I am currently in the process of doing my 150 hour online TEFL course, which I think is quite good. However I have come across a 4-week intensive CELTA course in Grananda, Spain, where I am going to move to in January 2020. CELTA is very expensive, but it offers in-class experience, a job/teaching network in Granada, and a very recognised certificate. But I also don’t want to buy into a brand if I can get just as good qualification here at home (Mum is also an experienced teacher and can help me a lot with great advice).
Does CELTA actually substantially increase your chances of employment in Spain? Is it worth the money?
20 December, 2019 at 6:34
Total posts: 590
There are two main differences between doing a CELTA or an online course.
1. Practical experience
With teaching, where you learn the most is by actually practising it, getting feedback on your practice and applying that feedback as you practise further. CELTA gives you plenty of opportunity for this. An online course, by definition, doesn’t. I always use the analogy of hairdressing. If you wanted to be a hairdresser, would you feel confident starting your first day in a job if you’d trained online and never been near someone’s hair? I know it’s a bit different, because a bad lesson doesn’t have such a long lasting effect as a botched haircut, but you see the point!
Now, having said that, you can of course get this practical experience on the job, and even if you take a CELTA, it’s in your first job, when you’re teaching several classes a day, that you really start to learn fast. Things even out very quickly once you start working. For this reason, although I would definitely recommend it, having that practical experience on your training course is not the be all and end all. And this is where questions like your budget come in. A CELTA may not be an option because of the cost compared to an online course. Or it may not be practical in terms of location, etc. So you have to factor these things in of course. And there are some very good online courses out there, which will give you a very solid foundation. (By the way there are also some good CELTA “equivalents” which give you the classoom experience but not the name, and are often cheaper).
But… CELTA (or an equivalent classroom based course) does increase your chances of employment, especially for your first job. Some employers will only accept applicants who have done a classroom based course. There are no two ways around this. That’s not to say that you won’t find a job with an online qualification, you will just be more limited. As you continue, this becomes less apparent – when you have one or two years of experience, employers start to focus more on that and less on which course you took, but when you’re looking for your first job, the qualification is all they have to go on.
There are thousands and thousands of teachers working successfully with online qualifications, many of whom are more effective teachers than their colleagues with CELTAs. As I said, once you start working, it all evens out very quickly.
So it’s not so much about the specific CELTA brand. It’s more about the classroom experience and increased employability as a result.