5 Online Spanish Language Courses That Offer Certificates
Have you noticed the growing digital classroom trend in education? Are you considering taking Spanish language courses online?
Over the past several years, online language courses have become increasingly popular due to their accessibility, flexibility, and user-friendliness. It’s definitely possible to get a quality education with online Spanish courses.
However, if your goal is to reach a certain level for a job, test, or school application, you’ll likely want to find online Spanish language courses that offer certificates. You could undermine your hard work and dedication to learning Spanish if you complete a program that doesn’t provide a certificate.
Let’s explore what exactly it means to receive a certificate with a Spanish language course, why it’s useful, and where you can find such programs online.
What Does It Mean to Get a Certificate?
Basically, certificates for Spanish language courses are a way of showing that you successfully completed the program and attained a particular set of skills.
Numerous universities offer certificate courses in addition to their Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs. While a full degree is more intensive and takes years to finish, a certificate program is usually shorter and focuses on one specific skill.
If a Spanish certificate isn’t the same as a diploma, why bother?
Even though a Spanish certificate doesn’t carry as much weight as a degree in Spanish, it does serve for numerous purposes, like adding it to your resume.
Most people use these certificates to back up their claim of language proficiency or fluency. For example, you can declare on your resume that you speak Spanish at an intermediate level, but without some type of proof (like a certificate!), employers and schools may be skeptical.
Remember that earning certificates from online Spanish language courses does not mean you are qualified to teach the language. You would still need a degree for that.
The certificate does not provide concrete evidence that you are a fluent Spanish speaker, either. Since online Spanish language courses often focus more on reading, writing, and listening, employers or schools may ask you to complete speaking tests to assess your actual level.
What are Your Spanish Learning Goals?
A certificate can help you out in various situations. Before evaluating the types of certificates and online Spanish language courses available, it’s a good idea to consider or review your personal learning goals.
Applying to Schools
Whether you’re applying to colleges for the first time or interested in going back to school, highlighting your foreign language skills will strengthen your application.
While language studies aren’t a prerequisite for all degree plans, most admissions officers look favorably upon dedicated foreign language studies. If you didn’t take Spanish in high school and would like to spice up your college application, a certificate from an online Spanish course can do the job nicely.
Applying for Jobs
Similarly, having foreign language skills can open up many doors in the workplace. You can earn a higher salary, work abroad, tackle new tasks like interpreting or translating, and communicate with customers and clients from around the world.
Instead of merely noting your Spanish level on your resume, give added proof that you are capable in Spanish by referencing or including the certificates from your Spanish language courses.
Preparing for Spanish Exams
The absolute best way to prove your Spanish skill level is with language exams. (We’ll explore these in-depth later in this post.)
Taking online Spanish language courses with certificates will give you a better idea of your level.
For example, if you only study Spanish with Duolingo, you may think you’re at an intermediate level, but there’s no solid proof. Apps often give you a higher placement than your actual level, which is why certificates and standardization are so necessary.
Once you’ve taken a Spanish course and earned an official certificate, you can be more certain about your skill level and which Spanish exam to take.
The most common Spanish exam, the DELE, is broken into skill levels. If you choose to take a test that is beyond your skill level, your results may lead you to feel disappointment and frustration. You can choose the correct exam by getting a Spanish certificate online and learning your current skill level.
While most people who want a Spanish certificate need it for one of the reasons above, there is no harm in getting a certificate to track your accomplishments!
If learning Spanish has been a long-term goal of yours, it could be a fantastic idea to get certificates after each level to track how far you’ve come and all you’ve learned.
Types of Certificates Available
Now, each program on our list of online Spanish language courses below offers a slightly different certificate. The most common options are:
- A certificate stating your CEFR level
- A course completion certificate
- A certificate proving both your course completion and CEFR level
If you are looking to add your Spanish level to your resume or school application, you will probably want a course that includes the CEFR level.
What are the CEFR Levels?
CEFR stands for the Common European Framework of Reference. It is a way of measuring language proficiency that is popular around the globe. Although it is slightly less common in the United States than in other parts of the world, you may hear people refer to their language level using the CEFR levels.
Plus, Spanish placement level exams are usually based upon the CEFR system. So, what are the levels?
A1 and A2
At these levels, students are “basic users.” An A1 user can understand slow, articulated speech and ask for simple things. With an A2 skill level, the student can compose short phrases and common sentences and understand slower conversations.
In simpler terms, A1 and A2 users are beginners. However, an A1 student is not a complete beginner. According to the standards above, a student at the A1 level already has some primary mastery of the language. So, to reach the A1 level, you need to complete an introductory Spanish course.
B1 and B2
The B1 and B2 levels are for “independent users.” If you want to work abroad or travel, your goal would be at least a B1 level, preferably a B2.
The easiest way to understand these levels is that a B1 user can confidently get around Latin America or Spain. They may not understand everything, but they know enough Spanish to get directions and hold basic conversations. A B2 user has more vocabulary and can work a job like serving coffee.
C1 and C2
The C1 and C2 levels are for “proficient users.” If your goal is Spanish fluency, aim for a C1 level in which students can fluently speak and express themselves. A C1 level does not mean you understand every word in the language but that you can handle most conversations and some tricky topics.
The C2 level is absolute mastery. Many native speakers never reach this level. Think of this level as more for college professors or experts in a particular field.
CEFR Levels and Certificates
Most certificates that include the CEFR levels go from A1 to B2 or C1, depending on the course.
However, it is vital to keep in mind that you may be at different levels in different language areas. The CEFR charts explain that language proficiency for each level has four main areas: listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
You can be at an A2 level for speaking, but a B1 level for reading. That’s completely normal!
Most online Spanish language courses aim to get you to the same level in all areas, but don’t be surprised if your skill level varies across language acquisition areas.
Language Certificates and Exams
As I mentioned, the best type of language certificate comes from an exam. A course, either online or in-person, is a great way to study, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll reach a certain Spanish level. The most comprehensive way to test your Spanish level and give proof of your skills is by taking one of the following exams:
- Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE)
- Certificate of Use of Language in Spanish (CELU)
- The European Language Certificates (TELC)
- Standards-Based Assessment and Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP)
- Oral Proficiency Interview in Spanish (OPI)
- European Consortium for the Certificate of Attainment in Modern Languages (ECL)
Each exam is slightly different. For example, the CELU is based in Argentina, while you can complete the OPI over the phone.
If you are looking for the most conclusive exam covering every aspect of the Spanish language, the DELE is the ideal option. Many consider it the best exam for Spanish proficiency.
You can find testing centers near you and download practice exams. You can also take online courses to prepare you for specific DELE level tests. However, keep in mind that the certificate comes after you take the exam, not the course.
5 Online Spanish Language Courses with Certificates
Now that you know all about Spanish certificates and what you can use them for, it’s time to look at some popular online Spanish courses!
As you learn about the available options, keep your goals in mind. Do you want a certificate for your resume or as a sign of your personal achievement? Would you like to have the CEFR level on the certificate? These questions will help you narrow down which course is the best option for you.
Lingoda offers live, online classes in small groups of students or a one-on-one setting. All their certified teachers are native Spanish speakers.
They offer Spanish (and other language) classes from the A1 to B2 levels. Once you complete a course with them, you get a certificate stating that you successfully completed the program at a specific CEFR level.
Coursera provides online Spanish language courses from a variety of universities and professors. You can choose the type of Spanish class you want (beginner, intermediate, specific vocabulary, etc.) and sign up for the course.
Each program has a specific start date, so they aren’t quite as flexible as other options. However, the variety of courses and the numerous levels within each one are a definite plus.
The certificates do not include the CEFR level; they only indicate that you have completed the course.
Lengalia courses are similar to Lingoda’s, only they are not live classes. Instead, you can study the curriculum on your own. Each program includes speaking and listening aspects. To practice your pronunciation, you can record yourself and compare it to audio clips of native speakers saying the same thing.
Lengalia offers courses from A0 (complete beginner) to C2, along with more specific programs like business and medical Spanish. After the completion of each class, you’ll receive a certificate with the CEFR level.
Alison features hundreds of free courses covering a wide variety of topics. While they do not have as many Spanish classes to choose from as the other options on this list, it could be an excellent place to start learning Spanish since the programs are free.
To get the certificate of completion, you will have to pay. However, the cost of a digital certificate is minimal.
EdX has numerous language courses available online. The programs have specific start dates, and they do not involve watching videos. The self-guided curriculum and exercises let you manage your own time. As with Coursera, a variety of institutions provide the lesson plans.
The courses are free, but the certificate is not. Depending on what Spanish program you choose, the certificate may include the CEFR level.
Start Working Towards Your Spanish Certificate
Getting a Spanish language certificate is a fantastic goal. No matter which online program you choose to get your certificate, surround yourself with the language, and learn as much as possible!
One way to do that is by joining Homeschool Spanish Academy’s Facebook group, where we share tons of Spanish grammar and vocabulary content, so you are always learning something new. ¡Aprendamos juntos!
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