If you’ve ever thought about living and working abroad, you may have considered teaching in South Korea. Many individuals, often young adults, choose to make this big move! If you’re not a teacher or are new to the idea of teaching English, you may be wondering how to go about getting a job so that you can teach in Korea. This guide will explore the steps needed to get a job teaching in South Korea.
Decide If South Korea is Right for You
I would first take some time to research South Korea. You want to make sure that this will be a good place for you and that you’ll be happy. You can take some time to explore the culture, read about the food, and learn about the different towns and cities throughout the country. There are many great blogs and online guides available to help you learn more before making this big decision. Here are some past articles I’ve written that may be of interest to you:
- 30 Things You Didn’t Know About South Korea
- What’s the Cost of Living in South Korea?
- 10 Essential Phrases for Living and Teaching in South Korea
- Manners in Korea: Do’s and Dont’s
Moving to a new country can be scary, but don’t let that stop you. Moving to teach in Korea has been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.
Consider Your Qualifications
In order to decide if teaching in South Korea will be a good fit, you will need to consider your qualifications. You will need to be a native English speaker. You will also need to hold a passport from one of the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. You will also need to hold a bachelor’s level degree. The degree does not have to be in Education or English. (Education majors are often preferred.)
If you meet these qualifications, you have a good chance of getting a job teaching in South Korea.
Get a TEFL Certification
If you want to stand out from the crowd and also want to get more experience, I recommend getting a TEFL certification. You can do this in person or online. It’s important to check into the requirements of the program that you wish to teach in before getting this certification, so that you satisfy all requirements. A TEFL course can be a great way to learn more about classroom management and lesson planning. You can also brush up on grammar rules.
I personally used i-to-i TEFL and had a good experience. My favorite part about this course was the fact that I could complete each module when it was convenient for me. I was taking this course while still working full-time in the United States, so flexibility was important to me. You also get feedback on all of your assignments, so you can learn and improve. If you’re looking ready to get a TEFL certification, you can choose your TEFL course here. I completed the 120 hour program.
Decide if You Want to Teach Public or Private
There are both public and private schools in South Korea. If you want to teach in Korea, it’s best to spend some time learning about the differences between these two. Private schools tend to be either daytime or evening work hours and are often times elementary and middle school level. You’re typically teaching extra English coursework outside of the normal public school program. Parents pay good money for their children to be enrolled in private schools, also called hagwons.
Public schools are daytime hour positions and they are funded by the government. In these positions, you might be teaching elementary, middle, or high school students. In most cases, you will be the only foreign teacher in your school. Public school positions tend to include more vacation time and have a bit more protection in place for teachers in regard to benefits and on-time pay.
I personally decided to go with the public school program as I felt it was the best option for me. Take some time to think through this decision, as it will be important when you start job searching.
Search for Jobs
Now it’s time to start searching for teaching jobs. There are many ways to find jobs so that you can teach in Korea. You can go through a recruiter, you can look at online job boards, or you can search Facebook groups. There are so many resources out there. I would start looking at some postings before applying or asking to interview — this way you can get a feel for what is normal. You can also ask other teachers what their experience was like teaching at a particular school or in a certain area.
When looking at jobs — compare working hours, teaching hours (you may be at work 40+ hours, but may teach less), vacation time, and job role details. You want to make sure that you’ll be happy teaching in South Korea — and the right job can make that possible. It’s important to note that all E-2 visa teaching jobs should provide healthcare! (You’ll pay 50% and your employer will pay 50% — healthcare is affordable here!)
Prepare for Your Interview
It’s best that you prepare ahead of time for your interview. You want to come across as genuine, relaxed, and interested! Depending on what type of school or program you’re applying for, you may be interviewing with a recruiter or the boss of the school. Before interviewing for jobs, I went over some sample questions and practiced with friends and family members. This allowed me to feel more comfortable.
When preparing for interviews, be aware that you may be interviewing at odd times of the day. For example, my home time zone is 13 hours behind South Korea, so I was interviewing late nights.
Get Through the Visa Process
Once you accept a job, you will need to finalize your visa paperwork. Note that it’s a good idea to start your paperwork a couple of months before your planned arrival date in Korea. If you start at 6 months ahead, you’ll be golden. You can start later, too as it’s possible to rush certain documents.
You need to make sure that all of your documents are in hand or that they’re making their way back to you. This includes your university transcripts, notarized and apostilled diploma, criminal check, TEFL certification, and reference letters, if necessary for your position. If you have any questions about these documents, make sure that you ask the person helping you get the job (recruiter, school official, etc.). It’s important to mention any roadblocks now so that you get your visa in time.
You will have to send your documents out to Korea to continue the visa process. Eventually, you will have an awesome visa sticker on your passport page! 🙂
Pack, Party, and Start a New Adventure
Now that you’ve accepted a job to teach in Korea and have your paperwork handled, it’s almost time to get on your flight! Get your belongings in order so that you can pack for a year abroad, party and spend time with your loved ones, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
While the process does take some time, it’s worth it! I highly recommend taking the opportunity to teach in Korea. You will be able to experience so many new things and will get the chance to step outside of your comfort zone!
If you want to learn more about the opportunity to teach in Korea, my e-book explores this job in greater detail! You can purchase my guide at Amazon.com.
I wish you the best of luck if you choose to take on this adventure! 🙂
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