Although a relatively recent entrant to the TEFL industry, the DELTA certification is fast gaining in popularity. This section examines exactly why it is so well regarded and offers suggestions for would be DELTA candidates. As you will see, its reputation is well earned!

A few acronyms invariably spring to mind when the subject of Teaching English as Second Language certifications is raised – and for good reason. After all, the CELTA, CertTESOL, and MA in TESOL have earned their notoriety (and well-held reputations) through careful program development and maintenance. To the select set of letters that spell success in the international ESL industry, however, anyone interested in making a career out of teaching English abroad should add one more: DELTA.

Formally know as the Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (which replaced the original Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults designation in 2008), a DELTA certification is, as the name suggests, widely seen as a follow-up to the similarly named CELTA certification. Offered by the same University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations department that developed and audits CELTA courses worldwide, the difference between the two programs is nevertheless far greater than their similar names would suggest.

Indeed, the C in CELTA is replaced by the D in DELTA courses because the coursework involved in the latter garners applicants a full diploma (as opposed to a “mere” certificate). Thus potential applicants should be aware that DELTA courses are far lengthier than the CELTA counterparts. Depending on the program in question, full-time courses can be completed in as little as two to three months while part-time alternatives can take upwards of a year or more. Given the added commitment of time and energy that this involves, the DELTA is most commonly pursued by experienced English teachers who have decided on a long-term career in English-language education. The typical candidate will have had at least some classroom-based English teaching experience (and expect to continue to do so for some time to come) but this is not a formal requirement of all DELTA programs.

Much of what makes the DELTA so valuable is its flexibility. Suitable for teachers with a background or interest in teaching English in any context – be it to young learners, primary, secondary, or adult students – it is also designed for both English as Second Language (domestic) and English as a Foreign Language (international) instructors. Moreover, in addition to the full-time and part-time options available in many countries around the world, many centers offer distance learning. More to the point, although the formal DELTA certification is predicated around the completion of three distinct modules – which focus on 1) understanding the English language and suitable teaching methods, 2) skill development for professional practice, and 3) specialized English instruction – students can take all three modules together or singly. Better yet, students can complete these modules in any order and at any pace; there is no formal time limit for completion and students will receive an accreditation for each successfully completed module. Many MA in TESOL programs even accept up to 20 hours of each DELTA module toward their own program requirements.

The DELTA degree is broken up by different modules, each with it’s own grading criteria. A student’s grasp of the first module, for example, is certified by a written examination while the second module is evaluated through the use of a combination of written assessments, examinations, and observed lessons. Finally, given its focus on specialization, a formal written thesis dominates the third module. Modules are graded on a Pass, Pass with Merit, and Pass with Distinction basis and the ultimate completion of all three modules – which is the only way to earn the full DELTA certification – garners a separate, overarching DELTA diploma.

Thus, given its reputation and focus on student enrichment, the DELTA is clearly a winning proposition for anyone planning to make English language instruction their career. Visit the Cambridge ESOL website to find a course provider near you!

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