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ELT Concourse

Where to take CELTA

possibilities

Over 300 institutions run CELTA courses worldwide, in over 70 countries.
In theory, of course, they are all run to the same high standards and will all provide the same levels of support and training.  They are all, however, run by human beings and you will be aware that humans vary in their levels of skill, expertise, approachability, background, commitment and energy among much else.
None of the courses is cheap so you need to make a careful selection.  You are not buying a sandwich.


options

Decision 1: what are the course options?

Essentially, these three:

full time
full-time courses usually run over 4 or 5 weeks.  They are very intensive and hard work but have the advantage of really concentrating your mind on the tasks as well as engendering a sense of community among the participants.
If you are considering taking a course like this in another country (to soak up some atmosphere and so on) be aware that you'll be working most of the time and accommodation and subsistence costs have to be added to the fees.
part time
part-time courses can run for a few months up to a year or so.  Clearly, if you take such a course, you have to be committed to the time involved and living near the centre or costs get out of hand.
blended
blended courses combine online study with a face-to-face element including teaching practice.  70 centres worldwide are now offering this option.

Do not be tempted to go for a wholly on-line course.  To become properly qualified, somebody has to see you teach.  There are no fully on-line CELTA courses or their equivalent.
If you can't afford to give up working for a month, the part-time or blended options may be for you.


alternatives

Decision 2: where?

If you are fortunate enough to live near a range of CELTA centres then your decision becomes somewhat easier.  If not, you need to go to Cambridge's website (click here to do that) and select from the range offered there.  Choose two or three possibilities at least because your research isn't finished yet.


select

Decision 3: making the selection

Before you hand over your money, you need to ask a few questions.  If you don't get reassuring answers, move on.

Cost:
Good tutors, who are experienced and properly qualified in the profession, do not come cheap.  Setting up and running good courses requires considerable investment in people, resources and systems.  The more participants a centre takes onto a course, the fewer resources they buy or provide and the fewer hours they pay for tutor time, the cheaper the price they can offer.
Generally, you get what you pay for.
Tutors:
Cambridge make it clear that tutors on CELTA courses should hold a Cambridge Delta qualification or equivalent and have wide-ranging experience and backgrounds.  Make sure the tutors on the course you are interested in actually fit that profile.  Ask:
What's the ratio of tutors to participants?
Will people have time for you?
What qualifications do the tutors hold?
Facilities:
Ask:
What reference facilities does the centre have?
Do they have multiple copies of key references?
Do they offer free access to a range of on-line journals and resources?
Is there proper accommodation for you to plan and prepare?
Will you have access to copying, printing and word processing facilities when you need it?
Are there refreshment facilities on site or will you have to wander the streets looking for a sandwich and a bar of chocolate to keep you going?
Are the classrooms well equipped and properly furnished to make the students (and you) feel comfortable?
Participants and Students:
Ask:
Where does the centre recruit its candidates?
Will you be among people like you or find it hard to fit in?
How many participants are on a typical course?
Where does the centre find its guinea-pig students?
Are the students representative of the sorts of people you want to end up teaching?
Will there be large age and level ranges in each class?
Recommendations:
Ask:
Will the centre put you in touch with some past participants?
Can you find people who have done a course at this centre so you can ask them what they think?

(Please be aware that past failed candidates (yes, there are some) are not usually a reliable source of information.  They tend to be bitter and the fact that they failed may well show that the centre is keeping up the standards.)
Pass rates:
Worldwide, the pass rate for CELTA is better than 95% so you should expect any centre to have rates in excess of 90%.
Getting a grade above a Pass C is a lot less easy.  Around 5% get an A grade and around 23% get a B grade so ask the centre what its record is like.

If you get satisfactory answers to these questions, you are almost home and dry.  The last question is for you:

Are you ready for this?

Yes?  Then go for it.

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