Is a TESL/TEFL certificate required to teach English in Korea? Well, the short answer is NO. As long as you are a native English speaker, and have a degree from an accredited university, you can get a job teaching English in Korea . However, there are a couple reasons why you may want to consider adding a TESL certificate to your credentials.
If you take an off-line TESL/TEFL course, there will most likely be a practice teaching component. This can be extremely helpful for anyone who has never taught before. I came into the English teaching world from corporate Canada. I wasn’t a teacher. My expertise was sales. However, I had excellent presentation skills, and was experienced in product training. I had to see for myself that I could transition these skills into a classroom environment. I enrolled in a local TESL/TEFL program, and have never regretted the time or money I spent to become certified. I loved the practical experience, and it gave me the confidence to pursue English teaching jobs.
Public school jobs are big in Korea these days. While they do not require a TESL/TEFL certificate, teachers with TESL/TEFL certificates are on a higher pay level. The Korean government is also pushing for all teachers to be certified, or enrolled in a program at time of hire. The certificate must be 100+ hours, and can be an off-line or on-line program. I worked in a public school in 2005, and my TESL/TEFL certificate helped me bank an extra $1200.00.
There are three major programs hiring teachers for public schools. You can read more about pay scales and certification on their websites.
Private English schools generally do not pay teachers extra if they have a certificate. However, if there’s a lot of competition for a particular job, someone with a TESL/TEFL certificate may have a better chance of landing the job.
If you do decided to earn a TESL/TEFL certificate, there are no lack of programs. The most respected program is the CELTA. The four week program is taught worldwide. Click for more info. (CELTA)
On-line programs are an option. I’d recommend that you ask around to find people who have take an online course, and get their feedback.
Here are a couple of links that may help you find a program. You could also check at your local university or community college.
In Part 3 I’ll talk about where to find available English teaching jobs and how to apply.
If you missed Part 1 of this series, you’ll find it HERE.