Getting TESOL Certified in Korea

Category : Education/Teaching / Career/Business
Mar 24, 2015

Getting TESOL Certified in Korea


What is TESOL?

TESOL stands for: “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages”. The goal of TESOL is to provide training for people who want to teach English to non-native speakers. With such a high demand for native English teachers overseas, many people are taking the opportunity to get certified. And, with many prized public school positions in Korea becoming fewer and fewer, lots of teachers are looking for a way to make their resume stand out. TESOL certification, especially for those who did not major in English or Education, is a great way for teachers here to have an advantage over their competitors.


TESOL Program Options

TESOL programs come in all shapes in sizes: from certificates to diplomas and degrees, there’s a TESOL program option for everyone. Many schools are starting to offer TESOL programs online. While on the surface, completing a TESOL program online may seem convenient, the downside is that many employers in Korea don’t actually take online TESOL certification as seriously as in-class programs.


Program length is also taken into consideration. Many online TESOL certifiers offer cheap, 100-hour programs that seem like a great deal up front. However, most employers in Korea want a program with a minimum of 120 hours required for certification.


A quick Google search for “TESOL Program” yields about 2.9 million results. So, if you’re looking to become certified before coming to Korea, there are certainly enough options to choose from. This article deals specifically with TESOL programs within Korea.



TESOL programs normally focus on showing students how to teach a variety of language skills, such as: reading & writing, grammar, pronunciation, and listening. Sometimes there’s even room for specialization, such as in Business English or Teaching Young Learners. Others teach how to make CALL-ing (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) as effective as possible in the classroom. The TESOL program offered by TEFL International trains teachers how to work with distinctly Korean language styles. The Master’s program that Sookmyung Women’s University requires students to complete a thesis, and the Busan-based TESOL Alliance school requires students to submit several practice lesson plans before completing the four-week course.





Where Can I Get TESOL Certified in Korea?



There are several options for becoming TESOL-certified in Korea. If your budget is small and your time is limited, then a certificate program would be best for you. Currently, there are two universities in Seoul that offer the Master of Arts in TESOL.  One is offered at Sookmyung Women’s University in central Seoul, and is open to both male and female students.  The other is at Hankuk University of Foreign studies.



Hanyang also has a four month certificate TESOL certificate program. Hanyang’s program, like Sookmyung’s, costs 3 million KRW for the course. However, Hanyang’s is 30 hours longer than Sookmyung’s. A partial scholarship is also awarded to the top 4% of students each year.


Sookmyung Women’s University: Master’s Program

  1. Tuition: 5 million KRW/semester
  2. Location: Sookmyung Women’s University
  3. Bonus: Good academic performance in the first semester is rewarded with a tuition discount the next semester.
  4. Email:
  5. Website


Sookmyung Women’s University: 4 Month Certificate Program

  1. Tuition: 3 million KRW/120 hours
  2. Email:


Hankuk University of Foreign Studies – Graduate School of TESOL

  1. Tuition: 4.57 million KRW/semester
  2. Location: Dongdaemun-Gu, Imun-dong
  3. Bonus: There are many scholarships the school offers for those with high academic achievement.
  4. Email:
  5. Website



HYU TESOL (Hanyang University TESOL): 4 Month Certificate Program

  1. Tuition: 3 million KRW/150 hours
  2. Location: Hanyang University, Seoul
  3. Email:
  4. Website


Private Academies

Two private academies in Korea also offer TESOL certification courses. TESOL Alliance is a school founded by foreign English teachers, for foreign English teachers. Based out of Busan, they run occasional classes in Daegu and Seoul as well. They require a short practicum in order to successfully complete their program.


With tuition close to 2.5 million KRW, TEFL International may seem a bit pricy at first. However, their course is specifically tailored to teaching Korean learners. So for people wanting to stick around Korea for the long term, TEFL International’s course may be the best.


TEFL International: Four-Month Certificate Program

  1. Tuition: 2.48 million KRW/120 hours
  2. Location: Downtown Seoul
  3. Note: This course is specifically tailored to teaching Koreans.
  4. Email:
  5. Website


TESOL Alliance: Four-Month Certificate Program

  1. Tuition: 690,000KRW /120 hours
  2. Location: Busan, Daegu and Seoul
  3. Bonus: Students can attend future programs’ lectures if they were not offered at the time when they took their certification—a great way to keep their knowledge fresh and up-to-date.
  4. Email:
  5. Website


Tags : Education. TESOL.

Gabrielle interned as a Content Creator for Work'n'Play during her exchange trip to Chung-Ang University in 2012-2013. She graduated from Vancouver Island University in May 2014 with her BA in Global Studies. She is now a Master's student at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa, Canada. The things she misses most about her year in Korea are: going for makgeolli + jeon with friends, exploring Seoul's new and old hidden treasures and getting to practice Korean every day. You can connect with her on Twitter at @MsGabrielle or email her at