Where is the best CELTA course for YOU?
Trying to find the best CELTA course for your needs can be quite hard. This is because there is a lot of information online about CELTA course centres, but there are not many reviews.
Equally, there are many centres with different pricing, dates and course types (full-time, part-time or online).
So, I have tried to make the process of choosing the best CELTA course for you a bit easier.
Step-by-step Guide to Choosing the Best CELTA Course
As there are many factors to consider, I’ve laid out all the main points to think about when comparing different CELTA courses and centres.
I strongly recommend following these in order (and there’s a little bonus available below to top it off!)
If you have already applied for your CELTA course, go straight down to points 6-8 because these will still help you.
Before you have applied for your CELTA course
The first and perhaps most obvious consideration is where can you actually go to take your CELTA course? Now, this is something only you can answer but you will need to check where the accredited, or official, CELTA centres are.
There is a long list of them – many of which I have included on this site
2. Online or physical:
Further to the point above, you may decide to take an online course, but be warned; they are not 100% online. It is standard that you will receive the CELTA input sessions and lectures as online videos and materials, but you will need to go to an agreed teaching centre where your lessons can be recorded and sent to CELTA trainers.
They will then analyse the videos and provide you feedback online.
There are clearly pros and cons of doing the online CELTA or doing the standard CELTA course, but both involve actual classroom teaching.
Obviously, this only applies to those of you thinking of doing the CELTA course in a new city or area. If this is you, you should check if any help is available in finding accommodation because some CELTA centres offer this service.
I know some of the university centres provide assistance in finding accommodation, which is mainly because they have accommodation on-site. If you are looking at a smaller CELTA centre, this might be less likely.
I hear a lot of people comparing the price of CELTA courses; this seems pointless to me for several reasons.
Firstly, the most important criteria is that they are Cambridge certified – without this, they are not official and you should avoid them at all costs.
After that, the price may depend on the local currency but they will often be within a range of $1600-2000. This may seem a lot, but if you have to pay a $400 flight and accommodation on top to go somewhere far away, this could cancel out the price difference.
If you see cheaper CELTA courses in other countries, remember that there is very little difference to you in your current situation.
Far more important than price is the next point: reputation.
Perhaps one of the most important factors when deciding where to take your CELTA course is the reputation of the CELTA centre.
Nowadays, with the world of social media, it is relatively easy to find someone else who has done a CELTA course at a certain centre. This is where you need to put your search skills to good use!
I recommend starting with Facebook search because most online conversations about the CELTA course happen on Facebook.
One Facebook group which is particularly active is The CELTA Group, with over 15,000 members at the time of writing.
After you have applied for your CELTA course
6. Feel from the interview
This is not something concrete but all about how you felt during and after the interview. Specifically:
- did you feel that the trainers would be supportive?
- did the centre look like somewhere you would like to study as a student?
You should trust your instinct on this – if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
You can ask about the facilities at the CELTA course centre before you go by e-mail or phone, or you can look and/or ask during your interview.
You really want to ask about the following things:
- how many photocopiers and printers are available?
- will observed teaching lessons use whiteboards or interactive whiteboards?
- is it possible to use Powerpoints for lessons?
- can you borrow books from the resources available or do they have to stay at the centre?
8. Group size
You should try to find out the expected numbers for the CELTA course you are applying for. I suggest this because smaller groups are almost always better. Why? Because you can get more help and support from the trainers, which is a huge bonus on your CELTA course.
Compare CELTA courses on what matters to you
Looking at the points above, it’s probably best to give most importance to the things which you personally find important.
You have probably heard people say that the CELTA course is stressful; I certainly found it hard work! With that in mind, you probably want to avoid doing anything that could add to the stress for you. Again, the point is you prioritise what is right for you.
Starting a CELTA course in a place where you are not happy or supported is going to be a very hard thing to do. Consider all your options and make your decision to decide on the best CELTA course for you.
Useful Resources to Help You Find the Best CELTA Course
- The CELTA Group on Facebook: I am a member along with 15,000 others at the time of writing. It is a very active group and people are happy to help and offer suggestions and advice. This helpful CELTA group was set up by Martin Sketchley, an experienced EFL teacher who has worked for the British Council. As with all of these things, try to find the answers online first! You can also use this group to find people who have taken the CELTA course in the centre(s) you are considering.
- Twitter CELTA Course Search: Twitter is a great platform for conversations, as you probably know, and you can see people discussing their CELTA experiences quite openly. The link above will show a few football results, though, as there is a football club called Celta Vigo!
- Cambridge’s Official CELTA Centres list: First select the country (or use ‘All locations’ if you want more options) and the select ‘CELTA’ in the box below. This will show you the complete list of CELTA course centres around the world. Make sure the centre you are considering is here! If not, avoid it!
- CELTA Course Pre-interview Task Guide: how difficult is it?: My article to explain the different aspects of the CELTA pre-interview task and help you prepare for it and complete it. It is only to see if you are willing to learn, not to see if you know everything before you start!