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Home / Teach English in South Korea: The complete Guide for TEFL Teachers | Reviewed May 2022

TEFL Jobs In South Korea

Overview

Would you like to teach English in South Korea? Although it is renowned as the Land of Morning Calm, teaching English in South Korea will quickly show you that it is far from boring! With a population of over 50 million people and one of the world’s densest capitals, South Korea provides a fast-paced combination of modern cities, centuries-old traditions, enthralling culture, and gorgeous countryside.

There are numerous possibilities for TEFL in South Korea, whether you’re seeking your first teaching job or want to advance your teaching career. English teachers are in high demand across the country, from private schools and colleges to government-sponsored teaching programmes and language academies.

If you want to teach English in South Korea but don’t know where to begin, read on to learn everything you need to know with our comprehensive guide to teaching English in South Korea.

Types of Jobs in South Korea

Private Schools

Private schools, also known as hagwons, are a fantastic alternative for people wishing to spend a year abroad while saving money. They are continuously hiring and tend to provide higher compensation and shorter working hours. In addition, many other foreigners work in hagwons, which provides a smoother adaptation to your new surroundings than public schools.

The fact that most hagwons have pre-prepared lesson plans may appeal to some new instructors, but it may limit their creativity and originality in the classroom for others. Despite the fact that working hours are shorter and start later in the day, often after 1 pm, you only get about ten days off.

If you want to sleep in and start later in the day, this may be the ideal option for you. Other advantages include higher income, a less time-consuming application process, and a faster arrival time. If you choose a hagwon, go with one that is larger and more widely recognised. If you select a smaller hagwon, keep in mind that some are better than others, and a little patience and study can go a long way toward improving the quality of your experience. With a workweek of roughly 35 hours, starting pay at hagwons is typically around €1,900–€2,200.

Anyone with a bachelor’s degree is typically hired by Hagwons. The minimum wage is usually higher, ranging between 2.1 and 2.5 million Korean Won.

Because these are after-school specialist English institutes, typical work hours begin in the afternoon. Depending on the school, work hours range from 1 pm to 9 pm, with a typical workday lasting 6 hours or more. Year-round hiring, usually through a recruiter

Government-sponsored English Teaching programs

Working in a public school has advantages such as more job stability, shorter teaching hours, and more paid vacation time. While these opportunities are more competitive and pay significantly less, possessing a teaching qualification such as a TESOL or TEFL will strengthen your candidacy.

EPIK

  • EPIK covers all other regions with first-come, first-served priority.
  • The end of February and the end of March are the start dates.
  • Hire before you arrive.
  • Work hours: 22 hours of actual teaching, 40 hours per week. You are required to have TEFL/TESOL certification and a minimum of 100 hours of prior teaching experience in order to teach.
  • Minimum requirements for a monthly salary of 2 million Korean Won

GEPIK

  • Located in the Gyeonggi Province, which encompasses the Seoul metropolitan region. In most cases, you can reach Seoul in around 45 minutes by bus, cab, or train.
  • The end of February and the end of August are the start dates.
  • Hire before you arrive.
  • Work hours: 22 hours per week of actual teaching
  • Pay is determined by qualifications (TESOL, TEFL, or CELTA, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education, or a teaching certificate.)
  • Minimum wage requirements start at 2.1 million Korean Won per month.

Recruiting Agencies

It’s nearly impossible to acquire a job teaching English in South Korea without going through a recruiter. They will give you information about employment openings after registering on their website. In addition, they’re an excellent source of information for any queries you might have about the procedure. Footprints Recruiting, Reach To Teach, and Adventure Teaching are three firms that come highly recommended.

When and where to look for English teaching work in South Korea 

In South Korea, the most popular locations for English teachers are Seoul and Busan. The main city, Seoul, offers the most eclectic mix of alternatives in South Korea, with its dynamic nightlife and stylish eateries along the streets bustling with people of many ethnicities. Busan, a gentler city surrounding the Sea of Japan and home to the popular holiday destination Haeundae beach, is a wonderful compromise between crowded and relaxed.

Consider Gyeongju, a little city with a large lotus pond and a rich historical past, if you’re taking this year to ponder in peace and quiet. Several English teaching jobs are available in cities across South Korea, regardless of your preferences.

Work Permits in Korea

The E-2 visa is available to most foreigners who work in public or private schools. The E-2 visa allows you to teach English for a year in South Korea on a single entry basis. You can upgrade your single entrance status to multiple entries for a charge, allowing you to travel in and out of the country.

Acquiring a contract with an employer is the first step in obtaining an E-2 visa. You’ll need to send your apostilled documents to the Korean consulate once you’ve started that process. It’s OK to send your background check before securing a contract if you want to speed the process.

You’ll need to take a copy of your diploma to the notary public at your local bank to get an apostille (a government seal used to authenticate overseas documents). Bring your original certificate to be confirmed and stamped on the duplicate. Then, you can mail the notarized copy to the Secretary of State to be apostilled. It must be apostilled in the state where the document was issued if you are an American citizen. Visit ESL Starter for a list of locations.

Workplace and Classroom Culture

Moving to a new country to teach English in South Korea can be intimidating, with everything from grocery shopping to understanding relationships in and out of the classroom.

Each country and culture has developed its unique set of customs, beliefs, and values over thousands of years. Act with the utmost respect for others around you in any scenario. For example, to show respect to your superiors in Korea, nod your head slightly in a modest bow. Bring in doughnuts or coffee on your first day as an English teacher in Korea to demonstrate your appreciation for your coworkers’ assistance.

Accepting dinner invites from coworkers is a good idea in South Korea; it’s courteous, and you’ll probably have a good time and uncover hidden beauties in your new city.

Observe how others act in your new circumstances to learn about proper manners. Overall, emphasising the value of respect will make the inevitable learning process more pleasurable. Moreover, after a few months, you’ll be more used to the things you learnt when you first arrived. Finally, you will have learned a great deal from this lovely country and its people.

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LIVING COSTS

Salaries in South Korea differ depending on the type of educational school. Hagwons, on average, pay the most for first-time English teachers in South Korea, around €1900. On the other hand, public schools pay a lesser starting wage of around €1,200-€1,900. When you consider the limited number of actual working hours, the remuneration in public schools tends to be higher. Public and private schools will provide housing for English teachers in South Korea. It’s usually a self-contained studio ranging in size from medium to tiny. Seoul flats are often the smallest; however, there is so much to do in Seoul that real time spent in the apartment is limited.

In general, South Korea’s cost of living is reasonable. Keep in mind that the cost may be more if you live in a larger city, the cost may be more. However, because most English teaching jobs cover your rent and all you have to pay is your utilities and mobile phone bill, it’s reasonable to suggest that you can spend up to 80% of your earnings on living or travelling expenses. The most appealing part of the deal is when you complete your English teaching contract, as most contracts include an extra month’s pay as an incentive. 

Cost of living prices are taken from Numbeo.com, the world’s largest comparison website.

  • Accommodation: £606–£813/€705-€1000
  • Utilities: £47/€65
  • Health insurance: Cost of a typical visit to a GP: £39/€45
  • Monthly transport pass: £18/€33
  • Basic dinner out for two: £21/€38
  • Cappuccino in expat area: £3.61/€3.91
  • A beer in a pub: £3.19/€3.65
  • 1 litre of milk: £1.55/€2

TEFL Jobs In South Korea: KEY POINTS

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AVERAGE SALARY

2 million to 2.5 million Won

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EDUCATION NEEDED

Prerequisite university degree

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TEFL CERTIFICATE NEEDED

120 Hour TEFL Certificate

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MAIN JOB TYPES

Private Schools

KEY FACTS

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs: The country's two largest cities, Seoul and Busan, are the most popular locations for English teaching jobs in South Korea. However, for those seeking a more relaxed South Korean experience, TEFL jobs can be found in all cities and many rural areas.
  • Average salary for EFL teachers: English teachers in South Korea can anticipate a basic monthly income of 2 million to 2.5 million Won (£1,280 to £1,600/€1,470 to €1,800) for a full-time position. Those with prior expertise can earn up to 2.8 million Won per month (£1,800/€2,120).
  • TEFL qualification requirements: English teachers typically receive a rewards package that includes round-trip travel, lodging, bonuses, and discounted medical care on top of the basic wage.
  • Prerequisite university degree: You'll need a bachelor's degree, a TEFL certificate, and a clean background check to teach English in South Korea. Employers also look for teachers who are native English speakers.
  • Term times: South Korea's academic year goes from March to July and August to February.

South Korea, one of Asia’s most underappreciated countries, is not to be mistaken for its turbulent northern neighbours, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). South Korea, often known as the ROK (Republic of Korea) or simply Korea, is located at the southernmost point of the Korean peninsula, divided from the DPRK by the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).

Unlike the isolated DPRK, visitors to South Korea will find that they are warmly welcomed. Locals are eager to share their country and culture with visitors, and those who relocate to South Korea to teach English will quickly make a large number of Korean pals.

There will be plenty of ex-pat companions, with an estimated 24,000 English teachers working in South Korea each year. The majority of these are in Seoul or Busan, the country’s busiest cities, but teaching opportunities may be found all around the country.

Facts about Teach English in South Korea: The complete Guide for TEFL Teachers | Reviewed May 2022

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LANGUAGE

Korean

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POPULATION

51 million

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TEFL TEACHERS DEMAND

High

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CURRENCY

Korean Republic won (₩)

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CAPITAL

Seoul

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OUR SPAIN TEFL RATING

3.8/5

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TEFL Jobs In South Korea: FAQS

Q:

How much can I make as an English teacher in South Korea?

In South Korea, an English teacher’s monthly compensation might range from €1,295 to €2,800. Depending on whether you teach at a public school, a private school, a university, or an international school, your wage range may vary.

In general, no. The majority of teaching English in South Korea positions require specific qualifications, such as a bachelor’s degree. However, if you have an associate’s degree or are in your third year (or higher) of college, you may be able to teach through programmes like TaLK. If you don’t have a degree, you might be able to gain classroom experience through a volunteer programme instead.

You must be a fluent English speaker with a Bachelor’s degree and a clean criminal background to teach English in South Korea and hold a TEFL or TESOL certification.

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