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The Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages formerly 'Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA, /ˈsɛltə/) is an initial credential for teachers of English as a foreign language.[1]


The CELTA is a common requirement for those entering the field of English language teaching. Since it is recognised internationally, it is a particularly popular credential among people who wish to travel and teach English around the world. However, it is also held by people who want to teach only in the country where they trained, and do not intend to travel.

The full-time CELTA course runs for four to five weeks; it can also be taken part-time over several weeks or months. CELTA courses are run by many different institutions, whereas the courses are validated and certificates are issued by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), a part of the University of Cambridge.

The CELTA is awarded upon passing the course, which includes six hours of assessed teaching practice to real EFL classes in at least two different levels of ability. The course grade is determined primarily by the performance of the candidates in this teaching practice; there are also four written assignments due throughout the course, which are graded on a pass/fail basis only. The grades awarded are Pass, Pass B and Pass A.

Even the part-time version of the course can take up more time than a full-time job for many candidates, especially those with no teaching background.

There are over 286 approved CELTA centres in 54 countries, providing almost 900 CELTA courses every year.[2] Each course is audited by an external assessor.


The CELTA is a globally-recognised qualification awarded by the University of Cambridge's non-profit assessment organisation, Cambridge English Assessment (formerly by Cambridge ESOL). The CELTA is also accredited by the UK Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) at Level 5 of the Qualifications and Credit Framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland[1], which corresponds to Level 5 of the ISCED.

In terms of credits, however, it has not been allotted a specific number of credit points, which is left to the discretion of the student's institution; the Open University for instance grants 20 credits for this[2], whilst the University College London (UCL) offers 30 credits (1 course unit) for the CELTA done as part of its TEFL course unit[3].


The Cambridge ESOL CELTA was originally a pre-service teacher training programme operated by International House. The current Cambridge CELTA replaced the RSA/Cambridge CELTA in 2001. In 1996, RSA/Cambridge CELTA replaced the RSA/Cambridge CTEFLA (the Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults), jointly administered by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UCLES. The RSA/Cambridge CTEFLA replaced the RSA Certificate in 1985.

Related credentials[edit]

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