|DELTA-001| What is the DELTA? – an overview

Hello Exam Seekers,

Have you ever heard about DELTA?

Delta Images

No, no, no… Not the DELTAs above, but the Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

According to Cambridge, the DELTA deepens your knowledge and understanding of English language teaching, to help you progress in your career. It is suitable if you are an existing teacher working in any teaching context.

But, What is the DELTA?

Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

The DELTA is a combination of 3 modules certificate. If you are looking for this certificate, it means that you have already been over the previous ones: the TKT modules, and the CELTA Course. You might have taken the ICELT Course – which was discontinued in 2017.

The DELTA is one of the top certifications according to the Cambridge Teacher Development Framework, as you can see below.


After the Delta, there is only the EMI Skills and the Train the Trainer – Although, there is not a specific order here:

  • The EMI Skills is a certificate for those who work in the medium of English, for example, university professors, lecturers, tutors and researchers whose first language is not English.
  • The Train the Trainer is a face-to-face course for experienced teachers who need to train English language teachers – discontinued as of 2022 by Cambridge.
  • The IDLTM (International Diploma in Language Teaching Management),  was discontinued as of June 2016 by Cambridge.

So, the DELTA is basically the last certificate teachers tend to look for. It is quite famous here in Brazil, but I’ve heard that people around the world don’t actually look for this certificate that much – comment in the comments if I am mistaken!

Who is the DELTA FOR?

  • English language teachers who have been teaching for at least one year;
  • English language teachers who want to progress into more senior roles such as head of English and teacher training;
  • Experienced teachers who want to extend their expertise in a specialist area
  • First-language English speakers and non-first language speakers (C1 CEFR level or above).

DELTA is suitable for teaching any age group, from young learners to adults.

Requirements for the DELTA:

There is only one requirement: BE at a C1/C2 level of English according to the CEFR. However, you don’t have to own a CAE – C1 Advanced or a CPE – C2 Proficiency certificate, you basically have to show that you have language enough.

On the other hand, it is good if you have other certificates before looking for the DELTA. Cambridge does not necessarily require the CELTA, but each Cambridge Authorized Center has its own requirements, and most of them ask that a candidate who is trying for the DELTA, has already taken the CELTA and a CAE – C1 Advanced or a CPE – C2 Proficiency qualifications. That’s because most of them want to make sure you will be able to finish the 3 modules successfully.

Remember that the CELTA is the Certificate and the DELTA is the Diploma, so it makes sense that you take one before aiming for the other – not only for the number of certificates you are going to sum by the end of your teaching qualification pathway but the CELTA is basically a step before and a preparation for the DELTA Modules.

As I mentioned above, Cambridge does not require a CELTA or any other Cambridge Certificate to try the DELTA, however, this is a Diploma certificate, and prior experience with the Cambridge Courses and certifications are quite useful. When I took the CELTA YLE, my tutor told me to have more teaching experience before looking for the DELTA, so this is my suggestion for you, too.

Delta Diploma
Delta – Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

What are the modULES? / What does it involve?

It covers all the areas of knowledge at an advanced level. Each of the three modules is assessed separately and they include theory and practice.

  • Module 1 – Understanding Language, Methodology and Resources for Teaching
    • A written examination consisting of two parts each 1 hour 30 minutes long with a 30-minute break in between (3 hours 30 minutes in total).
  • Module 2 – Developing Professional Practice
    • Assessed assignments incorporating background essays and observed teaching.
  • Module 3 – Extending Practice and ELT Specialism
    • An extended assignment of (4,000-4,500 words).

Although you don’t need to take all three modules!!! Some people only take the course (module 2) and others just take the test (module 1), but the truth is that you are not required to take all of them, you can choose to take only one or two of them. Whatever/whichever you choose, you will get an individual certificate for them.

Format and Results:

The DELTA is very flexible. You can take it either full-time or part-time face-to-face courses. Online and distance learning options are also available.

You don’t have to take them all at the same time, you can take the course of module 2 first and when you feel you are ready for the module 1 test you can sit for it. It is up to you. If everything goes according to plan, candidates will receive the statement of results approximately two months after the examination/submission date, and the certificates will arrive approximately 6 weeks after.

Successful candidates will be awarded a certificate for each module. Grades vary between Pass, Pass with Merit, Pass with Distinction, or a Fail.

Why take the DELTA?

If it is so hard as it seems, why take the Delta? People take the DELTA for different reasons:

  • It can help you improve in your career and get higher positions in your job.
  • It can increase the amount of knowledge about the English language.
  • It can help you update your teaching knowledge/skills.
  • It can prepare you to higher teaching positions and other qualifications (some MA programs accept the DELTA as school credits: 20 per module).
  • It is recognized around the world with excellence.

In the end, it is another certificate, one that proves that you have an extremely high level of knowledge in the teaching field. So why not take it?

If you have any other questions about it, you can check the Cambridge website or leave me a comment in the comment section below.


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Have a great week,
Patricia Moura


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