Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about OCELT® (Ontario Certified English Language Teacher) Certification and Designation

Written by Reza Mazloom-Farzaghy, Accreditation Services Manager, TESL Ontario

OCELT certification has become the industry norm in Ontario, and OCELTs are being hired by both government-funded programs and private schools in Canada, and by international employers. 

As the Accreditation Services Manager at TESL Ontario, I help interested individuals navigate the certification process to become successful in their pursuit of OCELT certification. Here I would like to share the five most frequently asked questions from applicants: 

1. What are the benefits of OCELT Certification and Professional Designation? 

OCELT…

  • recognizes professionalism and integrity; 
  • enhances respect for English language teachers of adults; 
  • signifies distinct knowledge and teaching skills; 
  • highlights commitment to excellence through ongoing professional development; and 
  • has created a community of highly educated, responsible and dedicated professionals who seek to further the best interests of learners. 

OCELT Certificate holders...

  • are listed on TESL Ontario’s online Registry of Certified Teachers; 
  • are eligible to apply for teaching positions at publicly funded programs in Ontario; 
  • automatically qualify for ICTEAL® (Internationally Certified Teacher of English as an Additional Language) certification and professional designation; and 
  • have access to all PD events and membership benefits offered by TESL Ontario. 

2. How can I complete the professional development (PD) requirement of OCELT renewal?

For yearly renewal of certification, TESL Ontario certified teachers need to complete 10 hours of PD activities. Every hour of participation in activities listed below counts as one PD hour. Please note, every hour of presentation is recognized as five PD hours.  

  • Participating in TESL-related workshops, conferences, seminars, webinars and other similar events in Canada or abroad 
  • Presenting in TESL-related workshops, conferences, seminars, webinars and other similar events in Canada or abroad 
  • Completing a TESL-related training course 
  • Attending TESL-related in-service training sessions and PD events provided by employers 
  • Mentoring practicum students from TESL Ontario accredited training programs  
  • Mentoring newly certified OCELT and CTESOL® (Canadian Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages) teachers. 
  • Serving as a provincial TESL organization Executive Board member, Working Committee member, or Affiliate Chapter Executive Committee member 
  • Conducting or participating in TESL-related research 
  • Volunteering as a teacher, a teacher assistant, or a tutor in an adult ESL program run by a recognized school or settlement agency in Canada, and/or volunteering with TESL Ontario in a number of capacities. 
  • Pilot testing curricula or assessment tools for ESL teachers or ESL teacher training 

The TESL Ontario webinars are free for members. You can find details about accessing live and archived webinars on our website at:  

3. I have a university degree in TESL/TEFL/applied linguistics. How should I apply for OCELT certification? 

The TESL Ontario CCPLAR (Competency-and-Credit-based Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition) application path- Stream A is for candidates who have completed a degree in TESL/TEFL or applied linguistics. In stage one of the application process, the applicant will choose Stream A and apply to confirm their eligibility for CCPLAR. In stage two, eligible Stream A candidates meet the competency requirement in Canadian Adult ESL Contexts by either doing a 50 -hour practicum course, or by providing evidence of 250 hours of adult ESL teaching experience in Canada, or by participating in a challenge interview session. For detailed information about the CCPLAR stream A, application stages, required documents, and fees, please review the CCPLAR Candidate Handbook.  

4. I have extensive ESL/EFL teaching experience. Can I apply for OCELT certification based on my experience? 

The TESL Ontario CCPLAR application path-Stream B is for candidates who have accumulated at least 2000 hours of adult ESL/EFL teaching experience over the past five years, including at least 500 hours accumulated over the past three years, and are interested in applying for the TESL Ontario OCELT certification. In stage one of the application process, candidates choose Stream B and apply to confirm their eligibility for CCPLAR. In stage two, eligible Stream B candidates meet competency requirements in four areas: Canadian Adult ESL Contexts, Educational Technology, Adult Second Language Acquisition Theory, and Culture and Diversity. Required competencies can be met by completing additional TESL training, doing a practicum course, providing evidence of teaching experience, and/or participating in one to four structured interviews. For detailed information about CCPLAR-Stream B, application stages, required documents, and fees, please review the CCPLAR Candidate Handbook.  

5. I have a CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults). Do I qualify for OCELT certification? 

The TESL Ontario OCELT certification application has three requirements: (1) university degree, (2) English language proficiency (ELP), and (3) at least 300 hours of TESL Ontario accredited TESL training. CELTA training (recognized by the University of Cambridge) counts as Part 1 (120 hours) of the TESL Ontario required training. To meet the TESL training requirement of OCELT certification, CELTA holders should complete Part 2 (at least 180 hours) of a TESL Ontario accredited program. To access a list of the accredited training providers along with their contact information, please visit our website at https://www.teslontario.org/accreditation/tesl-training-program. Detailed information about OCELT application requirements and process steps is available at https://www.teslontario.org/accreditation/languageinstructor.  

If you are looking for information about OCELT certification or considering submitting an application and have questions, I am here to assist you. You can contact me by email at accreditation@teslontario.org or by phone at 416-593-4243, ext. 205. You can also access detailed information about OCELT certification application at https://www.teslontario.org/accreditation Furthermore, the TESL Ontario YouTube Playlist at https://www.youtube.com/TESLOntario offers several videos that potential applicants will find very helpful. 

TESL Ontario is here to support all individuals who are interested in the field of teaching English and the TESL Ontario certification. 


Interested in more blogs about OCELT and TESL Certification?

Boosting your Career with the OCELT Designation – Growth. Recognition. Community.

A Look Back: History and Impact of TESL Certifications

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