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Teach English in Korea

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Teach English in South Korea

South Korea is a highly-developed nation famous for its well-educated citizens, vibrant pop culture and art scene, and of course exporting cutting-edge technology. The beautifully varied landscapes, rich history, and compact size make South Korea a great base for ESL teachers. You will have the opportunity to explore a new culture and travel around easily! Read on to learn more about teaching in South Korea.

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. Costs of living in South Korea are high compared to those in China however, the higher pay scale balances the discrepancy. This provides a comfortable life and ample opportunities to save and pay off student debts. Even your apartment and flight to South Korea will be covered by the school! An extra month’s pay often paid out as a completion bonus at the end of your contract, helping your travel/savings fund even more.

Teaching opportunities here are mostly with private schools (hagwons). 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 originally. Your Footprints Recruiter will work with you and walk you through your options.

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. Having a TEFL certification is a preference but not 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 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.

Visa Process

You will need to apply for a visa yourself, but 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. 

Helpful Resources:

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.