There are many ESL certificate programs. However, the CELTA certification is by far the most widely known, since it is standardized and monitored by Cambridge University. In this course, you're required to teach to ESL students a minimum of 6 hours and you are graded on your teaching.
If you go to a job board (e.g. Dave's ESL cafe) and look at qualifications, they often list the CELTA and DELTA (advanced CELTA degree) by name, but do not typically list other certificate programs.
Currently, there are many jobs available abroad for English teaching and it seems the demand for English teachers will only increase in the coming years. Nevertheless, as demand for teachers has risen, so has the number of people wanting to teach.
There are some institutions that offer online versions of certain CELTA portions. In other words, you can do some of the background work online, but you will still need to travel to a CELTA center to complete the assessed teaching practice portion. No institution in the US offers the CELTA certification by completing the entire coursework online. Therefore, we recommend doing both the background work and teaching practice at the same time.
A master’s degree will certainly benefit you when you search for a job abroad. However, CELTA is widely recognized by employers due to the training that the CELTA program requires. In addition, Cambridge monitors the CELTA certification and guarantees that ESL teachers have completed their curriculum, adding further value to a CELTA certification.
CELTA does not certify you to teach in public schools in the US. However, this certification should count towards professional development credit for current public school teachers.
Teaching experience is not a requirement of the program. Some candidates are unsure if they will be good teachers, particularly if their concept of teaching primarily involves lecturing in front of a class. Language teaching is different from most types of teaching to adults. While there is a small section of lecturing to explain new terms, much of language teaching involves small groups, pair work, and other activities in which the teacher is not the center of the group.
Having this certificate should enhance your job prospects, regardless of the amount of teaching experience you already have. In addition, experienced teachers can also learn from CELTA, as it involves practice teaching with feedback from Cambridge certified tutors. Experienced teachers may find themselves fine tuning their teaching skills during the course.
It is possible to fail the CELTA, but almost no one does. We look carefully at application materials and conduct interviews with each candidate to ensure that they will do well in the course. If we don't think they have the ability to pass the course, we do not accept them. However candidates may get sick or have other emergency situations that cause them to fail the course. In these situations, we recommend that students withdraw from the course. They may retake the course at a later date, if there is available space. One advantage to taking the CELTA at UT is that we offer a joint UT ESL certificate with the CELTA, so even if you fail the CELTA you may be still eligible for the UT ESL certificate.
Knowing grammar is definitely beneficial when becoming an English teacher, but it is not necessary to know everything about grammar to take CELTA. You will go over key grammatical concepts in the CELTA and be exposed to resources for future teaching. You will need to be able to answer students' questions about grammar, so it is important to know some key concepts like subject, verb, and verb tense. Keep in mind that most English teachers do not know everything about English grammar.
Yes, we accept Segal AmeriCorps Education Award vouchers through the MyAmeriCorps website. You can use your award to cover the cost of tuition, textbooks, and housing (some restrictions apply). Instructions on how to use your voucher are on available on the Using Your Segal AmeriCorps Education Award website.
If you have any other questions, please contact CELTA@austin.utexas.edu.