Earn a CELTA, see the world

Sidney Phillips

Want to travel the world after graduation, but aren’t sure how to fund it? You may be surprised to learn that you have one of the most highly sought-after skills on the global market: proficiency in the English language.

Harnessing the much demanded skill of an English teaching certificate will open doors to employment options across the globe. As the most widely recognized English teaching certificate in the world, the University of Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, or CELTA, helps students gain employment teaching ESL at schools and agencies in almost any country they wish to explore.

This passport to funded globe-trotting is offered right here on campus – all you have to do is take advantage of it. 

However, many students are unaware of the program, or hesitant to participate in it because of the perceived educational and financial barriers. Caroline Ankoma-Sey, international relations and plan II junior, said the program is a valuable avenue to cross-cultural exchange regardless of major or background. 

“I think many people are hesitant to participate in CELTA due to fear of not having the appropriate credentials,” Ankoma-Sey said. “Just like you don’t have to pursue a degree in education to participate in Teach For America, you don’t have to be an English major or want to pursue teaching as a full-time career for CELTA.”

Students who take advantage of the certificate can see the world, explore a new culture or region and gain valuable international work experience — all while maintaining the freedom and flexibility to travel.

The intensive month-long program costs about the same as a three-hour course at UT. Offered during the summer and online for some long sessions, the teaching certificate combines expert taught training in language instruction and hands-on teaching practice with ESL students.

“Students learn theory, lesson planning and very specific skills for teaching while learning to also give and receive feedback,” said Mike Smith, Director of ESL Services at UT. “With a CELTA in hand, (graduates) are assured they can step into a classroom right away and actually teach.”

CELTA certificate holders can find jobs through online databases like Dave’s ESL Cafe or Teaching English as a Foreign Language Work, or through contacts with previous participants in the program, provided by course instructors who’ve lived and taught abroad.

Not only does the CELTA provide participants with a globally recognized degree, but for many, it’s the first step to a career in the international workplace.

As Smith said, “(The CELTA) offers a way to test the international waters.”

Phillips is an international relations and rhetoric and writing junior from Houston.