There’s an inevitable question that emerges at a certain stage of learning a foreign language – should I get a certificate? Or maybe my language skills are enough and I don’t need any document to prove them?


Nowadays, as the quality and importance of academic studies are in decline, it’s hard to tell whether diplomas and certificates are essential for your career to gain momentum. In order to obtain a language certificate, you need to pay a considerable amount of money for the exam (and usually, for the preparation course and educational material as well), not to mention the preparation itself, which requires several weeks of study. So, what are the benefits of having a language certificate? Let’s find out!

Types of language certificates

A language certificate is a document that proves its holder’s level of language proficiency. It’s obtained after passing a certification exam. Such documents are usually issued by state institutions or language associations. Apart from certificates proving general language proficiency, you can opt for business or specialist language examination. As you can see, there are many types of certificates within one language depending on the issuing institution, specialisation and level of proficiency. Some examples of certificates in popular languages are Cambridge Certificates: PET, FCE, CAE, CPE and IELTS certificates (English), ZD (German), and DELE (Spanish).

Is it worth investing time and money in language certification?

There is no simple answer, as it depends mostly on yourself. It’s a good idea to analyse all pros and cons before submitting to a certification exam and spending a large sum of money. Ask yourself whether you need to prove your language proficiency for a particular purpose or simply want to upgrade your CV. Another important step is adjusting the certification level to your actual knowledge and skills. It’s quite obvious that choosing a level too high or too low is not the best idea.

In which situations can a language certificate be an asset?

A language certificate will probably mark you out from other candidates during a recruitment process for an attractive job position. Besides, a certificate is often a must if you plan to teach foreign languages (usually combined with proper pedagogical background), work as a tourist guide or tour supervisor. It can help you obtain a visa or get into college, student exchange or internship programmes. The importance of language certificates is, therefore, unquestionable, but their usefullness – as in the case of any other matter related to education – depends on your plans for the future and individual skills.