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17 May 2013

So you have decided that you want to teach English to non-native speakers? Great! Whether it is for a gap year, something to keep you busy in retirement or simply a brand new job and lifestyle, you have made a fantastic decision that will give you lifelong memories and a whole set of transferable skills that will help you if you go onto different employment. But upon looking at ways of becoming qualified, you may hit a wall. Different acronyms for different courses will present themselves to you; TEFL, CELTA, DELTA, TESOL; and you can quickly become confused.

These courses are similar in that they will all make you qualified to teach English in other countries but the teaching methodologies vary greatly, as do the ways you complete the course.


TEFL courses (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) are what we at TEFL Org UK provide. TEFL certificates can be used anywhere in the world to teach English to non-English speakers. The great thing about TEFL is that all you need to get qualified is a native-level ability to speak English! The course provider will be able to help you with teacher skills and classroom tips. TEFL also has many different levels. People who have never taught before will be able to enrol in a longer course to give themselves a solid foundation but people who are already qualified as teachers can take shorter courses. Many courses are also available online, allowing for flexibility around other commitments. TEFL is used all around the world to bring English to people looking to learn the language either for work or leisure purposes.


TESOL courses (Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages) are very similar to TEFL courses and the acronyms are sometimes used to mean the same thing. TEFL is the acronym mainly used in the UK while TESOL is often used as an acronym in Australia or the USA. It can also be used as a way of teaching immigrants or refugees who come to a native English country. Their needs are very different from a TEFL learner; a TEFL learner will only hear English in their classroom whilst a TESOL learner will hear English all around them as they learn to live in their new country.


This is Teaching English as a Second Language. TESL teachers predominantly work teaching English to either immigrants, like TESOL teachers, or teaching to people living in a country where many languages are used and English is one of the main ones. It can also be referred to sometimes as Teaching English as an Additional Language (TEAL).


CELTA stands for Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults. They are provided by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) and are highly regarded by employers to the point where some employers in Asia will only hire CELTA graduates. The courses run for four to five weeks if you choose to undertake it fulltime but are available part-time if you need. They are very intensive and also fairly expensive compared to others but do produce well-equipped teachers ready to go out into the teaching world.  To apply for one, you need some form of formal English qualification; unlike TEFL where all you need is a native-level ability to speak English.


DELTA is a Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults and is an advanced TEFL qualification. It can be taken when you are a qualified English teacher with a few years teaching experience as a way of advancing your qualifications. It is similar to the CELTA qualification in that it is completed as part of an intensive course undertook with a number of weeks. It is also granted by the UCLES, like CELTA.

Which one should I take?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. It depends on what you want to do and what you require for your course. Do you want an intensive course that will take a few weeks of studying full-time? Consider a CELTA course. If you need more flexibility around a job or other aspects of your life, consider a TEFL or TESOL course. All courses will give you the high qualifications and training needed to be a good English teacher and a highly accredited course like the ones provided by TEFL Org UK will put you in good standing with potential employers.

For more information on CELTA courses, visit the  Cambridge English website

If you would rather take a TEFL course, look at course options to become TEFL-qualified!

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