English Teacher Article CELTA vs Online TESOL and TEFL courses

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We have had many people asking in our forum whether online teaching courses are worth the same as courses like the CELTA or the Trinity CertTESOL.  I decided to do a simple test and went through a lot of job adverts on some of the major sites and looked at the qualifications being asked for and the answer is crystal clear- they are clearly not worth as much as the CELTA and Trinity College qualifications.

Firstly, I could find no advert that expressed a preference for online qualifications over the CELTA and Trinity TESOL; this may seem foolish to say, but it shows that the CELTA and Trinity Cert are still the benchmarks.  I  could also find no cases where these qualifications were matched alongside any online qualification.

A small number of places stated that they would not consider any teaching qualification acquired online. While these numbers were very small, it does mean that in some quarters, such qualifications carry negative connotations for employers. 

However, many simply list the qualifications that they are interested in, and here the CELTA and Trinity clearly win; the person with one of these qualifications is only excluded from jobs requiring higher qualifications like MAs or  the DELTA.  When they ask for 'internationally recognised' certificates, or name specific recognition bodies, this too excludes many online certificates.

When employers ask for the CELTA, Trinity TESOL or equivalent, things start to become more subjective, though I still doubt whether many online certificates will be regarded as equivalent. There are other month-long intensive training courses with classroom teaching practice that are the courses I think would be more likely to be considered, along with PGCE and other teaching degrees. Much of this language actually seems calculated to give them plenty of leeway in throwing applications in the bin.

There are plenty of jobs  that don't require any teaching qualifications and a lot where the wording would not exclude online certification.  An online certificate doesn't mean you won't find work, but it does mean that the pool of jobs you can apply for is considerably smaller, and at the cheaper end of a business awash with dodgy outfits.   Many employers won't consider you and many stack the odds against you.  None do this for holders of the CELTA or Trinity.

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3 Comments

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Matt Narciso | ESL Teacher Online

Teaching English to speakers of other languages can be a highly rewarding career, offering you the chance to live and work abroad. You will need an internationally recognised teaching qualification, and CELTA — highly regarded throughout the world — gives you the skills you need and will make it easier to get a teaching job anywhere.

i have completed tefl - a 2week intensive course, not online but through a certified teaching college. i am also a qualified teacher. do you think i will have difficulty finding a job teaching english in asia?

It depends on which course you have done. Some places will accept it, but others will be looking for more than a two-week course.

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