This is a reader question from Sam about what degree is needed for teaching ESL in Korea.
Here’s the Question:
“I have a B.A in English (Literature & Composition). I also have a Masters in Science: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. There is a job that I’m looking at in Korea that is seeking an ESL Teacher. Are my degrees sufficient or do I need more experience specifically with ESL or teaching?”
My Answer about What Degree is Required for Teaching in Korea
Your qualifications are more than sufficient for a public school or hagwon job. With your MA, you would definitely be able to complete for university jobs once you’re in country and perhaps have a year of experience teaching adults at a hagwon for example.
For teaching English in Korea, all you need is a BA in basket weaving to legally get an E2 (conversation instructor) visa from the Korean government. And you have to also be from the “big 6” countries where English is spoken as the first language: Canada, USA, England, Australia, Uk, New Zealand, South Africa.
As far as somewhere actually hiring you for a teaching job in Korea, that is kind of a different story and this my unofficial ranking of what is most important.
1. How beautiful/handsome you are. Blond hair/blue eyes preferred.
2. Where you’re from. North American preferred simply because it’s the accent that Koreans generally find easiest to understand.
3. Age. The younger, the better unless you want to get a university job in Korea, where being too young can hurt you. If you want to work at a uni, standards are a bit higher but you seem to have it covered with your masters degree.
4. Experience teaching English
5. What kind of degree you have. Things like TESOL or education are best. Some universities or high schools will look favourably on things like business or engineering degrees, if you’ll be teaching those majors.
6. Random other things. It just depends on the person who’s interviewing you. One guy at my last university went to the same school in the US as the guy doing the hiring. And you guessed it…he got the job!
So, as you can see experience and the kinds of degrees you have isn’t actually that important. You will definitely be able to land yourself a hagwon or public school job easily enough.
Of course, university jobs are a lot more difficult. You might get lucky and slip in there at the last minute with you MA though.
My Sweet University Job in Korea
In case you want some advice on how to get one of the best teaching English jobs in the entire world, you’ll want to check out this book: How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams.
It’s available in both digital and print formats. The (cheaper!) digital copy can be read on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app. Take it with you for some serious job advice on the go. Or, sit down and read it in a couple of hours and then get your job searching going on!
Of course, it’s not easy to get a university job in South Korea these days. There are just fewer jobs and more and more people competing for them. Give yourself a leg up on the competition by checking out this book as you’re beginning your job search process.
Learn more about it on Amazon.com, but only if you’re serious about getting yourself one of the best English teaching jobs in the entire world. How does 5 months paid vacation sound? Great, right?
Requirements to Get a University Job In Korea
You can learn more in this short video below:
Have your Say about Degrees for Teaching ESL in Korea
Do you have any thoughts about which degree is preferable (or necessary) for teaching English in Korea? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
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