Frequently Asked Questions

Which course is the best?

We are not able to recommend any particular course or institution but suggest that initial enquiries be made to universities which teach TESOL.

For information on what qualifications and experience are required to teach in accredited ELT centres and requirements for teaching the AMEP, please check the website of the National English Language Teaching Accreditation Scheme Limited (NEAS):

What is CELTA?

CELTA (Certificate for English Language Teaching to Adults) is issued by the University of Cambridge ESOL, part of Cambridge Assessments, which is a department of the University of Cambridge. The certificate can be obtained after completing a 4 week full-time course or an equivalent period part time. The CELTA is a practically oriented short course which is widely recognised overseas. It teaches important practical skills but is not sufficient on its own to gain a CELTA holder employment as an ESL teacher in the ACT. Some ELICOS colleges require this qualification. The CELTA is accepted as a component in some university TESOL certificate, diploma and masters courses. In Australia, the CELTA course is usually full fee-paying.

Further information on the CELTA may be gained from:

The CELTA is taught at some universities and by private providers in Australia, but at present not in the ACT.

I was born in Australia so I speak good English. Would teaching ESL be easier than what I am doing now?

Teaching English to speakers of other languages can be personally rewarding and intellectually stimulating but it cannot be described as “easy”. Contrary to popular belief, it rarely involves teaching ‘one-to-one’. You need to study linguistics in order to analyse language and understand it on many levels. (Linguistics is a subject which many TESOL students find to be quite challenging.) You need to be methodical and well organised so that your students can make steady progress through a planned programme. You also need to be empathetic, warm and spontaneous so that you can add fun into the classroom and capitalise on unplanned learning opportunities which arise. You must maintain enthusiasm while teaching a group of students the same topic many times. (It takes a long time to learn any language and repetition is required for all language learning.) You need be creative so that you can motivate students who are discouraged when they reach a language plateau or when worries from outside the classroom intrude. You are more likely to enjoy this work if you are have good people skills, like meeting people from different cultures and have a genuine interest in learning about and from them.

I speak good English but am not a native speaker. Can I be an ESOL teacher?

To undertake TESOL training in Australia you need to demonstrate a high level of competence in English on the IELTS or an equivalent scale. Many non-native speakers with excellent English competence and a good understanding of language teaching and learning have become successful ESOL teachers. However, you need to be aware that in some countries there are employers who have a bias towards native speakers of English.

What are the job prospects?

The TESOL field is rapidly expanding. With the growth of English as an international language, there is demand internationally for ESL teaching from primary school level upwards. In Australia, teachers are needed to teach migrants and refugees, and also international students. The demand for teachers in Australia fluctuates in line with migrant and refugee intakes, government funding for ESL teachers and with varying enrolments of international students. To assess current job prospects internationally, look at job boards at websites such as

Dave’s ESL Café at

TEFL Professional Network at

To gain an idea of job prospects in the ACT, look at job advertisements at sites such as or  or in the press.

It sounds interesting but I’m not sure whether TESOL is right for me.

ACTA is the national profession body representing teachers of English to speakers of other languages in Australia.  ACTA has initiated and supported the development of a set of National Professional Standards for Teachers:

You may want to become a volunteer ESOL tutor.  In the ACT these are some providers of volunteer TESOL opportunities:

Home Tutor Scheme of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)

Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS)
MARSS runs home tutor service, as well as language, conversation and pronunciation classes, and a migrant singing group.  You could also volunteer to tutor in the Program for After School Studies, helping migrant children with their school homework.

Find out more about the work in an international context by joining the job forum at Dave’s ESL Café at

To find out more about the TESOL field in Australia, look at some of the websites referred to in this overview. You may be interested to attend some of ATESOL ACT’s workshops and seminars during the year. They will give you a feel for what is involved and you will have the opportunity to meet current ESL teachers.

How can I get a job in a government school?

Teaching in government schools in the ACT requires registration with the ACT Department of Education and Training. Further information may be available from these sites:

Department of Education and Training

Teach NSW, Department of Education and Training