Friday, March 30, 2012

EPIK Makes Big Changes To Hiring Process

I am currently an elementary school teacher working for EPIK (English Program in Korea) and every six months when they go through the next round of hirings, they usually tweak the contracts a little or up their applications requirements in a small way.  But, starting this month, applicants for EPIK teachers wanting to start at the beginning of the next school term in August will have some additional hoops to jump through.  I have two friends going through the EPIK application process now (with different recruitment companies) and both have confirmed with e-mails forwarded to me of the new EPIK guidelines.  I will include below some excerpts from the e-mails.

Change #1 - Level 3 applicants have been eliminated.  I came to Korea three years ago as a level 3 applicant, meaning I only had a bachelors degree.  I did not have a background in English, a master's degree, I was not a liscenced teacher, I had no prior teaching experience, and I did not have a TEFL certification of any kind.
Public schools in Korea have begun to consider only applicants at salary level 2 or more this term. With this, the easiest way for most people to get to a level 2 salary is taking a 100hr+ TEFL course. Fortunately, this is something that should pay for itself in the first month with the salary increase. Teachers must register for the TEFL course before applying to the program, the course itself does not need to be finished until July.
This actually should produce a more professional workforce and maybe should have been implemented years ago.

Change #2 - No more joint applicants.  Two friends, or a couple that wanted to be together that were not married were allowed to apply at the same time and usually were placed at the very least in the same area or city.  EPIK does not want to deal with these exceptions anymore.
EPIK has told us that they most likely will not be able to consider non-married joint applicants for positions this term and would prefer non-married joint applicants to apply as single applicants... The program has requested teachers don’t include friends or people you are in a non-married relationship with on your application.
Change #3 - Applicants can no longer request a specific city or province to be placed in.  On the application, you can only check a box for one of three things: "Provincial Province", "Metropolitan City", or "Seoul".  On all previous applications, new teachers chose either metropolitan cities or provinces and ranked them #1 through #5.  EPIK is apparently taking away this option to reduce on people complaining about not getting their top choices.  EPIK is also stressing that they have the power to place new teachers anywhere in the country and people need to accept the teaching assignment they are given wherever it is.

Change #4 - A GPA requirement is now in effect.
The program has informed us that they will only consider teachers with GPA’s of 2.5 or Above on a 4.0 system this term. If your University does not use 4.0 system, please write down your overall GPA on your application as it will show up on your transcripts. Many universities will use a percentage system, other universities a ranking system with classes or honours, please use this as your GPA on the application. We are advising teachers to apply with a percentage of 70% or higher or with any class/degree level. Teachers who are still in the process of finishing classes should list their current GPA for classes completed. I would advise all teachers with education, english, and post-graduate degrees to send in applications to be considered on a case by case basis.
Change #5 - A sample lesson plan must be submitted with the application form.  It even says on the application form "Minimum 2 pages, single-spaced".  I definitely think this will help weed out people who are not committed enough to even make a 2 page lesson plan when they apply for the program.

The problem with the EPIK application process is they do not hire the best applicants, but for the longest time they have hired anyone willing to get on a plane and move to Korea.  It has only been in the last three years that they have received enough applications to fill all the positions they want.  They still have the problem, however, that they hire on a first apply, first hired basis.  If you meet the minimum requirements and apply early, then the job is guaranteed.  It looks like they will still operate that way, but they will continue to creep up their application requirements as long as the supply of applicants exceeds their demand.

96 comments:

radiaNTLake said...

I agree with most of these changes! It is really important to hire quality teachers. As a student, I expect a quality education. Unless there is adequate training provided by the program, applicants should be required to pass background checks and meet qualifications. A lot of people plan to go to Korea to play. Your first job is to teach. I do feel sorry for some that had high hopes and may even have a little experience. However, they will just have to prove their dedication. Good luck future EPIKs!

Wes Broe said...

I guess I should have stated it in the post, but I agree with all the changes as well except the ability to request what city you go to. Like I said, I have two friends applying to go through the process now and they want to come to my city so we can at least live in the same area and spend time together on the weekends, but now there might be no chance of that and if they end up on the other side of the country from me, I will rarely be able to get to see them.

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Wendy said...

When do these changes go into effect?

Wes Broe said...

They go into effect right now for the people who are applying to start in September. If you are already working for EPIK in Korea, then none of this changes anything for you.

Vikky said...

I am planning to apply for next year's round in September. I have degree in French, but I plan to get a CELTA. Do you think I'll still be able to get hired?

Wes Broe said...

Sure, with a CELTA and a bachelors degree you'd be qualified. Just apply early.

Danny said...

I think that most of the changes are really great. I do, for personal reasons, wish you could still request specific provinces. I've been working with an MOE directly (not through EPIK) for 4 years and I really wanted to move to Gimcheon so I could volunteer with a specific orphanage out there. Oh well...

Eric said...

I'm planning to apply to the sept. round of 2013 and I just have a bachelor's. I want to get a TEFL certificate obviously of over 100 hours, but the 'TEFL industry' is so confusing with legitimate-looking ones that cost $1000+ or sketchy ones that cost $200-$300. Just wondering if anyone has any specific suggestions by experience with regards to TEFL. thanks.

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Mandy LovelyDoll said...

I am happy for this change. I just applied for the Spring 2014 intake. Maybe this will weed out the people who just want to travel and not actually teach. I like the TEFL requirements. I hope those people (who are level 3 applicants) will take the private school route. Yay!

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