We take a closer look at the DELTA course, how you can do it, and what it might mean for your English teaching career.
Whether you fell into it by happy accident, or ended up here on purpose, those of you who are fully-fledged career English teachers will know that just as with any ‘regular job’ (and we use the term loosely), you’re always looking for ways to develop your skills and advance your career.
Professional development is the often-overlooked, but most important, part of forming great teachers. Sure, the CELTA course – with its intense nature and practical components – is a brilliant and key step into English teaching, but on the job is where English teachers really hone their classroom skills.
There are a lot of ways that professional development takes place throughout your English teaching career; from staff meetings, to in-class and online courses, conferences, course books, TEFL blogs and websites and even Instagram but the real, official step comes in the form of the DELTA.
The DELTA is Cambridge’s internationally recognised Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and ranks as a level seven qualification (so, the same level as a Masters) in the UK. It often signifies a teacher’s progression from classroom to career.
But how exactly does one obtain the DELTA? How can you fit it around your working life? And what exactly will it mean for your career and for future potential job roles?
We break down whether or not the DELTA is a worthwhile step in your career…
What is the DELTA?
The University of Cambridge DELTA course is a diploma designed for experienced and qualified English teachers who want to take the next step in their career; whether it be to Director of Studies, Teacher Trainer, course book publisher, a Cambridge Assessor or even just to become a better-rounded teacher.
It’s broken down into three modules, the first of which includes an exam, the third a written assignment, and the second a continuously assessed combination of classwork, tasks and teaching practice.
It is not necessary to take all three modules as each one is a stand-alone qualification, but when you have successfully completed all three you will receive an overarching DELTA Certificate and have the status of a fully DELTA-qualified teacher.
Further reading: What you need to know about the DELTA
How can I take the DELTA?
First thing’s first, you’ve got to know whether you’ll be eligible. The rule of thumb is that you should have an initial, 120-hour teaching qualification (like the CELTA), and a minimum of one year’s full-time experience with a variety of levels.
But, like always, the rules are made to be bent (not broken however!), and there are some circumstances where teachers who don’t meet the exact requirements can still be accepted onto a course.
Then there’s the actual course format; the multitude of different ways that a DELTA course modules can be taken. There are online and face-to-face full-time intensive courses, part-time ones as well as mixed mode too.
While many DELTA trainees prefer to take a few months off work and complete their modules in one intensive hit, you can also choose to space your DELTA modules over a long period to fit the course around your job and other life commitments.
You can take the three modules separately, or all together, and in any order you prefer. There is no There is no time limit for taking the DELTA modules too, which means you can take the three modules at your convenience to suit your personal circumstances.
Doing one of the DELTA modules doesn’t in any way commit you to doing the others: they’re independent. However it is worth bearing in mind that from a career point of view, most employers who ask for DELTA-qualified applicants will expect such applicants to have completed all three modules successfully.
The course is quite pricey – is it worth the money?
It’s true that a DELTA course is financially a step above the CELTA, and it’s not always easy to fund on an English teacher’s wage. Depending on where you go, all three modules can set you back an absolute minimum of £2,000.
Comparatively speaking, however, for a level seven qualification the cost is modest: a Master’s in TESOL in the UK, for example, can range in price from around £6,500 to £15,000.
One of the main differences is that the DELTA is much more practical than a Masters degree, as teachers develop their classroom teaching skills. Plus, the certificate leads to roles of higher responsibility, which usually means a salary improvement.
Many teachers can also expect a pay raise, particularly when the DELTA leads to higher level academic management and teacher training positions. It makes for a more sustainable career for an ELT teacher, so in the long term the initial investment will end up being repaid many times over.
What will the DELTA certificate mean for my career?
Holding the DELTA opens up so many more career avenues that are often off-limits for the regular, CELTA-qualified teacher. Whichever big name in ELT you care to mention, they will probably have a DELTA!
DELTA trainees typically go on to be Directors of Studies, Teacher Trainers, Materials Writers and University Lecturers all over the world. But it’s not just the better job or higher pay that makes the DELTA so appealing, it’s also the noticeable difference in your teaching knowledge and capabilities.
Many teachers simply want to develop further professionally and become more confident teachers and see the DELTA as ‘worth it’ in relation to this aim. The DELTA can also help you stand out as a teacher when looking for your next teaching role.
Further reading: Six ways to make a career out of the ELT industry
So, is it worth taking the DELTA?
That’s the golden question. Trying our best to put our obvious bias aside for a moment, we believe the following questions are the ones you need to ask yourself:
- Am I serious about English Language Teaching as a career?
- Am I dedicated to ongoing professional development in my career?
- Do I want to move out of just ‘regular’ classroom teaching and into directive roles, training, or publishing?
- Do I want to build on my skills, capabilities and confidence as an English language teacher?
If you answered a resounding ‘yes’ to these questions, then you’ll no doubt see the DELTA as a worthwhile addition to your training and development.
Applying for a DELTA course
You can see details of upcoming courses and apply for an upcoming DELTA course here. For locations, dates and fees around the world (online or face-to-face) you can visit here too. If you have any questions, you can also get in touch with one of our DELTA experts to find out more.