TEFL Qualifications & Certification Bodies

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If you are going to invest time and money in gaining a TEFL qualification, then it makes sense to gain a certification that is respected and accepted at English language schools throughout the world. There are a number of different TEFL qualifications available at Irish schools and colleges and designed for people with little or no previous teaching experience, that open up a whole world of exciting teaching opportunities. Many of these courses are run at different institutions, each of which has to conform to the guidelines laid down by the certification bodies in order for their courses to be recognised.

CELTACELS, the Advisory Council for English Language Schools in Ireland, provide the CELT qualification.   It is the most popular TEFL qualification, enabling the holder to teach in any Dept of Education & Science recognised English language school in Ireland. CELT is also recognised internationally, holders of the award are eligible to work in accredited schools in the UK and Australia for example. CELTAOne of the most popular global TEFL qualification, internationally speaking, is the Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA).

The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), which is part of the prestigious University of Cambridge in the UK, awards this qualification. The CELTA qualification features continuous assessment and has no final examination. An external assessor, appointed by Cambridge ESOL, moderates each course. Students must have taught for a total of six hours, working with classes at two levels of ability, and have completed four written assignments: (one focusing on adult learning, the language system of English, language skills and classroom teaching).


The certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Cert TESOL) is awarded by Trinity College London. The Cert TESOL is accepted by the British Council as an initial TESOL qualification for teachers in its accredited teaching organisations in the UK and in its own teaching operations overseas. Credits are also awarded towards degree programmes offered by the Open University in the UK. The Cert TESOL is made up of five units covering teaching skills, language awareness, learner profile, and unknown language. Students must complete six hours of teaching; keep a journal including lesson plans, self evaluation and materials assessment, undertake a test or practical project; prepare a simple linguistic profile and needs analysis; and undertake an interview with a Trinity moderator.

Other Awards

While the CELT, CELTA and TESOL are the three most recognisable TEFL qualifications available to potential teachers, there are far from the only useful qualifications on offer. The ODLQC (Open and Distance Learning Quality Council) is an example of another international authority that oversees TEFL qualifications. PostgraduateThose looking to get into TEFL as a career can even go on and study Teaching English as a Foreign Language as a postgraduate course. UCD, UL, NUIG and other Irish higher-level institutions all offer fourth level qualifications in TEFL. Other related subjects such as Applied Languages, Applied Linguistics and English can offer opportunities for students interested in the TEFL area, with research masters and PhD courses all potential choices. NB – Contact ACELS if you have any doubts or questions about a TEFL qualification that you are considering undertaking.


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