If you are planning on teaching English in South Korea, or one of the many countries offering positions to English teachers, then you have most probably heard of TEFL, TESOL or TESL. The web is flooded with companies offering different courses and an overwhelming amount of options, but what is TEFL and why do you need it?
What Does it Mean?
TEFL is an acronym, which simply stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Likewise, TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language and TESOL means Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. They are all similar in nature and offer pretty much the same qualification.
After completion of a course, a student will then receive a certificate and is then qualified to teach English as a foreign language.
How Does it Help?
TEFL is a crash course on basic teaching methods and techniques that will help you manage your class and ultimately be a better teacher. The course will prepare you for life as a teacher and provide you with basic skills in teaching English as a foreign language.
Do I Need a Qualification to Do a TEFL Course or Teach English Abroad?
This is totally depended on the country you wish to teach in and the company you intend doing your course through. Certain countries such as Japan and South Korea require you to have a formal degree and a TEFL certification in order to obtain a work VISA. Other countries such as China and Russia do not require you to possess a formal degree, so with a TEFL qualification, you will be able to find work as a teacher.
The main requirement for most countries is that you are a native English Speaker and to apply for a TEFL course, you would need to speak English well.
What Course Do I Choose?
There is an overwhelming amount of choices to choose from, offering a variety of in-class and online courses. Courses differ in time frames, potential jobs and most importantly, prices.
The type of course you do, can determine the quality and type of work you obtain and some TEFL institutions even find a job for you. So it’s not always the wisest option selecting the cheapest course. Investing a little extra money in the short term, can potentially earn you more money in the long run.
The type of course you need also depends on the country you wish to work in or particular position you wish to apply for. If you have a particular company or institution in mind, it is best to contact them directly and inquire about the course they prefer.
For some countries or institutions, a 120 hour online course is all you will need, for other countries it is mandatory to do an in-class course. It’s in your best interest to take the time to thoroughly research the requirements of the country and the particular course you want to enroll for.
What Course do you need to Teach in Korea?
According to the EPIK (English program in Korea) website, a minimum of 100 hour TEFL or TESOL certificate will be acceptable, but priority will given to the applicants possessing a minimum 100 hour TEFL or TESOL with at least a 20 hour offline, in-class component. The truth is the majority of EPIK teachers land their jobs with online courses. Just to be clear, online only TEFL courses are acceptable as long as they’re accredited and consist of 100 hours or more.
It’s important to note that, if you hold a recognizable teaching degree or teaching licence, then you are NOT required to do a TEFL course.
My Personal Recommendation
I obtained my internationally accredited TEFL certification through International TEFL and TESOL training and am now in my third year of teaching English in South Korea. After consulting with the South Korean Education Department, I enrolled for the 120 hour online course, which they advised was adequate. I can honestly say, the service I received was extremely professional and the course was of a very high standard. The course was challenging but easy to complete and provided me with all the basic skills needed in the classroom.
We are fortunate enough to now be affiliated with International TEFL and TESOL training, who offer internationally accredited course. This means that any person who enrolls through our blog will receive a 20% DISCOUNT on ANY course purchased. Just click here or on the banner above to receive your discount.
IMPORTANT: Be sure that you ONLY apply through the above link and do not delete the code in the “Additional Info” option, as demonstrated below, to ensure that you receive the full 20% discount.
Teaching English abroad can be a great way to save money, travel to other countries and pay off your student loans. Some people even make a career from teaching English as a foreign language. Take the time to research and enroll for a TEFL course that best suits your needs and gives you the best opportunity for success.