For teachers of English as a second language, there are many opportunities to gain teaching experience, to travel, and to contribute positively to the lives of others. But with so many options for teaching ESL, you might be wondering where to start and what will be required of you in order to secure a position as an ESL instructor.
From an institutional perspective, teaching ESL is not quite like other teaching positions, which means that expectations and qualifications may differ. In rare instances, you may be able to secure an ESL position without any formal credentials. However, as the professional market becomes more competitive, and as employers seek the most qualified applicants, you might consider ways to give yourself an edge over other individuals. While experience and education will strengthen any resume, teaching certificates like CELTA are a great way to improve your odds of landing an opportunity.
What is CELTA?
The Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages—also known as CELTA—is an educational program that is designed to impart the necessary skills and best practices for teaching English as a second language. Holding a CELTA certification suggests to potential employers that you have learned how best to teach ESL and that you are committed to providing high-quality instruction.
CELTA is available in several flexible formats. For those who wish to finish as quickly as possible, CELTA can be completed on a full-time basis over four to five weeks. However, if you are trying to balance this course with other responsibilities, it can be taken part-time over the course of several months. There is also a hybrid online option for those who cannot make it to a classroom location. The primary objective is for students to gain 120 hours of hands-on teaching and training.
What are the benefits of CELTA?
Becoming CELTA certified is about more than increasing your job prospects and/or your wage. Students who wish to become fluent in English hail from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and education levels, which can have a significant influence on how they learn and what they require to be successful. Through CELTA training, you will gain insight into how to teach diverse groups of people, including both adults and older teenagers.
Another important aspect of CELTA certification is the program’s emphasis on hands-on training with skilled instructors. Even under the best of circumstances, teaching can be very challenging. By gaining real-world experience with individuals who have been in your position, you will be better prepared for potential difficulties, and you will know how to structure a class for success—particularly when it comes to lesson planning.
David White is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world's largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.