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Which Spanish Certificate Looks Best for Employers?

From Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Spanish > Which Spanish Language Certificate to Choose for Your Future Career
Learning Spanish can be a simple hobby or an obligation if you have chosen to work in a field that requires the language. In fact, knowing a foreign language like Spanish is useful or even essential depending on your professional orientation.

Be careful, it’s not just about knowing two or three words in Spanish in order to declare you have mastered the language!

If you want to show off your language level in Spanish and certify it in order to add it to your resume, several degrees and language tests are available to you!

This article is a summary of all the possible certifications in Spanish, what they imply, and their costs!

You’d like to work in Costa Rica? Let’s see which certification would work best for you!

The DELE: What It Implies

The DELE (Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera) is the first diploma to think about when you want to evaluate your Spanish language level. The DELE has six levels, so six different degrees:

  • A1: beginner
  • A2: basic
  • B1: intermediate
  • B2: advanced intermediate
  • C1: advanced
  • C2: fluent

These levels correspond to those defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Why you should pass the DELE: 

  • First of all, because the diploma is internationally recognized and will open up doors for you in all the countries where Cervantes’ language is used.
  • To validate the level you’ve acquired by taking Spanish classes!
  • To gain confidence and make you aware of your progress.

What does the DELE test consist of? 

The DELE composition depends on which level you have chosen to test for, but all levels assess five skills:

  • written comprehension
  • listening comprehension
  • written expression
  • oral expression
  • Spanish grammar and vocabulary

For each level except the final level, the exam is divided into two groups for which you must obtain at least 30 points out of 50, or 60 points out of 100, otherwise you will not be declared “fit” and will not pass the DELE.

For A1 to B2 level exams, both groups and tests are the same, only the duration is different:

  • Reading and writing skills:
    • Reading comprehension: 
      • A1: 45 minutes, 4 test questions
      • A2: 1 hour, 5 test questions
      • B1: 1h10, 5 exercises
      • B2: 1h10, 4 exercises
    • Written interactions and expressions: 
      • A1: 25 minutes, 2 test questions
      • A2: 50 minutes, 2 test questions
      • B1: 1 hour, 2 exercises
      • B2: 1h20, 2 exercises
  • Oral skills:
    • Listening exercises: 
      • A1: 20 minutes, 4 test questions
      • A2: 35 minutes, 5 test questions
      • B1: 40 minutes, 5 exercises
      • B2: 40 minutes, 5 exercises
    • Oral interactions and expressions: 
      • A1: 15 minutes
      • A2: 15 minutes
      • B1: 15 minutes + 15 minutes preparation
      • B2: 20 minutes + 20 minutes preparation

ladder-of-success You’d like to better your Spanish? Pass the DELE in order to know how you are progressing.

For the C1 level, which requires a higher level in Spanish, two categories are assessed during the exam:

  • Reading and writing skills:
    • Reading comprehension and language use: 1h30, 5 exercises
    • Listening exercises and language use: 50 minutes, 5 exercises
  • Integrated oral skills:
    • Listening exercises, oral interactions and expressions: 20 minutes + 20 minutes preparation
    • Reading comprehension, oral interactions and expressions: 20 minutes + 20 minutes preparation

The C2 level demands the test-taker to speak spontaneously like a Spanish bilingual. It consists of three tests:

  • Language use, reading comprehension, and listening exercises: 1h45, 6 exercises
  • Integrated skills:
    • Listening exercises, reading comprehension, written expressions and interactions: 2h30, 3 exercises
  • Comprehensive skills:
    • Reading comprehension, oral interactions and expressions: 20 minutes with 30 minutes preparation

There are also two levels for the DELE for juniors. This test is reserved for young people aged from 11 to 17 years old and allows them to validate their Spanish language skills while stimulating their desire to learn. It consists of four categories:

  • Reading comprehension:
    • A1: 45 minutes
    • A2/B1: 50 minutes
  • Listening comprehension:
    • A1: 20 minutes
    • A2/B1: 30 minutes
  • Written expressions and interactions:
    • A1: 25 minutes
    • A2/B1: 50 minutes
  • Oral expressions and interactions:
    • A1: 10 minutes + 10 minutes preparation
    • A2/B1: 12 minutes + 12 minutes preparation

The advantage of the A2/B1 junior test is that, in one test, it determines the student’s level. This degree is then valid for life internationally.

Remember to prepare yourself by using the annals available on the DELE website and plunging heart and soul into the language: read newspapers, talk to Hispanics and ask them to correct you, watch films in the original version, listen to radio broadcasts, try tutoring in Spanish…

Where should one pass the DELE? 

There are many possibilities:

  • In a hispanic country: you could go to South America, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, or even hop the pond and make it to Spain.
  • In the United States of America: all states offer DELE testing.

Prices vary between 110 and 200 USD depending on your chosen level and according to the center you have chosen. We thus recommend you get directly in touch with the centers.

CELU Test for Second-Language Spanish Speakers

Argentina offers a certificate which is internationally acknowledged: CELU, Certificate of SpanishLanguage and Use. CELU is a proficiency test of Spanish as a foreign language. It can be taken by any foreigner whose mother tongue is not Spanish and who wants to prove his or her ability to use Spanish as a second language in working and academic contexts. The CELU examination is officially acknowledged by the Ministry of Education and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina.

test-culture You could be learning all about a new culture while practicing for the CELU test.

Any person whose mother language is not Spanish can take this exam. They must be at least 16 years of age and certify a minimum three years of high school education (EGB III according to the current educational system in Argentina, roughly someone who has just passed to the 12th grade in the American system).

Passing the exam fulfills the language requirements for studying or working in Argentina where knowledge of Spanish is a requirement.

Here is a chart from Wikipedia to explain how the test is divided up:

SectionSkillsTime AllowedActivity
Written
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
3 hours
  • Listening to texts
  • Producing an essay aimed at an informal or a formal reader.
Oral
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Speaking
15 to 20 minutes
  • Reading short texts and discussing them
Exams are taken in June and November. Application is opened three months prior to the examination dates and remains open for about one month.

BULATS Spanish Test

thinker-spanish So–which certification is best? Read our advice to the end in order to decide!

The Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) is a professional certification. It exists in English, French, German and Spanish.

The exam defines your level of Spanish according to the score you have obtained:

  • Between 10 and 19 points: A1
  • Between 20 and 39 points: A2
  • Between 40 and 59 points: B1
  • Between 60 and 74 points: B2, the level often required by companies to work or do an internship in Spanish-speaking countries
  • Between 75 and 89 points: C1
  • Between 90 and 100 points: C2

The BULATS test lasts 3 hours and is broken up into the following:

  • Oral comprehension: 50 minutes
    • 10 questions: understanding short conversations
    • 12 questions: note-taking
    • 10 questions: understanding the essential of an audio document
    • 18 questions: noting details and making conclusions based on a long document
  • Written comprehension and linguistic aptitude: 60 minutes
    • 34 questions in grammar and vocabulary
    • 6 questions on a long text with QCM
    • 13 questions in reading and comprehension
    • 7 questions: correcting errors
  • Written expression: 45 minutes
    • 50-60 words: writing a short message
    • 120-200 words: writing a report or a letter
  • Oral expression: 15 minutes
    • 4-5 minutes of interview
    • 4-5 minutes presenting on an assigned subject
    • 4-5 minutes exchanging information on a subject

Working regularly will help you to prepare properly in order to pass your BULATS! Familiarizing yourself with the topics covered–and mainly professional ones–must also be an integral part of your preparation:

  • Giving personal information
  • Knowing your professional environment
  • Relationships with colleagues and clients
  • Travel and leisure
  • Health and hygiene at work
  • Purchases and sales

The BULATS test costs 240 USD in total: the written and oral comprehension at 80 USD, the written expression at 80 USD, and oral expression also at 80 USD.

Since BULATS is generally used in the workplace, you can apply for it through your accumulated training hours.

University of Central Florida Spanish FLPE

The Foreign Language Proficiency Exam (FLPE) evaluates skills in the areas of listening comprehension, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammatical accuracy. There is no credit awarded for this exam. Students can earn up to 2 semesters equivalency at a college level.

The total time limit is 2.5 hours. Although each exam is unique in its contents, most contain listening comprehension, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammatical accuracy of the first two semesters of any given language.

UCF-bird You could be spending time in one of the USA’s most beautiful states in order to prepare for the Spanish FLPE at UCF.

Before you register for a FLPE exam, check with your academic advisor to make sure the FLPE examination you wish to take is appropriate for your needs. For updated information regarding this and all other important FLPE policies, please visit the UCF Undergraduate Catalog section on FLPE.

  1. Review the FLPE requirement in the UCF Undergraduate Catalog and University Testing Center polices.
  2. Submit written documentation of a documented disability from Student Accessibility Services to make accommodated testing arrangements at least two weeks prior to your scheduled test dateContact UTC for more information.
  3. Complete the registration process a minimum of one day prior to the test date (providing there are no special testing arrangements).
  4. Complete registration and payment online.
  5. After completing the registration process, check your email for the test registration confirmation.  The test registration confirmation is required and must be presented on test day to be admitted to take your exam.

Test Day

Arrive 15-minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. Examinees arriving more than 15-minutes late may not be admitted and will forfeit any costs paid.

You are required to bring two forms of identification. Your IDs cannot be expired and must be in the name in which you are registered to test.

  • Primary ID: Must be a government-issued, non-expired photo ID.  Acceptable documents include a driver license, passport, state-issued identification card, or military identification.
  • Secondary ID: Must have a photo OR signature, such as a Social Security Card, student ID, employee ID, or a debit/credit card in the examinee’s name.

Bring your Test Registration Confirmation sent to your email by RegisterBlast.

This test is a good opportunity for people to visit sunny Florida while also taking a test that can secure them a job in the field of their choice!

To sum it up: 

  • If you want to validate your Spanish language level, four diplomas are available to you: 
    • the DELE
    • the CELU
    • the BULATS
    • the University of Central Florida FLPE in Spanish
  • It’s up to you to see which diploma best corresponds to what you are looking for.
  • We recommend that you choose a diploma allowing you to determine your level according to the CECRL, from A1 to C2, knowing that most companies deal in these levels. B2 is the most common level asked when someone is trying to work in a hispanic country. 

Now that you have all of the information necessary–launch yourself into what you think is best for you!

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