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teaching in Asia with university degree in English

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  • Sofie
    Participant
    10 November, 2012 at 14:39
    • Total posts: 1

    Hi, I would like to move to Asia and find a job as an English teacher. I read on the net that a TEFL or other certification is required. I have a university degree in English language and linguistics. Is this degree not sufficient? Do I have to have a TEFL (or other) certificate? My native language is however not English (Dutch) and I have no teaching experience…
    Can someone give more information on this?
    Thanks!

    ICAL TEFL
    Participant
    11 November, 2012 at 9:59
    • Total posts: 158

    Reply To: teaching in Asia with university degree in English

    The minimum qualification is usually a degree which is required for visa purposes. Some countries don’t even need this in Asia.

    However this is a minimum qualification; most schools will ask for a TEFL certificate simply as proof you know something about teaching English. And most candidates for jobs will have a TEFL certificate so if you’re up against others for the same job you’ll be qualified out of the position simply because of this.

    On another tack having a degree in English/Linguistics does not necessarily equip you to teach English. I have a similar degree and when I first taught I floundered in a major way (until I got a TEFL cert which actually taught me how to teach).

    Finally there’s the issue of your nationality. In some countries this will disbar you (notably South Korea) and it will make things harder to find work elsewhere; however it’s by no means impossible. You should, however, get as well qualified as possible to improve your chances.

    TEFL certs are short courses and inexpensive and can only improve your chances of finding work better – as well as making your teaching better of course!


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    dan
    Moderator
    11 November, 2012 at 12:30
    • Total posts: 770

    Reply To: teaching in Asia with university degree in English

    TEFL courses… can only improve your chances of finding work better – as well as making your teaching better of course!

    Absolutely – let’s not forget about the students you’ll be teaching. In my view they deserve to be taught by someone who has had some training in how to teach them. I’ve made a similar point in several threads before but I’ll say it again here. A degree in English language and literature is great, and will certainly help. But it would be rather like if you hired a plumber, and then found out that he can name all the different types of pipe, wrench, water pressure gauge, and drain cleaner, but has no idea how to actually use them together to fix your drains. Would you be happy paying this plumber for his services?

    So to answer your question, no, you don’t necessarily need a TEFL qualification (bearing in mind all the points ICAL TEFL mentions of course) but you’d certainly be doing your future students a huge service if you get one!

    Hope that helps.

    Dan

    FrancaisDeutsch
    Participant
    12 November, 2012 at 0:03
    • Total posts: 57

    Reply To: teaching in Asia with university degree in English

    You have more than the necessary qualifications to teach in Asia. Do know, though, that it is best to have at least a TEFL certificate (+100 hours) so you know a little about the field (reputable online or on-site course). You’d be complementing your extra-linguistic knowledge, but even more so, you’d be doing a great service to yourself and to your students.

    It is generally true that the CELTA certificate holds no more value than other other legit course across Asia, unless some rare school asks specifically for one (saw that only once for a language school in Tokyo). And, if I may add, eikaiwa schools in Japan (English-language schools) are increasingly saying "preferring any TEFL certificate although not necessary" in the job requirement section of their job offers. This was uncommon a few years ago; now, it is "slightly" common.

    (PS: On a more impertinent note, the high-paying oil countries of the Middle East regard TEFL certificates with little value unless they’re in addition to a degree in English, linguistics, or TEFL. And if you have a Master’s in linguistics or English, you don’t even need to worry about getting a TEFL certificate to get hired, even though you should).

    I wish you all the best in your TEFL endeavors. :D

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