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Teach English in South Korea

Find an English teaching job in South Korea Coming to teach English in South Korea offers incredible benefits to Bachelor’s degree holders. While an ideal job for recent graduates stuck in the limbo of failing job markets, South Korea also offers an array of high-paid positions even for those with teaching credentials and other qualifications. [...]

Find an English teaching job in South Korea

Coming to teach English in South Korea offers incredible benefits to Bachelor’s degree holders. While an ideal job for recent graduates stuck in the limbo of failing job markets, South Korea also offers an array of high-paid positions even for those with teaching credentials and other qualifications. South Korea has a booming education industry and maintains an even stronger thirst for English knowledge, making it one of the most generous countries in Asia for English teaching jobs.

Teach English in a Private Academy in Korea

Private Academies or “Hagwons” (학원): Private academies are the easiest places in which to get hired, especially if you want high pay and have few qualifications. Most all academies require applicants to hold a BA from a native English-speaking country, but some places will hire more freely if they are desperate enough. In the same vein, one should always peruse the Hagwon Blacklist before accepting a position. Teaching credentials are not typically required to work in an academy, though they could garner you higher pay if you have them – especially a TEFL certification. Academy instructors are offered 1-year contracts with paid or reimbursed airfare, full benefits, paid housing and anywhere between 1.8 and 2.5 million won ($1,500-2,100) per month as salary, which is incredibly cushy to live on in regards to the standard of living in South Korea.

The best way to find academy jobs is through a trustworthy recruiter like Footprints. Recruiters are helpful in finding and securing you a job as well as guiding you through the visa process and being there to protect you in case something falls through – all at no cost to you.

However, if you’re willing to try the more organic route, you can find tons of jobs through Dave’s ESL Café Korea, WorknPlay or one of hundreds of job sites and postings that come up through a simple Google search.

Teach in Korea

Private academies hire year-round and you do not need any knowledge of Korean. Private academies have been known to overwork, underpay, or otherwise inconvenience native teachers, so ALWAYS try to get in touch with a previous employee or find out as much about the school as you can before committing.

Public Schools

Another option is to teach English in Seoul public schools or other public schools around Korea, which can also be found through recruiters or a number of other Korean job hiring sites. Many people prefer the public school environment, which usually offers somewhat more stable and fewer hours than academies as well as opportunities to teach after school programs for extra pay. Depending on your qualifications, you might end up with a slightly lower salary than you would earn from an academy, but go home with fewer headaches. Whereas teachers in academies manage several classes per day on their own, native English teachers in public schools are considered “assistants,” and typically have fewer responsibilities. While it is possible to secure a public school position with only a BA, some say the Board of Education is becoming stricter with their requirements after having suffered budget cuts in the last year.

Public schools generally include more vacation time (especially at the secondary level) than academies, but you will probably be the only foreign teacher, as opposed to having other native-speaking co-teachers in an academy. The benefits are comparable to that of academies (reimbursed airfare, paid housing, etc.) and public schools give you a greater opportunity to interact with Koreans and immerse yourself in the culture on a daily basis.

Public schools only hire twice throughout the year: Around August, to the benefit of native English speakers, and March, which is when the Korean school year begins. So if you need a position ASAP or in-between these months, it’s best to apply for an academy position instead.

Contracts are renewable and salary increases are bestowed upon those who rack up more years in the system. All public school teachers are enrolled in the national health insurance program and the pension program. They are able to claim their pension (usually equivalent to one month’s salary each year that they work) before they leave Korea.

Teach English in Korea with the TaLK Program

TaLK (Teach and Learn in Korea): The TaLK program is designed for Korean adoptees or Korean-Americans who want to learn more about Korean culture while also teaching, but it is not exclusive to them. You can join this program before finishing college and it is considered a “scholarship program.” TaLK scholars are assigned to teach after school programs in schools outside of the Seoul metropolitan area, participate in an array of cultural programs throughout the duration of the program, and are provided round-trip airfare, a 1.5 million won monthly stipend in addition to housing, and even paid vacation days. Not at all a bad way to gain some incredible experience and save a truckload of money before you even graduate!

Korean University English Teaching Jobs

University teaching jobs in Korea are highly coveted and therefore require Master’s qualifications, although it is not unheard of for smaller universities to hire those with a BA and some great experience. These jobs are not offered through recruiters and while some postings can be found through the Internet, they are usually easier to secure through networking or actually being in the country itself. Benefits include at least 2.6 million won per month, a housing stipend, and loads of vacation time. University instructors teach the fewest amount of hours of all native English instructors in South Korea and experience the benefits of a more professional and organized environment.

Travel the world and teach English now

Vagabond Journey has recently partnered with Star TEFL to offer their 140 hour online TEFL certification course for just $199 — a big discount, as it sells for $425 on their site. This certification course offers plenty of user-friendly material, tutors to help you through the process, email, chat, and phone support, feedback on your performance, and you can complete the course at your own pace. Upon completion of the course, you will receive an internationally recognized TEFL/ ESL/ TESOL certification. You can take advantage of this 53% discount by ordering this course directly from Vagabond Journey. Contact us at vagabondsong@gmail.com to find out how.

We also recommend i-to-i TEFL courses.


Filed under: Asia, English Teaching, South Korea

About the Author:

Tiffany Zappulla is VagabondJourney.com’s Korea correspondent and travel tech reviewer. She pinched pennies throughout college, sacrificing parties, treats, and occasionally even food so she could start traveling to foreign lands. So far she’s toured Scotland, Spain, and Japan (twice) on a budget, and spent three years living in South Korea actively engaged in the culture and lifestyle. Aside from her qualifications in ESL, Tiffany does other freelance writing and odd jobs. She is currently living the broke American life for awhile before deciding on her next adventure. Connect with her on Google+. has written 31 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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  • Teaching Abroad December 18, 2012, 12:39 pm

    If you are a teacher or new university graduate interested in teaching overseas, you should check out TeacherPort (http://teacherport.com). TeacherPort is a free online resource for teachers and new graduates to find teaching jobs abroad. Good luck!!

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