What does CertTESOL mean?

CertTESOL is the Trinity Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages awarded by the Trinity College of London.

What is a CertTESOL course and who is it for?

The CertTESOL (Certificate in TESOL) is an accredited, professional qualification awarded by Trinity College London. It is intended for those with little or no experience of English teaching, or for those who have taught but without any formal training and qualifications, and it trains you in the skills required to take a position as an ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teacher. In this sense there may be more focus on teaching English to non-native students in an English-speaking country within the TESOL course when compared to a TEFL course – which focus on teaching English in a country where they do not speak English – but both will cover similar content which can be applied in either situation.

The CertTESOL is rated at Level 5 on the UK National Qualifications Framework which puts it on the same level as a foundation degree and is also of comparable level to the CELTA, with both having at least 100 hours of instruction and 6 hours of observed teaching practice. Likewise the DipTESOL, which is a diploma in TESOL again awarded by Trinity College London, is on the same level as the DELTA, with both being at level 7 on the UK National Qualifications Framework which is the equivalent level of a Master’s degree. The DipTESOL is and advanced qualification and is taken after the CertTESOL once you have acquired at least two years teaching practice.

Are there any entry requirements to do the CertTESOL course?

In order to do the Trinity CertTESOL, you need to be at least 18 years old and be able to demonstrate evidence of qualifications obtained for entry into higher education (for example A levels in the UK which you finish when your 18 before applying for/going to university). You’ll be expected to have a level of spoken and written English that allows you to teach others. However, it is open to all who count English as a first, second or foreign language, you just need to be able to show that you have the necessary level and capabilities to pass the course.

To gain entry onto the DipTESOL course, you’ll need to hold a degree and have already completed the CertTESOL or qualification of equivalent level. You’ll also be expected to have at least two years of recent English teaching experience and an English level of at least C1 on the CEFR standard of English, which shows an ability to speak and write and thus teach English at advanced levels.

How can you study for the CertTESOL course?

The CertTESOL course can be taken full time over a 4-5 week period or part-time over several months to a year. Some institutions also offer a portion of the course in the form of distance learning.

For other courses holding the TESOL name you will be able to study entirely online, although this does not apply to the CertTESOL.

Where can I take the CertTESOL course?

The CertTESOL is available in many different countries in language centres around the world, you just need to make sure you find a reputable course provider with good instructors.

What content is covered in a typical CertTESOL course?

As per the Trinity College syllabus the CertTESOL covers the following content:

  • An overview of basic TESOL methodologies in relation to the principal theories of language learning and acquisition, and learner needs
  • The design of a language learning programme to incorporate a variety of methods
  • The relationship between methodology and approach; strategies for planning a sequence of lessons to integrate the four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening; identification of the grammatical, lexical and phonological components of a syllabus on an individual and integrated basis
  • Assessment of learner needs with reference to lesson planning, remedial activity and error analysis
  • Materials selection and analysis, including coursebooks, supplementary and authentic materials including print, visuals, audio, video and ICT
  • The development of simple materials with specified aims for specific learners
  • Trainee self-evaluation and evaluation by tutors
  • An overview of the main public exams in ESOL
  • The main forms of test most useful in assessing students’ performance in English

These are covered under the following 5 modules:

  • Unit 1: Teaching skills
  • Unit 2: Language awareness including grammar and phonology
  • Unit 3: Learner profile
  • Unit 4: Materials assignment
  • Unit 5: Unknown language

To read more about the modules and how they are assessed you can view the full syllabus here.

CertTESOL resources are available here.

If you wish to further your study later on, you can then take the DipTESOL.


The DipTESOL is taught and assessed over 4 units which cover the following:

  • Unit 1: Language, teaching and learning (the written paper)
  • Unit 2: The teacher as a developmental, reflective practitioner (the portfolio)
  • Unit 3: Phonological theory in classroom practice (the interview)
  • Unit 4: Learner analysis, preparation, delivery and self-evaluation in teaching (teaching practice)

You can read more about the content and assessment in the course summary here.

In addition to the DipTESOL, there is also an extension certificate to the CertTESOL called TYLEC (Teaching Young Learners Extension Certificate), which trains teachers on how to teach English as a foreign language to children aged between 7 and 16.

How long is a CertTESOL course?

The typical duration of a CertTESOL course is 130 hours of study. You may also find CertTESOL courses up to 160 hours in length particularly if they come with extensions like the TYLEC (Teaching Young Learners Extension Certificate), which trains teachers on how to teach English as a foreign language to children aged between 7 and 16.

What do you get at the end of a CertTESOL course?

Upon successful completion of the CertTESOL you’ll be awarded your CertTESOL certificate. This is proof that you completed and passed any associated tests, and that you’re now ready to go out and get a job to apply what you’ve been taught in the classroom. The CertTESOL itself is accepted by leading international teaching organisations such as the British Council and is a very well regarded initial English teaching qualification, so it will greatly enhance your prospects of getting a job in your chosen location.

If you want to further advance your career later on, you can do so by studying for and obtaining the DipTESOL, which will open up opportunities such as examiner, teacher educator and centre manager/directors of studies.

Should you do a CertTESOL course?

 By completing the CertTESOL course your job prospects will be greatly enhanced, and as an entry level qualification into English teaching the CertTESOL can only really be rivalled by the CELTA in terms of the reputation it carries amongst those in the industry. It will provide you with an excellent foundation for your English teaching career and the training you’ll receive will put you in a great position to step into the classroom with confidence and deal with everything that comes your way, so it’s a great way to get started.