ESL South Korea

TEFL Certificates

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign language and along with TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is the primary Teaching Certificates required by those wanting to teach English abroad.  TEFL certificates come in all shapes and sizes and range from a couple of hours to a few hundred hours of either classroom or online study. 

Who should get a TEFL?

Anyone interested in teaching English in another country.  A TEFL certificate is one of the easiest ways to open doors for you for possible employment abroad.  The certificate will also equip you with the actual process of teaching English, the basics of English grammar rules and the likes and prepare you for what to expect when teaching English abroad.

Do I need a TEFL to teach in Korea?

No you don’t.  In Korea (and most of Asia for that matter), you only need a Bachelors degree to be employed as a full-time English teacher.

Then why bother with a TEFL?

Well, apart from the obvious skills that you gain by doing a intensive course on teaching English as a foreign language (skills that will aid you with your work in Korea), a TEFL certificate on your CV has the potential of earning you higher salary.

Some hagwon owners will be willing to pay more for employers with experience and/or extra qualifications.  If you can brag with a TEFL certificate on top of your Bachelors degree you’ll be likely to get a higher salary if you ask for it.  In general, it should be accepted that a TEFL certificate can earn you an extra 100,000 Won ($100) a month.

When you’re working for EPIK there won’t be a need to ask for a higher salary, if you have a TEFL it will simply be given to you.  EPIK teachers automatically receive a higher salary when they submit proof of a TEFL certificate (of at least 100 hours).

Are there different kinds of TEFL’s?

Yep, many.  Entry level TEFL certificates start at 50 hours of tuition, with Diploma TEFL’s consisting of up to 250 hours of in class tuition.  The more hours the certificate consists of, the higher the price.  A good option for someone coming to teach in Korea is a 100 hour certificate, this is the minimum qualification required by EPIK to be eligible for a pay raise.

There are many online TEFL courses available and these are also accepted by most schools in Korea.  Something to take note of is that certificates done online through the Internet might not be recognized in many other countries.  Some people argue that it’s better to do a proper in-class TEFL course that’s recognized worldwide, than doing a 100 hour online course.  It all depends on whether you’re planning on teaching English in other countries as well, in which case you should definitely consider an in-class TEFL.  But if your only aim is to increase your salary in Korea, then a online TEFL will do just fine.