Teaching English in South Korea

The Ultimate guide to teaching English in south korea

Why Teach in South Korea?

One key reason is that you can make pretty good money in South Korea as an ESL teacher. Even as an elementary school teacher in Seoul, you can save as much as $1,000 per month. Salary is high while the living cost is affordable, not to mention most employers take care of your flights, housing, and healthcare.

South-Korea
South-Korea

Teaching English in South Korea Salary

South Korea is one of the best places to make money as an English teacher abroad. You can get paid 2 to 3.1 million Korean Won (KRW) per month, which equals approximately $1,750 to $2,500 a month.

Teaching English in South Korea Jobs

One key reason is that you can make pretty good money in South Korea as an ESL teacher. Even as an elementary school teacher in Seoul, you can save as much as $1,000 per month. Salary is high while the living cost is affordable, not to mention most employers take care of your flights, housing, and healthcare.

South-Korea

How to get a job teaching English in South Korea

South Korean employers want to hire only native speakers to teach English. Thus, your passport must come from one of these countries: the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand. If you aren’t a native, head somewhere else, such as Vietnam or Thailand.

A bachelor’s degree is required for ESL teacher applicants. An associate degree is sometimes accepted as well, most likely in rural areas where competition is less fierce. You don’t have to major in Education nor have had prior teaching experiences, as long as you’ve completed the recognized TEFL or TESOL certificate. However, the more credentials you have, the more appealing your profile will look to employers.

Teaching English in South Korea Hiring Process

  1. Submit application to the school or recruiting agency like Oakary.
  2. Online Interview with the HR of the school or the agency.
  3. If you receive an job offer, congratulation! It’s time to finalizing the process and sign the employment contract
  4. Acquire a Visa confirmation number – Employer will submit your visa documents to the immigration office in Korea. If Visa documents are approved, then your visa confirmation number will be issued in around two weeks and sent to you by email.
  5. Visa application – You can now apply for an E2 Visa once you obtained the Visa confirmation number. To submit application, you can either visit the nearest local Korean consulate in person or mail in. Make sure you have all the necessary documents before you visit the consulate.
  6. Before you pack up and head to South Korea, ask HR about the airfare, transportation, and housing arrangement. The employer will guide you through the process.
  7. Now you’re in Korea and all excited. Here’re few more items to finalize. Health check up at the designated hospital and apply for Alien Residence Card (ARC), a identity card for foreign national, which is a common process to work in countries like Taiwan, China, and many others.

A bachelor’s degree is required for ESL teacher applicants. An associate degree is sometimes accepted as well, most likely in rural areas where competition is less fierce. You don’t have to major in Education nor have had prior teaching experiences, as long as you’ve completed the recognized TEFL or TESOL certificate. However, the more credentials you have, the more appealing your profile will look to employers.

Teaching English Requriements

What Are the Job Requirements?

  • Must have citizenship and a valid passport from one of the following English speaking countries (United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States)

  • A supporting document to verify your education in English speaking country since grade 7 is required

  • Bachelor’s degree or above from an accredited university/college is strictly required. All majors and disciplines are accepted. An associate degree or two-year college graduates are not qualified for VISA reason.

  • Clean criminal record.

  • Healthy and good physicality.

Why is it Better to Use a Recuriting Agency?

A recruiting agency can help you polish your resume and save you time by making sure you have all the necessary and correct documents. You’ll find a faster response time and a higher chance of being recruited.

There are quite a few different options for an English teacher in South Korea: public school jobs, private academy (Hagwon) jobs, University jobs, and other private teaching and tutor positions. The recruiting agency would know the exact application standards and paperwork requirements, as well as find you the best match to increase your chance of getting hired. We can help you find a teaching job in South Korea too via Oakary!

Most Korean students attend public school in the morning, then go to a private English school at night. Therefore, the schedule for teaching English in Korean public schools should be similar to regular office hours of Western countries (from morning to mid-afternoon). Meanwhile, private
schools tend to have only afternoon and evening classes. Before signing up for the job, make sure you understand the schedule, teaching style, expected student characteristic, class size, vacation time, etc. of that particular institution.

What Are South Korea's Major Metropolitan Cities?

  • Seoul
  • Busan
  • Daegu
  • Daejeon
  • Gwangju
  • Incheon
  • Ulsan
  • Sejong

What's the Weather Like in Korea?

South Korea’s weather has four distinct seasons: pleasant spring (April to June), hot and humid summer (July to August), beautiful autumn (September to November), and snowy yet dry winter(December to March). The average temperature during winter is -5 degrees Celsius or 23 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature during summer is about 25 degrees Celsius or 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is Korea Safe?

Despite all the dramas you’ve heard about North Korea’s threats, it’s extremely safe in South Korea. The crime rate is low. The tension between North Korea and South Korea has been going on for over 50 years but nothing serious ever happened during this time. Many countries
including the US, Russia, Japan, and China work towards maintaining peace in the area. Thus, a violent conflict isn’t likely to happen, unless North Korea wants its own country to be destroyed.

what is food like in south korea

What’s the Food in Korea Like?

One word: amazing! South Korean food is one of the best, especially if you like spicy food. There’s a reason Korean Food Channels on YouTube are crazily popular! Try the mouthwatering Korean BBQ served with delicious side dishes (banchan) and perhaps some Sochu (traditional Koren alcoholic drink). Savor the spicy and yummy stews (jjigae) or soups (guk) on a cold day! And don’t forget Bibimbap, a colorful food dish that includes different vegetables, meat, kimchi, and rice, topped with a sunny side up egg, served with a special sauce.

Eating out isn’t expensive in South Korea. Restaurants also open up really late in Seoul, making the food scene in the city a cultural experience. However, most apartments in South Korea have a kitchen, thus you can cook your own food. Western grocery and ingredients are relatively easy to be found in Korean supermarkets.

How Should I Dress as an ESL Teacher in Korea?

Collar t-shirt or button shirt with khaki pants are recommended for men. For women, just avoid the short miniskirts, tank tops or low cut tops, beach-wear, sandals, and jeans. Overall, Korean women generally do not show their shoulders. Tattoos, piercings, and even facial hair are not preferred in many schools. Private schools may be less formal than public schools.

First impressions are very important in Korea. Do your homework and ask the school or your colleagues to understand clearly their expectations of your professional appearances before you show up. Once you’re there, watch how other teachers dress in your school and make appropriate adjustments accordingly.

Do I Need to Speak Korean?

Well, it is not mandatory, but would be better and make your life easier. At least pick up some basics! It’ll also show your hospitality, open-mindedness and respect towards the Korean culture. Learn to ask for directions, order food at a restaurant, ask for where things are in a grocery store in Korean, for example. Perspectives can be shaped by the local language. Once you know the language, things will start making sense.

Here are a few phrases that may be helpful:

  • Hello (informal): 안녕하세요 An-nyeong-ha-se-yo
  • Nice to meet you: 반갑습니다 Ban-gap-sum-ni-da
  • Thank you: 감사합니다 Kam-sa-ham-ni-da
  • My name is : 저는 [name]입니다 Chonun [name]-imnida
  • Excuse me/Just a moment: 잠시만요 Jam-shi-man-yo
  • Sorry: 죄송합니다 / 미안합니다 Chway-seong-ham-ni-da/Mi-an-ham-ni-da
  • How much is it? 얼마예요 ol-ma-ye-yo
  • Where is the (something)? 어디예요 o-di-ye-yo
  • Where is the bathroom? Hwa-jang-shil o-di-ye-yo?

What Are Korean Students Like?

South Korean students are generally shy at first. The ESL teacher has to be creative and tries different approaches to get the students familiarized and comfortable speaking in English. Parents expect a lot in their children in South Korea. Therefore, you’ll find the students highly pressured by their parents’ desires. They work hard, and they emphasize the importance of academics. Once they open up to you, the Koreans are friendly, happy, smart, and respectful!

What Do I Need to Get My English Teaching Visa for South Korea?

The visa requirements vary per your home country. Thus, consult with your recruiter or employing school. Be sure you check with the local consulate for the the detailed requirements. Here is a general info

  • Copy of passport. MUST be valid within one year.
  • Signed employment contract and offer letter from the employer
  • A notarized copy of your university diploma.
  • Resume
  • Criminal background check
  • Health statement or basic health check from hospital
  • 4 passport sized photos.
 

Take advantage of this opportunity and travel more. Don’t limit yourself to the comfort zone of the “Itaewon”, unofficially known as the “little USA” with tons of American outlets and amenities. Stop eating at the Western franchises. Visit the Buddhist temples, take train trips to different cities around South Korea, try the local food, make friends and have fun!

Are you looking for opportunities to teach English abroad in South Korea? Check out our Teach English Abroad Facebook group for daily job listings.

Local Agencies in South Korea

Korean Horizons

Agency Intro We provide government public schools in South Korea. We are an official recruitment agency of EPIK & Regional education offices (GOE, IMOE and

Teach Abroad Guides

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