Once you’ve made the decision to take your CELTA course, you’ll have to to choose how you want to study it – the full-time, part-time or online course?
Depending on your personal situation, each method of studying offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. I personally chose the intensive full-time CELTA so I could focus 100% on my studies, but to do so I had to essentially ‘pause’ my life for a month. Other trainees prefer to study over a longer period, even online, to minimise family and work disruption.
What will you choose?
That’s why I’ve put together this guide comparing the different ways to take your CELTA.
Also known as the intensive option, and for good reason!
Taking full-time CELTA course will require 4 to 5 weeks of study and practice. It involves a mix of tutor input sessions, written assignments, hands-on teaching time, and lesson observations. It can be a very intense experience as it expects you to take in a lot of information and put it into practice straight away. On top of that, you will have weekly assignments to complete.
The typical full-time CELTA course involves 4 to 5 weeks, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. This will include theoretical and practical training, as well as feedback and discussions with your tutor.
This does not include time for your CELTA written assignments. You will normally be expected to complete these in your “spare” time.
To take the CELTA full-time, you need to be motivated, organised and prepared to spend many hours working both within and outside of the training course.
Full-time study will suit those that have recently finished other courses of study, for instance, a degree course or college certificate. Most courses will take people over the age of 18 with qualifications equivalent to those to get into higher education.
Others that may benefit from full-time study are people that are out of work or have a flexible working arrangement, allowing them to take big chunks of time off. If you’re keen to complete the CELTA course quickly and have the time available, the full-time option is probably the most suitable for you.
The course will be held at a training college or school, so be prepared to travel and factor the cost of transport in.
Full-time isn’t a good option for people that have work or family commitments that may interfere with completing an intense 4-5 week course. You will be expected to attend each day as well as utilise time outside of course hours.
If you don’t cope well with intense pressure (and it is intense, believe me!), the full-time option may not be the best fit for you. Ask yourself whether you’re prepared to focus almost 100% on a single goal — no social life, no dating, no relaxing weekends — for 4 weeks.
From personal experience, I will add that it’s easy to fall behind and struggle to catch up. If you choose the 4-week intensive CELTA course, stay on top of your workload and don’t leave anything to pile up!
Full-time study is also not ideal for those that need to spend time at home rather than travelling to a CELTA centre.
Many training providers offer the CELTA course on a part-time basis. The content covered is exactly the same, it’s just spread out over a greater length of time making it a less intense experience.
A typical part-time course will take place over several months and will involve 3 to 6 hours of study per week.
Part-time study is great for people that have weekday commitments such as work or taking care of family. Many people can’t afford to take time off work to complete a course, so the part-time option gives them the flexibility they need.
The course will be held at a CELTA centre — usually a training college or school — so be prepared to travel and factor the cost of transport in.
If you want to complete the course quickly and can handle intense hours, you may be better off taking the full-time option. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that the part-time option will be a much easier ride. The amount of work required is the same as the full-time course, meaning that there will still be lesson planning and large written assignments to complete outside of training hours.
If you need to be at home for large parts of the study, then the part-time course is not for you.
The online route to taking the CELTA is becoming increasingly popular. It’s a convenient way of getting qualified as it involves blended learning. This means that the theoretical aspects of the training are covered online, but you still get the hands-on practical experience offline.
A typical online course will take place over 3-4 months. It will normally involve 100+ hours of online learning as well as time at the CELTA centre for face-to-face time with your tutor and practical teaching practice for one or two days per week.
Again, to be clear, you will still be required to physically attend a CELTA centre for course elements such as the teaching practice.
The online or blended learning CELTA is ideal for those that need a degree of flexibility with their training. The fact that some of the input session modules can be taken online at home allows you to fit in other commitments if necessary.
However, the fact that a large chunk of the course will require independent learning means you’ll need self-motivation and good time management skills.
The online CELTA is not ideal for people that need a lot of prompting and guidance. If you find it hard to motivate yourself without a tutor guiding you, then this probably isn’t for you.
If you find it difficult to learn by yourself through watching videos and reading course materials, you may be better off doing a part or full-time CELTA which will be more classroom based.
Although there may be online features to encourage sharing and support between CELTA trainees, you won’t have the same level of access to other people studying at the same time. If you get a lot of value and motivation from working as part of a team of peers, you’ll probably want to consider the full or part-time CELTA.