TEFL/TESOL/CELTA/DELTA: Which course to choose?

If teaching English to non-native speakers is what you’re looking to do, your first starting point is looking at what type of teaching qualification you will need. If you are looking to change careers, take some time after studying to see the world or just want to teach informally alongside your current work, TEFL offers a range of transferrable skills that you can apply to different jobs later on. There are many different acronyms that you will encounter when you start looking at courses – TEFL, TESOL, TESL, CELTA and DELTA – and it can be a bit of a minefield trying to figure out which one to choose!

Although similar, there are some differences with the courses and the way the content is delivered. We’ve explained a bit more below about what you can expect on each course.


TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificates are recognized globally and are what we, at TEFL Courses Ireland, specialise in. There are no previous qualifications required to complete one of our courses – all you need to be is a native or native-level English speaker! Throughout the course, there will also be a tutor who can provide you with lots of handy hints and tips for delivering your lessons. TEFL courses are measured in hours and that is what is stated on your certificate when you complete a course – the more hours you do then the stronger your certificate is! TEFL courses usually offer a flexible approach to learning with both online and combined courses usually available.


TESOL courses are very similar to TEFL – in fact a TEFL Courses Ireland certificate will certify you both in TEFL and TESOL! They are usually used to refer to the same thing. TEFL is an acronym you will tend to see used to describe jobs in countries where English isn’t the locally spoken language. TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language) is usually used to describe jobs in countries where English is the local language, but the job/client is a foreign national who resides there and is learning, for example a Syrian refugee living Ireland.


Similarly to TESOL, TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. Working with immigrants or people living in a country where many languages are spoken, TESL teachers can expect the same type of roles as TESOL teachers. This can also be referred to as TEAL teachers, Teaching English as an Additional Language.


CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is, similarly to those listed above, an entry-level teaching qualification but it has a few differences. These are provided by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate and are required by schools accredited by the British Council due to the fact that they contain 6 hours of assessed teaching. You will also need some form of English qualification before you enrol and CELTA courses typically run over 4-weeks at a cost of roughly €1750. Although a TEFL/TESOL/TESL course will allow you to teach on a private basis in Ireland, CELTA courses also tend to be ACELS accredited which is a specific type of accreditation required to work in school here in Ireland.

Trinity TESOL

As above, the Trinity TESOL course is very similar to both the CELTA qualifications. The main difference between them is that the Trinity TESOL course is issued by Trinity College London who are the oldest language board in the world. Similarly, the Trinity TESOL course has a specific Teaching Young Learners module whereas the CELTA course focuses specifically on teaching adults – with the young learners add-on available to purchase once you complete the course.


Following on from the above qualifications, is DELTA. This is the Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and is seen as a step above the previous courses. A DELTA course will enable you to apply for roles with more responsibility – such as a Director of Studies – however you can only enroll on a DELTA course with a minimum of 2 years’ teaching experience and you will also need to be in full-time employment when you apply.

Which one should I take?

It’s a tough question to answer! There are so many different options out there and it depends on what you are looking to do and how much time you can dedicate to your study. If you are looking to enroll in an intensive course and can dedicate yourself to studying full-time then perhaps consider the CELTA course. If you want to be eligible for a wide range of teaching roles but require some flexibility with your course to fit in and around what you are currently doing, then TEFL is the best option for you! All courses will make you eligible for virtually the same positions and a course with TEFL Courses Ireland, who offer the most accredited TEFL training in the UK and Ireland, will set you in great stead with employers.

If you would rather take a TEFL course, look at course options to become TEFL-qualified!

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