The Joys of Teaching English in Korea – Tips and Advice

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If you are considering teaching abroad, Korea is a great option. Not only is it known for its rich culture and delicious food, but it also offers many opportunities for English teachers. In this article, we will provide you with tips, advice, and insights into teaching English in Korea.

We will cover the benefits of working in Korea, the qualifications and requirements needed to secure a job, the process of finding a job, contracts and salaries, the culture and lifestyle, challenges you may face, teaching online, and frequently asked questions. By the end of this article, you’ll have a good understanding of what it takes to teach English in Korea and what you can expect from this exciting opportunity.

Why Teach English in Korea?

Teaching English in Korea is a popular choice for individuals who want to explore a new culture and gain valuable teaching experience. Here are some reasons why you should consider teaching English in Korea:

  1. Cultural Immersion: Korea has a rich cultural heritage with its own unique customs, traditions, and cuisine. By teaching in Korea, you can immerse yourself in the local culture and gain a deeper understanding of the country.
  2. High Demand for English Teachers: Korea has a high demand for English teachers, which means finding a job is relatively easy compared to other countries. This is a great opportunity for those who want to start a career in teaching.
  3. Competitive Salaries: Salaries for English teachers in Korea are some of the most competitive in Asia. In addition to a generous salary, many schools provide benefits such as housing, airfare, and health insurance.
  4. Opportunities for Travel: Korea is located in the heart of Asia, making it easy to travel to neighboring countries during your off time. Explore new cultures and cuisines while gaining teaching experience.

Overall, teaching English in Korea offers a unique and rewarding experience that allows you to explore a new culture, gain valuable teaching experience, and live comfortably with a competitive salary and benefits.

Qualifications and Requirements

Teaching English in Korea requires certain qualifications and requirements. To apply for teaching positions, you must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any field. Having a TESOL, TEFL, or CELTA certification will improve your chances of getting hired and may also result in a higher salary.

Previous teaching experience is also preferred but not always mandatory. It is important to note that some programs may have additional requirements, such as a criminal background check or a health examination.

As an English teacher in Korea, you will also need a valid visa. The type of visa required will depend on the length of your stay and your employer. Most teachers will need an E-2 visa, which requires a sponsorship from your employer and a completed application process at the Korean embassy or consulate in your home country.

Additional Requirements for Public Schools

If you plan to teach in a public school, additional qualifications and requirements may be necessary. Korean public schools have an age limit for teachers, which is usually between the ages of 22 and 62. Additionally, public school teachers must be citizens of countries where English is the primary language, such as the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom.

Public schools in Korea also require an apostilled copy of your degree, which means that your degree has been verified by the government in your home country. The apostille is a stamp or attachment that verifies the authenticity of your degree.

Overall, it is important to research the specific requirements of the program or school you are applying to in order to ensure that you meet all of the necessary qualifications.

Finding a Teaching Job in Korea

If you’re interested in teaching English in Korea, it’s important to know where to look for job opportunities. Here are some tips on finding a teaching job in Korea:

1. Utilize Online Resources

There are numerous websites and job boards dedicated to English teaching jobs in Korea. Some popular sites include Teach Away, Dave’s ESL Cafe, and Korvia Consulting. These websites allow you to browse job postings, submit applications, and connect with potential employers.

2. Attend Job Fairs

Job fairs are a great way to connect with potential employers face-to-face. They also provide an opportunity to learn more about the teaching landscape in Korea. Some popular job fairs include the Korea Job Center for Foreign Workers and the Korea International Job Fair.

3. Network with Other Teachers

Networking with other teachers already working in Korea is a great way to learn about job opportunities and gain valuable insight into the teaching profession. Attend local teacher meetups or join online forums to connect with others in your field.

4. Be Prepared for Interviews

When applying for teaching jobs in Korea, it’s important to be prepared for the interview process. Research the school or company you’re applying to and practice common interview questions. You may be asked to provide a demo lesson or a teaching portfolio, so be sure to have these materials prepared in advance.

5. Consider Using a Recruiter

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the job search process, consider using a recruiter to help you find a teaching job in Korea. Recruiters can help you navigate the job market, connect you with potential employers, and provide valuable support throughout the hiring process.

By utilizing online resources, attending job fairs, networking with other teachers, being prepared for interviews, and considering a recruiter, you can increase your chances of finding a teaching job in Korea.

Contracts and Salaries

Contracts and salaries for English teachers in Korea can vary depending on the school or institution, as well as the teacher’s experience and qualifications.


Typically, contracts for English teachers in Korea are for one year and include details such as working hours, vacation time, and other benefits. Teachers can expect to work around 22-30 hours per week, with the possibility of overtime pay.

Most contracts also include housing or a housing allowance, which can vary depending on the location. Some schools also provide flights to and from Korea, health insurance, and severance pay upon completion of the contract.


Salaries for English teachers in Korea can range from $1,800 to $2,500 USD per month, depending on the teacher’s experience, qualifications, and the location of the school. Some teachers may also receive bonuses for working overtime or teaching summer and winter camps.

Payments are typically made on a monthly basis and are taxed by the Korean government. However, the tax rate is relatively low compared to other countries.

It’s important for teachers to carefully review their contract and salary details before accepting a teaching position in Korea. Additionally, teachers should be aware that the cost of living in some areas of Korea can be higher than in others.

Culture and Lifestyle in Korea

Teaching English in Korea can be an exciting opportunity to experience a unique culture and lifestyle. Here are just a few of the things you can expect to enjoy while living and working in Korea.

Local Customs

Korean culture is rich with customs and traditions that are fascinating to experience. From the elaborate rituals of traditional tea ceremonies to the elaborate architecture of ancient temples, there is always something new to discover.


Korean cuisine is widely regarded as some of the best in the world. From savory soups and stews to crispy fried chicken and kimchi, there is a vast range of flavors to explore. Don’t miss out on the unique experience of cooking your own meat at the table with friends at a Korean BBQ restaurant.


There is never a dull moment in Korea with an abundance of entertainment options, including K-pop concerts, traditional dance performances, and e-sports competitions. Karaoke is also a popular pastime, and you can find private rooms to rent with friends for a night of singing and fun.

Travel Opportunities

Korea is a small country that is easy to explore. From hiking scenic trails to relaxing on beautiful beaches, there are many opportunities for outdoor adventures. Additionally, the high-speed train system and affordable flights make it easy to travel to nearby countries like Japan or China.

Other Experiences

Teaching English in Korea also allows for unique experiences like attending a Korean wedding or participating in a traditional rice cake making ceremony. You can also connect with locals and other expats through language exchanges and cultural events.

In summary, teaching English in Korea offers an opportunity to dive into a rich culture and experience a unique lifestyle. From trying new foods to exploring beautiful landscapes, Korea is a country full of excitement and adventure.

Challenges of Teaching English in Korea

Teaching English in Korea can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its challenges. Here are some of the difficulties that English teachers may encounter:

  • Language Barrier: The language barrier can be a significant challenge for English teachers in Korea. It can be challenging to communicate with non-English speakers. However, most Koreans are eager to learn English, and this can sometimes lead to creative methods of communication.
  • Cultural Differences: Cultural differences can also pose a challenge. Korean culture is vastly different from Western culture, and adapting to a new culture can be overwhelming. However, immersing oneself in a new culture can be a great learning experience and a chance to broaden one’s horizons.
  • Adapting to a New Environment: Adapting to a new environment can be challenging, especially if you have never been to Korea before. However, with the right mindset and a willingness to adapt, this can be a great opportunity to experience a new and exciting culture.

Despite these challenges, teaching English in Korea can be a life-changing experience. By maintaining a positive attitude and being open to new experiences, English teachers can overcome any difficulty they encounter and enjoy a fulfilling experience in Korea.

Teaching English Online in Korea

Teaching English online has become an increasingly popular option for those working in Korea. With many schools offering remote work opportunities, it’s a great way to supplement your income or work from the comfort of your own home. Here’s what you need to know about teaching English online in Korea:

Benefits of Teaching English Online

Teaching English online in Korea has many benefits, including:

  • Flexibility with working hours
  • No need to commute to work
  • Ability to work from anywhere with a stable internet connection
  • Opportunities to work with students from all over the world

Additionally, teaching online can be a great way to supplement your income if you’re already teaching English in-person. Many teachers find that teaching online gives them the opportunity to earn more while still maintaining a good work-life balance.

Requirements and Resources

Teaching English online in Korea typically requires a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certification. Teachers must also have a reliable internet connection and a quiet and professional teaching environment.

Fortunately, there are many resources available for finding online teaching opportunities in Korea. Websites such as VIPKID and DaDaABC are popular options, and many schools and language centers also offer remote teaching positions.

Preparing for Online Teaching

While teaching online has many benefits, it can also present some unique challenges. Here are a few tips for preparing for online teaching:

  1. Invest in a high-quality headset and microphone. This will help ensure that your students can hear you clearly.
  2. Find a quiet and professional teaching environment. This could be a separate room in your home or a designated workspace in a coworking space.
  3. Test your internet connection and make sure it’s stable. You don’t want to have technical difficulties during a lesson.
  4. Prepare your teaching materials in advance. Make sure you have all the resources you need to deliver a great lesson.

By following these tips and utilizing available resources, teaching English online in Korea can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section, we will provide answers to some common questions about teaching English in Korea.

Do I need to speak Korean to teach English in Korea?

No, you do not need to be fluent in Korean to teach English in Korea. Most schools require their teachers to speak English only in the classroom. However, it is always helpful to learn some basic Korean words and phrases to communicate with people outside of work.

What are the visa requirements for teaching English in Korea?

To work as an English teacher in Korea, you will need an E-2 visa. To obtain this visa, you will need a bachelor’s degree, a clean criminal background check, and a job offer from a Korean school. The school will help you with the visa application process, which can take several weeks to complete.

What are the housing options for English teachers in Korea?

Many schools in Korea provide housing for their teachers or offer a housing allowance. The type and quality of housing can vary depending on the school and location. Some teachers choose to live in a shared apartment, while others prefer to find their own place.

What is the average salary for English teachers in Korea?

The average salary for English teachers in Korea is around 2.1 million KRW per month (approximately $1,850 USD). However, this can vary depending on the type of school, qualifications and experience of the teacher, and the location of the school.

What is the working schedule for English teachers in Korea?

The working hours for English teachers in Korea can vary depending on the school. Most teachers work between 20-30 hours per week, with classes scheduled in the afternoon and evening. Teachers also have a few days off each week to explore the country and enjoy their free time.

Can I travel and explore other countries while teaching English in Korea?

Yes, many English teachers take advantage of the opportunity to travel and explore other countries while working in Korea. The country is well-connected to other parts of Asia, with many affordable options for travel. However, it is important to check with your school about vacation time and make sure it does not interfere with your teaching responsibilities.


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