DELTA Certification: Is It Worth Getting One?

If you are looking to advance your qualifications as an ESL teacher the DELTA Certification is one of many advanced level certifications for teachers that you have probably looked into. Along with the Masters of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Master TESOL), the Delta Certification qualifies teachers to work at the higher levels of the ESL industry including in administrative positions. However, is it worth the cost of the certification and the major time commitment which teachers can expect? Let’s answer this so that you can get a better understanding of whether or not the DELTA Certification is right for you to advance your career.

What is the DELTA Certification?

The Cambridge English Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, or DELTA Certification, is an advanced level certification for teachers who have prior experience in teaching ESL. The basic requirements to be admitted into a Delta Certification program are at least one year of prior teaching experience at any level (young learners, teenagers, or adult). The program itself is broken up into three different modules.

The first module focuses on increasing a teachers understanding of language acquisition theories as well as different teaching methodologies. Topics include:

  • Theoretical perspectives of language acquisition
  • Different teaching approaches and methodologies
  • Language systems and learners linguistic problems
  • Language skills and learners problems
  • Knowledge of resources, materials and reference sources for language learning
  • Key assessment concepts and terminology

Module One Assessment: Written Examination

The second module of the Delta Certification focuses on expanding a teachers awareness of the principles and professional practices of teaching English in a wide variety of contexts. Topics include:

  • The language learner and the language learning context
  • Preparation for teaching English language learners
  • Evaluating, selecting and using resources and materials for teaching purposes
  • Managing and supporting learning
  • Evaluation of lesson preparation and teaching
  • Observe and evaluate other teachers’ lessons
  • Professionalism and opportunities for professional development

Module Two Assessment: Portfolio of Coursework

The third module is broken up into two separate specialties which are a focus on extending practice and English language specialism or English language teaching management. Candidates in the program have the option of which specialty they would like to go through. Topics include:

Option One – Extending Practice and English Language Specialism

  • Research into specialist areas
  • Syllabus design: principles, influences on, methodological effects of, and major syllabus types as applied to the specific learning context
  • Designing syllabus and teaching programs to meet the needs of learners in the specific context of their selected specialism
  • Course design and development in the specific context of their selected specialism
  • The principles and practice of testing and assessment and application to the candidate’s specialist area
  • Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness and quality of courses and programs of study

Option Two – English Language Teaching Management

  • Research into specialist areas
  • Management: principles and applications
  • Principles and procedures of the specialism and their application in the LTO
  • Designing management initiative to meet the requirements of the specific context
  • Implementing the initiative in the LTO
  • Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the initiative

Module Three Assessment: Written Assignment

Who is the DELTA Certification for?

As mentioned above the minimum requirement for participating in the DELTA Certification program is at least one year of prior teaching experience. It is also highly recommended that people wishing to participate have a completed 120-hour TEFL certification as much of the material which is presented in the Delta Certification program is covered in most TEFL certification courses only more in-depth in the Delta. This points to the Delta being more appropriate for teachers who intend to teach for more than just a few years and wish to advance to higher levels of ESL teaching.

The DELTA Certification is not going to be appropriate for teachers who are simply taking a year off post-university before going into the workforce or who are teaching strictly for the purposes of traveling. If this describes you then the Delta Certification will be overkill and having only a 120-hour TEFL Certification will be just fine.

Instead, teachers who wish to move into administrative positions or who would like to get into course design will find the Delta Certification to be more useful.

How much does the DELTA Certification cost?

Obtaining a DELTA Certification is quite pricey and can set a teacher back quite a bit. Costs for the certification can be as high as $3,000 or more. This is just for the course. Examination costs will be extra and run almost $500 for all three modules (as of 2018).

This can be quite a bit for an upfront investment and may be more than many teachers are willing to pay. This is another reason advanced certifications such as the DELTA Certification are recommended for teachers looking to advance their career in ESL and who know they wish to work longterm in the industry.

I would advise anyone who is interested in an advanced level certification (whether the Delta or any other) to always look at the cost from a long-term perspective. This is an investment. That means that the principal will be returned over a period of time and not just up front. If an advanced level certification helps you to land a job making double what you are making at present then it will certainly pay for itself and then some.

How long does it take to get a DELTA Certification?

This will largely depend on where you are taking the certification and how you are taking it. The Delta Certification course can be completed both in a traditional classroom as well as through distance learning online. Courses can range from full-time two-month courses all the way to nine months or more part-time courses. Teachers may choose to take a month or two off from teaching in order to complete the certification quickly or may have to complete the course more slowly.

Should I get a DELTA Certification?

Now that you know about the Delta Certification the real question is whether or not you should even get it in the first place. My recommendation is that it is not worth completing. There are a few reasons for this but the primary one being that there are better options for teachers who are looking to land high paying jobs teaching abroad or who are trying to get into the administrative side of teaching ESL. I would recommend that teachers get a Masters of Education Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Many countries which are known for high paying jobs are not even going to consider teachers who don’t have a Bachelors in English with a teaching certification and many of the schools in these countries are going to require potential teachers to have a Masters in TESOL. So, even if you spend the significant amount of money that a Delta Certification costs you still may be unable to land some of the more prestigious jobs that pay well.

Even though a Masters in TESOL is going to cost significantly more (potentially tens of thousands of dollars) the payoff is going to be much greater and more certain. A teacher with a Masters in TESOL who lands a job in the United Arab Emirates, for example, can easily command a salary of $4,000 or more per month with almost everything paid for. This means that over the course of a year depending on how much you save you will easily see a return on your investment and then some. Consider this over the course of a career and you can see why having a Masters in TESOL can be a very lucrative decision despite the cost.

This isn’t to say that having a DELTA Certification is completely useless. However, it is not guaranteed that you will be able to land a higher paying job and the competition will be much greater at that level. Many of the jobs that you will be looking to apply for will attract candidates who do have their Masters in TESOL on top of many years of experience. This means that you are going to have an uphill battle competing against these other candidates despite having a Delta Certification. Because of this careful consideration should be taken before obtaining a Delta certification.