Postgrad Queries: What are the best TEFL courses? Is it too late for me to study architecture?


I have recently returned to the UK after a year teaching English in Thailand on a voluntary basis. I would now like to take some form of TEFL course, with the intention of returning to Thailand and getting some paid work. But there are so many different courses advertised. Are they all of equal worth, or should I be limiting my search to those accredited by certain bodies? I have a degree and a PGCE.

Although there are numerous starter TEFL qualifications, the two most commonly accepted worldwide are the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA), awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate ( www.cambridgeesol.org) and the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Cert. TESOL) awarded by Trinity College in London ( www.trinitycollege.co.uk). If you have particular language schools in Thailand in mind, it might benefit you to ask them which of these two qualifications they value more. These are very demanding courses for complete beginners, but as you are already a qualified teacher, you should find it reasonably straightforward. There is an excellent profile of the role of a teacher of English as a foreign language on the Prospects website ( www.prospects.ac.uk) in the section on 'Types of Jobs'. This gives you sources of vacancies and further information on the available courses. The experience that you have already gained as a volunteer will show your motivation and knowledge of TEFL work and will certainly help you in finding work.

What's the usual time-frame for applying to postgraduate courses? And do universities generally give you help with accommodation?

Although a small number of Masters courses (law and teaching, for example) do set specific closing dates, most do not have a cut-off point for applications, so recruitment goes on throughout the year. But the earlier you apply, the better. This is firstly because some of the most popular postgrad courses fill up very quickly i.e. during the autumn prior to the course start. Secondly, in terms of funding, a timely application is more likely to put you in line for any competitive awards, scholarships and bursaries that are available. There's one other point to remember: many new Masters – those requiring official validation – don't come on stream until the spring and summer months; so keep an eye out for these. When it comes to finding somewhere to live, university accommodation centres are there to help all students, although the focus is on first-year undergraduates. Some institutions have dedicated halls of residence for postgrads, although here demand tends to outweigh supply. The accommodation service will also be able to point you towards local properties to rent.

Is it too late, at 44, to do a postgraduate in architecture part-time? I work as an architectural assistant, and fancy doing project management in my field.

Architecture is one of the relatively few professions where it is not normally possible to enter through a postgraduate course. The vast majority of architects have done a full qualifying first degree. However, from what you've said about your work and aspirations, there are other possibilities open to you. Oxford Brookes University ( www.brookes.ac.uk) is the only UK university to run the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) examination in architecture for office-based candidates. This is a portfolio-based course (as opposed to one demanding full or part-time attendance) and is aimed at those who are employed in architects' practices, have substantial responsibility and experience, and can work for this qualification under the supervision of an architect. For fuller details, go to the RIBA website ( www.architecture.com), and also look at the Architects Registration Board ( www.arb.org.uk), which has information on qualifying in the profession. A second alternative would be to take an honours degree in architectural technology, which is now a profession in its own right. The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists ( www.ciat.org.uk) has all the details on this avenue.

Thanks to Liz Hagger and Gill Sharp, careers consultants for Domino Careers (www.dominocareers.co.uk). Send your queries to Steve McCormack at steve.mcc@virginmedia.com

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Drama Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Liverpool: We are looking for someone who can t...

Science Teacher

£110 - £135 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Sc...

Teacher

£120 - £131 per day: Randstad Education Group: The role will involve teaching...

Drama & Media Studies Teacher

£110 - £135 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Dr...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice