By Singapore Teaching Centre, British Council

21 February 2022 - 10:00


Are you interested in a career teaching English as a foreign language?

CELTA is the gold standard qualification for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Backed by the University of Cambridge, and internationally recognised, it gives graduates the opportunity to teach English in almost all countries around the world.

Becoming an English language teacher will probably be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of your life. Here are a few things to consider to help you decide if CELTA is right for you.

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I speak English – why do I need a qualification?

Knowing a language yourself is not the same as knowing how to teach that language, just like driving a car is not the same as understanding how the engine works or how you might build your own car. You will need to gain a deeper understanding of the skills involved in language use (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and the systems that underpin them (vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation).

For instance, let’s imagine you’re working with a student to improve their reading in English. What is going to be an obstacle to them when they are faced with a text in an unfamiliar language? And how can you make that text accessible to them without pre-teaching every potentially difficult word? 

If you are teaching beginning readers, how are you going to build phonic awareness and word recognition? What if your beginning readers are adults rather than children? What about critical reading and inference? Teaching reading is much more complex than knowing how to read yourself!

Your career as an English language teacher

Life as an English language teacher can be incredibly fulfilling and varied, and it can unlock opportunities to travel and meet people from all corners of the world. There are various paths to teaching and the right one depends on a few considerations: namely, who you want to teach, and where. 

Give some thought to the age group you can see yourself working with, the differing challenges that each presents, and the qualities that you can bring. For example, are you someone who enjoys working with children? What age group? If you envisage yourself teaching adults, then what context? The possibilities are wide-ranging, from tuition of university students and business professionals to migrants and refugees. 

Where you can teach will be partly determined by the type of qualification that you have. Here are the main places of work for English language teachers and the qualifications required:

  • Language schools, like the British Council (degree plus CELTA or equivalent)
  • Government-funded MOE schools (teaching degree) 
  • Pre-schools (diploma in early childhood care/IELTS qualification or adequate language proficiency)
  • University (degree plus CELTA)


If you're looking for an internationally recognised qualification in teaching English as a second or foreign language, then the Cambridge CELTA is right for you. And whereas a degree may take up to three years to complete, CELTA is an intensive 120-hour course that you can take full-time in four weeks, or part-time over approximately 10 weeks (although timing can differ in different centres and CELTAs run all over the world!). The course can be taken face-to-face or with the flexibility of CELTA Online, which is blended, and leads to the same CELTA certificate.

The CELTA syllabus covers the principles of effective teaching, equipping you with a range of techniques and practical experience. By the end, you’ll be confident in creating communicative, student-centred lessons, and have greater awareness of your own teaching strengths as well as specific ideas to help with ongoing development.

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Here’s what else you can expect from Cambridge CELTA.

International recognition and quality assurance

The CELTA certificate is awarded by Cambridge Assessment English (part of the University of Cambridge). They rigorously monitor the content, quality and consistency of CELTA courses, with the result that CELTA is one of the most widely recognised and respected qualifications for English language teaching in the world.

Knowledge and practical experience

The CELTA course at the British Council is a highly practical course which will help you develop confidence. You will find out about the latest communicative teaching methodologies and have the opportunity to put these into practice in a real classroom.

A supportive environment

We have a worldwide reputation for excellence and our experienced and dedicated teacher trainers will support you closely in your development. Through hands-on practical experience and teacher observation, you will gain a solid foundation in planning and teaching, using a student-centred approach. 

A high success rate

At the British Council, 92% of candidates who take the course are successful in gaining the CELTA certificate. Of those, 13% achieve a higher-than-average grade. We have a rigorous application process so that we can assess your readiness for the course and give you the best chance of a great outcome.

After the course, according to our latest graduate survey, 71% of respondents reported finding full- or part-time work relating to English Language Teaching, both in Singapore and overseas.

Explore your future teaching English

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