What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

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What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

Postby hidrigin » 11 Jul 2012, 02:24

I've been applying around for the past month for the fall with a bachelors and good gpa from an Ivy League school with no luck so far. Would getting a TESL Certification dramatically improve my chances? Which certifications do they recognize or look for? And of these which is the cheapest/fastest?
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Re: What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

Postby bigduke6 » 11 Jul 2012, 09:00

Generally a TEFL certificate makes no difference, unless you have an associate degree and need the certificate to get a work permit.

Are you in Taiwan?
Have you had teaching experience?
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Re: What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

Postby hidrigin » 11 Jul 2012, 10:09

I've had two part-time teaching jobs during college and one summer long internship. I'm not in Taiwan though. I have read on here that its good to just go and find a job later but I'm super nervous about doing that. It just seems too risky to me.
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What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

Postby headhonchoII » 11 Jul 2012, 11:05

Wait until you get to Taiwan, stepping outside the door might be too risky for you ;) .
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Re: What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

Postby bigduke6 » 11 Jul 2012, 11:39

hidrigin wrote:I've had two part-time teaching jobs during college and one summer long internship. I'm not in Taiwan though. I have read on here that its good to just go and find a job later but I'm super nervous about doing that. It just seems too risky to me.


That's the reason. You are not in Taiwan. Only a few chain schools, like Hess, will hire from overseas, and there is a reason they do. Most teachers who have been here for a while would never work for such schools.

You are not going to get a job here sitting on your ass in another country, unless you want to work for schools such as Hess.

However, as you seem extremely risk averse, such a job might be best for you initially.

I assume you are fresh out of college? Coming here and looking for a job is not a major risk.

At worst it will cost you a few thousand dollars, and you will have had a holiday. That's all the risk involved IMHO.
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Re: What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

Postby oravavaara » 14 Sep 2012, 03:58

I'm curious about this, too, and I'm in a slightly different situation. I'm about to graduate in December with a boatload of debt (I know, it's a common story) and have been wanting to teach English in Asia for several years. I went to school for something unrelated, but I did take around 20 credit hours of classes related to teaching English, including linguistics, teaching methods, and an internship. I have experience tutoring ESL.

My problem is that I don't have enough money to go without having a job lined up. My loans are already in repayment, and even more of them will enter repayment as soon as I graduate. So, I have to move with money that I can save while in school (read: enough money for a one-way ticket and set-up expenses), and quickly have a job that pays the bills (50,000NTD would be acceptable, 60,000NTD would be luxury).

Over and over I've seen Reach to Teach touted as the best recruiting agent, and I have a friend who has personally vouched for them. They recommend getting at least a 120-hour certificate, and they have a deal with i-to-i to promote their service. They say most of the schools they work with require a 120-hour certificate. The cost of the program is $250, which is quite a bit of money to me- it'll probably mean less money to get set-up with. I could really, really use advice on this. I've been going back and forth for months on whether or not to get certified. Basically, I'll do the certification if it will make it easier to find a job through a reputable agency. Should I trust Reach to Teach on this? Will I earn my money back? Will I have more job options? Or should I save my hard-earned money for more important expenses?
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Re: What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

Postby Starbird » 14 Sep 2012, 07:28

NOTE: This is not specific for Taiwan! Tons of it is built on heresay and my own research regarding work for next year.

From what I've seen, a TEFL degree is the bare minimum you need to apply to many jobs, as well as a 4 year uni degree. If you have a degree in English or Education it may be different.
Some jobs don't ask, but usually these have something hairy beneath the surface.

I don't know the specifics of Taiwan, but looking at most programs/jobs they want some form of teaching degree.

Of the ESL degrees, CELTA is a great starter degree and many schools seem to have a good impression of it. It's a pretty hard program though - 4 weeks of TEFL bootcamp.

Hess seems to be the best of a bad lot, but seems to be tolerable if you work for them with the intention of finding something better and don't borrow money from them.

OP - what you seem to be looking for though is a door into the East. What are you feelings regarding Japan? Give the JET program a look - good salaries, incredibly safe and will give you teaching and Asia experience. You are also subsidized when taking TEFT courses while on the program (and you workload is somewhere between 'bugger' and 'all').

My problem is that I don't have enough money to go without having a job lined up. My loans are already in repayment, and even more of them will enter repayment as soon as I graduate. So, I have to move with money that I can save while in school (read: enough money for a one-way ticket and set-up expenses), and quickly have a job that pays the bills (50,000NTD would be acceptable, 60,000NTD would be luxury).


Again, take my advice with a grain of salt - but I've had friends try various places (Middle East, Thailand, Japan) coming over solo and those without the financial fat to survive for a month or two have fallen flat on their faces. Some jobs offer a loan, but in many cases this can be used to leverage you to work for them for longer.

Two words: JET Program. Do it. I know it's not Taiwan, but it's not far and you can head there after you've saved some cash. And earning $2K US a month basically tax free is just awesome for anyone with loans.
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Re: What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

Postby funkymonkey » 14 Sep 2012, 11:14

bigduke6 wrote:Generally a TEFL certificate makes no difference, unless you have an associate degree and need the certificate to get a work permit.

100% correct. Most schools have absolutely no idea what CELTA or DELTA are and you won't make more money if you have one. If you're doing it for personal develpoment, then great. If you're doing it to make more money, then you are in for a big surprise. Looks/personality are far more important to schools at the moment. Remember, schools here need to "sell" you to the parents.
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Re: What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 14 Sep 2012, 11:45

headhonchoII wrote:Wait until you get to Taiwan, stepping outside the door might be too risky for you ;) .


Actually, with the driving skillz here, it might!

Anyway, mandatory qualifications required here: An advanced diploma in sticky ball throwing, a certificate in putting up with stupid shit and being ripped off in your pay, and most importantly, a degree in blond hair and blue eyes.
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Re: What TESL Certifications are Employers Looking for?

Postby tomthorne » 14 Sep 2012, 11:53

I've probably said this before somewhere else, but anyway...

If you think you might end up doing this weird TESOL stuff for a long time then it really is a very good idea to take an entry level qualification (CELTA, Trinity etc)as soon as possible. In most other parts of the world they are either very important or necessary to obtain employment. In Taiwan itself there are peach jobs that require them; usually with at least two years post qualification teaching experience. If TESOL is going to end up as a career then qualifications are really important unless you plan to take the entrepreneurial route.

Having said that, if you only plan to work in Taiwan for a year or two before returning home to another job then any qualifications beyond the MOE minimum requirements will be a complete waste of money. The vast majority of school managers couldn't give a toss. However, a few of the chains are now starting to demand them. Teachers recruited through Shane head office need one and many of the independents are doing the same. I'd expect that as the over-supply of teachers continues more schools will become increasingly demanding in their recruitment. How those demands manifest themselves could be a different matter. Prettier/younger may well be more important.
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