TEFL Certificate vs. Masters Degree for Teaching in a Korean University

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TEFL Certificate vs. Masters Degree

Okay, so it’s the all-important question for English teachers. Should you get something like the CELTA or another TEFL certificate or should you just bite the bullet and go big with a Masters degree? Keep on reading to find out all the information you need to know.

Which one is Better: TEFL vs Masters?

A reader question from Sam: “I’m thinking about a TEFL certificate vs. Masters degree (or even PhD) for teaching in a Korean university. Which one is better? Will one of them help me get my foot in the door better than the other?”

My Answer:

If we’re talking about strictly teaching, something like the CELTA (and the next level, the DELTA) is going to be much better than a Masters in many cases because of the practical nature of it. These courses also require supervised teaching practice, which in my opinion is by far the best way to improve your teaching skills.

Teaching is an art and while it’s good to have the theoretical background, it’s best learned through doing. Of course, you will pick up a ton of tips and tricks while doing your MA, but nothing is as good as supervised teaching practice.

I’m not going lie, I wasn’t a great teacher until I did the CELTA. After that, I figured out how to teach grammar (and understood it myself). I also learned how to plan an effective lesson and the stages for various kind of them.

The DELTA helped me expand my knowledge of grammar to the (kind-of) expert level. That’s a serious exam and you really have to know your stuff.

What about Getting a University Job?

However, I have a hunch that the question is really about getting a university job in Korea and which one is better for that. The Masters degree by far–these days, it’s kind of a basic qualification to even get your foot in the door.

Koreans in general are pretty clueless when it comes to things like TEFL certs/CELTA, etc. In my own experience of doing the DELTA, none of the admins that I’ve mentioned this to have any idea what it is. This is despite the fact that I could use it get up to a year credit in many MA TESOL programs, especially in the UK.

Like it’s a legit certification program for ESL teachers and not some fly by night kind of thing!

That said, even a totally unrelated Masters degree is far better than any sort of TEFL certification. Business, engineering, whatever. It’s usually the basic requirement to get past the first round of resume screening.

What about Outside of Korea?

Perhaps where TEFL certificates have the best value is outside of Korea. In many countries around the world, something like this is the basic qualification to get an English teaching visa.

Or, it’s the boost you need to compete for a competitive job, especially back in your home country where something like this is pretty much the standard.

If you want to do the Celta or the Delta in Korea, check out:

Doing the CELTA in Korea

Doing the DELTA in Korea

Will a TEFL Certificate Increase My Earning Potential?

Even in Korea, you will get more money for having a TEFL certificate in some cases. This is certainly true in a public school where you may get 100,000-200,000 Won a month more for having this certificate or being a certified teaching in your home country.

Outside of Korea, it’s much the same.

How Can I Get a Uni Job?

If you have a Masters degree it really is possible to get a uni job teaching English in Korea. But, it’s not going to be easy because the field is really competitive. Get a leg up on the competition by checking out this book on Amazon: How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams

Find out Whether or Not the Celta Will Help you Get a University Job in Korea

If you’re serious about getting a university job in Korea, then you’ll need to check out this book over on Amazon: How to Get a University Job in South Korea. 

The book is filled with information, including resume and interview tips, mistakes to avoid, along with networking and how to make contacts with the people who do the hiring in Korea. It’s basically everything you need to get a leg up on the competition.

The book is available in both digital and print formats. It’s not easy to get the job of your dreams, but you’re certainly one step closer if you read this book.

Learn more here:

How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of your Dreams
19 Reviews
How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of your Dreams
  • Jackie L Bolen
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Paperback: 56 pages

Have your Say about the TEFL Certificate vs Masters Debate

What are your thoughts about getting a TEFL certificate instead of a Master’s degree for teaching in Korea? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’ll help other job-seekers, like yourself find this useful resource.

Last update on 2019-08-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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