is a whole different ball game. If you have the time and money, do it. If you don't, skip it and do an online tefl. I found my CELTA to be useful, but not essential – great memories though. I think it gave me some psychological affirmation that I can do this teaching English malarky!

  24. Well, if you've gone this far without…! For me, one of the best things the CELTA does is make people consider the psychological aspects for the students in a class (and what might inhibit them from engaging/learning). There is a lot more but it depends on circumstances. Cheers, Ben 👍🏻

  25. Ben would you recommend I change my major from Economics BS to Liberal Studies Preparation for Teaching BA ? I want to work in Mexico, South America and maybe Spain one day. How much more pay would I be getting if I had a more relevant Bachelors degree?
    Thanks,
    Ian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *