Where to Take the CELTA Course: A Common Problem!
Hey there once more!
This time we’re going to look at a question I hear from a lot of people and find a bit surprising. But after doing some research it’s been interesting to see that there are definitely some points to consider about this question….
The question is this:
- Where is the best place to take the CELTA, and does it matter?
- Is there any difference in where I take it?
Before you stop and say “Well, no there isn’t any difference, because all CELTA centres are equal, they all give you a CELTA certificate with the Cambridge stamp on it” (and I agree, that should be the case), there are some things to consider beyond that.
Now I’ve noticed that this is particularly a concern for non-native English speakers, especially those who are not based in an English-speaking country. They keep asking me if it would it be better to take CELTA in an English-speaking country like the UK, or Australia, or in their own countries.
Let’s get to the bottom of this common CELTA question!
Where to Take the CELTA Course: The Employer Perspective.
There is a lot of gossip and and rumours about the best place to take the CELTA course, but there are some concrete points to consider..
First of all, let’s look at this question by focusing on potential employers:
A decent employer should only ask to see an official Cambridge CELTA certificate. No more, no less.
Now, if they want to see a CELTA certificate from the UK, or a country where English is the first language, you should probably ask yourself the following question:
- Do you really want to work for these people if they believe there is a major difference between CELTA centres that are all accredited by the same organisation?
- Can you be sure they really understand what the CELTA is all about?
The answer to both questions is ‘probably not’. Even worse, it suggests that they have a level of bias that neither yourself nor anyone who works for them will overcome (a bad sign!).
One possible idea is to ask your prospective employers, before you take the course, if they believe there is a difference in taking a CELTA in an English speaking country or elsewhere.
Imagine the people you are planning to work for – possibly they are the only EFL employer in your area – say that they prefer teachers with a CELTA from an English-speaking country. This can help with your decision on where to take the course – and on whether you want to work for ignorant people!
Hopefully doing this wouldn’t change your decisions, because employers should just accept a Cambridge CELTA certificate from any accredited centre. But you can certainly ask any schools you would like to work for before you apply.
Which Country has the Best CELTA Courses?
Another point to consider is the quality of the CELTA course.
From researching online, you will find that certain CELTA centres have a better reputation than others.
Now this is fairly common perception, but bear in mind that it’s hard for a CELTA centre to get accredited by Cambridge, but some have better reputations than others.
For example, I’ve heard a lot of positive things about IH London, and I’ve actually got an unlisted YouTube video (just for people like you!) about finding genuine reviews for your CELTA courses, to help you determine which are the best!
Of course, the IH London course runs in one of the most expensive cities in the world, so it’s not an ideal place for a CELTA for many people.
That said, there are lots of CELTA centres out there, and I’m sure you can find a good one based on reviews from people who’ve been to the place you’re interested in. But there can be some variation in reviews, so if you aren’t too worried about the employment perspective, have a look at the them.
Are Some CELTA Courses Easier than Others?
Although I’ve heard some people say this, I’m not sure whether to believe it.
For example, I have been told that certain CELTA centres in Prague offer easier courses than in other places. The tutors are less harsh, a bit more lenient, I was told.
However, I’m not sure how much more lenient they can be, because they have to follow such strict guidelines from the CELTA assessment guidelines. Either way, these are points things to consider in terms of the quality of the course.
Where Can You Find a CELTA Course with Fewer Students?
Another point I should add here is that some CELTA centres routinely have smaller courses, maybe at certain times of the year.
So, if you want to find out, email them, and ask:
How many people are you expecting for this course?
When I did my CELTA course, there were about 12 people, that was fine, I think the maximum is maybe 18 and that Cambridge specify a maximum ratio of tutors to trainees, I’m not sure. Again, I’m not a CELTA tutor, so I’d have to double check that!
Benefits of Taking a CELTA Course with Fewer Students
When I did my CELTA course, there were about 12 people, which was fine. I’ve heard people doing a CELTA course with 6 people, which to me sounds really nice because it’s a small, close-knit group, it’s not too intense, and the tutors will have more time for you.
So, definitely consider the size of the CELTA course as a factor in where to take it, and you can ask lots of questions. I’ve got another article about essential questions you can ask to CELTA courses before you start (make sure you get the free download, too!).
Considering Your English Level When Deciding on Where to Take the CELTA Course
One final point, especially for non-native speakers, is your own English level and experience. To get on the course, of course you need a minimum level of English, and there are certain CELTA course requirements that everyone must meet.
However, if you’re not too confident in speaking, then going to an English speaking country to take the course could obviously be beneficial to you during the course.
So what do I mean? Perhaps you could go to London for example, and you are there the whole time you’re taking the course. Outside of the course, you’re just speaking English. If you’re not the most confident speaker, that should help you because you’re going to be interacting with people all the time, and you will be 110% in CELTA and English mode. So that should certainly benefit you.
In terms of your future career progression this would also look more beneficial than if you stay in your own country to do the CELTA. This is your own decision, but obviously, there’s going to be an added cost of flying and living abroad if you’re not based in, for example, the UK.
The Language your students will speak on your CELTA Course – Better Experience?
One other thing to consider is that if CELTA centres in your country only generally have students from your country, then your teaching practice will almost certainly only be with people who speak one language.
So let’s say that you’re in the Middle East, and most of the students you will be teaching speak the same language as you. Now clearly, many of you will go on to teach people who speak your own language, if you’re a non-native speaker. But, by staying in your country, you may not get the chance to teach speakers of other, different languages.
However, if you go to an English-speaking country like the UK, or Australia, then the chances are that you’re going to have a much more varied and diverse group of learners in your teaching practice sessions.
This means a couple of things.
- First, it shows that you can teach anyone, and that you’re certainly not relying on using your own language in the language classroom with students who speak that language (you wouldn’t get through the CELTA if you did that anyway!).
- Second, it also shows that then you have an understanding of the problems of learners who speak other languages as well. Many teachers often like to rely on their knowledge of their own or the students’ language, or a second language, to help them get through difficult parts of lessons. I don’t suggest you do this
The problem here of course is that, if you try to speak your language, and you’ve also got a wide and eclectic mix of languages among your students, then are being unfair to those who don’t understand you.
So that might be a positive for you as well, if you study the CELTA in a country where your own language is not spoken. I hope that was clear!
Where can I get the Best Price?
The final, obvious, question is price. You can shop around for a cheaper priced course, because they are not all priced the same. I’ve recently written an article on the cost of CELTA courses, so please check that out. Basically the cheapest courses I found were in Prague and Thailand.
Since writing that article, I’ve also been told about cheap CELTA courses in Egypt, which are only slightly more expensive but very close to that price as well.
So, you can shop around to find a cheaper priced course, but, again, people will always ask if the cost of the course affects the quality.
Who knows, maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t, that’s for you to research! All I will say, and this may sound repetitive, if it’s an accredited CELTA centre, you can’t go far wrong.
In summary, when considering where to take the CELTA course, think about these points:
- Think about your future employment, get in touch with potential employers if you need to.
- Ask yourself if it would be better for your personal development to take the course abroad.
- Will doing this be better for your own English level as well, to help you in the future with English, and be more confident?
- Are there better quality courses out there if you check around and look at reviews?
- Think about the size of the courses, or the number of trainees that will be on yours.
- Can you find a cheaper course that might be beneficial for you in terms of saving some money?
So there’s a lot to think about there!
So I hope that was helpful, and if you have any questions please leave a comment below.