Courses offer fast track to a career change

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 January, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 January, 2004, 12:00am

Every year, about 14,000 people worldwide qualify for TEFL certificates which, with just 120 classroom hours to obtain, must count as one of the quickest routes to a new career.

Graduates universally caution, however, that the training is intense, involving a large amount of out-of-class work and sleepless nights fretting over closely-scrutinised trial lessons.

There are two internationally-recognised qualifications for TEFL teachers; the Trinity College London Certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and the Cambridge/RSA CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching).

The British Council runs 10-week CELTA courses and the fee is $25,000. Courses start twice a year - in November and May - and the May sessions are held in the evening and at weekends for the benefit of working students. The British Council also offers a 10-week Certificate of English Language Teaching for Young Learners (CELTYL) course.

English For Asia runs shorter, more intensive four-week TESOL courses with a maximum of 10 trainees per course, compared with 20 in the British Council courses. The course fee is $21,500. An alternative is to study overseas for the certificate. London-based International House offers four-week CELTA courses at its London centre for #1,110 (HK$15,993) as well as teacher training courses in a variety of its 120 schools in 38 countries.

An alternative to the TEFL qualifications is offered by the Polytechnic University which runs a part-time 15-week course leading to the Certificate in Teaching Business English. The cost of the 100-hour course, which includes eight hours of classroom observation and two assessed lessons by candidates, is $15,000. Previous English teaching experience and a business degree is preferred.

Details of the Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults course and where you can take it can be found at

Contacts: The British Council, tel 2913 5581; English for Asia, tel 2366 3792; International House,; Polytechnic University tel 3400 2731.