"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.
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
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:
- If you are not in it for the long term and only teach abroad for a few years then I'd say no.
- If you aren't prepared to shell out a bunch of cash (as much as $2000) then I'd say no.
- 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.
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.