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How much money can I make teaching English in South Korea?


How much money do English teachers in South Korea make?
(And how much can I save?!)

salaries teaching english in south koreaSouth Korea offers some of the best salaries and benefits to foreign English teachers in the world. Here is a brief outline of what foreign English teachers can expect to earn teaching in Korea.  Keep in mind that English teachers in Korea typically receive airfare and housing, the cost of living is modest and exchange rates are such that most teachers will be able to save up to 50 % of their salary after expenses, which can range from the equivalent of $800 - $1,200 a month. Salaries are typically paid in Korea won (KRW).


Salaries for First Year English Teachers in South Korea

  • Public schools:  1.8 – 2.0 million KRW (approximately $1,600 - $1,800 USD) per month.
  • Private schools: 2.0-2.1 million KRW ($1,800 - $1,900 USD) per month.

Salaries for Experienced English Teachers in South Korea

  • Public schools: 2.0 – 2.7 million KRW ($1,800 - $2,400 USD) per month
  • Private schools: 2.1-3.0 million KRW ( $1,900Salaries for Teaching English in Korea - $2,750 USD) per month


Additional Benefits for English teachers in South Korea

  • Severance bonus - Most English teachers also receive an extra month salary bonus upon successful completion of their contract.

  • Paid vacation – Public school teachers receive 18 days (three work weeks) paid vacation plus 15-18 national holidays.  Private school teachers typically receive 7-10 days paid vacation plus 15-18 national holidays.

  • Furnished housing – Most teachers will be provided with a single-occupancy apartment that is fully furnished.

  • Airfare – Most teachers will be required to buy their airline ticket upfront and then will be reimbursed upon arrival.  In some cases, the school may provide the teacher’s airline ticket up front.

  • Health care - As an employee you are on the Korean natonal health care system.

  • Converting won into other currencies and transferring it back to your home country – It is not difficult to convert Korean wan into U.S. dollars or other foreign currencies, nor is it difficult to transfer money from Korea to banks in the U.S. and elsewhere (though there may be some nominal administrative fees).  If you plan to transfer money to your bank account in your home country, make sure that you bring all relevant account information (account numbers, routing numbers, swift codes, etc.) with you to Korea.


How much can I save teaching English in Korea and why can I save so much as an English teacher in Korea?

  • Most English teachers in Korea will be able to save up to 50 % of their salary after expenses, which can range from the equivalent of $800 - $1,200 a month.Salaries for Teaching English in Korea

  • Korea is a very prosperous nation that highly values education so schools, parents and the government are all willing to offer high salaries and good benefits to recruit qualified native English speaking teachers.

  • Rent is provided, so English teachers do not need to worry about an item that for most people will consume 30% or more of their monthly budget.

  • Cost of living – food, utilities, public transportation, etc. – is lower than in most large American and Western European cities.

  • Teachers who complete a 12 month contract will typically receive a severance bonus equivalent to one month’s pay.

  • Exchange rates – Teachers are paid in Korean won and exchange rates are such that when monthly savings are converted to dollars, the amount will usually  range from $800 - $1,200 a month.  International exchange rates are constantly changing and are set by international currency markets; to view the latest rates, we recommend using an online currency converter such as that at


Eligibility to Teach English in Korea:

  • 4 year degree (exception is TALK program for 60 hours of college credit)
  • Citizenship from USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand or South Korea.
  • Native English speaker
  • Clean criminal background




Will the employer accept my husband as he will be a teacher of english through the tesol program as well. Will there be cohabitation facilities should we be accepted into the program? 
We have a medical plan here in Canada and have regular medication which is very expensive. Will that be covered by the employer? 
Thankyou for taking my questions. 
Sincerely, Marlene Chymboryk 
This really sounds like something we are reading to take on in our lives.
Posted @ Wednesday, November 14, 2012 10:32 PM by marlene chymboryk
Hi Marlene, 
1) Please contact us and speak to an advisor about TEFL certification options and teaching options: 
2) Medical: Please read this article:  
3) Going together as a couple, please read this article:
Posted @ Wednesday, November 14, 2012 11:10 PM by International TEFL Academy
My husband is a trained Math teach K-12, are there jobs for Math teachers and would he have to do any entrance exams ?  
Thank you .
Posted @ Friday, January 18, 2013 8:08 AM by Debbie
Hi Debbie, there really aren't jobs for Math teachers (perhaps a handful at an international school, very few and far between). Korea has one of the highest math scores in the world, they don't need our help.  
Certified teachers get jobs as foreign language instructors in English (as you speak English fluently and the Korean teachers do not). You and your husband would need to take our 120 hour TEFL certification class to be trained and certified. Contact us and speak to an advisor to discuss the ooptions for the both of you. Here's an article on couples going together.
Posted @ Friday, January 18, 2013 10:11 AM by International TEFL Academy
Hello, please i would like to know the means of me teaching and or getting visa for South Korea. I am a Computer Science graduate and i can speak English Language very fluently, i can as well impact the same knowledge through people if am giving the chance to, i live in Malaysia and am from Nigeria, please i would like to know the possibilities of getting the teaching contracts, thanks allot.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 19, 2013 9:52 AM by Stanley,
Hi Stanley, since you are a citizen of Nigeria and not from US, CA, UK, NZ, AU, SA, you do not qualify for a work permit in South Korea. That is the legal requirement (and a 4 year degree). There is absolultely nothing you can do to get a job in that country so your best choice is to pick another country. Try teaching in Malaysia since you are there.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 19, 2013 10:24 AM by International TEFL Academy
Hello, I am a recent graduate with a BS in Human Development. I am also an alumnus of the United States AmeriCorps program where I was a reading specialist at an elementary school for 2 years. I will have my TESL certification by June 14 and would like to find placement abroad soon afterwards. I love teaching, am very energetic and organized, and would love the opportunity. How long does it generally take to find employment? What documents will I need?
Posted @ Thursday, February 21, 2013 4:20 AM by Becky
Hi Becky, 
1) We can only assist you if your are a student or graduate of International TEFL Academy. If you have not taken your TESL class from a school yet, we suggest you speak to us first about our classes and our job assistance as it seems your TESL school has not informed you of options otherwise you would not be contacting us. btw, we offer a partial scholarship of AmeriCorp veterans. 
2) If you are already in a TESL class, you should speak to your school for advice and help, that should be something you are paying for.
Posted @ Thursday, February 21, 2013 2:32 PM by International TEFL Academy
hello! what if i am an asian, but speak English and i have diploma of Teacher of English Language, do i have chances to get a job there?
Posted @ Wednesday, March 06, 2013 10:19 AM by Sasha
Hi Sasha, 
Eligibility to teach English in South Korea:  
■4 year degree (exception is TALK program for 60 hours of college credit) 
■Citizenship from USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand or South Korea. 
■Native English speaker 
■Clean criminal background
Posted @ Wednesday, March 06, 2013 11:24 AM by International TEFL Academy
I have a drink drive charge.will this affect my chances of getting the E2 working visa for teaching in korea??
Posted @ Wednesday, March 20, 2013 4:31 PM by ian jones
Hi Ian, 
You will not get a work visa in South Korea with a drink and driving conviction (you wrote charge). South Korea is one of the few countries this is an issue, call us or fill out a contact form and speak to an admission advisor about all your other options that are great for you to teach abroad. Our number is 773-634-9900 or fill out a form:
Posted @ Wednesday, March 20, 2013 5:53 PM by International TEFL Academy
Just wondering if this is something for families. We have 3 teenagers. Thanks
Posted @ Monday, May 06, 2013 9:00 AM by Beret Hankinson
Good day, I am a lawyer from South Africa, and am looking at leaving the legal field to pursue a career in teaching in south Korea. I have a B-Com degree and an LLB degree, in addition to other certificates and diploma's. I have not done the TEFL course, but am fluent in English. Is it necessary for me to do the TEFL course, and will I qualify to teach in South Korea? I do not have a criminal record, and have two 4 year degrees.
Posted @ Friday, May 17, 2013 8:34 AM by Gregg
Hi Gregg, 
Good question. Teaching English is like practicing law, you could try to make things up or you could go to school to be trained to do it. If you become TEFL certified this will allow you to teach anywhere around the world and you will know what you are doing. Take a look at this article and contact us to speak with an advisor and take a serious look at making this happen.
Posted @ Monday, May 20, 2013 4:18 PM by International TEFL Academy
Hi there, thank you for all the usefull information. I have a teaching degree (B.Ed) here in South Africa, do I still need to do the tefl course?
Posted @ Friday, May 31, 2013 4:14 AM by Anel
Hi Anel, 
Yes you need specialized training to be a foreign language instructor in addition to a general education degree. You can request information here and speak with an advisor: 
Posted @ Wednesday, June 12, 2013 12:37 PM by International TEFL Academy
Hey, I was wondering, does it have to be a -four- year degree? I'm going for my BA in English, and I want to teach in South Korea when I graduate. It's only a three year program though. Does it matter, as long as I have some sort of degree?
Posted @ Sunday, June 16, 2013 5:43 PM by Crystal
I have an honours degree in Sociology and a CELTA qualification. When I took my degree there were only three year courses in the UK. Can I teach in Sputh Korea?
Posted @ Monday, June 17, 2013 5:44 AM by Angela
Hi Angela, 
Here is information about teaching in South Korea. Since you have your CELTA certification you should be asking your school for job assistance:
Posted @ Monday, June 17, 2013 11:50 AM by International TEFL Academy
Hi, i am just asking how hard is it to land a job as an English teacher in South Korea. Do you have to know the language in Korea? Do they also offer teachers to teach Spanish and English? Thanks
Posted @ Sunday, July 07, 2013 7:53 PM by Jay
Hi Jay, 
Check out these articles regarding not speaking the native language when teaching abroad, and what the basic requirements are for teaching in South Korea: 
Posted @ Tuesday, July 09, 2013 9:05 AM by International TEFL Academy
Hi am I able to bring my 4 lb dog with me? Thanks!
Posted @ Sunday, July 14, 2013 1:57 AM by Laura
Hi Lauren, yes you can bring your dog with you to teach English abroad.  
Please read this article: 
To get more information and speak with an advisor about teaching abroad and TEFL classes, go here and fill out a request form:
Posted @ Sunday, July 14, 2013 10:39 AM by International TEFL Academy
I am from Quebec, Canada. 
I speak English and French fluently. 
I am currently studying to be an English teacher. 
I've always seen myself as bilingual, could I get a job in south korea? I did a research and it mostly says no... 
Posted @ Sunday, August 25, 2013 10:35 AM by Jhoanne
I am from Montreal, Quebec, Canada and speak English and French fluently. I recently graduated in Business but am very passionate about teaching English and I love Korea. From what I read above on some of your links, in some private schools in Korea, you don't need the TESL certificate to teach right? Please let me know. Thank you. 
Posted @ Tuesday, September 03, 2013 5:05 PM by Debbie
The question shouldn't be whether or not you can find a job in South Korea without any formal training and certification, it's whether or not you would actually want to work for a school that doesn't require any formal training or certification.  
Graduates of ITA are some of the most skilled and prepared TEFL teachers out there, and go on to find employment in nearly 80 countries world wide, including South Korea. If you are serious about becoming a professional English teacher, you'll want to complete your TEFL certification.  
Posted @ Tuesday, September 03, 2013 5:53 PM by International TEFL Academy
Great information. I have a three years degree, it that alright for teaching?
Posted @ Friday, September 13, 2013 5:16 AM by Kholekile
Please,why is it impossible for Nigerians to teach in South Korea?
Posted @ Friday, September 20, 2013 12:51 AM by honey
The South Korean government requires your citizenship to be from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, or New Zealand in order to qualify for a working visa. That is simply their rule. 
Posted @ Friday, September 20, 2013 8:54 AM by International TEFL Academy
Hi there 
I was just wondering see I'm originally from Costa Rica but I have a united states citizenship already I just need the passport I lived in America of my life i speak fluent english Spanish and Japanese and I'm learning korean in my collage I'm studying to be an English. teacher is it even possible. For me to work in south Korea if it is please give me some information on how to apply for positions there if it's possible  
Posted @ Sunday, September 29, 2013 6:09 PM by Tica
You will need to have a US passport to qualify for the visa. That should be your first step.  
Posted @ Monday, September 30, 2013 8:43 AM by ITA
I live in Dubai and of Indian natonality. Do I stand good chance of english teaching in Korea?  
I am an engg graduate with TESO from Eton Institute in Dubai. 
Kind Regards 
Vaz Paryani 
Posted @ Tuesday, October 01, 2013 10:37 AM by vaz
South Korea only hires teachers with passports from the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or Canada. This is a legal requirement to work there. 
Posted @ Tuesday, October 01, 2013 10:39 AM by ITA
Thank you very much for this post, it was very informative. I do have a question though. If I were to get a Masters degree in TESOL, how would that change my salary and/or job opportunities teaching English in Korea?
Posted @ Monday, October 07, 2013 7:33 PM by Steven L
HI Steven, a MA in TESOL may or may not make you an extra $ 200 a month, it depends on the school in the private sector. It should provide $ 200 or so a month in the public school system. If you have a MA, great, if you don't have one, it's not worth 2 years to make a few extra hundred dollars a month, simply take our TEFL class in a month and if you want extra money simply tutor a bit on the side and you can make up to $ 50 an hour.
Posted @ Monday, October 07, 2013 11:44 PM by International TEFL Academy
I am a US citizen but I was not born here. I have lived here for more than 9 years and English is my native language. But I have done my elementary and middle schooling in a country where english is the second language. How would that affect my application?
Posted @ Monday, October 21, 2013 6:56 PM by Lima
Hi Lima, if you have US citizenship and are fluent in English then you have no restrictions. If you have an accent that may restrict some jobs but not many. Contact us and speak with and advisor so we can give you an evaluation over the phone. Our phone is 773-634-9900
Posted @ Tuesday, October 22, 2013 6:31 PM by International TEFL Academy
I am from Ireland and I am finishing school next year and I am going to university. My ideal job would be to teach English in South Korea, I even learn Korean outside school so it would be a perfect fit for me. I am just wondering what subjects would be good to study in university in order to teach in Korea? I was told to also do a TEFL course once I'm finished university as well, do you absolutely need a TESL certification to get a job in Korea?
Posted @ Saturday, November 09, 2013 3:27 AM by Karen Mitchell
Hi Karen, 
1) for the Ministry of Education program in Korea you absolutely need a 120 hour TEFL class, that's the law now 
2) You don't 100% need a TEFL class to be hired in Korea by private schools but if you are not trained then you are just making things up in a classroom and really robbing these paying students of an education. If you believe in the honesty of being a trained educator for paying students you will need to be trained. I'm sure if you think about it you will come to the same conclusion. Here is an article to read:  
Then contact us for a brochure on teaching abroad and TEFL certification.
Posted @ Saturday, November 09, 2013 10:57 AM by International TEFL Academy
Hi there, 
Is it possible to get a placement with your family in tow? My husband and I are looking for a change and we have two young children. I have my Bachelor of Arts and from New Zealand.
Posted @ Friday, November 15, 2013 5:00 PM by NIcole
Hi Nicole, please read our article on teaching abroad with children:
Posted @ Friday, November 15, 2013 5:14 PM by International TEFL Academy
I am from Australia and have been a primary school teacher for 25 years. When I did my training at university back in the 1980s it was a 3 year teaching course. I have done a lot of training every year as well, but did not do the 4 years study originally. Is this sufficient to teach English in Korea? Thanks. Jayne.
Posted @ Friday, November 29, 2013 7:19 PM by Jayne
Hi there, my name is milguo and I'm studying police foundation in college I speak English fluently. I wanted to know if I can become a teacher in Korea Seoul . I'm. born in Canada and currently living there .
Posted @ Wednesday, January 01, 2014 6:11 PM by Milguo Abdi Djama
What is the average age of English teachers in Korea? I am currently stationed here with the military. My experience from meeting teachers in Seoul, Gwangju, Ulsan and Daegu is that most are fresh out of college or in their early 30s. I will be nearly 50 when I retire from the military. Is that considered too old for consideration?
Posted @ Sunday, January 12, 2014 6:16 AM by Joby
Hey Joby, 
Good question. Check out our article concerning age and teaching English abroad. 
Posted @ Thursday, January 16, 2014 6:14 PM by International TEFL Academy
Hi there 
Thanks for providing us with all of this useful information. I have two questions for you... 
I have a Bachelor of Human Movement Science degree, specializing in exercise science and sports management. 
My first question is: Is there any chance I could coach some kind of sport/ extra mural activity/ physical education as well as teach English with my TEFL? 
My second question is: My degree is a 3 year degree... does this mean I am not eligible because I do not meet the 4 year degree criterion? 
Many thanks 
Posted @ Wednesday, January 29, 2014 2:57 AM by Grant
I am Irish and have 3 years BA degree in psychology, not 4 years. Am I eligible for teaching in South Korea? Thanks a million.  
Posted @ Sunday, February 09, 2014 10:03 AM by Lola
Hey Lola, 
Your degree should meet the hiring requirement to teach in South Korea. 
Posted @ Monday, February 17, 2014 4:57 PM by Ian Davis
I have a Ph.D. and am nearing retirement from the U.S. Government where I serve as a social scientist, including extensive international travel. I also have 11 years experience teaching in the graduate school of a major university. My experience with Asian graduate school students is that they are very smart, extremely competent, but severely lacking in academic English, the kind that is expected of them here. My goal is to take my certification course this spring, then go live in Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, or some other major Asia city for at least two years. Do you think I will be attractive enough in the market for this to be something worth perusing? 
Posted @ Monday, February 17, 2014 9:31 PM by Chris Toppe
I am an experienced, certified teacher looking into teaching in South Korea. I have a large mixed breed dog. Would she be allowed in the provided housing? Thanks for the info!  
Posted @ Tuesday, February 18, 2014 6:13 PM by A.J.
Hey Chris, 
Form the sounds of it, you should have no problem finding work in Asia. Feel free to get in touch with us to work with an advisor.  
Please read over this article on bringing a pet abroad with you. 
Posted @ Wednesday, February 19, 2014 9:51 AM by ITA
I don't have a university degree. I am 40 years old with a very good cv and years of travelling experience as well as practical childrens teaching experience. What are my chances of getting a good job? I will obviously do all the recommended TEFL training required and recommended. 
Kind Regards Tasha (South Africa)
Posted @ Thursday, February 27, 2014 1:38 PM by Tasha Tyler
Hi Tasha, 
You must have a bachelors degree to qualify for a work visa in South Korea. No school will hire you without one. We'd recommend shifting your focus towards China. 
Posted @ Thursday, February 27, 2014 1:49 PM by ITA
Thanks so much for the article! I am a 25 year old lady with a bachelors and postgraduate degree from South Africa, a TEFL certificate and 6 months teaching English in Brazil. The only thing is I have a Portuguese passport and am a Zimbabwean resident. Would I still be able to apply? Thanks so much
Posted @ Tuesday, March 25, 2014 2:18 AM by Juliana
Hello, I'm a recent graduate, UK citizen and was looking into teaching english in Korea but i only have a 3 year degree from university (studying Sociology). Does this make me completely ineligible to find a position? Thanks in advance
Posted @ Wednesday, May 07, 2014 9:26 AM by Junia
Hi, thank you very much for your help. 
I was wondering: what if we were charged with a DUI but we were not convicted? For example, if we were charged and completed Diversion--so we didn't get convicted.  
Is it still possible to get a work visa in South Korea? 
Thank you so much.
Posted @ Thursday, June 05, 2014 5:40 AM by Eric
Hey Eric, 
If it shows up on an FBI background check, the answer will be "no." 
Posted @ Thursday, June 05, 2014 9:03 AM by ITA
I am a certified master-level English teacher. I am currently working on earning my ESOL endorsement. Will I need to complete a TEFL course in addition to my current training. I am a English-born speaker from the US. I am also married with two children: a seven year-old and a seven month-old. Do you have packages for families.  
Thank you,  
Shelda Kirkland,  
Posted @ Saturday, June 14, 2014 9:53 PM by Shelda Kirkland
Hello =) 
I read that you have to be a native speaker to be able to be able to teach? is that true? 
it said here:  
Eligibility to Teach English in Korea: 
*4 year degree (exception is TALK program for 60 hours of college credit) 
*Citizenship from USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand or South Korea. 
*Native English speaker 
*Clean criminal background 
Posted @ Thursday, June 19, 2014 1:36 PM by Abby
Hi! I am in my mid20s yet an undergrad in the Philippines. I was born in the US so I won't have problems with the visa. Though, is it okay to graduate in a non-US/native English speaking country like the Philippines? Even if their English is quite good?  
Also, do I have to go to the US to get a criminal background check prior to going to S. Korea to become an English teacher? I'm currently based in the Philippines. 
Getting a TEFL certificate is not required right? Or optional?
Posted @ Monday, July 07, 2014 12:35 PM by Marian Y.
do i need to take a special programe when i go to university?
Posted @ Saturday, August 23, 2014 4:46 PM by elmellouki
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