CELTA snob

"Someone asked me if I had done CELTA in the past. I told them that I went the TEFL route. She just gave me a pitiful look and carried on drinking." - Jefferson

A CELTA course is a "reputable" TEFL course that focuses on teaching adults. It has one of the best reputations in the TEFL industry which may be rightfully so, but it is not immune to lies and marketing hype. It's reputation is similar to that of Ivy league schools as far as universities go. Having such a reputation breeds some snobbery like Ivy schools can.

There seems to be a number of "type A" types and snobs that take the course or is it that the course itself breeds snobbery?

As good as it may be it's not all that it seems and it isn't a ticket to teach English anywhere. Some of its reputation may be deserved, but some people take it too far. It may be the best TEFL course in terms of reputation. But a CELTA course like some of the other TEFL courses is just a short term course that lasts 4 weeks or so. CELTA courses aren't a VIP card to teach English everywhere and at every school.

"The stories of "I'm fresh off the plane and look I can speak English and I've got a CELTA, so why won't anyone give me work" are legion round here."Oommph's comment in regards to teaching in Europe.

Where it fails

As good as it may be it won't replace other qualifications such as a degree, a teaching license, a master's degree or experience. Here are a few examples.

To teach English in a public school in Taiwan, Dubai and UAE you need to be a certified teacher. That is you need to have a license to teach. A CELTA course won't cut it. A CELTA also won't replace a normal degree neither. Most countries require an ESL teacher to have a degree. A CELTA won't replace one.

To teach in most international schools you need to be a licensed teacher. A CELTA won't help you there. To teach English in universities in Taiwan or Japan you usually need a master's degree. A CELTA won't help you there as well. The "A" in CELTA also stands for "Adults". If you want to teach English to children is that going to be necessary or especially helpful? Some have said not so much, but apparently there is a young learners extension to the course.

Aside from some of the above most schools will prefer experience (especially in-country) to certificates or degrees. So let's say that "Joe" is in Taiwan and looking for a new job. He has experience teaching, but no certificate. The other applicant "Sally" has no experience teaching, but has a CELTA certificate. Well, employers have preferences, but the majority of schools will pick "Joe" over "Sally".

And believe it or not a lot of schools out there are not going to know the difference between a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA course. I am not here to discount the course I am just here to help stop the snobbery and offer some real world info.

CELTA snob

The snobbery gets pretty dogmatic as you can see in the pics. I think it's unfortunate that people (newcomers) believe and trust these opinions as if it's a fact. "The better jobs require a master's degree," says one. I'd say that some of the best jobs require a master's degree, but they make up a pretty small percentage of the ESL teaching job pool. I'd say less than 5% in Asia.

Most people thinking about teaching English abroad for a year or so will never have the chance to teach in these schools.

"The CELTA is an incredible qualification and gives us the license to drive; but with the benefit of hindsight, I can honestly say nothing prepares us more for the challenges of being a full-time teacher than the everyday experiences we have in school." - Lewis

License to drive?

Is that expensive CELTA going to make you more money?

In some situations a CELTA or most any TEFL course may get you a higher salary. Based on my experience it can be a bargaining point and it depends on the school, but it's not usually going to make much of a difference or be a guarantee.

And schools, at least many of the ones that I have interviewed at and seen in Asia are normally going to choose the teacher with experience (especially in country) versus a teacher without who has a certificate.

The snobs suggest that all other courses are totally inferior to a CELTA. Which I think is nonsense. Yes there are courses out there that may not be up to par or worth the money they sell them for. There are some courses out there that also lie or stretch the truth and trick consumers into buying. And in that post you'll see that CELTA is not immune to the marketing hype used by many TEFL providers.

"If you do have a certificate in TEFL or CELTA, it will only make you slightly more marketable. Correspondingly, you will only be paid slightly more if you are TEFL certified - and I mean very slightly." - Baluda (CELTA certified), referring to teaching in Korea

In-class training

This is considered the paramount of TEFL training. CELTA normally offers 6 hours of in-class training. This is good as it's a good way to get some feedback on your teaching from someone - possibly a certified CELTA snob, lol. Feedback is good, but it's only 6 hours. Do you think you'll be set for life as a teacher after that?

I don't think so, but the snobs seem to think so. A TEFL or CELTA course is just a start for most, it's not an end.

Is CELTA worth it?

I am sure that you will find many people who will say yes. But I am going to add this:

  1. If you are not in it for the long term and only teach abroad for a few years then I'd say no.
  2. If you aren't prepared to shell out a bunch of cash (as much as $2000) then I'd say no.
  3. If studying grammar rules and definitions sounds like fun and you want the most "reputable" course then I'd say yes. If it doesn't then remember if you fail you get nothing.
"The truth is, much as no-one wants to admit it, that having that first qualification didn’t make me a professional teacher. Experience did. And I don’t mean the “experience” I got doing 7 whole hours of observed teaching practice." - Nicola Prentis Trinity TESOL certified... Another "reputable" course

If you are a CELTA snob you may also be a...

Are you a grammar snob?

These are the folks who are often like the above who criticize people online for making grammar mistakes. Here is an interesting post called 3 reasons to stop being a grammar snob and another on why taking a grammar heavy TEFL course is usually pointless.


#11 Amber 2017-03-29
I recently passed my CELTA with a Pass B and I fully agree with SwissBrit, it is not for the faint-hearted. That being said, it wasn't all about just studying "grammar rules and definitions", I enjoyed learning classroom management techniques and skills, and the differences in learner styles and teaching approaches. Also, 4 weeks is the intense full-time course, the less intense ones are 8-12 weeks.

TEFL doesn't mean that a teacher is inferior, but from what I know there's less standardization in TEFL - there are good TEFL courses and there are also crappy TEFL courses. That's probably the reason for some of the discrimination - with CELTA you know that it's definitely at a certain standard.

Not all CELTA grads are snobs, the same way not all TEFL grads are "inferior". The tone of the writing here is very scornful, which to me is almost as bad as snobbishness, though I don't know if that was intended.
#10 Ian 2016-10-23
Quoting SwissBrit:
I used to think like this...

Thanks for your comment. I don't think that all people who take it are snobs. I just think there are some "educated" snobs out there.

I have heard that CELTA is more commonly requested in Europe, but maybe it depends on where in Europe and maybe the school. As you just mentioned you didn't need it in Italy and have heard that online ones are often accepted in Spain.
#9 SwissBrit 2016-10-19
I used to think like this. I was a TEFL teacher for 5 years in Italy and I never needed a CELTA and I always scoffed at the idea and thought it was pointless. I had a reputation as a good teacher and student results show that. Why should I waste my money on something I thought was pointless?

However, I moved to Switzerland with my girlfriend and all schools require at least CELTA. So, I went back to the UK and did it. Yeah, it's only 4 weeks..but 4 weeks of intense hell! Lesson planning, assignments, and teaching have to be done to the Cambridge standard.
I don't regret it and certainly don't see myself as a snob. The course is so intense that the people you do it with become friends for life. I fully recommend it as it gives you other skills which are transferable.
#8 Jake 2016-08-21
Just found this thread:
#7 Ian 2015-08-23
Quoting David:
You don't need a Master's degree to teach in Taiwan or Japan, except, perhaps, in some university settings.

I am aware of that since I taught there before. Perhaps you should look a little closer next time. Here's a quote from above:
"To teach English in universities in Taiwan or Japan you usually need a master's degree."
#6 David 2015-08-21
You don't need a Master's degree to teach in Taiwan or Japan, except, perhaps, in some university settings.
#5 Kaeko 2015-01-14
While I am considering a CELTA course, I would never use it to lord over anyone else. I find that people in University do that as well... They ask for your major and scoff at you if it is any discipline other than a science or math. Credentials don't make you a better person!
#4 nana 2014-06-03
please how long does thıs course takes
#3 Craig 2014-01-28
As CELTA is a UK qualification it makes sense to look in terms of the British system if you want to 'rank' qualifications, the higher the number the more difficult the level (a PhD is level 8 and while GCSEs are levels 1 & 2).

DELTA, MAs, postgrad diplomas and postgrad certificates are all at level 7
CELTA is at level 5 (equivalent to a 1st/2nd year university course)

A CELTA is standardized unlike many TEFL courses so schools may prefer them for this. But basically a CELTA isn't that great and a degree beats it
#2 Hugh 2013-06-10
CELTA? Does anyone even use that shite anymore? My British CELTA instructor told me that we would all have to learn to accept the "bastardization" of the English language now common in the world today. I mean who invented the language? I raised my hand and asked him if he was referring to Imperialism? Talk about a sour look! Haha! The sun has set already.

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