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The Qualification: Trinity CertTESOL Trinity Cert TESOL or Cambridge CELTA TEFL Course?

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The Trinity Cert TESOL and the Cambridge CELTA are the only two TEFL qualifications that are widely recognised by reputable language schools worldwide. Any course that doesn't lead to one of these is not recognised and has no validity, including all other TEFL courses. Both the CertTESOL and the CELTA are ranked at level 5 of the UK NQF (National Qualifications Framework) by the UK QCA (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority), meaning that they have equal status. No other initial TEFL courses are ranked on the NQF.

The most common question we get asked by applicants is "What's the difference between the Trinity CertTESOL and the Cambridge CELTA?" 

Here is a direct comparison, compiled by Jason Anderson, who has trained extensively on both, so you can make an informed choice when deciding which one you'd like to do:


Trinity CertTESOL

Cambridge CELTA

Who validates it?

Trinity College London, the oldest language board in the world

Cambridge ESOL, part of the examinations board of the University of Cambridge

NQF Level



What’s the minimum course length?

130 hours

120 hours

How many hours of teaching do trainees have to do?



How many weeks does it take?

A minimum of 4

(on the intensive course)

A minimum of 4

(on the intensive course)

Who is eligible to enrol?

To be eligible you should:
• be aged 18 or over
• have a standard of education equivalent to that required for entry into higher education
• competence in written and spoken English appropriate to a teacher of English, whether English is applicants’ first, second or foreign language

To be eligible you should:
• be aged 20 or over (a few centres accept candidates 18 or over)

• have a standard of education equivalent to that required for entry into higher education
• have a standard of English which will enable you to teach at a range of levels

Do applicants need to be native speakers?

No. Trinity accept a minimum standard of Cambridge ESOL Advanced Pass or IELTS 7.0 in all 4 papers.

No. The level of English required is decided by course providers, but is usually a minimum of Cambridge ESOL Advanced pass or IELTS 7.0. in all 4 papers.

What are the units of learning included on the course?

Unit 1: Teaching skills

Unit 2: Language Awareness

Unit 3: The Learner Profile

Unit 4: The Materials Assignment

Unit 5: Unknown Language


Unit 1: Learners and teachers and the teaching and learning context
Unit 2: Language analysis and awareness
Unit 3: Language skills
Unit 4: Planning and resources for different contexts
Unit 5: Developing teaching skills and professionalism

To summarise, there is little difference between the two courses. However, don’t take our word for it. Here is a summary from Jeremy Page, a Cambridge CELTA assessor, as quoted from

“Unsurprisingly, it seems that the two schemes have far more in common than divides them. While the differences of emphasis may lead a small number of candidates to choose the one rather than the other, the majority will no doubt continue to make their decision on the basis of recommendations from friends or practical considerations such as the location of centres or course fees."

Find out more about prices and start dates for the Trinity CertTESOL here. You can also read about the two qualifications on Wikipedia. Click the links to find out more:

Trinity Cert TESOL Cambridge CELTA

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