28 Ways to Find a Great Job Teaching English in Korea
If you are considering moving abroad to teach English, you likely have learnt that Korea is one of the best options out there. Schools and academies in Korea offer some of the most competitive benefits for English language teachers; including a high salary, subsidised airfare, and free accommodation. Add a unique culture and modern way of life to that list, and it is easy to see why Korea is a popular destination for English language teachers.
If you are looking to come here to teach, this list of 28 ways to find a great job teaching English in Korea will definitely help you! If I have missed anything out, just leave a comment below and if we agree with you, we’ll add it to the list.
How to Find a Great Job Teaching English in Korea
1. Know What You Want: There are many types of teaching jobs in Korea, so know exactly what you want in terms of student age, level, type of school, etc.
2. Have a Passport From a Native-English Speaking Country: While this may be unfair, the current visa law in Korea makes it very difficult for those without one to get a teaching job here.
3. Get CELTA / TESOL Certified: Most of the best and highest paying jobs teaching English in Korea want to know that you can actually teach. On top of that, having a teaching certificate is now a requirement for public school jobs in Korea (online courses are accepted).
4. Do an MA TESOL (or similar): Like the sound of 5 months vacation a year and working 12-15 hours a week? Do an MA TESOL or something similar and you’ll be one step closer to getting this! Find out more about university jobs in Korea.
5. Be in Korea: While you can definitely get a great job teaching English in Korea from your home country, being available to have a face-to-face interview is definitely a plus.
6. Look Presentable: Appearance plays a huge role in Korean society; dress smart for the interview even if it is on Skype.
7. Network: Many people I’ve met over my time in Korea (6 years and counting) got their great jobs via word of mouth. Make friends with people who are currently teaching English in Korea and let them know when you are on the lookout.
8. Write a Killer Resume: Learn how to here.
9. Have Someone Check Your Resume: You are applying for a job teaching English, so make sure it’s polished; no spelling or grammar mistakes.
10. Choose the Right Picture for Your Resume: Invest a bit of cash and get it taken in a professional studio and, of course, look professional and smart.
11. Get the Timing Right: Although many great jobs in Korea hire all year round, if you are looking at universities, public schools, international schools, or after school programmes, then they mostly hire in August/September and February/March.
12. Use a Great Job Portal Website: Shameless self promotion here.
13. Find a Good Recruiter to Help: There are many good recruiters out there. I got my first two jobs here using recruiters and they were both extremely professional and helpful, especially because I had no idea what I was doing back then. Be clear with them about what you are looking for.
14. Get Some Experience: You don’t need teaching experience for a lot of jobs here, but to get the best jobs you’ll need some experience, ideally with good references.
15. Look Happy and Enthusiastic: Koreans love this.
16. Show Your Personality: I recently had a meeting with a recruiter from a top academy in Seoul, and he told me that a candidate’s personality is one of the most important factors he looks for when hiring.
17. Brush Up on Grammar Rules: You’ve been speaking English your whole life and you are an expert at using the language. But, this is not enough when you are a teacher, you need to be able to demonstrate your knowledge to your students daily and it is not unheard of for interviewers to ask grammar questions on the spot during the interview. This podcast is a great resource: Grammar Girl.
18. Learn How to Write a Lesson Plan: Many schools are now asking teachers to submit a lesson plan as part of the application process. Hopefully, they’ll let you know what they expect you to base the plan around, but in the meantime it would be super helpful to learn how to write a killer and effective plan. If you took up tip number 2 then this shouldn’t be a problem.
19. Pick the Right Location: Korea is more than just Seoul and Busan and there are great opportunities all around the country.
20. Be Patient: It might take longer than you expect. If the first offer that comes along isn’t what you were hoping for, don’t take it. Teaching in Korea is a year commitment so make sure the job you choose is the right fit for you.
21. Read Your Contract: Read it carefully and make sure you know exactly what the school is expecting of you.
22. Talk to the Current Foreign Teachers at the School: Definitely do this if possible. This is a great way to find out the ins and outs of the job and how reliable the school is.
23. Know What Kind of Jobs There Are: Do your research and know the differences between a hagwon, public school, after school programme, international school, university, college, and more.
24. Know Why You Want to Come to Korea (or make something up): This question is very likely to come up in the interview; have a good answer.
25. Network Again: Honestly, this is so important.
26. Have Your Documents Ready: Getting all the necessary visa documents ready can take a long time (up to 6 months if you’re from the US). Start the process as soon as you’ve committed to the idea of teaching in Korea.
27. Get Reference Letters: Although not always required, having a reference letter or two from your former employers will do you the world of good!
Photo By Brad Hammonds
Brad has spent the past 6 years traveling the world and taking photos of the beauty there is to discover. He is currently living and teaching English in Korea. Here are his photos https://bradhammonds.eu/
Written By Luke Jones
Luke has spent the past 6 years teaching English in Korea. He started off in a small hagwon in Changwon, then moved to teach in a public middle school in the same city. Since then he has completed the CELTA course and an MA TESOL, and now works at a university in Seoul.