ESL Certifications

ESL certifications are a key component to teaching overseas. Depending on what direction you want to take with teaching English abroad, one aspect is quickly becoming a common trend. ESL jobs are being offered to those who are QUALIFIED.

What exactly does this mean? Slowly fading are the days when it meant having a bachelor’s degree and being from a designated English speaking country – though those opportunities are still very common. However, more and more ESL programs around the world are moving to hire teachers with specific degrees, TESOL and CELTA certifications, and teaching certifications from your home country. This qualification is in addition to having hands-on classroom experience.

Getting some sort of teaching ESL certification will never hurt you. It increases your chances of getting hired and can increase your pay rate. I went through the process of obtaining a TESOL and Business English certification my first year in South Korea. I’m also in the midst of receiving my teaching credential from my home state of Florida.

Why? Because I want to teach English abroad.

Having the right certifications will greatly increase your marketability and longevity in the field. I give as much information on the topic as possible, and try to share my experiences while becoming certified.

As always, feel free to email me with any questions. Now get certified!

Get started with Teaching certifications


  1. Avatar Molly-Rose says:

    Hey, Tom!

    I recently started watching your videos as my interest in teaching English as a foreign language has grown. I am just about to go into my second year of university (a British 3 year degree) and was wondering if you have any tips for me. My plan is to go to South Korea to teach English through a program like EPIK (I am not very interested in hagwons).

    My degree will be in English language with modules in linguistics and culture. I have read some conflicting information about having a degree in an English or education based subject – is it true that it is not required to have a TESOL certificate if your degree is in English or education? By that I mean, in theory, could I get by just having a TEFL certificate and an English language BA?

    I know it is a while before I am going to start the application process but I prefer to plan in advance. I just watched your latest KAM chats video about the advantages of at least knowing some Korean, a week after I have started to learn a couple of basic Korean phrases. I am from England and I am passionate about culture. Would it be wise to start getting some classroom experience now, whilst I completing my degree? I already volunteer with a charity which helps find missing children – what other extra curricular experience would you recommend having in order to make my application look more impressive?

    Sorry for so many questions – the fact that there is SO much information on this subject online is both a blessing and a curse. You never know if what you’re reading is 100% reliable!

    Thank you for taking the time to read this,


    • Hi there.

      Requirements with EPIK have changed a little since I applied so I’m not 100% on the specifics. That’s a very good question about whether or not you need a TESOL certificate if your major is already English. I would think it would be moot, but the very best way to find out is to ask a recruiter or send EPIK an email directly. Since they take applications directly now, they may be willing to answer definitively for you.

      I think your desire to learn the language and your volunteering work will shed a good light on you. When I applied, I was also heavily involved with volunteering and I actually got one of my recommendation letters from that very organization. So if you can do the same, it definitely wouldn’t hurt.

      I hope this was helpful. All the best.


  2. Avatar Matt Parker says:

    You mentioned you were working on your teaching certification from your home state of Florida. Can you elaborate (or if you already have point me in the right direction) on that process since you are overseas?

    • Matt,

      I went through the University of West Florida. Their program is called TeacherReady. You will need to fly to Florida at the end to sit for the 3 state exams so just keep that in mind. You can do it any time, so scheduling it during a vacation is possible. That’s what I did. I completed all 3 in 1 week. Not the most enjoyable thing, but I did it!

  3. Avatar Kiara Weis says:

    Hi Tom,

    We exchanged a few emails a while back, don’t know if you remember me. Anyway I was just curious as to which school/company you went through to get your TEFL/TESOL certification? I’m looking to start a course and work on getting mine once the winter break starts and I’d like to do it online but It’s hard to tell which sites are the best/legit. I’d appreciate any advice you have on the matter.


    • Kiara,

      Yes, I remember you! I went through ITTT TESOL online. It’s a large and reputable place that I believe is growing in recognition. There are many others though. If you can do it in class, that’s probably the best.


  4. The TeacherReady program at UWF-how long did that take you to complete? I am at USF and have not looked closely into the teaching certification yet…
    Not sure how to phrase this politely, but you offered to put me in touch with your recruiting associate and I would like to take you up on that!

    • Hi there. It took me about 1 year to complete the coursework for the TeacherReady program. When I was finished, I needed to prepare for the exams and fly home to sit for them. There are 3 total. It’s a pretty involved process.

      If you’d like, just visit my jobs page and see if there’s anything that interests you there. If not, just send me an email with your resume and a clear photo and we can get started from there.

  5. Dear Tom
    Thank you for all of information that is hardly provided for all of us. I’d like to know that if my native language and country is not English language, but I got bachelor degree of English language and also Tesol certification from some British institution, is there a chance for me to teach in Korea ? and kindly tell me what I need for teaching English in colleges of Korean.

Share Your Thoughts


Loading Facebook Comments ...