Article

Top 11 ESL Teacher Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available to English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are an important part of an ESL teacher's job market success. Certifications demonstrate a level of knowledge and expertise that can help set the teacher apart from other qualified applicants. They also show potential employers that the individual is committed to professional development and has taken the initiative to acquire the necessary skills and qualifications needed to effectively teach English as a second language. Having certifications can also open up additional opportunities for career advancement and higher pay grades, making them a valuable asset in the job market.

The purpose of this article is to review and explain the benefits of top certifications for ESL Teachers and how they can enhance an ESL Teacher's career.

What are ESL Teacher Certifications?

ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher certification is a credential awarded to individuals who have achieved the necessary qualifications to teach English to students whose native language is not English. This certification allows ESL teachers to demonstrate their knowledge and proficiency in teaching ESL, which can be beneficial for both the teacher and their students.

ESL teacher certification can help teachers gain additional credibility when applying for jobs, as it shows that they are qualified and knowledgeable in the subject matter they are teaching. It also helps teachers stay up-to-date on current trends and techniques in ESL teaching, so they can provide the best possible instruction for their students. Additionally, having an ESL certification may enable teachers to earn higher salaries or gain access to more job opportunities than those without this credential.

In addition to helping teachers professionally, ESL teacher certification also has benefits for students. Studies have shown that certified ESL instructors tend to have better student outcomes than those without certification, since they are able to provide higher quality instruction due to their knowledge of best practices and strategies in the field. This means that students taught by certified ESL instructors are more likely to achieve better learning outcomes than those taught by non-certified instructors.

Pro Tip: When considering an ESL teacher certification program, look for one that offers a comprehensive curriculum, including instruction in classroom management, teaching strategies and assessment techniques. Additionally, find out if the program includes opportunities to practice teaching in an actual classroom setting and to receive feedback from experienced instructors.

Related: What does an ESL Teacher do?

Top 11 ESL Teacher Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to ESL Teachers today.

1. TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certification

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certification is a professional certification that is designed for people who want to teach English as a second language. It is an internationally recognized qualification and it enables teachers to work in any country where English is the primary language.

The TESOL Certification program typically takes between 6-12 months to complete, depending on the level of commitment and dedication of the student. To get certified, students must complete an accredited TESOL course, which includes classroom instruction and practical teaching experience. The cost of the course varies depending on the institution offering it, but generally ranges from $1,000-$2,500 USD.

In order to receive a TESOL Certificate, applicants must demonstrate their knowledge of teaching methodology and linguistics through written exams and teaching demonstrations. Once they have completed all requirements for certification, they will receive a certificate that can be used when applying for jobs in the field.

2. CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults)

CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is an internationally recognized and highly respected qualification for teaching English as a foreign language. It is awarded by Cambridge Assessment English, part of the University of Cambridge.

The CELTA course typically takes four to five weeks full-time or up to 12 months part-time and requires 120 hours of study. The course includes input sessions, teaching practice, lesson planning and observation of experienced teachers.

To get the CELTA qualification, you need to find an accredited centre that offers the course. You will also need to demonstrate your proficiency in English by taking a written assessment and attending an interview with the centre.

The cost of the CELTA course varies depending on the centre you choose and whether you take it full-time or part-time. Generally speaking, it can range from £1,000 - £2,500 GBP (approx. $1,300 - $3,200 USD).

3. DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults)

DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults) is an internationally recognized qualification for teachers of English as a foreign language. It is designed to provide experienced teachers with the knowledge and skills they need to become more effective practitioners. The DELTA syllabus covers topics such as language analysis, lesson planning, teaching techniques, classroom management and materials development.

The DELTA course typically takes between 6-9 months to complete. It consists of three modules: Module 1 focuses on understanding and applying language analysis; Module 2 focuses on understanding and applying pedagogy; and Module 3 is an assessed teaching practice component.

To get the DELTA qualification, you must have a recognized TEFL certificate (such as CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL) and at least two years of full-time teaching experience. You will also need to pass all three modules of the course with a grade of at least 50%.

The cost of the DELTA course varies depending on where you take it, but can range from £1,500 - £3,000 (GBP).

4. TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certification

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certification is an internationally recognized qualification that enables individuals to teach English in countries where it is not the native language. It certifies that the holder has the necessary skills and knowledge to teach English to people whose first language is not English.

The length of time it takes to get TEFL certification depends on which course you take. Some courses can be completed in as little as four weeks, while others may take up to six months or more. You can also choose between online and classroom-based courses, depending on your preference and availability.

To get TEFL certification, you’ll need to complete a course with an accredited provider. This will involve studying grammar, teaching methods, and other topics related to teaching English as a foreign language. Once you have finished the course, you will receive your certificate from the provider.

The cost of TEFL certification varies depending on the type of course you take and which provider you choose. Online courses tend to be cheaper than classroom-based courses, but they may require more self-discipline and dedication from students. Generally speaking, most TEFL courses cost between $200-$2,000 USD.

5. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Preparation Certification

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an internationally recognized language proficiency test that measures the ability of non-native English speakers to use and understand English. It is designed to assess a person’s ability to communicate in English for academic, professional and social purposes.

The IELTS Preparation Certification is a course designed to help people prepare for the IELTS exam. The course covers all four sections of the IELTS: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. It also provides tips on how to approach each section of the exam and provides practice tests and sample questions.

The length of the IELTS Preparation Certification course varies depending on the provider, but most courses are between 8-10 weeks long. During this time, students will learn about the different sections of the IELTS exam, gain insight into how to approach each section, and practice their skills with sample questions.

To get an IELTS Preparation Certification, you must first find a course provider that offers it. There are many online providers as well as physical institutions that offer these courses. Most courses require payment upfront or through monthly installments; prices vary depending on the provider but can range from $100-$500 USD for an 8-10 week course.

Once you have completed your coursework, you will be eligible to receive your certification upon successful completion of the program. This certificate will be proof that you have taken an approved IELTS Preparation Course and are prepared to take on the challenge of taking the actual IELTS exam.

6. Cambridge Assessment English Certifications

Cambridge Assessment English Certifications are internationally recognized qualifications that demonstrate a high level of English language proficiency. The certifications are divided into five levels, from the Cambridge English: A1 Starter (lowest) to the Cambridge English: C2 Proficiency (highest).

The length of time it takes to get a Cambridge Assessment English Certification depends on the level you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are taking the A1 Starter exam, it should take around 30 minutes to complete. If you are taking the C2 Proficiency exam, it can take up to four hours or more.

To get a Cambridge Assessment English Certification, you must first register for an exam at your local test centre. On the day of your exam, you will be asked to provide proof of identity and answer multiple-choice questions about grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension. You will also have to complete a writing task and/or speaking task depending on which level of certification you are attempting.

The cost of a Cambridge Assessment English Certification varies depending on the country in which you take the exam and the level of certification that you are attempting. Generally speaking, prices range from around £50 for an A1 Starter exam up to £150 for a C2 Proficiency exam.

7. Trinity College London CertTESOL

Trinity College London CertTESOL (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a qualification designed for those wishing to teach English as a foreign language. It is an internationally recognised qualification that provides the necessary skills and knowledge to teach English as a second language.

The course typically takes four weeks full-time or eight weeks part-time, depending on the provider. During this time, candidates will learn about teaching methodology, classroom management, lesson planning and assessment techniques. At the end of the course, there is an assessed teaching practice session with real students and an externally marked written assignment.

To get the Trinity College London CertTESOL qualification, you must complete an accredited training course from one of Trinity’s approved providers. You can find a list of approved providers on their website. The cost of the course varies depending on the provider but generally ranges from £1,000 - £1,500.

Once you have completed your training course and passed all assessments, you will be awarded the Trinity College London CertTESOL certificate which is valid for five years.

8. SIT TESOL Certificate

The SIT TESOL Certificate is an internationally recognized teaching certification program offered by School for International Training (SIT). It is designed to equip teachers with the skills and knowledge necessary to teach English as a second language. The program consists of two parts: an online course and a practicum.

The online course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of teaching English as a second language, including language acquisition theory, lesson planning, classroom management, assessment techniques, and more. The course takes approximately 120 hours to complete.

The practicum is an in-person teaching experience that allows students to apply their knowledge from the online course in a real-world setting. During the practicum, students are supervised by experienced instructors who help them hone their skills and develop their confidence as ESL teachers. The practicum typically lasts four weeks and can be completed at various locations around the world.

To get the SIT TESOL Certificate, you must successfully complete both the online course and practicum components of the program. You will also need to pass a final exam in order to receive your certificate.

The cost of the SIT TESOL Certificate varies depending on which components you choose to take part in; however, it typically costs between $1,800-$2,500 USD for both parts combined.

9. ELLTA (English Language Learning and Teaching Accreditation)

ELLTA (English Language Learning and Teaching Accreditation) is an accreditation program for English language teachers. It is a voluntary certification program that is designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of teachers who are teaching English as a second language. The program is offered by the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL).

The ELLTA program consists of three levels: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. To receive accreditation, applicants must successfully complete all three levels. The program typically takes between six months and one year to complete depending on the applicant’s level of experience and commitment.

In order to apply for ELLTA accreditation, applicants must have at least two years of teaching experience in English as a second or foreign language. They must also submit a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates their knowledge and understanding of the principles and practices associated with teaching English as a second language.

The cost for the ELLTA accreditation program varies depending on the country in which it is taken, but typically ranges from $500 to $1,000 USD for all three levels combined.

10. ALTA (Accredited Language Teacher Association) Certification

The ALTA (Accredited Language Teacher Association) Certification is an internationally recognized certification for language teachers. It is designed to assess the professional knowledge and skills of language teachers, and demonstrate their commitment to excellence in language teaching. The ALTA Certification is a comprehensive assessment that covers all aspects of language teaching, including pedagogy, curriculum design, assessment, and classroom management.

To get the ALTA Certification, applicants must first complete a series of online courses and exams. These courses cover topics such as second language acquisition, instructional strategies, classroom management, and assessment. After completing the courses and passing the exams with a score of 70% or higher, applicants must submit an application to ALTA for review.

The application process typically takes two to three months from start to finish. Once approved by ALTA, applicants will receive their certificate in the mail within two weeks.

The cost of the ALTA Certification varies depending on the number of courses taken and exams passed. Generally speaking, it costs around $500 USD for all four courses and exams required for certification.

11. ICALTEFL (International Certificate in Applied Linguistics for Teaching English as a Foreign Language).

ICALTEFL (International Certificate in Applied Linguistics for Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is an internationally recognized qualification that provides teachers with the skills and knowledge to teach English as a foreign language. It is designed for those who want to work in an international environment, teaching English to non-native speakers. The course covers topics such as language acquisition, teaching methodology, materials design and evaluation, classroom management and cultural awareness.

The ICALTEFL certificate can be completed in approximately 6 months of full-time study or 12 months of part-time study. It consists of two parts: a core module and an elective module. The core module focuses on the principles and practice of teaching English as a foreign language, while the elective module allows students to choose from various specializations such as business English or teaching young learners.

To get the ICALTEFL certificate, you will need to complete both modules successfully by passing all assessments. You can take these modules either online or at one of our partner institutions around the world. Once you have completed the course, you will receive your certificate from ICALTEFL which is valid for life.

The cost of the ICALTEFL certificate varies depending on where you take it and whether you take it online or at one of our partner institutions. Generally speaking, online courses tend to be cheaper than courses taken at one of our partner institutions.

Do You Really Need a ESL Teacher Certificate?

Yes, an ESL teacher certificate is necessary for anyone wanting to teach English as a second language. An ESL teacher certificate demonstrates that the teacher has the necessary qualifications and training to teach English as a second language. It shows that the teacher has met the standards set by their country or institution for teaching English as a second language.

Having an ESL teacher certificate also ensures that the teacher is familiar with best practices in teaching methods, classroom management and curriculum development. It also verifies that the teacher has received adequate training in areas such as cultural awareness, assessment and evaluation of student progress, and lesson planning. This knowledge can help teachers to create effective learning environments and implement successful strategies to support students’ learning.

The ESL teacher certificate also provides potential employers with assurance that the applicant is qualified to teach English as a second language. This certification can help ensure that job applicants are well-equipped to conduct lessons with quality instruction and provide students with meaningful opportunities to practice their language skills. It helps employers determine whether or not a candidate has met the necessary qualifications for teaching English as a second language.

In conclusion, having an ESL teacher certificate is essential for anyone wanting to teach English as a second language. It provides evidence of competency in key areas related to teaching English as a second language, helps potential employers make informed hiring decisions, and demonstrates commitment to providing quality instruction and support for students’ learning experiences.

Related: ESL Teacher Resume Examples

FAQs About ESL Teacher Certifications

Q1. What is an ESL Teacher Certification?

A1. An ESL (English as a Second Language) Teacher Certification is a professional certification program that provides educators with the necessary qualifications to teach English as a second language to non-native speakers. It typically includes courses on linguistics, teaching methods, and cultural awareness to help teachers better understand their students’ needs.

Q2. How do I get an ESL Teacher Certification?

A2. In order to obtain an ESL Teacher Certification, you must complete a training program offered by an accredited institution such as a college or university. These programs usually require coursework in linguistics, teaching methods, and cultural awareness, as well as practical experience in the classroom.

Q3. What are the benefits of having an ESL Teacher Certification?

A3. With an ESL Teacher Certification, you will be able to confidently teach English as a second language to non-native speakers in any environment. This can open up job opportunities both domestically and abroad, allowing you to work with diverse populations and gain valuable experience in the field of education. Additionally, having this certification may also make you eligible for higher pay rates than those without it.

Q4. How long does it take to get an ESL Teacher Certification?

A4. The length of time required to obtain an ESL Teacher Certification varies depending on the type of program chosen and how quickly one completes their coursework or practical experience requirements. Generally speaking, most programs take between 6 months and 2 years to complete depending on the individual’s commitment level and other factors such as workload or scheduling conflicts.

Q5: Are there any additional requirements for obtaining an ESL Teacher Certification?

A5: Yes - depending on the program chosen, there may be additional requirements such as passing various examinations or submitting letters of recommendation from previous employers or professors in order to qualify for certification status. It is important to thoroughly research any prospective program prior to enrollment in order to ensure that all necessary criteria are met before beginning your studies