South Korea’s been a top English teaching destination for the past 20 years. Every semester, Korean schools hire thousands of new foreign teachers primarily from the US, Canada and UK. Most of these candidates have never taught before and graduated with degrees in unrelated fields.
Having prior teaching experience or a degree in a related field are not necessary for landing a great job with a reputable school. The truth is, most of the candidates we work with are recent graduates who have degrees in unrelated fields of study. It’s perfectly fine!
Many Korean employers value the following things in a candidate, above and beyond credentials:
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Although additional credentials (above and beyond a degree) are not mandatory for acquiring a work visa in Korea, schools and programs are obviously free to accept or decline applicants as they see fit.
If you don’t have any full-time teaching experience to display on your resume – don’t worry most applicants don’t – then make sure to include any ‘relevant’ details such as tutoring, coaching, mentoring, etc. This shows schools you have a skill set that’s transferable to classroom teaching.
The short answer, yes having TEFL certification on your resume will definitely make your application more competitive, it’s the easiest way to enhance your profile with a related credential. Being TEFL certified is mandatory for jobs in the public school sector – unless you’re an education major – and optional but strongly advised for jobs in the private school sector. To be clear, schools are totally open to hiring new teachers with limited credentials and unrelated majors, however, they obviously feel more comfortable hiring someone who has a basic understanding of ESL teaching principals. Look at it this way, if a school has 1 job opening and they’re reviewing 3 applicants who have similar personalities, no prior experience, are roughly the same age & nationality, etc. but one of them is TEFL certified and the other 2 are not, chances are the school will go with the TEFL certified candidate simply because they know the person is serious about teaching English (because they took the time to get certified) and because the school knows they have a basic understanding of English teaching fundamentals.
There are many good courses out there that are available 100% online. The courses aren’t that difficult and it’s relatively easy to fly through all the course modules within a few weeks assuming you dedicate an hour or two each day. If you decide to enroll in an ESL certification course, make sure the course is accredited and consists of at least 100 course hours. Korean schools and programs do not acknowledge courses that consist of less than 100 hours as a credential so don’t waste your time and money on a short course. A great place to compare different TEFL courses, from a wide range of top certification programs, is on the TEFL Source website. The pricing is good as well.
An important point regarding TEFL certification: You can apply and list TEFL as a credential on your resume even if you haven’t completed a TEFL course yet. Public and private schools will accept you as a TEFL certified candidate – before you’ve received the actual certificate – under the condition you provide a copy of the TEFL certification before your job commences. Many of the candidates we work with secure jobs before they’ve completed their TEFL certifications. Just to be clear though, schools can revoke your contract if you fail to provide verification of your certification later on.
So you want to teach abroad but you’re nervous about doing it alone. We get it! Leaving the ‘normal life’ you’re accustomed to and travelling abroad is not an easy decision, especially if you’ve never done it before. Just remember that South Korea is a very safe and highly developed country with an established ESL teaching industry. As one of the worlds largest employers of ESL teachers, there are more than ten thousand westerners teaching in Korea right now and a large percentage of them are first-time teachers and first-time travelers. Also, the entire Gone2Korea team is comprised of people that taught in Korea before. We know the ‘ins and outs’ and we work closely with our teachers to ensure their transition goes smoothly. Plus, we’re here to help for the entire duration of your contracted term! Make sure to get in touch if you have any questions before taking the next step.
First off, thanks for checking us out, we’re glad you’re here!
Gone2Korea is your connection to full-time teaching jobs in South Korea. Western graduates, primarily from the US, Canada, UK, and Australia, use our services to secure jobs with trusted Korean schools, and schools use our services to find and hire enthusiastic teachers from the West.
Worth noting: We’re not a job ‘sourcing’ agency or recruiter that finds new schools on the fly. On the contrary, we work with a select group of schools and programs that we know and trust.
In addition to helping you land a job, we’ll also be helping you with your work visa, departure, arrival, and offering support for the entirety of your contracted term.
Prior teaching experience and related degrees are NOT prerequisites for teaching in Korea. Here’s what you’ll need in order to qualify.
Korean schools offer some of the best benefits in the world!