The CELTA interview – a key step in getting accepted

In this post,  I will be looking at the last few steps in the selection process for a CELTA course. To reach that stage, you will have completed and sent an application form back to your chosen centre, and you will have received or downloaded their pre-interview task to complete either over a number of days or under timed conditions.

After receiving your completed pre-interview task answers, a CELTA tutor will contact you to invite you to attend a personal interview.

If unable to attend a face-to-face, which is quite common if you are applying for an in person course, your interview will usually be held over Skype, Zoom, or other similar messenger.

Online interviews have more or less now become the norm of course, but in future, in-person interviews where possible, may come back!


It is sometimes much more convenient (and economical for the candidate) to be interviewed via Zoom, Skype or other online meeting room using voice and a webcam. Telephone conversations are fine but being able to have face contact with your interviewer may alleviate a lot of anxiety.

This is a much better solution because it is always more confortable and useful, for both interviewer and interviewee, to be able to see each other.


Different centres follow different scenarios in their interviews but what they need to find out about you during the interview is not just what you have written in your application form or CV.

Your interviewer may wish to doublecheck all or some of the following – whether you are a native or non-native speaker of English:

  • that your knowledge of grammar and vocabulary is in place
  • that your spoken English is at a high enough level
  • that you have good interpersonal communication skills
  • that you have a good awareness of the demands of the course
  • that you are not going through a difficult time in your life which might prevent you from being successful on the course
  • that you are open to learning and amenable to criticism as the course is high on critique of one’s teaching
  • that you are well-organised and disciplined
  • that you do not have any biases which might prevent you from offering equal opportunities to your learners

Your interviewer – who will usually be a CELTA tutor – will also give you a lot of information about the course, the number of assignments, teaching practices, about the workload and the resources available.

Feel free to ask any questions which will help you understand how to organise your study time so that you can maximise your chances of success.

At some point during the interview, some centres might also ask you to do a quick writing task – something related to language or teaching which should take no longer than 10-15 minutes. This might be done in order to see if you can express yourself clearly, correctly and fluently when you have to write under pressure as some centres will not time you while doing the pre-interview task.

Above all, the interviewer will want to see if you

  • are aware that teaching is a demanding profession,
  • have very high or very low expectations of yourself,
  • have the kind of personality that will allow you work well with others in your group (trainees collaborate in Teaching Practice groups)
  • have an understanding of what it takes to be a teacher.

So, all in all, being accepted on a CELTA course can be a great thing but if you are not accepted, this will usually be done because the interviewer believes that at this particular stage, your chances of being a successful candidate are not very high – which not a bad thing, as following a CELTA course involves a great commitment of time, money and personal work during course hours and after hours too!

Having an idea of what it is that centres look for may help you prepare better and be accepted next time round.


Published by Marisa Constantinides

I train TEFL teachers at CELT in Athens Greece and online - our main courses are Cambridge CELTA and Delta. I interact with educators from all over the world through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and through blogging

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