How to get a TEFL job in South Korea – Your Ultimate Guide


If you’re an ESL teacher who’s looking for a new challenge, South Korea might be just the place for you. TEFL jobs are plentiful and opportunities abound for experienced and qualified teachers. But before you jump on the next plane to Seoul, there are a few things you need to know about how to get a TEFL job in South Korea. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the top ways to land a job teaching English in South Korea. So read on, ESL teachers – your next great adventure awaits!

Why is teaching in South Korea so good?

When it comes to ESL teaching jobs, South Korea is one of the most popular destinations in the world. And it’s no wonder – South Korea offers a great salary, plenty of opportunity for career advancement, and a chance to experience a new culture. Not to mention, the country is absolutely beautiful, with towering mountains, stunning temples, and bustling cities.

South Korea also has a very high level of English proficiency, which means that your students will be motivated and eager to learn. And with a smaller class size than what you might be used to, you’ll have the opportunity to really get to know your students and help them progress in their language learning.

South Korea has a thriving expat community, so you’ll never feel alone or isolated while you’re teaching in the country. There are plenty of ways to meet other foreigners, whether it’s through social media groups, meetups, or language exchanges. And if you ever need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, you can always take a weekend trip to one of the many beautiful beaches or national parks.

South Korea is on the doorstep of some of the most popular travel destinations in Asia, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore during your time off.

get a TEFL job in South Korea

How much do TEFL teachers in South Korea earn?

When it comes to salary, South Korea is one of the best places in the world to be an ESL teacher. Most teachers in the country earn between 2 and 3 million won per month (approximately $1,700 – $2,500 USD), which is more than enough to live comfortably. In addition, many schools offer housing allowances or free accommodation, which can save you a lot of money each month.

Most schools also offer airfare reimbursement, so you’ll be able to offset the cost of your flight to South Korea. And with paid vacation days, you’ll have plenty of time to travel and explore the country (or even other parts of Asia) during your time off. Of course you’ll get paid vacation time and holidays off, so you can really take advantage of all that South Korea has to offer.

What requirements are needed to get a TEFL job in South Korea?

While the requirements for teaching in South Korea vary from school to school, there are a few things that are generally required in order to land a job. First and foremost, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in any field. In addition, it’s also helpful (but not required) to have a TEFL certification.

If you don’t have a TEFL certification, don’t worry – there are plenty of schools in South Korea that will hire teachers without one. However, it’s always a good idea to get certified before you start job hunting, as it will make you a more competitive candidate. In addition, many schools offer bonuses for teachers with a TEFL certification, so it’s definitely worth getting if you can.

When it comes to visa requirements, most schools in South Korea will sponsor your work visa for you. However, there are a few schools that require teachers to obtain their own visa. So be sure to check with your potential employer before you start the job application process.

What is the job market like for ESL teachers in South Korea?

The job market for TEFL teachers in South Korea is extremely competitive. However, there are still plenty of opportunities available for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to find a job. There are a lot of jobs available, but also a lot of qualified candidates vying for those jobs.

Can I get a TEFL job in South Korea if I have tattoos?

Generally visible tattoos are frowned upon in South Korea. So if you have any tattoos that can’t be covered up, it’s likely that you’ll have a harder time finding a job. The general public generally has negative views about people with tattoos, so many schools are hesitant to hire teachers who have them

While there are some schools that are willing to overlook tattoos, it’s definitely not the norm. So if you’re set on teaching in South Korea and have visible tattoos, you might want to consider finding a job at a private language school instead of a public school. But be aware you may lose your contract if your employer finds out you have tattoos after you’ve already started working.

What is the best time of year to look for a TEFL job in South Korea?

The best time to look for a job in South Korea is typically from February to April. This is when the majority of schools are hiring for the upcoming school year. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the job market is extremely competitive, so you’ll need to start your job search early and be prepared to apply to a lot of jobs.

What are the most common types of TEFL jobs in South Korea?

There are two main types of TEFL jobs in South Korea: public school jobs and private language school jobs. Public school jobs are typically more competitive, but they also offer better salaries and benefits. Private language school jobs are usually easier to get, but the salaries and benefits are not as good. There are a lot of university lecturer jobs available as well.

What is the application process like for TEFL jobs in South Korea?

The application process for TEFL jobs in South Korea can vary depending on the school. However, most schools will require you to submit an online application, as well as a resume and cover letter. You may also be asked to do a Skype interview as part of the application process.

What are the most common problems that TEFL teachers face in South Korea?

The most common problems that TEFL teachers face in South Korea are long working hours, homesickness, and culture shock. Many teachers also find it difficult to save money, as the cost of living is quite high. In addition, the winters can be very cold and the summers can be extremely hot and humid.

The South Korean education system is also very different from what most teachers are used to, so it can be difficult to adjust to the new teaching methods and expectations. Schools and parents can be very demanding, and it’s not uncommon for teachers to work long hours, including weekends.

Despite all of these challenges, teaching in South Korea can be a very rewarding experience. It’s a great way to learn about a new culture and language, and to make some lifelong friends.


What are the most common scams for TEFL jobs in South Korea?

Thankfully there isn’t many scams for TEFL jobs in South Korea, but there are a few things you should watch out for

The first is job postings that seem too good to be true. If a job posting promises a high salary, free housing, and other perks, it’s likely that the school is trying to scam you. Be very wary of any job that asks you to pay for your own visa or to be given a job, as this is also a common scam.

Another thing to watch out for are private schools that require you to sign a contract without first letting you see the school or meet the students. If a school asks you to do this, it’s likely that they are not legitimate.

Finally, be sure to do your research on any school that you’re considering working for. Check out online reviews and talk to other teachers who have worked there. This will help you avoid any scams and find a great job at a reputable school.

Do I need to speak Korean to get a TEFL job in South Korea?

No, you don’t need to speak Korean to get a TEFL job in South Korea. However, it will make your life a lot easier if you can at least learn some basic phrases, plus it’s just polite. This will help you communicate with your students and build rapport with your co-workers. In addition, speaking Korean will also help you to save money, as you’ll be able to shop at local markets and eat at cheaper restaurants with greater ease.

Also, some jobs will provide free language lessons for you, so even if you don’t know any Korean when you start, you’ll be able to learn some basics while you’re working. What a great added extra!

What are the working conditions like for TEFL teachers in South Korea?

The working conditions for TEFL teachers in South Korea can vary depending on the school. However, most schools will require you to work between 20 and 30 hours per week. This usually includes teaching classes, as well as preparing lessons and materials

Class sizes can range from a few students to over 30, and the age of your students will also vary. You could be teaching young learners, adults, or a mix of both

Teaching hours are usually during the morning and afternoon, with some schools offering classes on evenings and weekends. Many teachers also find that they have to do some work outside of class, such as planning lessons and grading papers.

The classrooms are generally very modern and well-equipped, and the schools usually provide all the materials you’ll need for your lessons

Best Places to Teach English in South Korea

  1. Seoul – The capital city of South Korea, Seoul is a bustling metropolis with plenty to see and do. It’s also home to a large number of international schools and universities, making it a great place to find work as an English teacher.
  2. Busan – A port city located on the southeastern coast of South Korea, Busan is a popular tourist destination. Busan is well known for its beaches, temples, and delicious seafood. There is a thriving expat community in Busan, making it a great place to make friends and find support while teaching English in South Korea.
  3. Jeju Island – A beautiful island off the coast of South Korea, Jeju Island is a popular tourist destination. If you’re looking for a more laid-back lifestyle, Jeju Island could be the perfect place for you. Jeju Island is also a great place to learn about Korean culture and history.
  4. Daegu – A city located in central South Korea, Daegu is known for its lively university scene and friendly locals. Daegu is a great place to live and work if you’re looking for an authentic Korean experience.
  5. Incheon – Incheon is the third largest city in South Korea, so provides a lot of opportunity for those looking to teach English. It’s also an international hub, with the Incheon International Airport being one of the busiest in the world, so it would be very easy to travel from here. Incheon is also popular for its history and culture, with a number of museums and historical sites to visit.

These are just a few of the best places to teach English in South Korea. Each city has its own unique charms and benefits, so be sure to do your research to find the perfect place for you. South Korea has a very diverse landscape, so whether you’re interested in hiking or shopping, you’re sure to find your perfect teaching location.No matter where you end up teaching, you’re sure to have a great experience!

How to get a TEFL job in South Korea

Do your research

Reading this blog is a great way to start your research! But there’s a lot more to do to make sure you’re prepared for your job search. Be sure to read up on the country and its culture, as well as the different types of schools and working conditions you could find yourself in.

There are a number of websites and forums where you can find information and advice from other teachers, so be sure to make use of these resources.

Make sure you understand what the requirements are to teach English in South Korea because if you don’t meet the minimum requirements, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to find a job and that would be a waste of your time and could be very disappointing.

Think about whether you want to work in a city or near the beach, and what aged students you want to teach as that will also affect the type of job you’re looking for and where to focus your research.

Get TEFL certified

If you don’t already have a TEFL certificate, you’ll need to get one before you can start applying for jobs. A TEFL certificate is an internationally recognized teaching qualification which will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful English teacher.

There are a number of ways to get TEFL certified, but the most popular option especially for face to face teaching is to do a face-to-face course. This involves attending a TEFL course in person, which usually lasts around 4 weeks. You can find TEFL courses in most major cities around the world.

Don’t forget to network!

Once you’ve done your research and you’re TEFL certified, it’s time to start networking. Get in touch with people you know who have already been to South Korea or are currently living and working there. Attend any events or meetups that might be relevant to your job search.

There are also a number of online forums and Facebook groups where you can connect with other teachers and ask for advice.

Get your documents in order

Before you start applying for jobs, make sure you have all the necessary documents in order. This includes your resume, cover letter, passport, and any other documents that might be required such as transcripts or letters of recommendation.

It’s also a good idea to get your criminal background check done before you start applying for jobs, as this is often a requirement.

The process of applying for a job in South Korea can vary depending on the school, but you can expect to submit your documents online or via email.

Create your resume

Your resume is one of the most important documents you’ll need when applying for jobs, so it’s important to take the time to create a strong and professional document.

Make sure your resume is up-to-date and includes any relevant work experience, education, and skills. If you have any teaching experience, be sure to include that as well.

If you don’t have much work experience, you can still create a strong resume by highlighting any relevant skills or volunteer work you’ve done.

An ESL resume is quite different from other industries, so be sure to do your research and tailor your resume to the ESL teaching industry.

In general your resume should include:

  • Your name and contact information
  • A summary or objective statement
  • Relevant work experience
  • Relevant education and qualifications
  • Skills and abilities
  • References (optional)

Cover letter

In addition to your resume, you’ll also need to submit a cover letter when applying for jobs. Your cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself to the school and explain why you would be the perfect candidate for the job.

Be sure to tailor your cover letter to each individual job, and include any relevant work experience, skills, or qualifications.

It’s also a good idea to mention anything that makes you unique or sets you apart from other candidates.

Your cover letter should be short and to the point, and no more than one page in length.

How to Write a Great TESL/TEFL Resume

Start applying for jobs

Now it’s time to start applying for jobs! There are a number of websites where you can search for English teaching jobs in South Korea, of course there is Just ESL Jobs but also other websites such as Dave’s ESL Cafe and TESOL Jobs.

You can also contact schools directly to inquire about any open positions or at least visit their websites.

Don’t rule out Facebook groups either. There are a number of groups where teachers post about job openings, so it’s definitely worth joining some of these and keeping an eye on the postings. You can search for groups such as “ESL jobs in Korea” or “Teaching English in Korea”.

Apply to multiple schools

It’s a good idea to apply to multiple schools, as it’s unlikely you’ll get your first choice and it can take some time to hear back from schools. But you want to give yourself as many options as possible too.

Make sure you include all the details that are asked for in the application form and submit your documents as requested, if you don’t they will likely just move on to the next candidate. Also make sure you tailor your application to each individual school, as they will be able to tell if you’ve just copied and pasted the same application to multiple schools.

After you’ve applied, all you can do is wait to hear back from the schools. It can sometimes take a while to hear back so be patient and don’t get discouraged if

Be prepared for interviews

If you’re invited to interview for a job, congratulations! This means that your application and resume have impressed the school and they would like to get to know you better.

Interviews can be done in person, via Skype, or over the phone.

The format of the interview will depend on the school, but it’s common for there to be a mix of questions about your qualifications and experience, as well as more personal questions.

Be prepared to answer questions about why you want to work in South Korea and how you will manage living so far away from home.

It’s also common for schools to ask about your availability, so make sure you have this information ready.

The interview is also your opportunity to ask any questions you have about the job or the school, so don’t be afraid to speak up!

Common ESL Interview Questions and the Best Way to Answer Them

Once you get a job offer, start planning your move to South Korea!

There’s a lot to think about when moving to a new country, but don’t worry it’s also very exciting!

Here are a few things to keep in mind:


The first thing you’ll need to do is apply for a visa. If you’re from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom you can apply for an E-2 visa, which is specifically for English teachers. For other nationalities, you can apply for a working holiday visa or an F-4 visa if you have Korean ancestry.

The application process is relatively simple, but it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary documents. These include a passport that’s valid for at least six months, a criminal background check, a copy of your degree, and a health certificate.

Your school will likely help you with the visa application process, but it’s a good idea to do some research on your own as well.


When you first arrive in South Korea, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Many schools will arrange accommodation for you, either in an apartment or in a residence hall on or near campus

If your school doesn’t arrange accommodation for you, don’t worry, there are plenty of other options. You can look for an apartment on your own, or you can stay in a guesthouse or hostel until you find something permanent.

When you’re looking for an apartment, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, apartments in South Korea are usually unfurnished, so you’ll need to buy or bring your own furniture. Secondly, utilities such as electricity and gas are not usually included in the rent, so you’ll need to budget for these expenses.

It’s also a good idea to have a Korean friend or colleague help you with the apartment search, as it can be difficult to find an apartment if you don’t speak Korean.

Cost of living

The cost of living in South Korea varies depending on the city you live in and your lifestyle, but it’s generally quite affordable.

Food is relatively cheap, especially if you eat at local restaurants or cook at home. Public transportation is also very affordable and efficient, so you won’t need to spend a lot of money on taxis or private cars.

Of course, there are also plenty of opportunities to splurge and enjoy the many luxury items and experiences that South Korea has to offer.

Top Tips for Teaching English in South Korea

Culture shock

When you first arrive in South Korea, it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed by the culture shock. Everything is new and different, from the food to the language to the way people interact with each other.

But don’t worry, this is normal! Just take your time and adjust at your own pace. There’s no need to try to do everything at once.

Start by exploring your local neighborhood and getting to know the people who live there. Try new foods and experiences, but don’t force yourself to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions!

South Korea is an amazing country with a lot to offer, so take your time and enjoy the experience.

Apply early

The best way to get a job teaching English in South Korea is to apply early. The hiring process usually starts in the fall for positions that start the following spring

So if you’re interested in teaching in South Korea, start applying in September or October. This will give you the best chance of getting a job at one of the top schools.

It’s still possible to get a job if you apply later, but the competition is much stiffer and the choice of jobs is more limited.

Do your research

When you’re applying for jobs, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re applying to reputable schools.

There are many private English schools in South Korea, and some of them are unfortunately known for scamming foreign teachers. So before you accept a job offer, make sure you do your research and only apply to reputable schools.

A good way to start is by reading reviews from other teachers on Facebook groups.

You can also check out the schools’ websites and social media pages to get a feel for what they’re like. And if you know anyone who’s already teaching in South Korea, ask them for advice and recommendations.

Know your rights

It’s important to know your rights as a foreign teacher in South Korea

Make sure you’re familiar with the terms of your contract, and don’t hesitate to ask questions if there’s anything you don’t understand.

The most important thing is to make sure you have a valid work visa before you start teaching. It’s also a good idea to get health insurance, as it’s not always easy to access quality medical care in South Korea.

Be prepared for long hours

One of the downsides of teaching English in South Korea is that the hours can be long and the work can be quite demanding

Most schools require teachers to work at least 40 hours per week, and some teachers end up working 50 or more hours. This includes time spent in the classroom, preparing lessons, and attending school events.

So if you’re not used to working long hours, it’s important to be prepared for that before you start teaching in South Korea.


Final Thoughts

Overall, teaching English in South Korea is a great experience. It’s an opportunity to live in an amazing country, learn about a new culture, and save up some money.

Of course, it’s not always easy. There can be a lot of pressure to perform, and the hours can be long. But if you’re prepared for that and you go into it with the right mindset, teaching English in South Korea can be an incredibly rewarding experience.