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How to Become a Teacher in Korea

November 29, 2009

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We have received a lot of emails from people asking us how to become a teacher in Korea. Where can they find jobs teaching English? What kind of teaching job should they get? It’s a complicated process at times, with a lot of documents that need to be signed, stamped, and delivered. However, before you get to that process, you need to make two important decisions:

1) Do you want to teach at a public school or private tutoring school
2) What recruiter do you want to use to get you to Korea

In this video, we’ll give you our honest opinions and experiences with public and private schools. Sure, not everyone will agree with this, since everyone has different experiences, but we think this is the safest bet for having a successful stint (or career!) as an English teacher in Korea. As for us, we both work in public schools with Gepik (The Gyeonggi Board of Education), and we love it!

Have you already taught in Korea? Share your experiences with us in the comment section!

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How to Become a Teacher in Korea

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  1. Would it be better for me to go to college in America or Korea? My tuition is all covered it’s just a matter of where I should go to college for it to look better for me.

    5 months ago
  2. So I’m icelandic, but have spoken english fluently since the age of 7 or something like that, but currently live in Switzerland. Are there still completely no chances of becoming a teacher unless I was from an english-speaking country? I am even taking a special course in school, because I spoke english so fluently. Thanks for reading and I would appreciate a response :D

    1 year ago
  3. It would be perfect if you could help me out, please. So, I am everything they ask for (Native English, Citizen of UK, have TEFL etc) however, I don’t have a BA, nor will I get one because I don’t have the time, nor the money so I am pretty stuck. I have however got a 1 year subsidiary diploma and a 2 year extended diploma and I am wondering if they may take that as a possible qualification. It’s not a BA but it’s something and 3 years worth in the same subject?

    1 year ago
  4. So I am considering teaching in seoul however i have two little ones. What are the realistic chances of teaching with a family. Can they go to the school? Will it be covered? Private or public?

    1 year ago
  5. Hey does anyone know if you can become a english teacher in Korea if you graduate with a degree from a korean university?

    2 years ago
  6. Japanese and linguistics.

    2 years ago
  7. Thank you guys so much for all your post. I have applied with numerous recruiters including Korvia. During my interview I was asked if I regret getting my B.A in Japanese (with a minor in Linguistics). Do recruiters prefer people with degrees in education? I felt that the question was a little out of line. No other recruiting company made an issue with me having a degree in Japanese. My line of thinking is why be bilingual when I can be trilingual.

    2 years ago
  8. Everyone is talking about having a bachelors degree. Is it really needed? I would love to teach there but what degree do you need to have in order to qualify?

    3 years ago
  9. I’m pretty sure you just need any type of 4 year degree. If you are really interested, think about getting a TEFL certification or some other type of ESL teaching certificate. They can really help prepare you and don’t take that long to complete (90 hours or so). Some countries don’t even require any type of university degree.

    3 years ago
  10. I don’t know if you guys are still checking this, but do you know if there’s any way to teach in Korea with just a high school diploma? I’m currently enrolled in a university (I’m a college senior) but I’m thinking about taking a gap year so technically I would be a college student at the time I would be teaching but I don’t know if that’s good enough…

    3 years ago
    • The Korean Gov’t makes it mandatory for you to have at least a bachelors degree. There also is the TaLK program for people who have some college experience (associates degree for example). Your safest(and best) bet is to just get your bachelors degree first. It’s worth it!

      3 years ago
  11. Firstly, I want to stay that I love this blog, it’s been the most helpful website for me for researching what it’s going to be like moving to Korea :) I would like to know, if you want to apply to Korvia as a couple wanting a shared flat, do you need to provide proof of marriage?

    4 years ago
  12. Its sooooooo depressingly true!!! ALL.OF.IT :( working in a hagwon ruined my experience of korea and i had to leave after 9 months. But Im desperate to go bk – YEEEEEEEES- UH!!!

    4 years ago
  13. Well, I wanted to ask you opinion on my chances of becoming a teacher in Korea.
    I was born in Spain, and still live here, right now I have the graduate school, the title of Bachelor, and I am studying at a college to learn English philology, besides that I speak a very fluent English, because I have many English and Irish friends. I also speak a little Korean, but the basics.
    And I wanted to ask you if you believe useful to know something more.

    4 years ago
  14. YOGURT!! pleeease… plain? non-fat? greek? YOGURT!?

    4 years ago
  15. Do you think there’s a chance for me to get a job?
    I’m not a native english speaker, but my english is quite good :I

    4 years ago
    • You need to be a Native speaker :/ Also you need to be a citizen of an English speaking country.

      1 year ago
  16. Oni

    hey any idea if there are also possibilities for German people?
    like teachíng German for example…. or English…
    well my English isn’t that bad either but i guess still not good enough…
    damn why am i German and not a native English speaker :P *sighs*

    Life seems easier as a native English speaker ;)

    5 years ago
  17. I’m wondering if it’s “illegal” for a bilingual French Canadian to teach English in Korea. I’m so fluent I’ve fooled native speakers into thinking I was a native as well, but I’ve heard French speakers have to hide their true roots in fear that they’d be kicked out of the teaching program. I mean, is it really that dangerous to be a non-native speaker?

    Also, do they really not care if you don’t have a Bachelor’s in teaching ESL? I have a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts (at an English university, natch!) but I’m wondering if it’s enough.

    Thanks for answering my question!

    5 years ago
  18. I love your site and your YouTube channels!

    I have several questions: I have four minor children and I would love to teach in Korea. I would want to bring them with me. Is it possible? What challenges do you think I might run into regarding costs, housing, schools, etc? Does my employer have to know and could I be turned down because I am a single parent? Where would they attend school?

    5 years ago
    • Thanks Luana! Glad you like our vids :D As for your question, I'm not sure if a salary of one will be enough for five people to live off of. International schools are also really expensive, since you probably couldn't put your children in the public schools here.

      Also, your employer would have to know about your children, because they would have to have visas to live here I'm pretty sure, so you'd have to declare them as dependents. Yeah!

      5 years ago
  19. Honestly, I don't really know the answer to that question. I thought a college degree would suffice. Wish I could give you a clear answer, but I don't know it myself. Sorry!

    5 years ago
  20. Thanks for the comments. "Hagwon" was a bit of a blanket term, but it's what many new teachers are presented with. So, yes, the way we defined it isn't fully accurate, but it's relevant to those who are applying to be teachers.

    5 years ago
  21. Dear Simon and Marta

    I'm a Korean living in Canada for almost 10 years and was under the Influence of Korean education until the age of 13.

    It has come to my understading that the notion of 'Hagwon' has been explained wrong on the UCC you have created, therefore i fear that the people of western culture would have an false understanding of 'Hagwon'.

    5 years ago
  22. Thank you for linking me to this, Simon. I'm still sorry I didn't find it on my own, heh, but it answered two of my biggest questions. Thanks again.

    5 years ago
  23. Yeah. We always knew we wanted to teach overseas. We didn't think we'd be doing it for this long, though. We just expected maybe one or two years :D

    5 years ago
  24. i have a few questions for u guys:
    a) can u tell us an estimate of ur salary (preferably in American dollars) ?
    b) i was wondering if its ok that u dont have a major in teaching but just hav a bachelors in something else cuz im still in a community college so i wanna make the decision based on what u tell me. im planning on majoring in graphic design when i go to a 4 yr university but i was gonna do minor in Education (or teaching). please let me know :)

    Thanks ^_~

    5 years ago
  25. but isn't it true that public schools don't pay as well?

    5 years ago
  26. Woooaahhh! Thanks Sabina! *embarrassed* :o

    6 years ago
  27. Ok, so just out of curiosity, does your contract say either Gepik, Epik, or Smoe on it?

    6 years ago
    • Well that totally sucks. I wish I knew what I could say to help you, but those three are the only public school boards that I know of.

      6 years ago
      • Ok now that's totally weird. I thought you just got screwed over with a phoney contract. Now you're just in a situation I've never heard about before. I really, really don't know what to tell you now. Bah!

        6 years ago
        • I'm glad to hear that at least it's not a terrible situation. Geez. I'll remember GEC next time someone emails me about it.

          6 years ago
  28. I was going to stick it out until my awesome "co-teacher" (read: University student who has no experience in education but had worked at the school for at least a year and gotten to know the kids but didn't have much to say on education) left and I was stuck with someone who has no idea what's going on (I'm in the same boat but before I was able to ask my co-teacher for advice and she'd tell me what worked for the last teacher).

    I'm going to see if my upper level students will chill if I use some of your awesome lessons.

    6 years ago
    • Hold on hold on wait wait. Your contract is with a public school, but you're not working at a public school? Is your contract with EPIK, GEPIK, or SMOE?

      6 years ago
  29. i like the last part; bing bing bing? kaka

    6 years ago