Some Things You Should Know About Teaching English in South Korea

To teach English in Korea you must meet the following criteria:

  • Citizenship from a recognized English-speaking nation: U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.
  • Bachelor’s degree/diploma from an accredited college or university (4 years in US/3 years in UK).
  • Original national level criminal record check (FBI in the U.S.) that is free of any charges or convictions – DUIs, DWIs and any other misdemeanors or felonies will disqualify any prospective teachers from receiving an E-2 visa required to teach English in Korea (minor traffic violations will not disqualify you).
  • Clean health check and drug test.

During the process of applying and interviewing for English teaching positions, and getting a visa processed at the consulate after signing a contract, prospective teachers should expect to be able to produce the following documents:

  • Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree/diploma
  • Sealed college or university transcript
  • Original national level criminal background check (FBI in the U.S.)
  • Passport photos
  • Original contract (to be provided by your employer for visa processing at consulate)
  • Original passport that is valid for at least one year

For some positions, particularly those in public schools and universities, English teachers in Korea may be required to provide the following during the application and/or visa processes:

  • Proof of full-time teaching experience
  • Copy of TEFL certificate
  • Copy of teaching license or certificate


Salaries for First Year English Teachers in South Korea

  • Public schools:  1.8 – 2.0 million KRW (approximately $1,600 – $1,800 USD) per month.
  • Private schools: 2.0-2.1 million KRW ($1,800 – $1,900 USD) per month.

Salaries for Experienced 
English Teachers in South Korea

  • Public schools: 2.0 – 2.7 million KRW ($1,800 – $2,400 USD) per month
  • Private schools: 2.1-3.0 million KRW ( $1,900 - $2,750 USD) per month


Additional Benefits for English teachers in South Korea

  • Severance bonus - Most English teachers also receive an extra month salary bonus upon successful completion of their contract.
  • Paid vacation – Public school teachers receive 18 days (three work weeks) paid vacation plus 15-18 national holidays.  Private school teachers typically receive 7-10 days paid vacation plus 15-18 national holidays.
  • Furnished housing – Most teachers will be provided with a single-occupancy apartment that is fully furnished.
  • Airfare – Most teachers will be required to buy their airline ticket upfront and then will be reimbursed upon arrival.  In some cases, the school may provide the teacher’s airline ticket up front.
  • Health care - As an employee you are on the Korean national health care system.
  • Converting won into other currencies and transferring it back to your home country – It is not difficult to convert Korean wan into U.S. dollars or other foreign currencies, nor is it difficult to transfer money from Korea to banks in the U.S. and elsewhere (though there may be some nominal administrative fees).  If you plan to transfer money to your bank account in your home country, make sure that you bring all relevant account information (account numbers, routing numbers, swift codes, etc.) with you to Korea.


How much can I save teaching English in South Korea and why can I save so much as an English teacher in South Korea?

  • Most English teachers in Korea will be able to save up to 50 % of their salary after expenses, which can range from the equivalent of $800 – $1,200 a month.
  • Korea is a very prosperous nation that highly values education so schools, parents and the government are all willing to offer high salaries and good benefits to recruit qualified native English speaking teachers.
  • Rent is provided, so English teachers do not need to worry about an item that for most people will consume 30% or more of their monthly budget.
  • Cost of living – food, utilities, public transportation, etc. – is lower than in most large American and Western European cities.
  • Teachers who complete a 12 month contract will typically receive a severance bonus equivalent to one month’s pay.



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146 thoughts on “Some Things You Should Know About Teaching English in South Korea

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