How to Become an English Teacher in Korea?
To get hired to teach English in South Korea, one of the hottest job markets in the world, you need to do the following:
The word is getting out that South Korea is one of the hottest destinations around the world for teaching English abroad. Most people don't think of South Korea as their first choice for teaching overseas. However, after learning about the country's incredible opportunities, it's no wonder that it is the most popular destination for hundreds of International TEFL Academy (ITA) graduates each year.
Here's Why Teaching English in Korea is Great
- Ancient culture, stunning natural beauty and uber-modern, high-tech cities
- South Korea hires more than 20,000 foreign English teachers annually
- English teachers in Korea receive free housing and free/reimbursed airfare
- Make enough to save $800 - $1,000 a month or more after expenses
- Interview from home & line up a job in advance
- Fantastic travel opportunities throughout Asia
The job market for teaching English in Korea is huge (25,000 foreigners teach English there every year). Those who meet the standard criteria – native-English speakers who hold a 4-year degree and a clean criminal record – can almost always get hired with a TEFL certification, but there is a process that needs to be followed.
From the day you begin your TEFL class to the day you get on a plane to go to South Korea, the process of certification, arranging a teaching job, and making travel and visa arrangements typically takes 4-6 months (2-3 months longer for public school positions).
This means that if you want to line up English teaching jobs in Korea in the next 6-12 months, you need to start planning and beginning the certification process now.
Follow These 6 Steps to Get Hired to Teach English in South Korea in 2022
1. Call An Advisor & Begin Your Research
Request a free brochure for teaching English abroad or call 773-634-9900 to speak with an ITA expert advisor to discuss your options and questions about teaching English in South Korea and around the world. If you already have been assigned to an advisor, send them an email or give them a call to set up a time to talk.
To learn more about teaching English in South Korea specifically, you should also check out the following resources:
You should also check out our Alumni Articles & Blogs, where you can check out numerous firsthand accounts of teaching English in South Korea and dozens of other countries around the world.
2. Enroll in a TEFL Course
Earning an accredited TEFL Certification will provide you with the skills you need to actually function successfully as a teacher and it will provide you with a recognized qualification that thousands of language schools and institutes in South Korea and around the world seek and require when hiring new English teachers. Even if you are a certified or experienced teacher, unless you have a degree in TESOL, you will still want to get TEFL certified. Also, when you take an International TEFL Academy TEFL course, you will receive the Job Search Guidance you need to get hired in South Korea and other countries around the globe.
Most ITA students going to Korea (and elsewhere) take their TEFL certification online or in Chicago (as the job process to Korea takes 2-3 months with a visit to a Korean Consulate in the U.S.). This is because schools in South Korea need to hire you from your home country and you will need to get your visa processed in advance prior to your departure for South Korea.
- The 170-Hour Online TEFL Class is 11-13 weeks part-time so you can get certified while going to school or working full-time. It is the most cost-effective way to earn your TEFL certification.
- The Chicago TEFL Class is 4 weeks in-person and represents the quickest path to certification. You can also begin working with ITA advisors on your job search during this class.
- You receive Job Search Guidance during the course, so you can begin your job search for positions in South Korea & elsewhere while you get certified.
3. Prepare For Your Job Search
- With guidance from ITA's Student Affairs, prepare your cover letter & resume and gather documents you will need for teaching English in South Korea, including a photo of you looking professional and clean cut, your passports and so forth.
- Once your documents are ready to go, you will begin working with ITA advisors who will help you with contacting recruiters (International TEFL Academy enjoys relationships with top recruiting organizations for English teaching jobs in South Korea), looking at job listings and exploring individual English teaching jobs in Korea or elsewhere.
- Note that private language schools, known commonly as hogwans, recruit and hire English teachers year-round.
- Public school applications are typically accepted and interviewing begins at the beginning April for August/September start dates, and on October 1 for February/March starting dates. Many of those who teach English in Korea in public schools will get hired through official government programs that are largely based on region. Some of the more popular programs include EPIK (all of Korea, except for metropolitan Seoul), GEPIK (suburban Seoul area), and SMOE (within the Seoul city limits).
How do you choose?
To learn more about the differences between teaching English in private language schools and academies and public schools in South Korea, please read Teaching English in Korea: Private vs. Public Schools, What's Better?
4. Interview & Apply for English Teaching Jobs
You will apply and interview for positions in Korea from home and you will interview by phone & Skype. Typically you can begin this process once you have begun your TEFL class and you have certain documents ready to go, including your national criminal background check. Most interviews are given over the phone or by Skype.
Some schools will require a second or third interview, particularly for positions public schools, but for most positions in private language schools, one 20-30 minute interview will suffice. International Academy advisors in the Student Affairs Department will assist you in preparing for your interview and often any recruiter that you are working with will assist you with arranging and preparing for interviews.
5. Sign A Contract with a Korean School, Make Travel & Visa Arrangements
Once you receive a job offer that you want to accept, you will need to sign a contract, and then file documents and visit the nearest Korean Consulate to receive your E2 teaching visa. Your new employer and the recruiter you are working with will typically assist you with arranging the necessary documents. Your employer will also work with you to make flight arrangements.
6. Hop On A Plane to South Korea and Begin Your New Adventure!
You are now ready to move to South Korea, Congrats! Please don't hesitate to reach out to your ITA advisor with further questions. We're here to help!