If you’re interested in teaching English abroad, by now you must have heard of the many acronyms of English teaching certifications you can get. You probably have questions like, ‘what does TESOL stand for?’ and ‘what does TEFL stand for?’. Or, are you thinking about TEFL vs TESOL vs TESL and CELTA?
This alphabet soup can be pretty confusing at the start. While all of these certifications will qualify you to teach English abroad, choosing the right certification is important if you have specific goals when teaching English in a foreign country. If you’re looking for TESOL meaning and information on TEFL and CELTA, keep reading to find out more about teaching English abroad.
English Teaching Acronyms
Here is a quick reminder on the various language programs for international teachers.
- TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
- TESOL: Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages
- TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language
- CELTA: Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (now known as Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
The first three acronyms refer to any program to train new English-speaking teachers abroad. There are subtle differences between them that will impact the jobs you qualify for. Most private and international schools and language academies will have specific requirements, especially for TEFL or CELTA certification. TEFL INTL is a certification that you can obtain in person in the country of your employment, which makes you a more competitive candidate for private institutions. But don’t worry, TEFL certification will make you employable all over the world.
CELTA is a specific language program at Cambridge University. Schools offering CELTA programs must adhere to strict standards, which makes it perceived as the most esteemed of the in-country language programs. Some prestigious positions will cite a CELTA certification as a requirement. CELTA certification can be particularly useful in countries like the Czech Republic or Spain because they have large international cultures.
Are you looking for details on the similarities and differences between these English certification programs? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
Here are some more acronyms to find out about: Teaching EFL vs ESL.
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TEFL VS TESOL VS TESL
TEFL, TESOL, and TESL are the common acronyms you will come across as you research for which English certification is correct for you. And there are differences between the content and length of the programs, which impact your career opportunities. While these acronyms can be interchangeable as if they mean the same thing, remember this difference: TEFL tends to focus more on academic English while TESOL/TESL focuses on conversational English, though there is a lot of overlap between the programs.
It can be difficult to know which one of these programs is correct for you, but don’t worry! This guide will provide you with all the knowledge you need to make the right decision for your career.
What is TEFL?
‘TEFL’ or Teaching English as a Foreign Language programs are designed for teachers who want to teach English abroad in a country where the primary language is not English. When students study English as a foreign language, they are studying it as an academic subject, much like you would have selected a language or science in high school. These English programs focus on grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and speaking for academic purposes. The conversation is an aspect of this class, but it is not the sole focus.
Academic language is important for students who want to pursue higher education. As students in university, they need the comprehension skills to read texts, and the writing skills to produce essays. Many students who study EFL also plan to study abroad in an English-speaking country in the future.
Students learn skills from TEFL certified teachers that help them study for TOEFL or the IELTS. These acronyms are internationally standardized tests that students can take before enrolling in an English-speaking university. You also need something like the IELTS for getting permanent residency in many English-speaking countries, including Canada. With all the benefits these courses provide, there is high demand for TEFL certification in all countries.
What is TESOL?
TESOL is generally recommended for teachers who want to work with people who are non-native English speakers living in an English-speaking country. The focus of these programs is conversational and functional English. Teachers will help students to communicate about their daily life in English, things like shopping, eating, interviewing, and casual conversation.
What is TESL?
When looking for English teaching certification, you will come across the acronym TESL, which means Teaching English as a Second Language. This term has become less popular in recent years. English is often someone’s second, third, or even fourth language. Therefore, many educators and institutions prefer TESOL because it is more precise. So you don’t get confused, just consider TESL as the same program as TESOL.
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What is CELTA?
CELTA is a type of English certification program that Cambridge University offers. It has the perception of being the most prestigious of the programs offered, making it more desired in highly competitive jobs markets and international cities. Any school that offers the CELTA program adheres to strict standards and regulations. And they are only taught by teachers who are certified by Cambridge. Because of these factors, jobs that require CELTA certification usually offer higher salaries and better benefits.
A CELTA program requires students to complete 120 hours of class time and six hours of practicum with ESL students. Most CELTA courses are full-time programs that take four weeks to complete. However, some CELTA schools offer part-time programs that take about three months to complete. This doesn’t differ greatly from TEFL/TESOL certifications. The main difference between these programs is that with CELTA, you can guarantee the quality of your program, and ensure your odds to get more prestigious jobs at private academies, schools, and universities.
CELTA versus TEFL Certification
Here are a few differences between CELTA and TEFL/TESOL certification. In general, CELTA courses are:
- designed for adult learners, not children or teens
- almost always the more expensive of the options
- only offered in person, while TEFL/TESOL courses can be found online
- externally assessed, so you don’t have to research the quality of the program.
Now that you know the difference between TEFL and TESOL and CELTA, keep reading to find out what to research next.
Celta vs TEFL vs TESOL FAQ
Looking for a quick guide on the details and differences between these English-teaching certification programs? Check out these frequently asked questions about TEFL vs TESOL vs TESL and CELTA.
What is the difference between TEFL/TESOL and CELTA?
A simple way to remember the difference between these programs is this: TEFL/TESOL are the programs, and CELTA is a specific brand of these programs.
Which course is better: TEFL or TESOL?
Both TEFL and TESOL are in high demand, but the students that use each program differ in their needs and capabilities. To put it quickly, the difference between TEFL and TESOL is that TEFL is an academic program that helps students and TESOL is a functional and conversational English program that helps non-native English speakers in English-speaking countries. Do some research into where and how you want to teach, and the program that is best for you will become clear. If you are still unsure after doing some research, there are hybrid programs that will certify you in both.
Should I get my English teaching certificate online or overseas?
Sometimes TEFL/TESOL certification is not even necessary to teach overseas! However, earning your certification will always make you a better candidate. If you are considering working in an international hub, like Beijing or Prague, earning your TEFL INTL certification, which is a TEFL certification earned in the country of your employment, makes you the best possible candidate.
Should I get CELTA or TEFL certification?
All teachers consider the same question of CELTA vs TEFL certification when beginning their careers. If you want to teach kids and teens, definitely consider a TEFL or TESOL certification. If you’re looking for a higher salary, consider CELTA or a hybrid program.
What is the difference in price between TEFL and TESOL?
TEFL and TESOL certification programs tend to differ greatly in price, especially by region. Particularly, hybrid courses are always more costly. The duration and online or in-person delivery also determine the price. A university offering a course will usually cost more than a private company. Also, if the program includes a practicum, it will cost more.
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Last update on 2022-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API