Teaching English in Korea in 2021: What are the requirements and Benefits?

Teaching English in Korea

If you’re looking to travel abroad to make money teaching English Language, Korea is one of the destinations to lock into. Not only is the English language in high demand in Korea, but it is also very profitable to English teachers.

According to the Korea Times, Korean students start learning English when they are 3.7 years old, on an average. About 150,000 Korean students go abroad every year to improve their English, and English education expenses amount to 15 trillion Korean won each year.

You save a Korean parent the huge cost of sending their kids abroad to study English language when you travel to Korea to go teach English.

So, in this post, we’ll share with you all you need to get qualified to teach English in Korea. You can peek through the table of content to see what we’ve got in store for you.

Why Choose to Teach English in Korea?

Korea has for quite some time been perhaps the most famous place to teach English abroad. For ESL teachers, Korea resembles the goldilocks of all countries.

It brags about a perfect balance, incredible salary, reasonable visa requirements, and a lot of advantages for first-time ESL teachers.

Korea is casually alluded to as the Land of the Morning Calm. Where else can you explore a secluded Buddhist monastery in the hills and also be in the center of one of the world’s largest and most vibrant metropolises?

Besides, Korea is home to probably the best food on earth – a reality that Koreans themselves will be glad to help you remember at each chance. (Be warned: You will develop a serious kimchi addiction when you are there!).

If you’re looking to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, save some money, and grow as a person as well as a professional, teaching in South Korea provides a wonderful opportunity.

Korea at a Glance: National Information 

Below is South Korea at a glance:

  • Capital – Seoul (South Korea) 
  • Language – Korean 
  • Populace – 50 million 
  • Currency – Won (KRW) 
  • Government – Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic 
  • Atmosphere – Temperate, with cold winters and moist summers 

Snappy Facts You Must Know 

An organic product is an extravagance. A watermelon costs about $25. Tipping is not appreciated in Korea. Writing somebody’s name in red ink is viewed as a misfortune.

Cabs are shading coded by quality. The rooftop on a conventional Korean home bends up like a grin. English is taught in grade schools from the age of 10.

Qualifications To Teach English in Korea 

If you need to be teaching English in Korea, apply for an E-2 (teaching) visa through your nearest Korean embassy or consulate.

To qualify for an E-2 visa, there are four minimum requirements that you should meet: 

  1. Possess a bachelor’s degree/diploma from an accredited institution.
  2. Be a resident of the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, or New Zealand. (Note: residents of India may likewise be qualified If they have a teacher’s permit in English. Likewise, If you are from Quebec, at that point you may have to show that you are fluent in English, for example, by having a degree/certification from an English-speaking CEGEP or college). 
  3. Pass a health and drug test.
  4. Have a clean national-level criminal record.

Remember that these are the base guidelines set down by the Korean immigration authorities simply to obtain a visa.

Your employer may have additional requirements. For instance, If you need to teach at a public school through EPIK, there are a couple of other basic criteria you should meet. 

Requirements To Teach English in Korea

No one likes filling out paperwork, yet if you need to teach in Korea, you must get your documents together.

To meet the above requirements, present these archives to your nearest Republic of Korea consulate or embassy when you apply for your E-4: 

  1. A duplicate of your diploma/degree. If you are a non-Canadian or non-US resident, get your diploma/degree apostilled. Canadian and US applicants should get their diploma/degree ensured through a notary public. 
  2. Sealed university/college transcript. (Please, don’t try to use unofficial copies you printed at home.) 
  3. Passport photographs. 
  4. Your original passport. 
  5. Copy of your employment contract, which will be supplied by the school or recruiter.
  6. National level criminal background check. In Canada, this is acquired through the RCMP, while in the US it is through the FBI. Non-Canadians should have their background check apostilled. Canadians need their C certified through a notary public. 

How to Teach English in Korea through EPIK 

When searching for an ESL teaching position in Korea, decide whether you need to teach at a public or Private school.

If you plan on teaching at a public school, you will probably do so through EPIK (English Program in Korea).

The application process for EPIK is more complicated and restrictive than it is for working in a private school. You can apply for EPIK either directly or through a recruiter.

You must understand that because EPIK is for public schools, teaching positions are only accessible at the start of the school semester. So all EPIK positions start in one or the other February or August.

While applying for EPIK, you will need to provide all of the documentation outlined above for the E-2 visa.

Other Requirements for Teaching with EPIK

You should be TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certified, although this requirement is deferred if you hold either a bachelor’s or graduate degree in education.

You will also need to complete an interview. If EPIK doesn’t hire you, don’t lose hope!

Sometimes, public offices of education, like the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE), will post some of the available positions on their job boards.

While it’s commonly harder to get public school work by applying directly along these lines, it isn’t outlandish.

If this is your first rodeo, I encourage you to use a recruiter, who will assist you navigate your contract and guarantee there are no language boundaries between you and your school (Global Work and Travel, for example, is a great place to start). 

But if you’ve done your research thoroughly, you know Korea, or have experience teaching abroad already, browsing through job listings directly can sometimes prove useful. 

What do I Need to Teach English in Korea at a private school? 

By far, most ESL teachers in Korea are teaching at private schools (called “Hagwons”). In major urban areas in Korea, it is difficult to stroll down any road for five minutes without passing one (or twelve!) Hagwons.

Korean parents place a great deal of significant worth in their kids’ education particularly regarding learning English.

Subsequently, most Korean children have tried out Hagwons, which can go from little schools with simply a small bunch of teachers to cross-country chains.

Each Hagwon is extraordinary and sets its application requirements. Similarly, as with any work, present your resume and complete a meeting (led via telephone or on the web).

While presenting your resume, remember that it is typical in Korea to incorporate a picture of yourself with your application.

While some Hagwons may cause you to meet extra requirements as long as you have all the documents you require for the E-2 visa.

If you’re not too picky, then you can mostly be teaching at a Hagwon someplace in Korea. More lucrative positions may cause you to have a specific measure of teaching experience or TEFL certification.

Hagwons in popular destinations, for example, Seoul or Jeju, may likewise be picky about who they recruit. 

EPIK versus Hagwons 

There is no clear advantage of teaching through EPIK instead of in a Hagwon. The hours will be comparable, although you are bound to be teaching during school hours through EPIK.

Still, in Hagwons you might be approached to do more morning and night shifts. The pay is likewise similar in both.

You will likewise require a degree to teach as an ESL educator in Korea, whether you work at a Hagwon or through EPIK.

Both Hagwon and EPIK additionally give comparative advantages, for example, roundtrip airfare and basic facilities.

Hagwon jobs are simpler to get just because there are so many Hagwons in Korea.

Regardless of whether this is your first time teaching ESL, you can even now find a job at a Hagwon in Seoul or another vast city. Hagwons also hire throughout the year.

The disadvantage to Hagwons is that since they are private and there are so many of them, the quality can shift a lot. 

If you’ve just researched ESL jobs to teach English in Korea, at that point you may have run over a significant number of shocking stories about working at Hagwons on ESL discussion sheets.

You ought to take these stories with a huge grain of salt. While there are surely some bad apples in the Hagwon business, by far most of the schools are expertly run and treat their teachers well.

Those upbeat teachers in both sectors have a great deal to bring to the table, choosing which ESL training position is appropriate for you can be an overwhelming assignment.

Teach Away can help you through the application process to help you find a position to teach English in Korea that is the best fit for you.

Public School Job to Teach English in Korea

Public schools in Korea offer an extraordinary workplace and the opportunity to have a legitimate Korean encounter with teachers teaching the English language in Korea.

Teachers who are employed to work at public schools turn out directly for the Korean Ministry of Education, teaching English to students and helping their Korean co-teachers.

The organized teaching plan allows teachers to enjoy nights and ends of the week off, giving teachers a lot of time to explore their surrounding.

These job positions are ideal for individuals who are keen on teaching as a profession or gain international experience.

Major admissions for public school jobs to teach English in Korea are in February/March and August/September. Keep reading to understand everything you need when applying (and getting employed) for the EPIK program 

Private School Job to Teach English in Korea 

Private schools in Korea, otherwise called Hagwons, offer the most alluring business employment packages for English teachers who need to teach English in Korea.

With adaptable hours, competitive salaries, and benefits that incorporate free flights and facilities. Hagwons are a mainstream choice to Teach English in Korea in Korea.

Private schools are organizations, and all things considered, have longer working hours. For teachers, this implies an open door for extra time.

Hagwon ESL jobs are ideal for applicants who are hoping to save cash and work in an organized environment. Teach Away offers jobs at the best public schools in Korea all year long. 

How to Teach English in Korea from Home as a Part Time Job

Interest in online English teaching is exploding among students in Korea.

Thus, a few English teaching organizations catering explicitly to Korean students are looking for local English speaking applicants to fill online teaching openings.

If you have the necessary skills and experience, (such as a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate), now’s the perfect time to apply to teach English online! 

Here are the benefits you stand to gain.

Teaching Benefits in Korea 

Basic BenefitsPublic School Jobs in KoreaPrivate School Jobs in Korea
Monthly Salary1.8-2.0 million KRW–first-year teachers.   2.0-2.1 million KRW–first-year teachers2.0-2.1 million KRW – first-year teachers   2.1-3.0 million KRW – experienced teachers
Working Hours08:30-16:30 Monday-Friday09:00-18:00 – Kindergarten-Elementary   15:00-22:00 – Elementary-High School Evening & Weekend shifts
Teaching Hours22-24 hours/week30 hours/week
Vacation18 days and   13-15 national holidays **taken during school holidays7-10 days and   13-15 national holidays **taken when mandated by the school
Foreign Teachers1 foreign teacher/school2-15 foreign teachers/school
Class Size25-30 students/class10-15 students/class
AccommodationFurnished single-occupancy apartmentFurnished single-occupancy apartment
AirfareRound trip airfare providedRound trip airfare provided
Bonuses50% Health Insurance   1-month severance pay Rural placement bonuses50% Health Insurance   1-month severance pay
LocationsMajor cities & rural areas   (Rural placements are easier to obtain)Major cities & rural areas
Start DatesFebruary/March   August/SeptemberMonthly

OISE TEFL Certification to Teach English in Korea 

Many schools in Korea expect teachers to have a Foreign Language confirmation to teach English in Korea.

An OISE TEFL affirmation from the OISE University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education can assist you with turning you into a major candidate for top jobs to Teach English in Korea. 

Bottom Line

Teaching English in Korea is not for lazy people. As popular as Hagwons are in accepting English teachers, and as large as they are, they are still highly competitive schools. You may find that they have short tolerance for English teachers who don’t meet up to expectation.

So, while you prepare to put your resources into the investment that is traveling abroad to teach English in Korea, make sure that you have worked on your work ethics and even prepared to handle more than one teaching job in Korea.


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