So you want to be a Celta trainer? Part 1: getting to the starting line

image of Cambridge Assessment Celta Trainer in training Handbook coverWho says so?

You do.  You have been asking for help and advice on social media about the ins and outs of getting trained up as a Celta trainer.  This gave me the impetus to collect what I know and what I think about this area in a series of blog posts.  This is for you.

Why listen to me?

I have been a Celta trainer for 13 years and a Celta assessor for 10 years.  In that time, I have acted as a training supervisor and trained Trainers in Training (TinTs) in my capacity as a Celta trainer, and I have conducted external moderation of TinTs as a Celta assessor.  I have been through this process as a trainee, trainer, and assessor, in other words.  I think I know what I’m talking about.  I think I have something useful to say.  Take the following information, opinion, and advice for what it’s worth.


You have decided that you want to become a Celta trainer.  When people decide to make the move into teacher training, they may be doing so for a range of different reasons.  Some of these reasons are good, and some of them are bad.  Some people want to make the move because they are getting bored with “just” being a teacher, with “doing the same thing over and over again”, and see teacher training as “a way out of the classroom”.

Those aren’t great reasons because – apart from the devaluation of teaching generally that they imply – anyone feeling this way about teaching is going to feel the same way about teacher training in a very short space of time.  So, if you want to become a teacher trainer, and be good at it, and enjoy it for the long haul, you will need better motivations that that.

Maybe you really enjoy working in regular classrooms with regular language learners.  Maybe what keeps you fascinated by this work is the way that it provides constantly novel problems to solve, regardless of how long you have been in the game.  Maybe you remember how much you learnt from a motivated and attentive trainer when you were just starting out.  Maybe you feel it is time to give back to the wider community of teachers and learners by offering what you have learnt about language, teaching, and learning over the years in the service of the next generation of teachers.  Maybe you want to explore your own practice as a teacher more deeply and see working with others who are learning the ropes and a useful discipline in your own development.  Maybe you want to learn.

These are better reasons.  But don’t listen to me.  Find your own.


The Trainer in Training Handbook sets out what qualifications and experience you need to be approved to start a course of training as a Celta tutor.

Prospective trainers with little previous pre-service teacher-training experience should have:

  • substantial (normally five years) varied and current classroom-based ELT experience preferably in more than one context.
  • Experience of teaching a range of levels and different types of class is a requirement.
  • the Cambridge Deltas Modules (One, Two and Three), the Cambridge DTEFLA, Cambridge English DELTA or Trinity Dip. TESOL. If the proposed trainer-in-training does not have any of the above, a transcript of the award must be submitted to Cambridge English for special consideration before training can be verified. Please note that for the qualifications to be considered they must be a post initial English Language Teaching qualification at Level 7 and they must include a practical component.
  • evidence of professional commitment (involvement in staff development, conference attendance, etc.)

(quoted from the Cambridge Assessment Celta Trainer in Training Handbook V4.0)

There are also personal qualities that will be necessary to do the job of a Celta trainer effectively, efficiently, and consistently well.  In no particular order, these include:

  • Self-organisation
  • Thoroughness
  • Attention to detail
  • Clarity of thought and expression
  • Ability to see the training process from the perspective of a novice
  • Empathy for the learner
  • Approachability
  • Boundary setting
  • Some ability to observe, record, and evaluate live environments in real-time
  • Willingness to make and deliver unwelcome decisions (such as grading a lesson below standard)
  • Grace under pressure


Basically, you need to be accepted as a trainer in training (TinT) by a specific centre.  They need to accept you with a prospect of working with you post-training as an Assistant Course Tutor (ACT) for at least 3 courses.  This means that centres should not offer to train you without also agreeing to offer you at least this amount of work post-training.  It also means that you should not look to be trained at a centre where you do not plan to remain for at least three courses post-approval to consolidate your training.

This also means that a centre should not charge you for your training.  They should only offer to train you if they foresee a use for you within their team.  If they think they should charge you, then your training cannot be valuable for them and they are only doing it for the money.

You should also already be working at the centre in some other capacity (for example as a teacher) or be working for another centre who cannot offer the training you are seeking.

There should be a thorough and rigorous application process.  At the least, this should involve a wide-ranging and rigorous interview between you and the centre.  The potential training supervisor should be involved (you need to have the chance to decide whether you will be able to work with this person, after all.)  Expectations about the training process, time investment, and post-training commitments need to be made clear and agreed.

If both you and the centre agree to enter into a training agreement, then the centre would send an application on your behalf to Cambridge Assessment.  Part of this application will be an outline of the training programme that the centre proposes you undertake and this, as well as your application, need to be approved by Cambridge before you may start training.

In the next instalment, I’ll describe the training process, the training plan, and the pre-course work you will need to do.


  • Thanks for the information. We are a language school in Italy and would like to undertake the training in order to offer CELTA courses at our centre. This means that after training we can’t stay with another school and work there. Do you know what we should do? Thanks for you help!

    • Hello Kyle, thanks for the question, and it’s a good one. If I understand you correctly, you and your colleagues are not trained to deliver Celta courses, but would like to train up. As there is no one at your centre who could do this, you are assuming that you would need to be trained at another centre, which you think would oblige you to work there for several courses post-approval to consolidate your training, which obviously wouldn’t be an option, am I correct?

      One solution I can imagine, and one which I suspect happens at other newly established centres, is that the centre gets approval in general to run courses but runs its initial courses with external, freelance MCTs and ACTs. during these initial courses, the MCT also agrees to train a trainer in training (TinT) who is already based at the centre.

      Over the course of 3-4 courses, a core local team could thus be trained up, and by the time the last member was trained and approved, the first member could have been aporved and also completed the 2-3 courses of experience-gathering before shadowing the MCT role. After this, the earliest qualified local tutor could take over the running of courses and the external MCT could leave them to fly solo. Obviously, the MCT would charge an extra fee for this TinT training, and obivously it would need to reflect not only the training effort but also the fact that effectively s/he would be developing her/his own local competition for work.

      It would probably be a good thing to have the same MCT train the core team, to ensure consistency of procedures and standards etc, but that probably isn’t essential. If I were you, I’d ask Cambridge to put you in touch with the local Joint Chief Assessor or other person who could advise you or mentor you through the process.

      Hope this helps, and get back in touch if I can help in any way.

      All the best,


      • Hi Anthony, Thank you very much for you response. I had found it extremely difficult to find this information from Cambridge so you have been really helpful!

        All the best,


        • Hi Anthony my name is Stanley and I am residing in Philippines; I am an English tutor already and I intend to become a CELTA Trainer here in Philippines and am a foreigner in Philippines please do you have any advice on how I should go about it and also I would like to know if I can be a CELTA trainer here in the Philippines even though am a foreign resident.

  • How to become teacher trainer, I am an indianw with 10 years of experience in teaching in school. I want to become a teacher trainer.

  • I have done the Trainer in Training and delivered several CELTA courses but I have not done any for 5 years so accreditation “lapsed” I believe! Do I need to do the full TinT again and deliver a min number of courses!! Any advice much appreciated.

    • Hello Helen, thanks for writing. In cases like yours it’s usual to shadow a complete course in order to refresh your training (and also complete the current year’s standardisation tasks.). Contact Cambridge for more info, or ask your centre to do so. Hope this helps.

  • Hi Anthony, Do you have any information about the demand for CELTA Tutors globally? Salary/wages? How does the tutor find work once qualified? I am trying to figure out if this would be a good investment of my time and money–I am already committed to teaching and brimming with enthusiasm.

    • Hi Jenn, thanks for writing. I’ve asked colleagues online to reply here with their own sense of things. Generally freelance pay ranges depending on geographicla area and tutor experience/role between EUR 2000 – 4000. You may sometimes get offered less, but you’ll probably never be offered more than these figures. Tutors are generally employed by centres (in which case they work for their employers) or they are freelance, in which case they advertise for or apply for work via the various secret online channels that will open up to you post-approval (I pause to smile…) Obviously, over time, tutors build up networks and long-term relationships with centres.

      How much teaching experience do you have, and in what contexts? Are you currently working for a school with a training centre?

  • Hi Anthony
    I’m an experienced Trinity CertTESOL trainer and would like to work as a CELTA tutor. Do I need to do the full training?

    • Hi Rich, thanks for writing. There’s always a little discretion in the system but other experienced trainers I know did a full induction. I think it’s probably worth it, as the procedures and regulations are quite different.

      • Thanks Anthony
        By induction, do you mean full training? I read in your blog there are three kinds of training: full, refresher and induction. What does an induction consist of as opposed to full training?

  • Hello Anthony. Excellent article. It’s not easy finding any ‘practical’ or simple advice on becoming a trainer. I came into the field late, and have an MA and EdD, but only did a short TEFL course about 15 years ago. I’m even Head of CPD but have no formal ‘training’ qualification or even CELTA/DELTA for that matter. Would someone like me be considered for a MCT or ACT course despite the apparent lack of paper qualifications? Warm regards.

    • Hello Roomi, apologies for the delay in replying. It’s not impossible, and only an application would tell, but it might be worth your time taking either or both of those courses before applying to train (and eventually work) on them. One reason is that you have a much more robust sense of what your trainees will eventually be going through, and the other reason is that if you don’t have first-hand experience of the course, you don’t know what you are getting yourself into either! All the best, Anthony

  • Hello Anthony,
    Do you know of any training centres in Argentina? I am in Buenos Aires and I know International House CELTA trains but it is very expensive. If I haven’t misunderstood your post, you said that this should be free.

    • Hello Christian, thanks for writing. To be clear, I am writing about the process of training to become a trainer working on CELTA courses; what you might be seeing when you talk about expensive course fees might be the fees for taking part in a CELTA course as a trainee teacher.

      If you are currently unqualified and inexperienced in teaching, then what you need is to take part in a training course, and that will cost you – an investment in your future earning potential, if you will. If you are already a qualified and experienced teacher who has already done some teacher training such as running workshops for colleagues etc, then you might be ready to train to become a CELTA teacher trainer. Then I would suggest you visit the Cambridge English website and use their “find a centre” search tool to locate centres in Argentina. Hope this helps. All the best, Anthony

  • Hi, thank you for sharing this information. I am an accredited trainer from University of Strathclyde. Have conducted many post gradiated courses in affiliation of UOS and my organisation. I have designed manned based modules for my school. I want to be a certified trainer from cambridge too. How is it possible.

  • Hi Anthony! I’d like to apply to be an online tutor on the Blended CELTA courses. Out here in India, the British Council runs the face 2 face CELTAs, but haven’t yet explored the blended programme. Looking for advice to understand whom to approach for this, your suggestions welcome….thanks!

  • Hi Anthony,

    Thanks for your posts, there is a lot of really helpful information.

    I have been working on and off for a centre for some time and they would now like to train me as CELTA tutor. However, their current CELTA trainer (for trainers) has taken leave for some time, they have two full time CELTA tutors but have asked if I know anyone who can train me, I do but she is not available during their course times.

    My question really is, what are the requirements for a CELTA tutor to train others, I understand from your first post that an MCT would have to first shadow? Or do they just need to have done a certain amount of CELTA courses to be able to train other tutors.

    Is there a site in which freelance MCTs advertise?

    Your guidance would be much appreciated.
    Many Thanks,

    • Hello Joanna,

      Thanks for writing. Sorry to hear you are having some trouble getting started training. In what I say below, I am assuming that you work at a centre without an Assessor on the team and that your centre would probably not be eligible to train you on the internal assessment scheme.

      Your centre can download the CELTA trainer in training handbook via the Cambridge Support website:
      The relevant section concerning training supervisor competencies is on p. 9:

      > “The following comments apply to all centres.
      > An experienced CELTA trainer from the centre must supervise the trainer-in-training. The training supervisor may or may not be involved in the course on which training is being undertaken. If the training supervisor is not involved, the tutors on the course must be appropriately experienced and should be aware that there may be an additional time commitment. As a general rule there should be an hour a day discussion/feedback time with a course tutor and/or the training supervisor. On full-time courses, the supervisor should allow adequate time before, during and after the course for this role. In the case of part-time courses, the time allocated for supervision during the course will need to be pro-rated.
      > All training supervisors should be given a copy of the Trainer- training and Induction Handbook.
      > Time allocation for training
      > The trainer-in-training will need to be allocated time to complete the tasks set, for example:
      >  8 – 10 hours on pre-course tasks
      >  observation of 80% of the course with the remainder of course time spent on completing associated tasks
      >  8 – 10 hours on post-course tasks, including work on the portfolio.
      > Supervising tutors must provide guidance, support and feedback during the programme. Liaison with other course tutors is important to ensure consistency of advice given.”

      So you can see that the definition of a qualified person to act as training supervisor is imprecise, but “experienced” should probably be taken to mean “experienced enough to act as MCT and has already done so”. So even if your other two colleagues do not currently act as MCT on courses, as long as they have sufficient experience to oversee your training, they could do so.

      As for your other question, regarding where freelance tutors advertise, there are a few. There is the official Cambridge mailing list, which you can sign up to after approval. There is also and there is also a CELTA/DELTA tutors closed group on Facebook. There may be others that I do not know about as well.

      I hope this is clear and useful.

      All the best,


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