TEFL vs. CELTA (Meaning, Differences, Which is better)


Teaching English overseas, especially in countries with non-English local dialects, has been the most relied form of work for English speakers from English-speaking countries.

However, deciding on a program to get certified for this profession could make it feel like you are drowning in a veritable alphabet soup of acronyms: TEFL, CELTA, TESL, TOEFL AND TESOL. In this context, we will be looking at TEFL vs. CELTA.

How do you tell them apart and, more importantly, which one is best for your career?

TEFL vs. CELTA: Overview

What is TEFL? 

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This is perhaps the most popular acronym and one you most likely have come across one way or another; that’s because TEFL does not refer to a particular certificate but rather the entire industry.

TEFL certificates are most commonly held by teachers living and teaching abroad due to the low cost, ease and speed of qualification – coupled with top-notch first-class instruction.

Applicants must be at least 16 years old and fluent in English to be accepted into a TEFL program.

What is CELTA? 

CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. The Cambridge CELTA is a particular kind of TEFL certificate. 

It is standardized, and programs are taken in centres everywhere in the world. It is an exceedingly extensive program, lasting 4 to 5 weeks, full-time (often residential), and fees can cost thousands.

Also, applicants must also be over the age of 20 and have formal education qualifications to apply for a CELTA program.

TEFL vs. CELTA: Differences in Duration

CELTA calls for candidates to finish 120 hours of study time and 6 hours of student coaching with actual ESL (English as a Second Language) learners.

Most CELTA programs are done on a full-time period and take four weeks to finish; however, a few CELTA schools provide part-time CELTA certification, which may be finished within a space of 3 months.

There is a wide range of programs that TEFL offers: some can be completed within a weekend, or approximately 20 hours of study time and others can last as long as a month or more, taking up study time of 300 hours.

No matter how long it takes you to earn your TEFL or CELTA certificate, keep in mind that a worthwhile program requires at least 100 hours of study (in person or online) and six hours of coaching.

Read this: ESOL vs. ESL (Meaning, Similarities, Differences, Learning Objectives)


Most CELTA programs require full-time enrollment, which means 6 hours of study and class time every day, plus four written assignments and lesson planning for your practicum.

Taking a month-long CELTA course can be taxing, as it involves a lot of commitment and makes it tough to accomplish other things, including sleep.

Taking a CELTA course part-time might be similarly demanding, as the curriculum assumes that all participants are fluent in English grammatical concepts.

You may have to work on a supplementary level while taking up CELTA courses if you don’t.

Some TEFL programs are completed partially online, while physical lessons are only held on weekends, allowing participants to work while completing the program.

Some programs in TEFL does not require that participants finish their practicum with real learners of English. It could be a problem for those who choose such programs, as working with real students is very important in teaching.

It is often a requirement from prospective employers who insist that teaching with real students is a valid practicum.

Which is Better Between TEFL vs. CELTA?

While it is tough to tell which is the better between TEFL vs CELTA, it would be worthy to state that any institution that offers courses in CELTA must conform with the requirements recommended by Cambridge English.

Meaning CELTA may sometimes be regulated to have a better standard than some TEFL programs.

You may notice that CELTA teacher trainers are licensed teachers from Cambridge, which guarantees quality, the quality in their teaching is mainly preferred to that of TEFL teacher trainers.

For such reasons, a better number of renowned linguistics institutions may prefer the CELTA as a particular requirement to teach with them. Often, a few institutions would possibly even provide better payment to teachers with CELTA certificates. 

Also, when deciding between TEFL and CELTA, keep in mind that a CELTA program allows you to practice teaching actual English language learners, giving you valuable teaching experience.

At the same time, before deciding on either TEFL vs CELTA, never forget to check each of TEFL/CELTA’s teaching experiences and how it fits into your career choice.


We’ve noticed that more than ever before, aspiring English teachers are studying to ensure that they invest in the right program.

This is certainly an amazing thing; however, don’t be overwhelmed by selecting the different programs on offer.

Remember that with a little research, you may get the ideal qualification for you and avoid wasting money on a program with no potential.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

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