Monday, March 21, 2011

Get a University Job in Korea (and...shhh...without an MA!)

The EFL business has been booming in Korea for the last ten years, and it isn't letting up. EPIK has been increasing recruits, new private academies are opening every day, and foreign teachers are still arriving by the planeload.

But with the global economy in a recession, teaching English abroad has suddenly become much more attractive. The market is competitive - two years ago getting a teaching job in Korea was as simple as applying. Now stories of EPIK or private academy applicants being turned away are increasingly common.

Which makes scoring a university gig - among the most coveted of positions in the EFL world -  seem like a pipe dream. Particularly if you don't have a Master's degree.

But there's hope. You don't need an MA, or even an English degree, to get a job teaching in a Korean university. Perhaps it's a sad reality, but often the only thing required is a foreign face and a university degree.

You Can Get a University Job in Korea 
Without a Master's Degree!

It helps if you have one or more of the following:

1. Friends

There are LOTS of universities in Korea, and many of them do not post job openings online. Some of them don't even have websites. Many small universities in Korea don't have the staff or time to spend filing through a long list of applicants. They want to hire someone quickly, and without much ado. Knowing someone who already works in a university is the easiest way to get your name on the top of the hiring list.

Which brings me to number 2.

2. Persistence

If you don't know someone who works in a university, find someone. Visit the English department at a university and introduce yourself to someone - Korean or foreign - and let them know who you are.

A friend of mine got a university job at a uni on a certain Korean island by looking up an email list of professors and firing off a couple of messages to let professors know that he would be visiting and wanted to sit down for a chat. Although the university wasn't hiring at the time, he kept in touch with his contacts there and when a position did open up, he was already in the loop. The professors knew him, and could put a face to his name.

3. Experience

There are 4 kinds of experience that matter:

- Teaching English
- Teaching in Korea
- Teaching adults (high school or older)
- Teaching in a public school

I'll be honest - you probably won't be able to get a university job without at least a year of prior teaching experience. If you don't have a Master's degree, don't expect to move to Korea with a university job. You'll probably need a year or two of experience here before they'll consider you.

3. Luck

Call it what you will - fortune, timing, destiny - sometimes getting the job has nothing to do with qualifications. It is all about being in the right place in the right time. Every Korean university operates a little differently - and hiring decisions are up to the specific department head. So cross your fingers, throw your chips in the pot, and hope for the best.

(A little bribery never hurt anyone, either ;) )

1 comment :

  1. Anonymous4:53 PM

    The uni system has gotten pickier these days, so if someone wants to go to a big-name, their chances improve with a MA.


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