Teaching English in Korea – Complete insight

Teaching English in Korea is an opportunity for individuals to gain professional experience while immersing themselves in a new culture. The country has a high demand for English speakers and offers competitive salaries and a vibrant culture, South Korea is a particularly has high job opportunities for ESL ( Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers, Whether you’re a seasoned ESL teacher or just starting out, This guide provides information on what to expect when teaching in South Korea, including salary, living expenses, and the job market, as well as tips on finding a job and making the most of the experience.


Teaching English in Korea is a great way to experience a new culture, make friends and earn money. It is a great opportunity for those looking to make a difference in the lives of students and learn more about Korean culture. Learning a new language is an important part of understanding and communicating with the people of Korea, and teaching English is an excellent way to do so. In addition to teaching English, teachers can also help Korean students learn more about their own language and culture. Teaching English in Korea is also a great way to experience the culture and make friends with locals. There are many different ways to teach English in Korea, including working in public schools or private language schools. Teaching English in Korea provides a great opportunity to learn about the culture and make a difference in the lives of students.

ESL Teaching Salaries in South Korea

Salaries for English teachers in South Korea are among the highest in the world, ranging from $1700 to $2500 USD per month on average. Factors that determine salary include the region, school and work experience. Southern regions tend to have higher salaries due to lower cost of living,TEFL/TESOL certification is a must to get a job in Korea. Public schools pay teachers on a bi-weekly basis and language institutes pay on a monthly basis. Benefits such as health insurance and housing are not usually included in the salary, it is paid as a base salary.

TEFL Certification

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification is a qualification that is highly sought after by those looking to pursue a career teaching English Korea. TEFL certification is required by many employers to ensure that teachers have the necessary skills and qualifications to teach English in a foreign country. The TEFL certification is designed to provide teachers with the knowledge, skills, and strategies they need to be successful in teaching English to non-native speakers.

The most common way to obtain TEFL certification is to take a TEFL course. TEFL courses are offered in many different formats, such as online, in-person, and hybrid. The courses vary in length and content, but most have a core focus on grammar, pronunciation, and teaching strategies. In addition to the coursework, TEFL courses often include hands-on practice in the form of teaching practice sessions and lesson planning.

Finding a Teaching Job in South Korea

Teaching English in Korea

The best way to find a teaching job in South Korea is to research potential employers and apply to positions online. While you can certainly travel to South Korea to find work, it is easier to apply for positions from home. Teaching jobs in South Korea are widely available and continuously growing. However, the job market for teaching is extremely competitive. You can expect to apply to 10-20 jobs each week and possibly only receive one or two responses. Teaching English in South Korea is an attractive option for many employers. English is considered a necessary skill in the country and demand for English teachers is high. South Korea also has a government-sponsored program known as the E-2 visa to encourage cultural exchange. This visa offers an easy transition to work and live in South Korea.

Cost of Living in South Korea

The cost of living in South Korea varies by region, with southern regions being less expensive than northern regions. The average cost of living in Seoul is $1400 USD per month, which may not be realistic for most English teachers. However, outside of Seoul the average cost of living for a single person is $1000 USD per month, which is more realistic for English teachers. The cost of living in South Korea is similar to that of other countries in the region such as Japan, Taiwan, China, and Singapore.

Preparing for Your Move to South Korea

The first step towards finding a job as an ESL teacher in South Korea is to decide on an area in which to teach. ESL teachers in South Korea can choose to live and work in any region in the country. The only rule is that you have to be within one-hour’s travel time of your workplace. While it is possible to move around within South Korea, it is very difficult. If you choose to live in one region and then decide to move to another, you will have to start the visa application process from the beginning. Therefore, it is best to select a region where you’d like to live for at least the next year or two. So be mindful about these points

  1. Research your destination: Learn as much as you can about the city or area where you’ll be living, including the cost of living, transportation options, and things to do.
  2. Sort out your accommodation: Make sure you have a place to stay when you arrive. You can look for housing options before you leave, or ask your employer to help you find a place once you arrive.
  3. Get your paperwork in order: Make sure you have all the necessary documents, such as your passport, visa, and any certifications or qualifications required for your job.
  4. Get your finances in order: Make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses for the first few weeks, and look into opening a bank account in South Korea.
  5. Pack wisely: Make sure you pack clothing and items appropriate for the climate and culture, as well as any important personal items.
  6. Make copies of important documents: Make copies of important documents such as your passport, visa, and ID, and keep them in a safe place.
  7. Notify your bank and credit card company: Inform your bank and credit card company of your upcoming move to prevent any issues with international transactions.
  8. Stay in touch: Keep in touch with your family and friends back home and let them know how you’re doing.

Requirements for Teaching English in Korea

  1. A Bachelor’s degree: Most schools in South Korea require that English teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, in any field.
  2. A valid passport: All foreign English teachers must have a valid passport from a native English speaking country.
  3. A clean criminal background check: Many schools in South Korea require a criminal background check from your home country, as well as a check from the Korean government.
  4. A teaching certification or qualification: Many schools in South Korea require a teaching certification such as a TESOL, TEFL or CELTA.
  5. A minimum of 2 years of teaching experience: Some schools in South Korea require a minimum of 2 years of teaching experience.
  6. A valid working visa: English teachers in South Korea need a valid working visa to be able to legally work in the country.
  7. Medical check-up: Some schools require a medical check-up before arrival.

Teaching English in Korea Statistics

According to a 2019 survey, there are around 8,000 English teachers in South Korea. Majority are native English speakers and employed in private language schools. The majority of English teachers in Korea are female, aged between 25-29, and highly educated with 74% holding a bachelor’s degree and 45% holding a master’s degree. Most English teachers in Korea also have some form of teaching certification.

The Best Cities to Teach English in Korea

When it comes to teaching English in Korea, there are some cities that stand out as the best places to work. The most popular cities for English teachers in Korea are Seoul, Busan, Jeju, and Daegu.

  • Seoul is the largest city in Korea and one of the most popular places to teach English. The city is home to many language schools and has a large international population. The cost of living in Seoul is slightly higher than in other cities, but the salary for English teachers is also higher.
  • Busan is another popular city for English teachers in Korea. The city is located on the coast and has a vibrant international community. The cost of living in Busan is slightly lower than in other cities, and the salary for English teachers is also lower.
  • Jeju is an island off the coast of Korea and is a popular tourist destination. The cost of living in Jeju is slightly higher than in other cities, but the salary for English teachers is also higher.
  • Finally, Daegu is a small city in the south of Korea. The city has a large international population and is home to many language schools. The cost of living in Daegu is slightly lower than in other cities, and the salary for English teachers is also lower.


Are English teachers in demand in Korea?

English teachers are highly sought after in South Korea. Since English is the second most popular foreign language to learn and the country has a strong economy, there are many opportunities for those looking to teach English in South Korea.

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

No, you do not need to be fluent in Korean in order to teach English in South Korea. Most schools and universities require English teachers to have a teaching certification or degree from an accredited university, but they generally do not set any language requirements beyond that.

Can you teach English in South Korea for 6 months?

es, you can teach English in South Korea for six months or more. Most schools and universities offer contracts ranging from six months to one year, though some may also offer shorter or longer terms depending on the job requirements.

Can I teach English in South Korea without any prior experience?

You typically require applicants to have a TEFL certification or a degree from an accredited university in order to teach.

Tips for Teaching English in South Korea

  1. Be prepared to adapt to a new culture: South Korea has a different culture and way of life than many Western countries. Be open-minded and willing to learn about the culture and customs.
  2. Learn some basic Korean: Even though you’ll be teaching English, learning some basic Korean will help you navigate daily life and show respect to your students and colleagues.
  3. Be punctual and professional: South Koreans value punctuality and professionalism, so be sure to be on time for classes and meetings, and dress professionally.
  4. Be patient and flexible: South Korean students may have different learning styles and expectations than those you’re used to. Be patient and flexible in your teaching methods.
  5. Get to know your students: Building relationships with your students can help you understand their needs and make them more comfortable in class.
  6. Save money: The cost of living in South Korea can be high, especially in major cities. Be mindful of your expenses and save money whenever you can.
  7. Join expat communities: Joining expat communities can help you meet other foreigners, make friends, and get advice on how to navigate life in South Korea.
  8. Get a good insurance: Make sure to have a good insurance that covers health and accidents, it’s important to have a good coverage in case of an emergency.
  9. Get your papers ready: Have all your papers ready, including your degree, criminal background check, and any other required certifications before you leave for South Korea.
  10. Be respectful: Lastly, remember to always be respectful of the culture and people of South Korea.


Teaching English in South Korea is a great way to gain experience and explore a new culture. The hiring process is competitive, but the high salary and low cost of living make it worth the effort. To have the best chance of being hired, you should have a TEFL/TESOL certification, a degree in English, a clean criminal record, and be able to provide a letter of recommendation. Once you arrive, remember to apply for your E-2 visa as soon as possible, teach what you know, and prepare for a cultural adjustment. If you are passionate about teaching and want to experience a new culture, teaching English in South Korea is a great option.


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