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Am I ready for the DipTESOL or DELTA Course?


What is the DipTESOL (or DELTA)?

If you’ve read our recent blog post, you’ll know that we have been exploring the most common acronyms in TEFL. DipTESOL and DELTA are two more. Both stand for Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. They are fully accredited, advanced level TEFL qualifications which are recognised worldwide. Not only that, they are the two Level 7 teaching qualifications which the British Council endorses for teaching English in its global institutions. This makes them a great way to develop your career and compete for some of the best jobs in ELT.

The Trinity DipTESOL and Cambridge Delta qualifications are for experienced teachers, and open up opportunities including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Writing coursebooks 
  • Becoming a Teacher Trainer
  • Director of Studies or Academic Coordinator positions
  • Working visas in some of the countries where TEFL work is best-paid
  • A pay rise in certain institutions (including our very own Oxford House)

There are some – relatively minor – differences between the DipTESOL and DELTA, but the qualifications are direct equivalents. Where one is accepted, the other will be too. The main difference is the accrediting body (Trinity for the DipTESOL and Cambridge for the DELTA). You can read here about how to choose between the two courses. For brevity’s sake though, this post will refer to the ‘Diploma’ with reference to both.

So, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s begin to answer the question – ‘Am I ready for the DipTESOL or DELTA course’?

Studying hard for a DipTESOL or DELTA course.

Do I have enough experience to be accepted onto a Trinity DipTESOL (or Cambridge Delta) course?

The main requirement for those looking to take a Diploma course is two years’ full-time teaching experience. This is equivalent to around 960 hours of teaching. The experience can be with any age of level. That said, the course will cover all aspects of TEFL and the learning curve will definitely be steeper if you have only taught one or two types of class. Our advice, therefore, would be to begin expanding your repertoire. For example, if you have only worked with lower-level students, try to take on a C1 class. If you’re just teaching young learners, it’s probably wise to take on an adult group. This will help you to expand the scope of your teaching, and demonstrate to future course providers that you have been reflecting on your professional development journey.

Let’s be clear

Potential Diploma trainees – and even course providers! – sometimes misunderstand this requirement. Remember that you do not need two years’ post-CELTA experience. In fact, seasoned teachers who take CELTA or CertTESOL courses relatively late in their careers may feel prepared to take a Diploma course sooner. One of our current trainees found herself in just this situation. Natalia Correa tells us:

‘Having been a TEFL teacher for almost ten years, I was surprised by how much I learned on the CELTA course I took with Oxford TEFL. That said, after a year of putting into practice these new skills, I felt ready to take the next step. I was accepted onto the DipTESOL course and am proud to say I’m finishing up the part-time phase and looking forward to the Teaching Practice component this summer.’

Indeed, having a CELTA or CertTESOL qualification at all is only a recommendation. Your humble author, for instance, taught for eight years in schools and universities around Europe, all without having obtained an official teaching qualification. Nevertheless, two years ago, I accepted a place on the Oxford TEFL Trinity DipTESOL course. Happily, I’m already taking advantage of the opportunities it has to offer.

What are my ELT career goals?

If you’ve read this far, it seems likely that you are feeling quite enthusiastic at the prospect of taking your TEFL career to the next level. However, be realistic about your motivation. The 7-month study phase of the Oxford TEFL Trinity DipTESOL course is designed to be flexible, and many trainees continue to teach full-time. Nevertheless, you will notice the change to your schedule, and it’s vital that you are prepared to spend time reading, writing, and researching. ‘Live’ sessions are short but valuable – if you’re inclined to ditch extra commitments when things are getting tough, now may not be the right time.

Completing online intensive phase of the diploma course.

As well as that, think about your professional objectives moving forward. Are you planning to work in TEFL for the next few years at least? Does the idea of having more responsibility appeal? Are there opportunities available for diploma-qualified teachers in your area? Because a Trinity DipTESOL or Cambridge Delta qualification opens the door to such a wide variety of possibilities, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to make use of it post-graduation. All the same though, think about your goals ahead of time. It’ll be helpful to keep these in mind on those occasions when the deadlines seem to be piling up!

Talk to other diploma-qualified teachers. Listen to their reasons for taking the course, and ask them about how they managed the workload. The consensus seems to be that the course is challenging but well worthwhile, and my own experience certainly reflects this.

Am I able to dedicate enough time to the course?

As we’ve seen, most Diploma courses are designed to be flexible. If you can spare around twelve hours per week, you should have enough time to complete the study phase. What’s handy for a lot of people is that almost all learning is asynchronous, meaning that you can fit it in around your other commitments. Busy family life? Study in the evenings when the kids are in bed. Teaching Monday–Friday? Set aside time at the weekend. Most trainees tell us that they find it surprisingly easy to free up an hour or two here and there, and there’s tutor support if you’re struggling to manage your workload.

The teaching practice (which comes after the study phase on the Oxford TEFL Trinity DipTESOL course) does require you to take four weeks out of your schedule. However, there’s a lot of flexibility regarding when and how to complete the intensive part of the Diploma. Courses take place from June – September, online or in-person. Most graduates would agree that taking a month for their professional development is extremely rewarding, and well worth having a slightly shorter holiday for. The Trinity DipTESOL Course Director or admission team of your chosen course provider will be able to help you manage your time in the most effective way to ensure you can make a success of the course.

Is a Trinity DipTESOL (or Cambridge Delta) course a good investment?

There’s no denying that taking a Diploma course involves a financial commitment, but most graduates will tell you that this is more than repaid. The exciting new opportunities that will be open to you upon graduation typically involve a substantial pay increase over standard teaching hours. Not only this, but good course providers will offer the option of paying in instalments. This minimises the economic burden and allows you to plan ahead.

Remember too that with the Trinity DipTESOL course you have up to three years to complete the course from the date of your first exam. You may choose to complete the study phase and then wait a while before completing the Trinity assessments. In this way, you can hold off on paying the exam fees, giving you a chance to spread out the expense. Another bonus here is that it also gives you more time to consolidate what you have learnt and put it into practice.

Final Thoughts

So, are you ready to enrol in a Trinity DipTESOL or Cambridge DELTA Course? I’ll give the final word to our Director, Duncan Foord:

The Diploma course is a personal and professional challenge which is well worth the effort. The experience and the qualification will transform your teaching and your career. However it is important to make sure you are ready for it and have a clear idea how it will benefit you. So, before you start, talk to a reputable course provider, who will assess and advise you.

If you’re interested in taking your career to the next level, find out more about our blended or fully online Trinity DipTESOL course here. Courses start in January, April and October.

To read some more success stories from people who decided to take the plunge, click here, here or here.

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