Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Reader Question: PhD to Get a University Job in Korea?

PhD Korea
PhD to Work at a Korean University?

"I've just finished my masters in TESOL and want to make a smooth transition into a university job in Korea. Any advice on how to get into the game without any current uni teaching experience because it seems like every position requires it.  Is it worth it to get a PhD?"

Thanks for the question- it's a position that many people in many industries around the world find themselves in. They have the education, but lack the experience to get them the job in the field. The catch 22. 

Anyway, because your masters degree is in TESOL it will be possible for you to get a university job in Korea, eventually so don't give up. I talk about this very question in my book, How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams and give some suggestions such as working at a unigwon for a year or two or at a lower level uni out in the countryside. I give an abundance of detail in the book, so check that out if you haven't already.

As for the PhD thing, I've been around Korean universities for the past 8 years and can count the number of foreigners with PhD's working there on 2 hands, and possibly 1. The people that I have met were those who studied something else besides TESOL such as English Literature, Social Welfare or Engineering and were working in those departments teaching content classes, as opposed to general English classes.

Since you have a masters in TESOL, I'm assuming that is what you'd do your PhD in. In this case, it is a total waste of time and money if your end goal is to get a job at a Korean university; it just doesn't matter to Korean universities when they hire an English conversation instructor. If your goal is to make teaching ESL your career and move on to other countries or back home, then yes, possibly it is a good idea but it really depends on your individual circumstances.

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