South Korea is a fascinating country, which is known for technology, food, and culture. If you are looking for a break from your life, a new career, or a possible beginning job after graduation, consider teaching English in South Korea. South Korean schools and education centers pay well because the value on education is very high. Since you are a teacher, you would be able to have plenty of vacation time in which to travel around the country or even to explore nearby regions. Test your ability to eat your weight in kimchi and make a difference in the lives of your students. This would be an excellent opportunity to not only explore life as an expat, but for you to also discover a new profession that could become your life’s passion.
South Korea at a Glance
Domestic Population: 49 Million People
Capital City: Seoul
Currency: South Korean Won
Trivia: A famous festival that takes place in South Korea is the Boryeong Mud Festival
Credentials and Visa
In order to obtain a teaching job in South Korea, you will need a university degree and to be able to show a native fluency in English. While some places do not require a teaching degree, you can only boost your chances of finding a job if you have a TEFL Certificate or an equivalent credential. If you are looking to get a TEFL Certificate, then you can either find an in-country program which usually costs more but is more thorough or you can find a reputable online course.
In order to teach and work in South Korea, you will need to acquire a work visa. Since there is a high demand for native instructors of English, most schools and tutoring centers are more than willing to help assist you in getting a work visa.
When is The Best Time to Teach in South Korea
Public schools accept teachers who start in August or September for the fall and then in February and March for the spring. You will likely have to apply for positions starting in April and May as well as December and January.
If you would like to teach at a private school (Hagwon), you will have a more flexible hiring period since Hagwons look for candidates year-round. Keep in mind that these positions will be based on demand, so you never know what you will find.
Teaching Programs and Popular Cities in South Korea
While you can be a private after school tutor, you best bet would be to work for either a public school or a private school. Contracts are usually signed for a year which allows you to either extend at the end of the period or move on afterwards. These schools will provide your healthcare and some schools will reimburse your travel to and from South Korea.
You need to see what school age you are interested in teaching. As a beginner instructor with no certificate, you will probably end up with very young children. If you are interested in teaching older students, make sure you have credentials or experience that support this decision.
Seoul: This bustling capital city is usually the first choice for those looking to teach English in South Korea. This metropolis is a hub for business, expats, and any activity that you could think of. Seoul is extremely well developed and a great place to start for those just entering the teaching English profession.
- CIEE Teach English in South Korea
- Teach Away in South Korea
- International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) South Korea
- Greenheart Travel in South Korea
Other popular cities include: Busan, Daejeon, Ulsan, and Daegu
Housing Options in South Korea
Some schools and programs will actually provide free housing for teachers. Usually these are apartments scattered throughout the city or concentrated in compounds that house other teachers. See what you can negotiate in terms of size and location.
If you are not provided with housing, then you will be able to find an apartment in whatever city you are placed. Ask fellow teachers for advice or even local teachers and administrators in your school.
Salaries start from around $1,600 and go up from there. You will likely make more money from private schools than public schools, however, you might have more luck finding a position in a public school rather than a private school.
Teaching English in South Korea would be a phenomenal opportunity to launch an international career that is meaningful and will give you a chance to interact with local communities. You would have the opportunity to live in a fast-paced country that is at the forefront of technological advancement and which is one of the leaders in economic development. Teaching English would allow you to meet fellow internationals and you would have the flexibility of being a teacher to be able to travel and see all that South Korea has to offer.