English Language Teaching qualifications

The TEFL / TESOL profession uses a whole range of acronyms. Here’s a guide to some of the more common ones you’re likely to encounter.

EFL English as a Foreign Language
ESL English as a Second Language
TEFL Teaching English as a Foreign Language
TESL Teaching English as a Second Language
TESOL Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Traditionally, TEFL refers to teaching in non-English speaking countries, whereas TESL refers to teaching in English speaking countries, to non-native speakers living or working there. In practice, though, the two terms are often used interchangeably, and both are covered by the all-encompassing TESOL.

Teaching qualifications

CELTA

Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults

The CELTA is one of the most internationally recognised and accepted entry-level qualifications. The old name for the CELTA was the CTEFLA (Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults). There are many other entry-level qualifications.

CELTYL

Certificate in English Language Teaching to Young Learners

CELTYL is no longer offered. Instead, Cambridge offer the Young Learner Extension to the CELTA, for those who want to specialise in teaching Young Learners.

Delta

Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults

The Delta is a higher level qualification, usually studied after two or more years of teaching for career progression. The old name for the DELTA was the DTEFLA (Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults).

TKT

Teaching Knowledge Test

The TKT focuses on the core teaching knowledge needed by teachers, whatever your background and teaching experience.

PGCE

Post Graduate Certificate in Education

PGCE is a UK teaching qualification required to teach in the state sector, and is not specific to language teaching.

IDLTM

International Diploma in Language Teaching Management

The IDLTM is designed for teachers looking to take on management responsibility.

ICELT

In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching

Exams

BEC Business English Certificates
BULATS Business Language Testing Service
CAE Certificate in Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced
CELS Certificates in English Language Skills
CPE Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency
FCE First Certificate in English or Cambridge English: First
IELTS International English Language Testing System
KET Key English Test or Cambridge English: Key
PET Preliminary English Test or Cambridge English: Preliminary
TOEFL Test of English as a Foreign Language
TOEIC Test of English for International Communication
YLE Cambridge Young Learners English Tests

Professional associations

IATEFL International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language
TESOL TESOL International Association