must read

What is the EPIK Program for Teaching English in South Korea?

Discover the highly sought-after EPIK program, making it possible for Americans to embark on an exciting journey of teaching English in South Korea under the Korean Ministry of Education.

Get Korea TEFL Guide

The EPIK (English Program in Korea) initiative is a transformative opportunity for those aspiring to teach English in South Korea. Founded to enhance English education in public schools, EPIK opens doors for educators worldwide.

Together, let's unravel the intricacies of the program, offering insights into its structure, benefits, and the invaluable cultural exchange it fosters.

An Overview of the EPIK Program for Teaching English in South Korea

What Does EPIK Stand For?

EPIK stands for "English Program in Korea," a renowned initiative inviting international educators to teach English in South Korean public schools, fostering cultural exchange and enhancing English education.

It is a teaching program sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Education. Accepted participants are placed in public school positions throughout the country, so while you can list your preferences, assignments are decided on a first come-first serve basis, and your location will ultimately be assigned to you. You can increase your chance of getting the placement you want by making sure to apply ASAP when the application period opens.

Is the EPIK program Worth It?

Yes, the EPIK program is often considered worthwhile due to its cultural immersion, teaching experience, and benefits like a stable salary, housing, and vacation time. It offers a unique opportunity to teach, travel, and embrace Korean culture, making it valuable for many participants.

Read more: What Are EPIK, GEPIK & SMOE Programs for Teaching English in Korea?

Eligibility for the EPIK Program

Applications are evaluated based on a list of criteria that are indicative of a candidate’s potential for successful participation in the program:

What are the Requirements for EPIK?

  • Hold a BA Degree or above
  • Be a Native English speaker with citizenship from either Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, or Ireland
  • Possess a Clean Criminal Background Check (CRC)
  • Meet all visa requirements for an E2 or F4 visa
  • Hold a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA Certificate, BA or MA in Education, or a teaching license. Teachers with 20+ hours of in-person practicum are preferred; NOTE: Applicants with an interest in teaching English in Busan, Korea must have 50+ hours of in-person practicum hours with their TEFL course

Read more: What are the EPIK Program Requirements?

The Application Process for EPIK

Applying to the program is a lot like applying to a university or graduate school program. A majority of ITA teachers apply to the program via a recruiter.

The application can be found here and teachers are hired to start for terms in February and August. The applicant will be expected to provide information on their academic background; experience working or teaching children and young adults; and experience with living abroad. Applicants can expect to submit will also include:

  • Submit the Main Application Form and email it to:
  • 2 Passport Sized Photos
  • Apostilled BA Degree or Above;
  • Original Sealed University Transcripts;
  • Apostilled National Level Criminal Background Check (CRC);
  • Copy of Passport Photo Page
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Degree or Proof of Expected Graduation
  • Proof of Citizenship

NOTE: English teachers begin their assignment in either September or March. Applications must be submitted between February and July for the September start date, and between August and January for the March start date.

Please consult the EPIK Website for more details on the application & acceptance process.

Read more: How To Get Accepted into the EPIK Program

Teach English in South Korea EPIK

EPIK Program FAQs

How Does EPIK Work?

EPIK teachers will work at primary or secondary public schools in designated Provincial Offices of Education (POEs) across Korea, which will then determine what school the teacher works at. Participants may submit preferences for where they want to teach, but assignments are determined by the program and are given when acceptances are announced.

The program hosts an orientation session for all new teachers in Korea to assist with getting settled and learning the lay of the land;

How Many Hours Do EPIK Teachers Work in Korea?

Teachers typically work 8 hours per day, Monday-Friday, and average 22-25 teaching hours per week (the rest of the hours are dedicated to lesson planning).

How Long Can You Do the EPIK Program for?

EPIK contracts typically last for one year, with the option to renew for additional years upon mutual agreement between the teacher and the education office. Teachers can choose to extend their EPIK experience for multiple years if they wish to continue teaching in South Korea.

What are the Benefits of EPIK?

Free housing, medical insurance, & roundtrip airfare, and one month's severance pay are provided for all EPIK teachers.

How much does EPIK Pay?

EPIK teachers on average receive a yearly salary of 1.5 to 3 million won ($1,850 - $2,650 USD) per month depending on your credentials and 18 paid vacation days. This is typically enough to live comfortably in South Korea while also saving between $500-$1000 per month.

Does EPIK Include Health Insurance?

Teachers will be contributing to the pension fund program and paying health insurance. Part of these costs are paid by the participant and deducted from monthly post-tax pay each month on payday.

Does EPIK Pay for Flights?

EPIK pays for your initial flight to Korea as well as your flight back home when your contract finishes. EPIK also provides a resettlement allowance of 300,000 Korean won.

Does EPIK Pay Rent?

The EPIK program provides rent-free furnished housing for its teachers, relieving them of the burden of accommodation expenses. This benefit allows educators to focus on their teaching experience and cultural immersion in South Korea.

How Many Vacation Days Do EPIK Teachers Have?

EPIK teachers enjoy paid vacation days and 13-15 National Holidays off per year.

Is the EPIK Program Hard to Get Into?

The acceptance rate for the EPIK program varies yearly, but it's competitive. Meeting requirements, submitting a strong application, and preparing well for the interview can enhance your chances. Adequate qualifications and enthusiasm are key to getting accepted.

Additionally, having an Internationally accredited TEFL Certification is a great way to boost your resume and validate teaching proficiency. Be sure to note that EPIK is not the only option for teaching in Korea, as a majority of International TEFL Academy grads go on to teach in private language centers across the country.

Does EPIK Require TEFL?

A TEFL/TESOL certification is required for the EPIK program if you don't have a degree in Education, TESOL, Second Language Studies, or any form of Education (Physical Education, Math Education, etc.) All applicants must qualify for at least a level 2 on the pay scale before signing a contract.

Program applicants are encouraged to pursue the certification as acceptance is becoming increasingly competitive and holding a TEFL/TESOL certification shows that an applicant has invested in and studied the methodology behind teaching English as a foreign language. It is also useful to have gained practical teaching experience included in your TEFL/TESOL certification as a practicum.

Some other factors to consider regarding the question of whether you should get a TEFL certification if you want to teach in the EPIK Program (or elsewhere);

  • Your teaching experience will be far easier and more rewarding if you possess basic teaching skills in areas like classroom management, teaching methodology, and error correction. A primary complaint and reason for drop-outs in programs like EPIK is that participants without training feel lost and unable to cope with their classroom assignments because they are totally unprepared.

  • Your students will learn more from you and respect you more (as will your colleagues and peers) if you are trained and possess professional-level teaching skills.

  • TEFL certification will provide you with the skills and qualifications to gain employment teaching English in up to 80 other countries worldwide and could very well qualify you for other teaching opportunities around the world.

Go further:


Posted In: , , ,

Want to Learn More About Teaching English Abroad & Online?

Request a free brochure or call 773-634-9900 to speak with an expert advisor about all aspects of TEFL certification and teaching English abroad or online, including the hiring process, salaries, visas, TEFL class options, job placement assistance and more.