Teach English in South Korea
South Korea is a highly-developed nation famous for its well-educated people, vibrant pop culture and art scene, and of course exporting cutting-edge technology like the latest smartphones to the rest of the world. Its beautifully varied landscapes, rich history, and compact size make the country a great base for ESL teachers to explore a new culture and travel around easily. It’s a great place to live, meet other expats, and get to know an ancient culture. In the 2000s, South Korea was the go-to for teaching jobs. Many seasoned teachers talk about a “golden age” of teaching in South Korea culminating around 2005, similar to the earlier peak that happened in Japan in the 1990s. The ESL industry has since shifted, and while we still offer great teaching opportunities in South Korea, the neighboring giant China is developing much quicker. With its rapid growth and insatiable demand for foreign English instructors, there are simply more ESL jobs now to be had in China and you should definitely consider it as an alternative. It’s also worth noting that living costs in China are far lower, while salaries and benefits have largely caught up to the South Korean standard.
Salary, Benefits and Types of Jobs Available in South Korea
The going wage for foreign English teachers in South Korea is $2,000-$2,500. While the South Korean costs of living are high compared to those in China, the higher pay on the lower end of that salary scale somewhat balances the discrepancy. Fear not – if you come teach in South Korea, your earnings will still give you a comfortable life and ample opportunities to save. Your apartment and flight to South Korea and back will be covered by the school, which means you’ll have a large part of your salary left over after bills to save or put towards travel. An extra month’s pay often paid out as a completion bonus at the end of your contract helps your travel/savings fund even more. Work here is mostly with private schools (hagwons). There is a large variety of schools – make sure you do your research and go with a reputable recruiter. South Korea is densely urban and positions are available all over the country, though Seoul has a particular concentration of schools. In the past decade, many foreign teachers came to South Korea under the auspices of the government-run program for English instruction in public schools called EPIK. However, numerous government budget cuts in recent years and increasingly strict requirements placed on foreign teachers have made the EPIK intake much more competitive than it was in its heyday.
Qualifications for Teaching English in South Korea
All you need to work in South Korea is a degree and a passport from an English speaking country. While pay goes up with how much teaching experience you have, certified teachers aren’t in special demand and don’t get higher salaries that reflect their professional qualification above the general applicant pool (for that, we strongly suggest the UAE). Having a TEFL certification is now a requirement for teaching in South Korea. You’ll usually be expected to complete a course of 100 hours or more, but you can get that done after you’ve applied and before you’ve arrived in South Korea. We recommend a course with an in-class component to make sure you have some classroom experience with non-native speaking students. You don’t need to speak any Korean for work, as schools expect you to communicate almost exclusively in English – but spending time learning the basics will definitely help enrich your experience outside of school hours.
South Korea is a big expat centre. Most likely, soon after landing here, you will make lots of international friends that are going through a similar experience. Living the expat lifestyle and partying is easy here. This gives a certain comfort, but try to make sure you’re also getting out there to see the country’s sights and meet South Korea’s people. They are among the most hospitable in the world, if a little shy with foreigners.
You will need to apply for a visa yourself, but a reputable recruiter like Footprints Recruiting can make the process painless to make sure you get to South Korea without any snags. Korean consulates are widespread – it’s a good idea to locate your nearest one as you’ll be dealing with them often. You should note that trying to work in South Korea without a valid E2 visa can lead to serious trouble with the authorities and is not recommended.
Read On :
Read on : We have built some really useful guides for teachers and people working online or overseas. Check out our comprehensive guide to online teaching jobs and learn how best to write or update your teacher job resume (including a sample resume for teachers without experience). Dig in deeper by learning how to create a positive learning environment or what you can do to practice culturally responsive teaching. A wealth of similar guides and articles are available in our resources section. Are you eager to apply for jobs and register for programs? You can do that quickly on our easy general application that covers all the teaching jobs that we offer. For a little bit more background information on the steps required to teach english abroad and online, head to our home page. And if you have a specific region in mind, you can learn about South Korea and apply to teach there here on this page, read up on teaching in Dubai – or scroll down for other popular destinations.