Does the EPIK program in Korea accept online TEFL courses? If you look at EPIK's website you can get a little confused. It seems like they state a preference for in-class courses or do they? 

In this post we'll take a look at what might be ideal and the reality of teachers over there already teaching.

First let's take a look at the EPIK website.

Here's what EPIK has to say about TEFL certification

This is taken from the EPIK website.

"Currently, we accept a minimum 100 hour TEFL or TESOL certificate as a qualification criteria for level 2 or higher pay grade, regardless of how the course was taken. However, starting from the Fall 2013 term, when we recommend candidates to the POE/MOEs we will give a priority to the applicants possessing a minimum 100 hour TEFL or TESOL with at least a 20 hour offline, in-class component, as opposed to those who only completed a strictly online course.

We strongly advise you to take the TEFL or TESOL programs including at least a 20 hour offline, in-class component. However, Busan will only acknowledge TESOL/TEFL certificates that contain at least a 60 hour offline, in-class component. This decision was made to meet requests from the POE/MOEs and schools who wish to have the most qualified Guest English Teachers possible."

What does that mean?

It means that as long as you are not trying to get into Busan then an online TEFL course will work.

Once upon a time you didn't need any TEFL certification to teach in EPIK. Now the situation is if you don't have experience, a related degree, teaching license or master's degree then you'll need it.

Are you sure that an online TEFL course will work for EPIK?

It depends, but don't believe me. Believe them...

"You need a qualification but the quality of the qualification doesn't matter one iota. You could have a DELTA or the cheapest, dodgiest online TEFL certificate and you'll likely get the same treatment.

I completed my CELTA a few months before I started teaching with EPIK, but since the certificate took a while to process, I was forced to do an online course to meet their requirements. I promptly completed a $150, "100 hour" course in about 25-30 hours (those things are a bad joke) and got accepted to EPIK no problem." - Genericpie

"Yeah they definitely are at present :) I completed an online 140 hours TEFL which only cost around £40 and was accepted by EPIK for the Fall 2017 intake recently. Though if you're considering taking up TEFL as a more long-term move I would suggest looking into doing a master's or some sort of diploma in TEFL or education at a later date." - yeonggeosonyeo

Here's what GOE had to say about online TEFL course "hours"

Who's GOE? GOE = Gyeongsangnamdo Office of Education. GOE has a very similar application to EPIK's.

Here's an email they sent to me regarding online TEFL courses and their so-called "hours".

"...There are of course some TEFL companies who do what they say in that 20 hours in class is legitmately 20 hours in class (the online portion is understandably difficult to keep track of as it is online and everyone has different speeds of learning) and so we have discussed accepting TEFL cert's from those companies only, however, that would cause some issues as maybe some teachers would be unable to find locations to complete TEFL courses.

It's a very delicate issue that requires a lot of discussion, so please know we are aware however, it's not going to be a quick fix..."  - Jin Kim

So that means they also accept online courses with the reason being that not everyone can get to a location to take a course.

Bottom line

They may prefer that you have a course with in-class hours, but they will accept your online certificate if you don't have a year of experience, a teaching license, or a related degree. That's as long as you are not trying to get into Busan.

What about hagwons?

If you want to teach in a hagwon in korea then an online TEFL would be fine. Individual hagwons could have a preference, but there is no rule across the board for hagwons. Hagwons are private businesses. You could find work in a hagwon without any TEFL course.

A multi-media online TEFL course focused on teaching in Korea

Here's an online course that is especially focused on teaching English to children (most EPIK positions). Almost all of the instructional videos were filmed in both public schools and hagwons in Korea.

Learn how to teach English (especially to Kids in Korea) and enjoy it!

Or

Learn more about online TEFL courses.