What to choose: A CELTA qualification vs a Level 5 TEFL certification

What to Choose: A CELTA Qualification vs a Level 5 TEFL Certification

With so many courses available for new English teachers, it can be confusing to understand which one is the best for you. There are so many institutes and universities that offer qualifications for teaching English. Either as a foreign or second language, both in-person and online. But choosing a course can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack without proper research. So, let us help you to break it down to see which TEFL course is best for your needs – Level 5 TEFL course vs CELTA certificate!

Level 5 TEFL course vs CELTA certificate

What is the difference between a CELTA qualification and a Level 5 TEFL certification?

A CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) qualification is a very prestigious one. In order to get certified, a teacher must complete a 120-hour course alongside 6 hours of observed teaching practice with real students. Most CELTA courses last for 4 weeks and are full-time, but part-time options are also popular

Level 5 TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses prepare you for the cream of the crop TEFL jobs across the world and at home. With 180 hours of study, these internationally recognized courses can be completed in as little as 15 weeks right up to six months. They can also open up a lot of teaching doors for you, but they do require a lot of work.

Both UK CELTA and UK Level 5 TEFL courses are regulated by Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) according to their qualifications framework. As part of this framework, there are 9 qualification levels. Essentially, the higher the level, the higher the difficulty and the better the qualification. Both of these courses are the equivalent of a diploma of higher education (DipHE), a foundation degree or 2 years at university. In simple terms, both qualifications sit between an A-level qualification and a Bachelor’s degree.

In terms of the level of qualification, a CELTA qualification and Level 5 TEFL certification are each other’s equivalent. However, there are other key differences that might help you choose which one is better for you.  Both qualifications will appeal to certain teachers based on how long they want to spend learning.

Prices – TEFL Certification and CELTA Certification

When it comes to the prices of courses, studying for a Level 5 TEFL certification will generally come cheaper than a CELTA qualification. Does that mean that a Level 5 course is a lesser quality course? no. Because of the affordability of Level 5 courses. They often become a more attractive option than a CELTA qualification.

Choosing the Right Course from a Level 5 TEFL course vs CELTA certificate

Can I study for a CELTA qualification or TEFL certification online?

You can study for both these types of qualifications in person. However, CELTA and Level 5 TEFL courses online have become increasingly popular for new teachers who want to be able to study in their own time.

An online CELTA qualification is usually a blended learning course that combines online self-study and hands-on teaching practice. So, a CELTA qualification is technically a TEFL. But a regular TEFL is not a CELTA unless you look for an equivalent top-shelf TEFL such as a Level 5 course. The TEFL Institute 180-hour Level 5 course fits these requirements and will tick off every box you could ever hope for. In the TEFL world, it is the new golden standard qualification. This can be studied wholly online and you have up to six months to complete it.

Which course should I choose – Level 5 TEFL course vs CELTA certificate?

There are so many ways to become a TEFL teacher and be certified to teach English. Deciding which course to take requires considering several factors.

This will include how long you envisage yourself teaching English. Whether you see this as a long-term career goal or a side gig that allows you to earn some extra money. You should also consider how much time you have to commit to studying. You’ll also have to compare how quickly you’d like to be qualified, as both courses differ in length.

A Level 5 TEFL qualification is a great investment. It will allow you to teach children and adults, both online and abroad. However, CELTA qualifications are usually geared more towards career-seeking teachers than adult students. So, if you are looking for something long-term, maybe a CELTA qualification is for you. Otherwise, a Level 5 TEFL course is generally a cheaper and more flexible option for teachers.

Some people may assume that because a CELTA qualification is much more expensive. But this isn’t the case. It always depends on what type of job you are looking for.


In conclusion, many teachers choose to take a TEFL course because it gives them a chance to teach English online and abroad. So, when you look at the available opportunities for new English teachers, you will realize that having a CELTA  certification doesn’t necessarily make you any more hireable than a TEFL certification does.

If you want a career teaching English, investing in a CELTA course should definitely help. But if you want to focus on teaching young learners, then a TEFL course is an affordable, quick way to get certified. But regardless of whether you choose a CELTA or Level 5 TEFL course, you will come away with an internationally recognized qualification to teach English.

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TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and it’s a certificate you need if you want to teach non-native speakers English. With a TEFL certificate, you can teach students of all ages – from young learners to adult business language learners – anywhere in the world. It’s recognised globally and is the key to kick-starting your English teaching career abroad, home or online.

To get a TEFL certificate you must take an accredited TEFL course. The minimum training required by employers worldwide is 120 hours. You can choose between accredited, government regulated Level 5 or combined TEFL courses. You’ll find TEFL courses are either online or combined in-class and online experiences. 

Getting a TEFL certification from a recognised, trusted provider is essential when it comes to receiving high-quality training and finding a job. Always go for a globally recognised accredited certification. It’s also worth double checking company reviews to make sure customers are satisfied with their training.

What’s the difference between accredited and government regulated Level 5 TEFL courses?

The Accredited 120 Hour Premier TEFL Course is what we call one of our fast-track courses. This is the minimum recognised worldwide.

  • You have 10 modules to complete usually taking 4-6 weeks.
  • Each module has a multiple-choice test at the end, and you need 80% to pass.
  • You’ll get your digital certificate on completion and can buy a hard copy from us if you’d like one with an embossed logo.

Level 5 Ofqual-regulated courses offer more in-depth training. If we look at the 180 Hour Level 5 TEFL Diploma in comparison: 

  • Learners typically spend 12 – 14 weeks to complete 11 modules.
  • The pass mark is 100% and assessments are multiple-choice plus open-ended answers. Don’t worry, you can redo quizzes to get 100%. Our academic team will review your answers at the end of your 11 modules and may ask for some questions to be reattempted. Some questions may require you to provide academic references.
  • You’ll get your digital coursework completion certificate from us after module 11. Following successful assessment from our academic team, we’ll be able to claim the licence for your Ofqual (government) certificate from our accreditation body Highfield.

The Ofqual-regulated Level 5 course range is for those who want to gain a higher-level, more recognised qualification.

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers teach English in non-native English speaking countries. TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) teachers teach English in native English speaking countries. CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is a separate qualification you can get to teach English.

TEFL: One of the most accepted certificates worldwide, this allows you to teach English to non-native speakers across the globe. 

TESL: As a TESL teacher, you would likely be teaching English in your home country to students who have moved or live in an English speaking country. In other words, they are continuously surrounded by the language and will be using it every day outside of the classroom, unlike TEFL students who are likely learning in their home country.

CELTA: A very prestigious certification that follows a strict regulation created by Cambridge University. You must complete a 120-hour TEFL course and six hours of teaching real ESL students. Most of the programmes are held over a month and are full time. However, you may be able to find some courses that are part-time and are spread over three months. Due to its intense nature and requirements, the cost tends to be much higher and can be up to €1700!

Yes! Teaching English as a foreign language – online or in-class – will give you an abundance of transferable skills. From time management to problem-solving and communication, you’ll have plenty of experience to impress future employers. As your TEFL certification never expires, you can get back into TEFL whenever you wish, too.

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