What is CELTA?

CELTA (Certificate for English Language Teaching to Adults) is issued by the University of Cambridge ESOL, part of Cambridge Assessments, which is a department of the University of Cambridge. The certificate can be obtained after completing a 4 week full-time course or an equivalent period part time. The CELTA is a practically oriented short course which is widely recognised overseas. It teaches important practical skills but is not sufficient on its own to gain a CELTA holder employment as an ESL teacher in the ACT. Some ELICOS colleges require this qualification. The CELTA is accepted as a component in some university TESOL certificate, diploma and masters courses. In Australia, the CELTA course is usually full fee-paying.

Further information: http://www.cambridgeesol.org/teaching/celta.htm”>Cambridge ESOL

What qualifications do I need to teach overseas?

Qualifications required vary according to institution. A university degree is usually required. In many countries a degree plus a TESOL qualification such as the CELTA or other TESOL certificate opens up avenues of employment in private colleges.

Requirements to gain employment in government schools and universities are becoming more stringent. In some countries, such institutions now require qualifications similar to those needed for ACT government schools. People who want to make a career in TESOL and aspire to senior, better paid roles such as Director of Studies may need to consider undertaking relevant masters’ qualifications such as an M. TESOL. Many countries will only provide a relevant work visa to applicants who have a university degree. Check international websites for ESL teachers (eg. Dave’s ESL Café) to see what requirements apply in countries which interest you.

What should I consider before choosing a TESOL course?

No single course will qualify you to teach in all the scenarios described above so you need to think about the types of work situations which most interest you before choosing a course. These are some matters which you need to consider:

  • Where do you want to teach? In Australia or overseas?
  • Who do you want to teach? Young people (primary, secondary, tertiary)? Adults? Migrants? Refugees?
  • Do you want to teach in a government school, an independent school, an IEC (Intensive English Centre), a private college aimed at foreign students (ELICOS), at TAFE, university or elsewhere?
  • Do you want to study a course which is covered by HECS or a full fee paying course?
  • How do you want to study? Full time? Part-time? By distance education?
  • Are you considering TESOL as a career or are you looking for a way to combine work and overseas travel for a year or two?
  • Do you want your TESOL course to be counted toward a higher degree eg Master of TESOL or Master of Education?
  • If you have a course or institution in mind, what is the quality of the course and institution you are considering?
  • How well regarded and recognised is the course and institution in Australia and/or overseas?
  • Does the training institution assist new teachers to find employment?

It is important to note that there is no accrediting body with the role of granting worldwide official recognition to any teaching certificate or diploma. The information on this website is particularly relevant to readers from WA or those intending to work in WA. The following table gives an overview of minimum qualifications usually required for work in various contexts for teachers who are not already teaching in a government school.

NB. The TESOL field involves many acronyms. See the Glossary for an explanation of some of these terms. To gain an overview of the field, look at some of the websites referred to in the Glossary.

Which universities teach TESOL in WA?

TESOL can be studied as part of an undergraduate degree in education. Contact Education faculties at universities for more details:

Edith Cowan University: offers four types of TESOL degrees: Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary: TESOL minor); Graduate Certificate of Education (TESOL); Master of Applied LinguisticsMaster of Education (TESOL)

University of Western Australia

Curtin University

University of Canberra

The majority of enquirers to this site are graduates who are considering training in TESOL so this information is directed at them.

Which course is the best?

We are not able to recommend any particular course or institution but suggest that initial enquiries be made to universities which teach TESOL.

For information on what qualifications and experience are required to teach in accredited ELT centres and requirements for teaching the AMEP, please check the website of the National English Language Teaching Accreditation Scheme Limited (NEAS): http://www.neas.org.au/teachers/.

What other TESOL training organisations are there?

Teach International offers a Certificate III & IV in TESOL as well as a foundation course

The Certificate IV in TESOL is also offered by some interstate TAFE colleges by distance education. Please ask providers of this course for further information. (Type “Certificate IV TESOL” into the search field in your search engine.)

Private organisations (and some universities) provide training in the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). These organisations may be found on the CELTA website: http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/teaching-awards/celta.html or by typing “CELTA” into your search engine.

For more information on CELTA providers click on the institution below:

Curtin university

Phoenix Academy

Milner International College

Do you want to teach English to speakers of other languages?

Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) can be a very satisfying profession. As a teacher you may help refugees overcome great hardship to make new lives in Australia. You may teach migrant children who are eager to learn and whose parents are strongly committed to education. You may assist adult migrants to participate more fully in Australian life through newly acquired English skills. You may teach young adult travellers attending short intensive English courses in Australia and enjoy stimulating cultural exchange with people from many countries. A recognised TESOL qualification can provide a ticket to work throughout the world.

WATESOL receives many enquiries from people who are thinking of undertaking TESOL training and who want to know the best courses for intending ESL (ESOL) teachers to undertake. We hope that the following introduction to the field provides a starting point for your further research. It can be time-consuming to obtain the information you need but detailed, up-to-date information is only available from training, employing and accrediting authorities.

What are the job prospects?

The TESOL field is rapidly expanding. With the growth of English as an international language, there is demand internationally for ESL teaching from primary school level upwards. In Australia, teachers are needed to teach migrants and refugees, and also international students. The demand for teachers in Australia fluctuates in line with migrant and refugee intakes, government funding for ESL teachers and with varying enrolments of international students. To assess current job prospects internationally, look at job boards at websites such as

Dave’s ESL Café at http://www.eslcafe.com

TEFL Professional Network at http://www.tefl.com

To gain an idea of job prospects in WA, look at job advertisements at sites such as http://www.adzuna.com.au/ or http://www.seek.com.au  or in the press.

How can I get a job in a government school?

Teaching in government schools in WA requires a Bachelor’s degree in education with relevant major or a Bachelor’s degree with relevant major plus a Diploma in Education. In addition to these qualifications, intending ESL teachers need a post-graduate TESOL certificate or diploma (if TESOL method was not part of the degree or Dip. Ed.)

I’m a native English speaker.  Will teaching ESL be easy?

Teaching English to speakers of other languages can be personally rewarding and intellectually stimulating but it cannot be described as “easy”. Contrary to popular belief, it rarely involves teaching ‘one-to-one’. You need to study linguistics in order to analyse language and understand it on many levels. (Linguistics is a subject which many TESOL students find to be quite challenging.) You need to be methodical and well organised so that your students can make steady progress through a planned programme. You also need to be empathetic, warm and spontaneous so that you can add fun into the classroom and capitalise on unplanned learning opportunities which arise. You must maintain enthusiasm while teaching a group of students the same topic many times. (It takes a long time to learn any language and repetition is required for all language learning.) You need be creative so that you can motivate students who are discouraged when they reach a language plateau or when worries from outside the classroom intrude. You are more likely to enjoy this work if you are have good people skills, like meeting people from different cultures and have a genuine interest in learning about and from them.

I speak English well but I’m not a native speaker.  Can I be an ESL teacher?

To undertake TESOL training in Australia you need to demonstrate a high level of competence in English on the IELTS or an equivalent scale. Many non-native speakers with excellent English competence and a good understanding of language teaching and learning have become successful ESOL teachers. However, you need to be aware that in some countries there are employers who have a bias towards native speakers of English.

It sounds interesting but I’m not sure if TESOL is right for me.

To find out more about the TESOL field in Australia, look at some of the websites referred to in this overview. You may be interested to attend some of ATESOL ACT’s workshops and seminars during the year. They will give you a feel for what is involved and you will have the opportunity to meet current ESL teachers.  You may want to become a volunteer ESOL tutor.

Find out more about the work in an international context by joining the job forum at Dave’s ESL Café at http://www.eslcafe.com

ACTA is the national profession body representing teachers of English to speakers of other languages in Australia.  ACTA has initiated and supported the development of a set of STANDARDS FOR TESOL PRACTIONERS in Australia. http://www.tesol.org.au/ted/std_t.htm

The Australian Council of TESOL Associations Inc – the national coordinating body representing all teachers of English to speakers of other languages. http://www.tesol.org.au
The Adult Migrant English Program is an Australian Government funded programme which provides basic tuition in the English language to help eligible adult migrants and refugees settle successfully in Australia.
Computer Assisted Language Learning
Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (taught by agencies of University of Cambridge ESOL) http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/teaching-awards/celta.html
Community Language Other Than English
Community Languages
Diploma in English Language Teaching (taught by agencies of University of Cambridge ESOL) http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/teaching-awards/delta.html
English Australia (EA) is the national peak body and professional association for English language colleges (ELICOS) in Australia. http://www.englishaustralia.com.au
English as an Additional Language. This term is replacing NESB and LBOTE in some places.
English as an Additional Language or Dialect. This term is used in WA senior secondary schools.
English for Academic Purposes
English as a Foreign Language. Refers to English as taught where English is not a native language. Compare with (ESL or ESOL)
English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students
English for Special Purposes
English as a Second Language (synonymous with ESOL). Refers to English as taught to non-English speakers in a country where it is a native language eg Australia (Compare with EFL).
English to Speakers of Other Languages (This term was introduced after ESL came to be regarded as too limiting because some non-native speakers of English speak more than one other language.)
English for vocational education
The International English Language Testing System measures ability to communicate in English across all four language skills (listening – reading – writing – speaking) for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication. Secondary level overseas students who intend to study in Australian institutions must achieve a minimum score in the IELTS exam which varies according to type of institution and course which students intend to attend. http://www.ielts.org
Language Background Other than English
Limited English Proficiency
Language Other Than English
Language Literacy and Numeracy Programme. A Commonwealth funded programme for registered jobseekers. Courses are conducted by AMES and TAFE.
The National English Language Teaching Accreditation Scheme Limited (NEAS) is Australia’s national accreditation scheme for English Language Teaching centres. (It is not involved in accrediting government schools nor independent schools for Australian students.) http://www.neas.org.au
Non English Speaking Background
Non-native English speaking teacher
Technical and Further Education
Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Teaching English as a Second Language
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
An international professional association of teachers of ESOL. http://www.tesol.org