Teach English in Korea

Getting a Job Teaching English in Korea: The Basics

Why Teach English in Korea?

Why teach English in Korea? Teaching in Korea offers some of the best benefits around the world for English teachers:

  • Salaries generally range from 2.1 million won per month to 2.8 million won per month ($1,700 – $2,300) depending on experience and qualifications. Higher salaries are found at the top jobs such as universities or teacher training centres.
  • Housing is provided for free.
  • Contract completion bonuses are standard. This is equivalent to one month’s salary.
  • Air tickets (one-way or round-trip) are often provided.
  • Pension and health insurance are provided with 50% paid for by the employer. Most teachers (depending on nationality) receive the pension in a lump some when they finish their contracts.
  • Most schools offer paid vacation of between 10-20 days as well as all national holidays. Some teaching jobs, especially at universities, get much more time off.

Sounds good? Keep reading to find out more about teaching English in Korea.

Why Do Most Teachers Come to Korea to Teach English?

There are many reason why teachers choose to teach English in Korea. Below are some of the main reasons:

  1. Work Experience: Korea is a great option for those straight out of university wanting to gain some valuable work experience.
  2. Travel: Travel and experience a new country and culture. Use your vacation to travel easily to Japan, China, South East Asia, etc.
  3. Earn money while travelling: Earn and save while travelling!
  4. Accommodation paid for: Most schools provide a rent free studio apartment close to the school.
  5. One-way or return flights paid for
  6. Experience Korean culture
  7. Meet like minded people: Join Meetup Korea
  8. Learn a new language: Use these sites to get started.

What Teaching Jobs are Available in Korea?

There are a variety of teaching jobs available in Korea. The most common being public schools, private institutes, after school programs, and universities. The conditions and requirements can vary, but below is an overview of what you can expect from each position.

Public School

  • Teaching Hours: 22 hours per week
  • Students Per Class: 30-35 Average
  • Vacation:  18 days plus public holidays
  • Students: Elementary to High School

Private Institute (Hagwon) 

  • Teaching Hours: 25-30 per week
  •  Students Per Class: 8-12 Average
  • Vacation: 7-10 days plus public holidays
  • Students: Kindergarten to Adult

After School Program

  • Teaching Hours: 20-25 per week  
  • Students Per Class: 10-15 Average
  • Vacation: 7-10 days plus public holidays
  • Students: Elementary School


  • Teaching Hours: 12-15 per week 
  • Students Per Class:  10-30 (varies greatly)
  • Vacation: 2-4 months per year
  • Students: University

How Much Money Can You Make Teaching English in Korea?

In general, most teachers in Korea earn between 2.1 million won to 2.8 million won ($1,700 – $2,300)  per month. In addition, schools provide housing and an end of year bonus equal to one months salary to all teachers. Salaries and conditions differ depending on what type of school you work for. See below for an overview of salaries and conditions.

Public School

  • Salary: 2.0 – 2.8 million Korean won per month
  • Teaching Hours: 22 hours per week average
  • Paid vacation: 18 days plus national holidays
  • Requirements: BA degree and TEFL 120 hour certificate

Private Institute (Hagwon) 

  • Salary: 2.1 – 3.0 million Korean won per month
  • Teaching Hours: 25 – 30 per week
  • Paid vacation: 7 – 10 days plus national holidays
  • Requirements: BA degree (TEFL Certificate helps a lot.)

After School Programs

  • Salary: 2.1 – 2.5 million Korean won per month
  • Teaching Hours: 20 – 25 per week  
  • Paid vacation: 7 – 10 days plus national holidays
  • Requirements: BA degree and TEFL 120 hour certificate


  • Salary: 2.1 – 5.0 million Korean won per month
  • Teaching Hours: 12 – 15 per week 
  • Paid vacation: 2 – 4 months per year
  • Requirements: MA degree and 2 years of university teaching experience

How to Teach English in Korea?

We get a lot of people asking us how to teach English in Korea. The process can simple but complicated at the same time. Below are the 5 basic things you need to do with links to more detailed information on how to do it.

  1. Get your Visa documents ready. 
    Everything you need to know is detailed here; but, for a summary, you need (a) a clean criminal background check, (b) Bachelor/Master’s degree and transcripts, and (c) a valid passport.
  2. Do a TEFL Course (optional)
    It is not a requirement, but it will certainly help you get noticed by the better jobs. Visit our TEFL Course Centre to find the right course for you.
  3. Find an opening
    (a) Use our Job Board to find schools or recruiting agencies to help you or (b) Post Your Resume on We Teach Korea and let the jobs find you. (Remember, never pay a fee in advance!)
  4. Apply and Interview
    Touch up your resume and interview skills with these Tips on Landing the Job.
  5. Sign the contract and make travel arrangements
    Read the contract carefully and work out the travel arrangements. Some schools will reimburse you when you arrive, while others will pay for the flight upfront.

Choosing a recruiter or school comes down to what you’re personally looking for. Once you have decided what you want, the next step is to find it. You can apply directly to schools or use a recruiter to help you with the process. We Teach Korea’s job board is frequently updated by both schools and recruiters, so be sure to check it out when you are on the lookout.

You can find a teaching job in Korea independently, but if you are unfamiliar with the process, having a recruiter help you can be extremely beneficial. Recruiters in Korea have a network of teaching jobs available at any given time, so it is likely that you’d have more options than if you were looking by yourself. They also have a wealth of knowledge of the visa process and will guide you through the process. In addition, many offer an after placement service so you won’t be alone if you need help. On top of all this, they won’t charge you a penny! The schools pay the fees, not the teachers.


How to Get a Visa to Teach English in Korea?

Getting your teaching visa for Korea is not a straightforward task, but knowing exactly what documents you need and how to get them makes the process far less stressful.  Always double check exactly what you need with your recruiter or school. Below is a list of all the documents you need and links to how to get them from your country.

  1. Criminal Background Check (apostilled): If you are from the US, this can take up to 6 months to obtain.
  2. University Degree (apostilled): A photocopy which has been notarized and apostilled.
  3. Sealed University Transcripts (not always required): This is a program-specific requirement, check with your employer/recruiter if this is necessary for your job.
  4. Health Statement: Just a simple questionnaire from the Korean embassy. You will have a full health check once you arrive in Korea.
  5. Passport copy: A photocopy of the information page of your passport.
  6. Resume: A copy of your resume with a recent photo attached.
  7. Signed contract: You should get this when a school has agreed to hire you.
  8. Five passport photos: Five standard sized passport photos

Click on this link (KOREA VISA INFORMATION) to get more information on how to get these documents from your country (USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, S. Africa, Australia, New Zealand) and get ready to teach English in Korea.


WE TEACH KOREA: Teaching English in Korea

We Teach Korea is the best site for teaching  jobs in Korea. English teaching jobs are posted daily, as well as blog posts about living and teaching English in Korea. Teach English in Korea with WeTeachKorea.

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 teaches at a university in Seoul. 

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/

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