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My wife and I are currently getting paperwork in order to join the ranks of the waygooks. We hope to be picked up by EPIK this fall, and want to have as many ducks lined up as possible. We are both American, both with bachelors in unrelated fields (though, I'll be very nearly done with a Masters in Education by the time we leave) a fair bit of part-time teaching experience, but not enough full-time for it to matter.

So, long story short, we need to have a TEFL cert. I know everyone likes to say "Don't waste your time/money if it's not a CELTA." That's all well and good, but we don't have the time or money to put into it between here and application time. So, we're just looking to meet the minimum requirement. That sounds easy enough (just get a 100+ hour crappy online cert for US$80-ish with the groupon), but EPIK is now saying they "highly recommend" a cert with 20+ in-class hours. There's about a US$500 cost difference between the two, not to mention the time commitment. Seems like a lot of time and money put into something that's not useful outside this one very specific application. Then we are left wondering if this 'highly recommended' will become 'required' between here and April?

My question to all you wonderful waygooks is:

If my wife and I are not worried about lighting the TEFL world on fire and just want to land the dang job, what TEFL cert should we be looking at getting?


  • JL5205
  • Super Waygook

    • 325

    • March 05, 2012, 11:02:50 am
Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 07:51:55 am »
Go to teflonline.com and complete the 120 hour "master diploma".   This is what I used and it landed me a job here.  However I doubt it would be worth much in places where you're doing real teaching.   

Anyway they're accredited by ACCET and the course costs $495.  Most places are funny about taking a 100 hour TEFL course so you'll need to do this one just to play it safe.  If I remember correctly it will take about 3 - 6 weeks maximum to finish this course assuming you do everything on a daily basis.   When you finish they will issue you an online certification you'll need to print out to show to someone at your orientation.


  • lotte world
  • The Legend

    • 2272

    • August 22, 2011, 09:00:38 pm
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Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2013, 08:47:10 am »
Hi there,

If I am reading this correctly then you need a TEFL *or* a master's for Level 2:

http://www.epik.go.kr/category/detail.epik?cid=3

Level 2 is the new 'starting level' since level 3 is essentially gone (everyone needs TEFL or something these days, so they start on level 2).

Since you (guy) will have almost completed your master's then you may qualify with that.  Gal will have to do TEFL, but maybe you both want to because it's more certain (than an almost-complete master's).


  • sheila
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 1480

    • November 23, 2009, 08:32:58 am
    • Gangnamgu, Seoul
Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2013, 08:58:15 am »
Here's one that's on groupon this week which is 150 hours for only $69. You don't need the in classroom hours. It's a waste of time and money. I have a certification for 100 hours and I'm taking a 150 hour course now as a refresher. I have an education degree so I don't need it but I'm just doing it to remind me of good practices. I bought the course I'm taking on groupon for $79 and I'm pretty happy with it. It is presenting a lot of information and actually requiring me to turn in in depth lesson plans which is much better than my original 100 hour certification. Don't worry about the in-class hours. You get the same pay regardless of how you got your certificate. Save your money and do it online.

http://www.groupon.com/deals/g1mm-tesol-express-boston-ma?pt=aUQsRlTAAAABqgW-VGsjt-f7Qppy3OHz0
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard!
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  • Jrong
  • The Legend

    • 2381

    • April 28, 2011, 12:52:32 pm
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Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2013, 08:54:16 pm »
Hey man, you have a Masters in Education almost finished and you want to work for EPIK? Why aren't you applying for a University job?
"When in doubt...ask Troglodyte" ~0mnslnd


Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2013, 01:36:35 pm »
Hey man, you have a Masters in Education almost finished and you want to work for EPIK? Why aren't you applying for a University job?

All of the postings I have seen for university gigs require you to actually -have- a Masters (which I don't yet) and two-ish years full time teaching experience (which I don't yet). I have some part-time experience at the university level as part of an assistantship, but nothing full-time. It's also my understanding that most Korean universities like to hire face-to-face. This is a problem as I'm currently in Indiana.

So, the current plan is to get picked up by EPIK, finishing out the remainder of the Masters while in Korea (I've saved an online class specifically for this). Do a year or two of public school to get some in-country teaching experience and THEN apply for University gigs. . . . unless, of course, those of you in the University circuit think these steps are unnecessary or misguided.


  • Jrong
  • The Legend

    • 2381

    • April 28, 2011, 12:52:32 pm
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Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2013, 02:41:11 pm »
No, bro, please don't waste your time. If you have even started a Master's already you can definitely get hired by many a Uni -- as long as you're already here.

If you're flexible, talk to some recruiters about your plan. Say you'll fly over on a tourist visa, meet with some Unis, then get both yourself and your wife hired. Then you fly out, do the paperwork, and fly back in to Korea. It's a hassle but would save you useless time 'teaching' at EPIK. And you'd have a better job right away.

Worst-case scenario is you end up having to work for EPIK one year. In the meantime you connect with recruiters in-country and they set you up for a Uni gig second year -- definitely.

I'm trying to understand why no one else is saying this. Are they scared you'll compete for their jobs? Are they on vacay? Or do they just have better things to do than be on this forum?
"When in doubt...ask Troglodyte" ~0mnslnd


Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 03:59:48 am »
A masters in education certainly has a lot more leverage than an online TEFL. That said, an on-ground TEFL course would always be beneficial. You can do that while in Korea if you decide it is necessary. Your wife on the other hand might benefit from an online course in the meantime. Korea still has lax standards when it comes to these types of courses, so a number of certificate mills would likely pass. There are a number that I've heard people use like iTTT or iCal. They're not great though, as you get what you pay for.

If you want to teach anywhere but Korea and possibly Japan, you really do need a CELTA. Take that into account if you both have plans to make a longer career out of this.

Quote
I'm trying to understand why no one else is saying this. Are they scared you'll compete for their jobs? Are they on vacay? Or do they just have better things to do than be on this forum?
It's the better job, but university positions are few and far between along while setting a higher bar for competitiveness. I wouldn't be confident that a fresh masters in education alone would be a ticket into the university system, but then again those are not credentials I possess.


Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 08:33:38 am »
I got the 100 hour TEFL and have had no problems with it.  I finished it in about two or three months while I was also taking my last term of classes in college.  It was busy, but doable!  I don't know if it's changed, but the last time I looked, you needed at least 100 hours to be considered for a job in Korea.  Since GEPIK nixed all of the middle and high school jobs this year, it may have changed now that the competition is fiercer.


Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 01:24:45 am »
So it sounds like the consensus is "Get the crappy online cert-mill TEFL cert and land the dang job already".

That said, it is interesting to me to see the disparity in perception of availability of University gigs. Some of us seem to think they are plentiful and relatively easy to land with a work-in-progress MA. Others seem to think they are a challenge to get little experience and a degree who's ink isn't entirely dry.  Anybody else have any good input on this subject?


  • chuck2657
  • Expert Waygook

    • 677

    • September 11, 2012, 02:29:12 pm
Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2013, 08:27:36 am »
It is definitely doable to do the 120-hour course in a single day.  I probably put 4 hours in studying and 6 or so in on the exam.  If you'd like to do a more thorough job, 16-20 hours or so over a single weekend would be sufficient to fully go through, learn, and digest all of the information.  I can't foresee any reasons it could take someone more than that...no matter how thorough they wanted to be.


  • smariot
  • Explorer

    • 7

    • February 06, 2013, 09:39:55 am
Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2013, 10:17:16 am »
I'm also thinking of taking an online certificate program. But they are expensive. So I'm wondering what the final exams are like? How hard are they? Are they timed? Has anyone ever failed these things? What happens if you do fail the final exam? Do they let you take it again for free?

If I want to apply for GEPIK/EPIK program this spring cycle will it be too late to apply once I take a month to finish this online course?


  • chuck2657
  • Expert Waygook

    • 677

    • September 11, 2012, 02:29:12 pm
Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2013, 11:02:48 am »
It is definitely doable to do the 120-hour course in a single day.  I probably put 4 hours in studying and 6 or so in on the exam.  If you'd like to do a more thorough job, 16-20 hours or so over a single weekend would be sufficient to fully go through, learn, and digest all of the information.  I can't foresee any reasons it could take someone more than that...no matter how thorough they wanted to be.

How do you fit the whole 120 hours into a 24 hour period? This doesn't involve some sort of Groundhog Day type scenario does it?

No.  The 120 hour course is more like a 10 hour course (plus a 10 hour class) if you do everything *really* in depth.  There's certainly brick and mortar TEFLs that are a "real class".  The majority of the course is a rehash of basic grammar or education 101...so I'd say if you have a background in education you could just go straight to the test.  It would probably take you 8 hours (longer because you'd have to check things in the book), but it's still probably the shortest course.

In no way is the 120-hour online TEFL degree an actual 120 hour course.  I really can't see how it would theoretically go over 40.  This isn't to say all TEFL degrees are this way - some have large parts of actually teaching, observation, etc. and take the full 120 hours.  The online ones, however, are a complete joke.


Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2013, 09:52:46 am »
They're not great though, as you get what you pay for.

If you want to teach anywhere but Korea and possibly Japan, you really do need a CELTA. Take that into account if you both have plans to make a longer career out of this.

CELTA may be reputable, but you certainly do not "need it" in many places. It's only rarely required anywhere in Asia.
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Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2013, 10:02:16 am »



In no way is the 120-hour online TEFL degree an actual 120 hour course.  I really can't see how it would theoretically go over 40.  This isn't to say all TEFL degrees are this way - some have large parts of actually teaching, observation, etc. and take the full 120 hours.  The online ones, however, are a complete joke.

Some online courses may not be any good, but I wouldn't make a generalization that they all are a complete joke. Even CELTA has an online course now. Many universities offer online programs.
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Re: New and just need to meet minimums: What TEFL cert should we get?
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2013, 06:46:38 am »
I taught in China too. Schools there seem to prefer TEFL/TESOL certification more than in Korea, Japan or Taiwan. Or at least advertise it. Yet it's also easier to teach in China without a degree. The "good schools" that you have mentioned are mostly private chain schools.

Those numbers are fairly small in the large pool of jobs as well. I suppose "good jobs" are in the eye of the beholder. You can't teach in most international schools without a degree in education. A CELTA isn't going to help you there. You can't teach English in a public school in Taiwan if you're not a licensed teacher (degree in education). A CELTA won't help you there. In UAE and Dubai you need to be a licensed teacher as well. A CELTA...

Each public and private school is a little different in their preferences or requirements, but a degree in education is more versatile than any TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate.
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