CELTA Part-Time Course – Quick Tips Before You Start

This time, I wanted to share some tips about the CELTA part-time course because it seems to be growing in popularity as more and more people know about the option.

Obviously, all CELTAs are difficult but the part-time course has, understandably a different feel compared to the full-time course. For this reason, there are many points to consider if you are thinking of taking the part-time course.

*NB: I have not taken a part-time CELTA but what I know about it is based on conversations with people who have done it, along with my own experience of part-time study for my Master’s course – more on this below!*

So, I’ve listed a couple of main points to think about that hopefully will help to clarify things for you to decide whether part-time is right and also to make the right choices as you go through with the part-time course as well.

CELTA Part-Time Course for those Returning to Study Or Straight Out of University

The first thing I would say is for those of you coming into part-time study after perhaps not studying for a while, or even coming off the back of a university degree but while working a job at the same time as taking the course.

Just remember that you will need to get into study mode at times that you would normally be relaxing. Now, I say this as someone who is doing a part-time masters on top of my teaching job. So, I’m working on an MSc at the moment and I’m in year three of three (and I cannot wait to finish, but that’s another story!).

What you have to remember is that, when you come home from work or your studies, then you’ve got to get into study mode again. The first thing, therefore, is to try to identify those times of the day that you think are going to be best for you to learn and study.

When I started my Master’s course, I really thought:

Oh, it’ll be fine. I’ll just do two hours every night in the evenings on the weekdays and then I won’t have to work on the weekends.

No. Really, it doesn’t happen like that often! For me, personally, I find it much easier to take a bit more time to relax during the week and then work almost all day on Saturday and maybe a day or half a day on Sunday.

Even though that you might be thinking “No way! That would take up all my weekend!”, doing this has made me much more productive, to the point that I get the work done faster. The other way, I was so tired and getting really stressed about it, that I found it really didn’t help me working in the evenings on workdays.

However, you might be different. You might want to do it before you go to work or before you do anything else in the day. That could work for you.

The key point to take away is for you to identify a schedule that’s going to work for you before you start the course.

One good test for this might to note how you get on with the preparation reading/notes you do before starting the CELTA part-time course as that will be similar, yet still new, information.

If the evening work for you, use that! If not, try a weekend – try different schedules in advance to help you later on.

Preparation Time for Your Part-time CELTA Course

It is also important to think about preparation time before starting the course. Now, it’s really good to give yourself time to get to know the basics: the syllabus, the fundamentals of language teaching and grammar. And also to read about how the assignments work.

Really you need some preparation time, but not too much! So, you want to have that knowledge to help you prepare and build that confidence to pass the course.

With this in mind, you really don’t want to just rush into the next available course.

Think about how much you already know and how much you think you will need to learn before you will feel comfortable teaching a group of learners English.

Maybe you’ll be starting your CELTA course with some teaching experience, or even better – language teaching experience. This might change things a little bit. But, just think, you want to give yourself enough time to absorb some information and prepare properly to reduce your concerns and worries while on the course.

[convertkit form=5012078]

Getting the Right Amount of Preparation Time for Your Part-time CELTA Course

Following on from the section above, choosing the course with the right start date for your CELTA course is critical.

Now, I’ve heard about students who tried to book onto a course and then a couple of weeks before the scheduled start date they had an email saying “Sorry, we can’t run the course as we don’t have enough students, you will have to wait another six months until it runs again”.

If you combine this with the fact that most part-time students can only do a CELTA course near to where they already live, it leaves them with few options.

And when you consider the fact that a part-time CELTA course takes usually 3 months to run, if yours gets delayed, then it could be another few months before the next cycle – they don’t come around that often!

However, on the flip side, you really don’t want to be for waiting too long, either. For example, I spoke to one lady who started preparing one year in advance and she found that she was ready to start a long time before it came!

Waiting too long can actually add to the anxiety and the stress in the buildup and you might end up overloading yourself with information.

To that end, you don’t really want to take on too much information beforehand because you’ll get the information on the course and it’s very hard to retain this information in a valuable way if you’re not using it and applying it.

In short, give yourself enough preparation time to learn about the dynamics and elements of the course, but don’t give yourself too much time as you might reach saturation point and start to lose interest/momentum long before you start your part-time course!

CELTA Part-Time Course

Logistics of Your Chosen CELTA Centre for the Part-Time Course

Next point then, would be also to think about location. Obviously, I’m sure you’ve thought about location in terms of choosing the best CELTA centre for you.

However, what I mean here is the logistics of how far you will have to travel at certain times of the week and perhaps in the evening or on weekends.

For example:

  • Do you know when you have to do your observed teaching practise – is it mid-week on an evening?
  • How far do you have to go each time?
  • How much stress is that return journey going to add to your day or your routine?
  • How far do you have to travel on a regular basis for the course?
  • Is your part-time CELTA in a place that is going to be an easy place for you to get to?

Now, I’m sure you’ve thought about some these points, but on top of all the other things, all the workload and all these other aspects, a commute is really not something you want to add on top!

In summary, although some of you are tied because there aren’t many CELTA centres near where you live/work, remember that the travel aspect can really add another level of intensity to the course.

One Quick Point Before Wrapping Up

Although this won’t work for everyone, I do know some people who have used up much of their annual leave to take the CELTA course. In fact, I have done an interview with a CELTA student from India who did this.

That way, he managed to avoid some of the issues above and do a full-time course. So, perhaps that could work as an alternative for your.

One other thing might be to take strategic annual leave to allow yourself the time to do the work on the course, giving your more breathing room for those few months.


Hopefully those tips have helped you to think about different aspects of the part-time course. I’m sure the CELTA part-time course will be both beneficial enjoyable for you, whichever way you do it. Have fun with it!

Leave me any questions about part-time study or about whatever you want in the comments, on the blog post or:

@Stephenbeale on Twitter or stephen@celtahelper.com

Stephen Beale

After taking the CELTA back in 2007, I have since gained over 11 years' experience of teaching English in various countries. I have also worked in EAP for several years and like sharing what I've learnt along the way here.

Recent Posts