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Trinity Cert TESOL vs Cambridge CELTA - What is the difference?

You may be about to start your journey into English teaching and asking ‘how do I become an English teacher?’

Choosing the best teacher training course for you can be tough. We hope that this article will point you in the right direction and help you decide the best English teacher-training course for you.

Here are some factors to consider: 

  • Trinity TESOL vs CELTA: What are the similarities? What are the differences?
  • Price: How much is the course? Which course is the best value?
  • Location: Do I want to do the course online or physically in their school?
  • Course length: Is the course full-time or can I study in my spare time? How long will the course last?
  • Quality: Which is the best centre to train at?
  • Where do I want to work after I complete my certificate?


English teaching courses

To begin with, here are some common acronyms you may have seen while searching for your course.

 What does TESOL stand for?

According to Trinity College, TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.


What does CELTA stand for?

According to Cambridge Assessment English, it stands for Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Some other acronyms you may encounter on your search for an online teaching course are TEFL and TESL.


What does TEFL and TESL stand for?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language.


teaching an English lesson


Trinity TESOL vs CELTA: What are the similarities?

Both courses are split into 5 units and can be completed in a minimum of 4 weeks with a full-time face-to-face course. Both have part-time school-based which can range from anything from 6 weeks to 20 weeks. Both offer online options, full-time and part-time. And most importantly, highly respected institutions accredit them both, Trinity College in London (TESOL) and Cambridge University (CELTA).


Candidates must be over 18 for both courses. Candidates whose first language is English must be over 18, have A-levels or equivalent, and have a good level of written and spoken English. For teacher-training candidates whose second language is English, they must have passed their Cambridge Advanced Exam (CAE) or achieved an IELTS level of 7.0. Each candidate must pass a test and interview before being accepted on the course. Both are mostly continuous assessment throughout the course. There is no final examination for CELTA but Trinity Cert TESOL is assessed by a mixture of continuous assessment and a final exam for one of the modules.



Trinity Cert TESOL requires 130 hours of timetabled training + 70 hours of self-study, CELTA requires 120 hours of timetabled training. While both have 5 units in each, the content is slightly different.

student using an interactive white board


Trinity Cert TESOL Units

1. Teaching skills
2. Language Awareness
3. The Learner Profile
4. Materials Assignment
5. Unknown Language


Cambridge CELTA Units

1. Learners and Teachers/Teaching and Learning
2. Language Analysis and Awareness
3. Language Skills
4. Planning and Resources for Different Contexts
5. Developing Teaching Skills and Professionalism

Teacher training in England


Prices vary in each institution, but in general Trinity Cert TESOL courses tend to be a little cheaper than Cambridge CELTA courses. Trinity Cert TESOL courses require a separate moderation fee, and Cambridge requires a separate assessment fee.

How much is the Trinity Cert TESOL moderation fee and the Cambridge CELTA assessment fee?

The moderation fee from Trinity costs £130. Cambridge charge a £156 assessment fee.


So, when you are pricing your teaching course, check if the moderation fee or assessment fee is included in the course price or do you have to pay that fee separately. Most institutions will also charge a separate registration fee, which can be anything from £20 to £100.

 students in wimbledon school of english garden

Course length and timezone:

Full-time school-based courses for TESOL and CELTA start at 4 weeks. Some institutions will also offer part-time school-based courses, which can range from 6 weeks to 20 weeks. Both these courses can also be taken online, either full-time or part-time. If you are already working full-time, and want to continue working while you study for this course, a part-time course may be a good option for you. Your daily commute will also be a factor, how much does it cost to travel there each day? Are you travelling there once or twice a week and staying in rented accommodation? Do the sums before you book. If you are considering an online course, check where the institution is located and what timezone they are in. What will your daily schedule look like? You don’t want to start your day at 11 pm, or maybe you are a night owl and you do! To each their own. Just arrive ready to learn. These are just some of the things to consider before you choose the best teaching course for you.


teacher training online

How do I know if the institution is good quality?

The great thing about both these courses is that the institutions teaching the course are moderated and inspected by Trinity and Cambridge. So, they have to meet certain criteria set out by Trinity and Cambridge. Each institution will have a different reputation, standards and facilities, so do your research before you choose your course. How do you know it is as good as its website says it is?  Our answer is just one word – accreditation. You can read our blog on ‘How to choose the correct language school' here.


students in garden


Are they in the right location and do they have the right facilities for me?

Ask yourself: Do you want to be in a busy city centre each day, or would you rather be somewhere quieter, in the countryside or a smaller town? Do they have a garden you can relax in or a café where you can have your lunch each day? Or maybe you don’t need either.


Teaching a lesson


Where do I want to work after I get my certificate?

You might not have thought that far ahead yet, but both TESOL and CELTA are recognised by the British Council as an initial certification for English language teachers. If you want to teach at a British Council accredited school, of which there are over 500 in the UK alone, you must have either of these qualifications to teach there. You may see ‘TEFL’ English teaching courses advertised. While they may teach similar skills and modules, they won’t allow you to teach in a British Council accredited school. When you are looking for a teaching job you may see ‘CELTA or equivalent’ in the job requirements, Trinity Cert TESOL is the equivalent.


We hope this has helped you decide the right teacher-training course for you.

Front of wimbledon school of english london wimbledon school of english garden


Here at Wimbledon School of English, we offer Trinity Cert TESOL, both in our main school and online. They are both full-time courses. The school-based face-to-face TESOL course runs for 4 weeks, and the full-time live online TESOL course is 5 weeks long. We are ranked as the Number 1 language school in the UK (EL Gazette rankings 2020, based on British Council inspection results). The same teacher-trainers who teach at our school will be your instructors for the Trinity Cert TESOL course, both for the main school course and the online Trinity Cert TESOL course. Our school located a 4-minute walk from Wimbledon station, which is just 17 mins by train from the centre of London. It costs £995 which includes Trinity’s moderation fee, plus a £30 registration fee for the online course, or a £55 registration fee for the school-based course.


If this sounds like the best course for you, then get in touch with us and we can help you start your journey to becoming an English teacher.


If you are looking to improve your teaching skills in London, check out our other English teacher training courses in London.

If you are an experienced teacher or new to teaching English online, check out our 10 top tips for teaching online from our expert teaching staff.

WSE Team