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How old do you have to be to teach English in Korea?


Teaching English in Korea has become a popular option for many individuals looking to explore a new country, experience a different culture, and gain valuable teaching experience. However, one of the most common questions that arise when considering teaching English in Korea is how old you have to be. In this comprehensive article, we will explore the age requirements for teaching English in Korea, including the minimum and maximum age limits, and the qualifications needed to teach.

The Minimum Age Requirement

The minimum age requirement to teach English in Korea is 21 years old. This is the legal age for teaching in South Korea, and it is a requirement for obtaining a work visa. This means that if you are under 21 years old, you will not be eligible to teach English in Korea.

The Maximum Age Requirement

There is no maximum age limit for teaching English in Korea. The Korean government does not discriminate on the basis of age, and as long as you meet the other qualifications required for teaching, you can teach at any age. This means that even if you are over 50 or 60 years old, you can still apply to teach English in Korea.

The Qualifications Needed to Teach

To teach English in Korea, you need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. This is a requirement for obtaining an E-2 work visa, which is necessary for working as an English teacher in South Korea. In addition to this, you also need to have a TEFL or TESOL certification. These certifications show that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to teach English as a foreign language.

Other Requirements

Apart from the age and qualification requirements, there are other requirements that you need to meet to teach English in Korea. You need to have a clean criminal record, both in your home country and in Korea. You also need to have a valid passport and be in good health. Additionally, you need to be willing to commit to a one-year contract, which is the standard length of a teaching contract in Korea.

Teaching Opportunities in Korea

There are many teaching opportunities available in Korea for those who meet the age and qualification requirements. Most English teachers work for public schools or private language academies, known as hagwons. There are also opportunities to teach at international schools and universities, although these positions usually require more experience and qualifications.

Salary and Benefits

English teachers in Korea earn a decent salary, which varies depending on the type of institution they work for and their level of experience. Public school teachers can expect to earn around 2.1-2.7 million won per month, while hagwon teachers can earn up to 3 million won per month or more. In addition to this, most institutions provide their teachers with free accommodation or a housing allowance, health insurance, and paid vacation time.

Cultural Differences

Teaching English in Korea can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging due to cultural differences. Koreans have a different approach to education than Westerners, and it is important for teachers to understand and respect these differences. For example, Korean students are often more reserved and less likely to participate in class discussions than Western students.

Language Barrier

Another challenge that English teachers may face in Korea is the language barrier. Although many Koreans can speak some English, the level of proficiency can vary widely. It is important for teachers to be patient and understanding when communicating with their students and colleagues.

Cultural Immersion

Despite these challenges, teaching English in Korea can be an opportunity for cultural immersion and personal growth. Korea is a vibrant and dynamic country with a rich history and culture. Teachers have the opportunity to explore the country, learn the language, and make new friends.


In conclusion, the minimum age requirement to teach English in Korea is 21 years old, while there is no maximum age limit. To teach in Korea, you need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL or TESOL certification. There are many teaching opportunities available, and teachers can earn a decent salary and benefits. However, there are also challenges that come with teaching in Korea, such as cultural differences and the language barrier. Overall, teaching English in Korea can be a rewarding experience for those who are willing to embrace the challenges and immerse themselves in the culture.

What are the requirements to teach English in Korea?

In order to secure a job teaching English in Korea, it is necessary to hold a 4-year college degree and a TEFL certificate. Additionally, you must obtain an E-2 teaching visa and be a native English speaker, while also having a clean criminal record and passing a health check and drug test. This information is accurate as of January 13, 2023.

What age are teachers in South Korea?

The average age of teachers in Korea is 43, which is similar to the average age of teachers in other countries participating in TALIS (44). Additionally, 34% of Korean teachers are 50 years old or older, which is the same as the OECD average.

Can I teach English in Korea with a child?

If you are looking to teach English abroad with your family, East Asia is a great option. Countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China offer salaries that are high enough to support a family on an English teacher’s income, thanks to low living costs.

Does South Korea hire English teachers?

South Korea is a highly sought-after location for those pursuing a career in teaching English, with a high demand for English teachers. As a TEFL teacher in Korea, you can anticipate a generous salary, exceptional perks, and a gratifying job where you are valued.

What grade would a 14 year old be in Korea?

The typical age range for students in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades is 12-16 years old. In high school, students generally start at around 14-15 years old and continue until graduation.

Can a 14 year old work in South Korea?

Although there are age restrictions on part-time work for youth, those who are at least 13 years old but under 15 years old can work with a work permit issued by the Minister of Employment and Labor. Additionally, children under 13 years of age can get a work permit for participating in artistic performances.

It is worth noting that teaching English in Korea is not just limited to the major cities such as Seoul and Busan. There are opportunities to teach in smaller towns and rural areas, which can offer a unique and authentic experience of Korean culture. These positions may also come with additional benefits such as lower living costs and a more relaxed pace of life.

Another important aspect to consider when teaching English in Korea is the visa process. The process can be lengthy and bureaucratic, but most institutions will provide assistance with obtaining a work visa. It is important to follow the guidelines and requirements carefully to ensure a smooth visa application process.

In addition to teaching English, many teachers in Korea also have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports teams or music groups. This can be a great way to get involved in the community and make new friends outside of work.

Lastly, teaching English in Korea can be a stepping stone to other opportunities in the country or region. Many teachers go on to pursue graduate studies or careers in Korea or other Asian countries. The experience gained from teaching English in Korea can be valuable for future endeavors, both personally and professionally.

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