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TESOL / TEFL Certification


Often enough, Korean ELT (English-Language Teaching) employers are unaware of the standard, internationally recognized ELT training programs and certificates. Unfortunately, some Korean employers view language-teaching as something that people do for a couple of years after finishing university, and they are surprised if one pursues it as a career. This attitude tends to favor the unqualified and inexperienced applicant and certainly does not benefit Koreans trying to learn English. At the moment, Korea is a country that pays more than almost any other for language training, and gets a lot less than it could for its investment. The attitudes that cause this are changing, and APC does its best to inform employers of the value of certain qualifications and encourages employers to view the teachers we represent as professionals who are interested in building their careers.

For teaching children, most Korean employers do not require an ELT Certificate. Having one, however, does usually result in a greater chance of being hired at a competitive salary. The most useful and appealing qualifications for teaching children include a Bachelors of Education and Elementary or Secondary teaching experience, volunteer teaching experience, tutoring children, or daycare experience. Any post-high school job that you've held which involved responsibility for children should be included in your resume.

For teaching adults, most employers would like to see at least a full-year of ELT experience as well as a decent ELT qualification. If a potential employer doesn't ask for these, you can be assured s/he has no idea of the issues involved in language teaching and may be purposefully misrepresenting the product (i.e. you) he is offering to students. Some Koreans look for master degrees in linguistics, though this is not of much practical use to a classroom language teacher.

The CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults) is, by far, the most recognized initial qualification for English Language Teaching. It is offered through Cambridge University (U.K.) in a variety of international venues on an ongoing basis. There is also a version of the CELTA for teaching children, though it isn't offered in as many places. Both are one-month intensive programs with lots of hands-on teaching practice. Few quality ELT employers outside Korea and Japan will consider an application without the CELTA or equivalent.

Most online ELT courses and programs are of questionable or poor quality and do not adequately prepare people for classroom language teaching. While some Korean employers may offer a slightly higher salary for them, they are generally not worth the cost and trouble. One-week training courses might be useful for raising awareness, but they will not be recognized as worthy of increased salary by most employers.

Please remember it’s got to be over 100 hours to be TESOL certificate recognized, and anything less than 100 hours will not be recognized.


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