DELTA Certification: Is It Worth Getting One?

Is Delta Qualification Worth Doing

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 anyone who is simply taking a year off after graduating from university, or who is teaching as a means to travel and explore another country. For most people, a TEFL Certification is going to be the most suitable and affordable qualification they will need.

On the other hand, people with career ambitions in TEFL education will find the DELTA to be a meaningful qualification to add to their profile when applying to senior administrative, teacher training, or curriculum design positions.

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.

That’s quite an upfront investment and understandably more than many teachers are willing to pay. Advanced certifications such as the DELTA Certification are thus recommended for teachers looking to advance their careers in ESL and work in more lucrative positions and markets.

Anyone interested in an advanced level certification should view the cost from a long-term perspective. This is an investment into your career that, if planned well, should pay itself back through high-paying opportunities in ESL.

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. In most cases, it is not worth completing. While the DELTA certainly looks nice on your résumé, there are better options for teachers who want higher paid teaching jobs abroad or who are trying to get into management positions. Specifically, a better career choice will almost certainly be completing a Masters of Education Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (M.Ed TESOL)

Employers in countries known for high paying jobs will require at least a Bachelors in English and a teaching certification from your home country. Because jobs in these countries are highly paid and thus highly competitive, candidates who have completed a M.Ed TESOL are coveted. Completing the DELTA certification, on the other hand, might not yield you any better results than completing a TEFL Certification with a practical teaching component, and will cost you much more.

Even though a Masters in TESOL is going to cost significantly more (potentially tens of thousands of dollars), the payoff is going to be greater. 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 housing, health insurance, flights and other perks paid for by the employer. Combined with a teaching certificate from your home country, the doors to top jobs at international schools and universities open up, and the investment you made in your career will pay itself off.

Completing the DELTA isn’t necessarily a bad decision. Depending on other qualifications you already have on hand, and specific career goals you may have in mind, a DELTA may be something to consider. If your aim is to develop a career in curriculum design, then a DELTA Certification is one option. In most cases, however, completing a TEFL certification will suffice, and cost you less.

Adil Vellani
Adil Vellani
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Adil Vellani is the co-founder of ESL Job Exchange. With more than 20 years of international experience in both the education and corporate sectors, Adil is devoted to sharing his knowledge and experience to help individuals and organizations connect and make a massive impact in the lives of ESL learners across the globe. Adil also lectures at the Sino-European Institute of Aviation Engineering, where he teaches aviation engineering students in an international degree program.
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