TEFL VS CELTA – Understanding Them to Meet Your Needs

Often for the non-native speakers it becomes a challenge to understand the basic yet necessary difference between TEFL and CELTA and pursue one for the career growth. Let’s try to explain a concrete difference between the two by relating to your existing education qualification, experience and mode of learning.

Even though these two acronyms TEFL and CELTA are the ways of teaching practices that is to say aiding educators to reach and approach the globally diversified classroom needs, slight area of difference makes the aspiring ones realise how favourable one trained teaching practice would be for them.

The Acronyms

  • TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (also known as the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

The Similarities

  • Both TEFL and CELTA are teacher training practices.
  • They are certificate for trainers or educators to enhance and discipline their teaching career at the global level.
  • Both TEFL and CELTA can together or individually are viewed as licenses to teach abroad for the native and non-native speakers.

The Differences

Well, the area of differences as identified is valid to make any individual realise why they should pursue it and why they shouldn’t? To start off, a sub-divisional pattern is wiser to understand the individual distinction better.

1st Reputation

  • CELTA and TEFL are actually TEFL programs, but are meant to refer different target audience, area of specification and educational approach for the speakers.
  • Now, with CELTA receiving worldwide recognition as the highest degree of TEFL program remains a few steps ahead of TEFL certification.
  • TEFL is also popular and has been widely accepted across the global, especially in states of UAE, Thailand, and Japan, US, Malaysia, China and many more. In fact it is mandatory to have the TEFL degree in such countries for trainers and teachers willing to have a career in teaching.

2nd Strict and Intense Curriculum


  • When talking about strictness, CELTA has maintained a strict record of getting people admitted in the course. Sponsored by the most prestigious Cambridge University, CELTA has become the brand for many highly skilled native English speakers.
  • Automatically, the level of strictness can be understood after scanning through the course content and duration to attain it. The quality of content is something to be valued and paid for in CELTA.
  • As a result, students or aspirants need to devote their full-time over the month long course. The calculation makes it six hour days of investment followed by a heavy load of homework which includes practice session with lesson plan and four written assignments.
  • Even though CELTA has a part-time course to offer, the amount of intensity and strictness covering all the coursework can be a burden. In short, a fulltime commitment or devotion towards the CELTA program is must and one need to compromise with their other daily chores.


  • TEFL is popular because of its flexibility. The intensity and level of strictness isn’t much compared to CELTA, however, amount of seriousness is required from individual.
  • Moreover, one need to do some amount of research other than what the course has to offer. This is to stay ahead in the professional market and definitely leave an impression upon the recruiters.
  • Therefore, since an array of schools or training institute offers TEFL, it is always preferred to understand the authenticity of the course by knowing that the course is accredited.
  • Again, the best practice is aspirants can finish at least some parts by seeking the online mode of learning. This would save a lot of their time as they can access the learning management system to complete the tasks over the weekends.

3rd Course Duration


  • The 120 hour full-time CELTA course would require real life classroom practice teaching sessions for ESL learners. Even the part time courses would have the compulsion to be completed within a four weeks to a maximum of three months’ time.


  • With time becoming a constraint for many nowadays TEFL courses offer dynamic scope for teachers to upgrade and train themselves. The course intensity and length vary greatly.
  • The courses can be short as one intensive weekend course. Again it can be more of about 120 hours of a class time. The same can go higher upto a maximum of 360-duration and need months to complete.

4th Knowledge


  • Above all, one needs to scale high in the linguistic appropriateness. Thus they should have a great academic record.
  • Willing participants need to have a strong grip in English; particularly they must have impeccable grammar skills, flawless with the concepts as well.
  • At times you may also need to work on the supplementary activities along the CELTA course to meet the intensity.


  • Compared to CELTA, TEFL would require minimal understanding of the language. The level can be similar or equivalent to that of an intermediate level, certain not that of an advanced one as in CELTA.
  • This is best for the non-native speakers, whereas CELTA shows an inclination towards the native speakers. The reason being the level of fluency attained while pronouncing English in daily lives differs that from the non-native speakers.

5th Expenses 


  • Fee structure or cost is often the key deciding factor for aspirants for pursing a selective course and not initiate for CELTA. This is because the amounts of expenses are higher than TEFL courses.
  • Going by numbers, the figures can look like $1500 or $1900, which is four times than of TEFL courses. Then again, cracking and completing the CELTA course is tough even after you have taken quite a number of attempts.


  • As already been shared, TEFL is affordable, inexpensive, with the cost getting reduced to a little of $300.
  • However only a few are as expensive as CELTA but majority doesn’t, making it financially a good investment option.

6th Valued


  • If you are willing to work for the adults then CELTA is designed to cater that needs.
  • It will also want the learners to attend regular classes within the school premises.
  • It will also require you to do hold high school diploma with an age of 18.


  • TEFL is designed to explicitly cater to the needs of young children or learners.

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