Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

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Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby Aussie Khmer » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:21 pm

Hi All,

I am 43 year old Aussie male planning to move to Cambodia in around 2 months to have a try at English teaching.

My girlfriend is Khmer and I want to try living together as well as experiencing the KoW for more than my 2 week visit last Dec/Jan.

I wanted to ask about salary expectations.

I have a Bachelors Degree in Engineering (Chemical/Environmental)
I am a native English speaker and essentially White (a little Asian heritage and squintier eyes than the average but by Asians considered white)
I have no teaching qualifications YET

If I get my online 120hrs TEFL before I come to KoW what should my salary range expectations be in Phnom Penh?

If I get a CELTA instead could it make any difference to salary expectations as a total newbie? After some experience?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I was hoping to get online TEFL certificate over next 2 months nd come to Cambodia mid August.
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby springrain » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:28 pm

I wouldn't mess around with online garbage, mate.
I'd do a proper CELTA.

Good luck!
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby YaTingPom » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:40 pm

Hi!
Is this your first foray into moving to a SE country?
I’m bringing sexy back.
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby Aussie Khmer » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:42 am

springrain wrote:I wouldn't mess around with online garbage, mate.
I'd do a proper CELTA.

Good luck!


Thanks for reply springrain. Can I ask for some extra info from you?

I understand CELTA is far more valuable for a career in teaching globally (and better for my own learning), but since I am wanting to have a go in Cambodia to start with:

Would CELTA make any difference to salary expectations in the beginning as a complete newbie to English teaching anyway? From research most schools in Phnom Penh pay no-to-low experience teachers $10-12/hr whether you have CELTA, TEFL/TESOL or just an online 120hr TEFL, and don't even have a degree?

However, would a high-end school such as ACE (who I could actually do the CELTA training with as well), hire a newbie with no previous experience and/or pay them $15-$20/hr even with a CELTA? If so then I could easily justify the cost of the CELTA! (I am hoping this is the case).

But if I'm only looking to earn a newbie salary of $10-12 p/hr regardless of certification then I'd be paying $1,700 (CELTA) for the same wage as having $270 online TESL certification. (And maybe people with no degree or certifcation at all). In this case I was thinking get some experience first and do the CELTA training later when it could help gain a better rate?

Thanks again mate if you can help...
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby Aussie Khmer » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:52 am

YaTingPom wrote:Hi!
Is this your first foray into moving to a SE country?


Hi YaTingPom,

Yes it would be my first time moving to SEA. I've only spent short holidays in a few countries. The main reason for Cambodia is my girlfriend lives there and I would like to experience living in her country before considering whether we stay there, move to another SEA country, or back in Australia.

BTW I just joined Khmer440 yesterday and am avidly reading all the threads I can. This the main reason for the CELTA question as many people here agree CELTA is the best, especially for a long-term future in EFL teaching.

My girl can live on $120 per month plus tips, so if we can't live on $1000 a month then I will be a disgrace by Khmer standards, but $2000 would be a far happier experience haha

Cheers... Cole
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby springrain » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:33 pm

Aussie Khmer wrote:
springrain wrote:I wouldn't mess around with online garbage, mate.
I'd do a proper CELTA.

Good luck!


Thanks for reply springrain. Can I ask for some extra info from you?

I understand CELTA is far more valuable for a career in teaching globally (and better for my own learning), but since I am wanting to have a go in Cambodia to start with:

Would CELTA make any difference to salary expectations in the beginning as a complete newbie to English teaching anyway? From research most schools in Phnom Penh pay no-to-low experience teachers $10-12/hr whether you have CELTA, TEFL/TESOL or just an online 120hr TEFL, and don't even have a degree?

However, would a high-end school such as ACE (who I could actually do the CELTA training with as well), hire a newbie with no previous experience and/or pay them $15-$20/hr even with a CELTA? If so then I could easily justify the cost of the CELTA! (I am hoping this is the case).

But if I'm only looking to earn a newbie salary of $10-12 p/hr regardless of certification then I'd be paying $1,700 (CELTA) for the same wage as having $270 online TESL certification. (And maybe people with no degree or certifcation at all). In this case I was thinking get some experience first and do the CELTA training later when it could help gain a better rate?

Thanks again mate if you can help...


Thanks for your reply and I'll try to answer your questions, but I have been out of the TEFL loop for a good ten years or so.

Firstly, a CELTA is the real deal when it comes to introductory TEFL qualifications; everybody knows that (or should know it) so that fact should always be the starting point of any discussion.

If, as you say, ACE do offer a CELTA course, you should definitely try to get involved in that.

On the other hand, if you are 'happy' to earn a lower salary, without the outlay of CELTA fees for a while, why not try that? Ultimately, though, the paying of CELTA fees will reward your effort (assuming you pass the CELTA).

There aren't really any short cuts, I reckon. Either get the best-known qualification and negotiate from a position of strength or take a risk not getting CELTA-qualified and ...erm...take the risks that go with that.

As for your questions about being hired at ACE, best to ask ACE yourself and see what they say.

That's the best advice I can give, mate. Good luck again!
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby Hot_Pink_Urinal_Mint » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:12 pm

There are plenty of threads and comments about ACE and nothing much has changed apart from worsening conditions. Also, there will be less classes for native speakers in the future as local teachers will be teaching more and more levels. Yes, they hire noobs fresh of the CELTA because experienced, qualified teachers don't want to be treated like excrement!

For more job security try and get in at one of the lower tier "International Schools." I know quite a few people who left ACE and are MUCH happier with the conditions and pay.

Have you thought about doing a PGCE in Education? If you are only going to teach in KoW then I don't think the Celta is a good investment but I also wouldn't waste my money on an online cert.

You could also try teaching English online first. You may find ESL teaching isn't as fun, glamorous and exciting as you imagine it to be :smile:
Last edited by Hot_Pink_Urinal_Mint on Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby Aussie Khmer » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:17 pm

springrain wrote:
Aussie Khmer wrote:
springrain wrote:I wouldn't mess around with online garbage, mate.
I'd do a proper CELTA.

Good luck!


Thanks for reply springrain. Can I ask for some extra info from you?

I understand CELTA is far more valuable for a career in teaching globally (and better for my own learning), but since I am wanting to have a go in Cambodia to start with:

Would CELTA make any difference to salary expectations in the beginning as a complete newbie to English teaching anyway? From research most schools in Phnom Penh pay no-to-low experience teachers $10-12/hr whether you have CELTA, TEFL/TESOL or just an online 120hr TEFL, and don't even have a degree?

However, would a high-end school such as ACE (who I could actually do the CELTA training with as well), hire a newbie with no previous experience and/or pay them $15-$20/hr even with a CELTA? If so then I could easily justify the cost of the CELTA! (I am hoping this is the case).

But if I'm only looking to earn a newbie salary of $10-12 p/hr regardless of certification then I'd be paying $1,700 (CELTA) for the same wage as having $270 online TESL certification. (And maybe people with no degree or certifcation at all). In this case I was thinking get some experience first and do the CELTA training later when it could help gain a better rate?

Thanks again mate if you can help...


Thanks for your reply and I'll try to answer your questions, but I have been out of the TEFL loop for a good ten years or so.

Firstly, a CELTA is the real deal when it comes to introductory TEFL qualifications; everybody knows that (or should know it) so that fact should always be the starting point of any discussion.

If, as you say, ACE do offer a CELTA course, you should definitely try to get involved in that.

On the other hand, if you are 'happy' to earn a lower salary, without the outlay of CELTA fees for a while, why not try that? Ultimately, though, the paying of CELTA fees will reward your effort (assuming you pass the CELTA).

There aren't really any short cuts, I reckon. Either get the best-known qualification and negotiate from a position of strength or take a risk not getting CELTA-qualified and ...erm...take the risks that go with that.

As for your questions about being hired at ACE, best to ask ACE yourself and see what they say.

That's the best advice I can give, mate. Good luck again!


I'd say your best advice is pretty good mate!

I really appreciated the detailed and quick response. I will contact ACE of course - shouldn't really need you to tell me that lol. Their first available course is Sep/Oct, so I might even decide to do the (very cheap in comparison) online course now to at least get a sort of 'introduction to the introduction, and maybe get more out of the month-long CELTA in Siem Reap. Coming in mid August would then give me a month of exploring and acclimatizing myself in Cambodia for a month before the course starts.

As you say, getting the gold-standard in introduction certification before starting could also be a bonus in Cambodia, or especially if I find I enjoy teaching but wish to teach in other countries in the future.

Thanks again mate. Which city are you based in? If you'd like I can shout you a beer or Rum from around August 15th?

Cheers... Cole
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby Aussie Khmer » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:57 pm

Hot_Pink_Urinal_Mint wrote:There are plenty of threads and comments about ACE and nothing much has changed apart from worsening conditions. Also, there will be less classes for native speakers in the future as local teachers will be teaching more and more levels. Yes, they hire noobs fresh of the CELTA because experienced, qualified teachers don't want to be treated like excrement!

For more job security try and get in at one of the lower tier "International Schools." I know quite a few people who left ACE and are MUCH happier with the conditions and pay.

Have you thought about doing a PGCE in Education? If you are only going to teach in KoW then I don't think the Celta is a good investment but I also wouldn't waste my money on an online cert.

You could also try teaching English online first. You may find ESL teaching isn't as fun, glamorous and exciting as you imagine it to be :smile:


Hmmm, much to consider! I'll contact ACE to ask about salary expectations if I did their CELTA, but I'm pretty certain I wouldn't be getting that sort of info out of them hahaha.

As a newbie I've been checking out lots of forums/threads for more experienced opinions (can turn you off the whole idea hearing from old hands lol), FB pages and youtube videos from 6-12months newbies documenting their experience in the KoW who make it sound pretty great (probably because they are too busy learning how to actually teach to have gotten jaded yet).

I'm seeing complaints about just about every school in Cambodia based on: shit management, crappy wages, experience not recognized (in pay rates), not being able to get a job with 10 years experience because unless you're a 20yo female backpacker with no experience or certification whatsoever schools don't want to know, not getting paid, the list is endless. So yeah, I don't think I'm under the illusion that ESL in Cambodia especially is a glamorous profession anymore hahahahaha. (According to people with a Bachelors in Education ESL is not even a REAL profession anyway and instructors are not REALLY teachers!)

I have thought about online teaching but not sure if no certification and no experience is a good way to start down that road.

I guess I'll just have to come and start and see if I like teaching ESL at all, and at least hopefully be able to live in Cambodia while having some sort of income coming in, even if it's only $10/hr. (I did see people saying ACE pay 22-25/hr but will ask them if that's available for a newbie or if it's just the $10/hr everywhere else pays).

The main thing is I get to spend some time with my girl and see if I like the country as well.

Thanks for your input mate. All the advice is helping.

Cheers... Cole
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby Aussie Khmer » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:13 pm

Hot_Pink_Urinal_Mint wrote:There are plenty of threads and comments about ACE and nothing much has changed apart from worsening conditions. Also, there will be less classes for native speakers in the future as local teachers will be teaching more and more levels. Yes, they hire noobs fresh of the CELTA because experienced, qualified teachers don't want to be treated like excrement!

For more job security try and get in at one of the lower tier "International Schools." I know quite a few people who left ACE and are MUCH happier with the conditions and pay.

Have you thought about doing a PGCE in Education? If you are only going to teach in KoW then I don't think the Celta is a good investment but I also wouldn't waste my money on an online cert.

You could also try teaching English online first. You may find ESL teaching isn't as fun, glamorous and exciting as you imagine it to be :smile:


Oh yeah I forgot. A PGCE equivalent in Australia has now gone from what used to be 1 year full-time stint to a minimum 2 year university stint. I had thought about it before considering ESL teaching but it's a huge commitment that I wouldn't consider unless I found I enjoyed teaching classes already and wanted to teach more than just ESL given my maths/science/engineering background. I think I'm happier for now to dip my feet into the Mekong and see if I like the temperature first.

Cheers.. Cole
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby bobbee » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:22 pm

If ACE operates the same way as their Vietnamese schools, then it's a fixed pay scale based on years of experience post qualification.
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby erictheking » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:53 pm

If you impress on your CELTA, despite having no previous experience, ACE will take you on. It has to be an A or a very strong B though.
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby simon44 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:05 pm

My advice is to do a cheapie TEFL, land a low-paying job in Cambodia, and then see if you actually like teaching. You might find you hate it, and paying initially to study/obtain a CELTA could turn out to be a waste of money if you decide teaching is not for you.

and wanted to teach more than just ESL given my maths/science/engineering background.


To update and add to my advice:

I teach in Myanmar, (which is probably similar to Cambodia in many respects). I have an engineering MSc from London University, but I initially started teaching ESL students (all grades from KG to adults).

Now, many years later, I still teach ESL, but also teach General Science, Physics and STEM (all taught in English to high school grade students at the international school where I work).

I never studied for a CELTA, nor do I have a B.Ed or PGCE. I have an in-class TEFL from yonks ago, plus my engineering BSc and MSc, an MA in Thai and a bevy of pedagogical certificates for short courses which essentially taught me HOW to teach and HOW students (of different ages) learn.
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby Aussie Khmer » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:48 pm

erictheking wrote:If you impress on your CELTA, despite having no previous experience, ACE will take you on. It has to be an A or a very strong B though.


Thanks for that really important info! I think I'll leave CELTA alone until I get some experience and see if I like teaching first.
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Re: Online TEFL first, CELTA later?

Postby Aussie Khmer » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:03 pm

simon44 wrote:My advice is to do a cheapie TEFL, land a low-paying job in Cambodia, and then see if you actually like teaching. You might find you hate it, and paying initially to study/obtain a CELTA could turn out to be a waste of money if you decide teaching is not for you.

and wanted to teach more than just ESL given my maths/science/engineering background.


To update and add to my advice:

I teach in Myanmar, (which is probably similar to Cambodia in many respects). I have an engineering MSc from London University, but I initially started teaching ESL students (all grades from KG to adults).

Now, many years later, I still teach ESL, but also teach General Science, Physics and STEM (all taught in English to high school grade students at the international school where I work).

I never studied for a CELTA, nor do I have a B.Ed or PGCE. I have an in-class TEFL from yonks ago, plus my engineering BSc and MSc, an MA in Thai and a bevy of pedagogical certificates for short courses which essentially taught me HOW to teach and HOW students (of different ages) learn.


Thanks Simon. I've seen a few of your posts from when looking for work in Phnom Penh and going back to Myanmar. I agree with your advice. I've enrolled in an online TEFL course which includes an extra unit on teaching young learners. I have some experience teaching dance to mainly adults so I actually know I like teaching people and also practicing English with my 5yo Khmer niece and it was fun. But actually teaching to large classes of kids? I will need to try it first and decide if it's for me before considering a CELTA at this stage. I'm sure I'll enjoy helping kids learn. Just the whole working environment in the schools in Cambodia and the schedule of full-time teaching might not be for me. But then there are other opportunities like working part-time or evenings and online as well. And later we might decide to even change countries if money was the issue.

But yeah, I plan to make a start with low/entry level position first and worry about progression later once I have experience and know if I like it. I really can't see CELTA certification being a factor compared to experience. I did a 4 year Engineering degree and although it taught me to think and problem solve, in doesn't mean anything until you have a few years under your belt where you actually learn to be an engineer.

Glad to see you have landed well on your feet back in Myanmar!

Coming to Phnom Penh mid August. Will let people know how things work out once there.

Cheers... Cole
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