TEACH ENGLISH IN SOUTH KOREA

Download TEFL Brochure Download Your Country Chart

About South Korea

The job market for teaching English in South Korea is currently one of the largest and strongest in the world. Those looking to teach English in Korea can find teaching opportunities year-round, and interviews are conducted in advance over the phone and via Skype. In most cases, those teaching English in Korea receive free or reimbursed airfare, and South Korean schools typically provide free housing. A typical contract for an English teacher in Korea offers a free return flight, paid vacation and 1-month salary bonus (around $ 2,000 USD after 12 months).

ITA graduate KJ Schultz in South Korea with his students ITA graduate Melanie Torreon in South Korea with her students


The capital, Seoul, is one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world with approximately 25 million people and over 1,000 English language schools. There are an estimated 25,000 English teachers in South Korea working each year and demand shows no signs of slowing. Many English teachers work in major government public school programs such as EPIK while others teach in private schools known as hagwons. Other m
ajor cities for teaching English in South Korea include Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Ulsan, Gwangju, Daejeon, and Daegu.

Teaching Requirements

TEFL CERTIFICATION

A TEFL certification is required to teach English in South Korea. You do not need professional teaching experience but earning your TEFL certification will provide you with the training and qualification you do need to get hired. Because schools and recruiters interview prospective teachers in advance from their home country, most Americans and Canadians take our 170-Hour Online TEFL Course. You may also wish to take any of our 4-Week In-Person TEFL Courses in 23 locations worldwide.

Read More: What are the Basic Requirements to Teach English in Korea in 2020?

NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER

You will need to be a native-English speaker to teach English in South Korea. This means you must be a citizen from a recognized English-speaking nation: U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.

BACHELOR'S DEGREE

English teachers must have a bachelor's degree to teach English in South Korea. Please note, your bachelor's degree does not need to be in education, it can be in any field.

FBI BACKGROUND CHECK

You will need a clean FBI background check as well as a clean health check and drug test.

TEFL Jobs in South Korea

JOB TYPES

There are several job opportunities to explore as an ESL teacher in South Korea. The most common are:

  • Teaching children at a private language school known as a hagwon.
  • Teaching children at a public school as part of a government program such as EPIK.
  • Providing private tutoring lessons or teaching business English at a workplace.

HIRING & VISA

Unlike some other popular TEFL destinations, there is no peak hiring season in South Korea - hiring usually happens year-round. Interviews are conducted via phone/Skype in advance of your arrival to South Korea.

You enter Korea on a work visa that you obtain from your home country prior to your departure.

HOURS

Language schools in Korea typically require 25 to 30 hours of teaching per week plus prep time, leaving plenty of time to travel and explore.

STUDENTS

It is most common that your students will be school-aged children but depending on your job, you may find yourself teaching business professionals.

Salary & Cost of Living

START-UP COSTS

Start-up costs will range from $1,000 - $2,000 USD. These are expenses you will incur from your arrival in South Korea until you receive your first paycheck and may include things like transport, groceries, getting your new local cell phone number set up, etc. 

SALARY & BONUSES

A generous salary of $1,850 - $2,500 a month (depending on qualifications and exchange rates)  with only 5% taxes enables English teachers in Korea to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. It is common to also be offered a contract completion bonus. This means if you fulfill your 12-month teaching contract, you will receive a bonus at the end which may look something like one months pay! 

It should also be noted that your employer will provide you with either a round-trip or one-way flight reimbursement!

COST OF LIVING & SAVINGS

The cost of living typically ranges between $650-$900 USD per month. Housing is provided/or subsidized so no rent expense is incurred - this provides an opportunity to save up to $1,600 USD per month after expenses.

VACATION TIME

English teachers in Korea also receive 10-20 days of paid vacation per year in addition to 15-18 national holidays.

 

What does teaching in South Korea look like?

Watch ITA alumna, Kelley Izatt, show you a day in her life living and teaching English in Seoul, South Korea.

Want more? We've got you covered! Visit our Video Library to watch day in the life videos from our alumni and get a glimpse into what your life as a teacher in South Korea could look like!

Download South Korea TEFL Ebook

AS SEEN IN

Teaching English in South Korea FAQs

What are the basic requirements to teach English in South Korea?

To teach English in South Korea you must meet the following criteria:

  • TEFL Certification
  • Citizenship from a recognized English-speaking nation: U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.
  • Bachelor’s degree/diploma from an accredited college or university (4 years in US/3 years in UK).
  • Original national level criminal record check (FBI in the U.S.) that is free of any charges or convictions.
  • Clean health check and drug test.

Read More: What are the Basic Requirements to Teach English in Korea in 2020?

How do I obtain a work visa to teach English in South Korea?

To obtain a work visa to teach English in South Korea, you must obtain the following documents:

  • Bachelor's degree (or a copy) - it must notarized and then apostilled
  • Three sealed university transcripts
  • FBI criminal background check
  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Resume
  • Signed copy of school contract
  • Two original letters of recommendation

Once you have these documents, you will need to send them to the school you will be working for in Korea. Your school will then need to send you back a Confirmation of Visa Issuance Number.

Your next step is to interview at the Korean Consulate and apply for your work visa. Each consulate has different requirements for the interview. Please check the website of your Korean consulate to see how to make an appointment.  Some consulates require you to mail your application materials before the interview while others allow you to take everything in person.

Read More: How Do I Obtain a Work Visa to Teach English in Korea?

Will my school provide free housing when I teach English in Korea?

YES! It is standard for schools to provide free housing to foreign English teachers for the duration of their contract. 

Read More: Will My School Provide Free Housing When I Teach English in Korea?

Will my school provide a free airfare when I teach English in Korea?

YES - It is standard for schools to provide airfare to foreigners hired to teach English in Korea. Your airfare stipulations should be outlined in your teaching contract - be sure to look it over carefully to know what you are entitled to.

Read More: Will My School Provide a Free Airfare When I Teach English in Korea?

What are salaries & benefits for teaching English in South Korea?

First-time English teachers in South Korea working in public schools through programs like EPIK typically earn monthly salaries between 1.5 to 3 million won ($1,150 - $2,650 USD). English teachers at private schools (hagwons) earn from 1.9 to 2.4 million won ($1,600 - $2,000 USD) monthly. Public & private schools typically provide free housing and flight reimbursements.

Read More: What Are Salaries & Benefits for Teaching English in South Korea?

What is a Hagwon for teaching English in South Korea?

The bulk of teaching jobs in South Korea will be found at hagwons. “Hagwon” is the Korean language word for a for-profit private educational institute (school). So, essentially, hagwons are private language centers or academies that operate like businesses and are separate from the South Korean public school system.

Read More: What is a Hagwon for Teaching English in South Korea?

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

EPIK, which stands for English Programs in Korea, is a teaching program sponsored through the Korean Ministry of Education. Accepted participants are placed in public school positions throughout the country. You can list your location preference, however, assignments are decided on a first-come-first-serve basis, and your location will ultimately be assigned to you.

Read More: What is the EPIK Program for Teaching English in South Korea?
What Are the Requirements for the EPIK Program for Teaching English in South Korea?

Are there different government teaching programs in South Korea other than EPIK?

YES! There are several government teaching programs available in South Korea other than EPIK. They include:

  • GEPIK: Gyeonggi English Program in Korea
  • SMOE: Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education
  • TaLK: Teach and Learn in Korea

Read More: What Are the EPIK, GEPIK, SMOE, and TaLK Government Programs for Teaching English in South Korea?

Recommended TEFL Courses for Teaching English in Korea

Part-Time Online TEFL Course

What's included 👇

  • 170-Hour Online Certification
  • 11 Weeks Part-Time
  • OFQUAL Level 5 Accreditation from TQUK
  • Live Office Hours with Your Instructor & Peer-Participation with Classmates
  • Lifetime Job Search Guidance
  • 20-Hours Live Practice Teaching

Intensive Online TEFL Course

What's included 👇

  • 4 Weeks Full-Time (40+ hours per week) - required class time typically 6-8 hours daily
  • OFQUAL Level 5 Accreditation from TQUK
  • Live Office Hours with Your Instructor & Peer-Participation with Classmates
  • Lifetime Job Search Guidance
  • 10-Hours Live Practice Teaching (Virtual) built into the course

Chicago TEFL Course

What's included 👇

  • In-Person 4 Weeks, Full-Time
  • OFQUAL Level 5 Accreditation from TQUK
  • University-Level Instructors
  • Lifetime Job Search Guidance
  • 10-Hours Live Practice Teaching
  • Classes Capped at 12 Students
#1

Named best U.S. TEFL Course
Named best Online TEFL class
GOABROAD.COM

9.7/10

Rating from 1,000+ Reviews
GOABROAD.COM | GOOVERSEAS.COM
GOOGLE | FACEBOOK | BBB

30K

Alumni Network Worldwide
6,000+ certified students a year & graduates in 80+ countries

New call-to-action

Why Our Alumni Love Us!

Jacob Lietzow

Teaches English in South Korea

Jacob Lietzow

I chose ITA after researching a lot of different options online. The sheer volume of content ITA has and the size of the alumni network put it head and shoulders above the other online options. Perhaps the most beneficial portion of the course was the practicum hours. I now live and teach in Dongtan, South Korea and make $1,800 USD per month. I am able to save about half that even though I do very little cooking at home, travel around Korea a lot, and enjoy the nightlife.

Laura Nalin

Taught English in South Korea

Laura Nalin

I loved the Chicago TEFL course! I think my favorite aspect was the fact that we were able to instruct adults at various English levels to prepare us for what was to come. I work 24 hours per week and make $2,200 USD a month plus free housing. I've found it easy to save $700-1,000 each month. I have two weeks of vacation each year in addition to all of the Korean national holidays, which is an additional 20 days - Koreans love to celebrate!

Tim Unaegbu

Taught English in South Korea

Tim Unaegbu

I chose South Korea after doing research, reading blogs, and seeing testimonies about the country. The main attraction was that South Korea makes sports and health a priority which mirrors my values, everyone is active and there are many opportunities for extracurricular activities. If I could go back in time, I'd 100% tell myself to do this right after graduation - this is a great way to gain experience, tackle debt, and build a better life for the future.

Visit the South Korea section of our blog to read more articles and stories by our alumni about their experiences teaching English in South Korea.