Diploma courses: When is the right time to do an advanced TEFL qualification?

By Jon Duckett
Experienced TEFL teacher and director at TEFL Jobs Network

Diploma courses: When is the right time to do an advanced TEFL qualification?

A diploma in TEFL is the next level up in qualification from the entry level CELTA and Trinity TESOL courses. The two most widely recognised diploma courses are the DELTA from the University of Cambridge and the DipTESOL from Trinity College London. They are challenging courses that take two months to complete on a full time basis, and most training centres recommend teachers have at least two years prior experience before embarking on a diploma course.

TEFL Diplomas are only recommended for those serious about a long term career in TEFL; so if you’re only interested in teaching for a few years or your main goal is to travel while you teach, then a diploma is probably not for you. However, if you are keen to make TEFL your career, then gaining this advanced qualification is an ideal way to put yourself ahead of your peers and rise up the management ranks. If you have your eye on a director of studies position then doing a diploma in TEFL is a must.

The DELTA and the DipTESOL vary slightly in format but can both be studied face to face or through distance learning – the exact way in which the course is delivered varies between providers. A key difference between the format of the two qualifications is that the DELTA’s 3 modules can be taken in any order.

DELTA Modules

  • Module 1: Understanding Language, Methodology and Resources for Teaching
  • Module 2: Developing Professional Practice
  • Module 3: Extending Practice and ELT Specialism

DipTESOL Units

  • Unit 1: Language, Teaching and Learning
  • Unit 2: the Teacher as Developmental, Reflective Practitioner
  • Unit 3: Phonological Theory in Classroom Practice
  • Unit 4: Teaching, to include learner analysis, preparation, delivery and self-evaluation


Many language centres in the UK offer these courses, and the key factors students generally consider when deciding where to study are: cost, location, course timings and ability to choose a modular versus a full time option. You can also choose to study overseas, and it is becoming increasingly popular for European language schools to offer both courses. It’s worth ringing up the school and speaking with the course organiser to get a feel for how well the course is run, and the quality of the tuition.

Search for your nearest DELTA or DipTESOL Course Provider.


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