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Is it hard to get an English teaching job in South Korea?


English teaching jobs in South Korea have become increasingly popular over the years, with many foreigners seeking to live and work in the country. However, there is a common question that arises: Is it hard to get an English teaching job in South Korea? In this article, we will explore the factors that contribute to the difficulty of finding a job as an English teacher in South Korea.

Qualifications and Requirements

One of the main factors that can make it difficult to get an English teaching job in South Korea is the qualifications and requirements needed. Most schools require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, while some may also require a TEFL or TESOL certificate. Additionally, schools may prefer candidates with teaching experience or those who are native English speakers.


Another reason why it can be hard to get an English teaching job in South Korea is the high level of competition. With so many foreigners seeking to teach in the country, schools have a large pool of candidates to choose from. This means that even if you meet all the qualifications and requirements, you may still face stiff competition from other applicants.


The location of your job search can also affect your chances of getting an English teaching job in South Korea. Major cities like Seoul and Busan have a higher demand for English teachers than rural areas, which means that there are more job opportunities available in these areas. However, competition may also be higher in these areas, making it harder to secure a job.


The timing of your job search can also play a role in how easy or difficult it is to find an English teaching job in South Korea. The peak hiring seasons for schools are typically in February/March and August/September, which means that finding a job outside of these times may be more challenging. It is, therefore, important to plan your job search accordingly.

Language Barrier

Although English is widely spoken in South Korea, there may still be a language barrier that can make it harder to find an English teaching job. Some schools may require basic Korean language skills or prefer candidates who are fluent in Korean, which could limit your options if you don’t have these language skills.

Visa Process

The visa process for teaching in South Korea can be complicated and time-consuming, which can make it harder to secure a job. Schools usually require candidates to have a valid E-2 teaching visa, which requires a background check, health check, and other documents. The visa process can take several weeks or even months to complete.

Salary and Benefits

While the salary and benefits for English teaching jobs in South Korea are generally good, they may not be as high as in some other countries. This could make it harder for some candidates to justify the cost of living in the country or meet their financial goals.

Teaching Hours and Workload

The teaching hours and workload for English teachers in South Korea can vary depending on the school and age group of students. Some schools may require longer hours or more classes per week than others, which could affect your work-life balance and make it harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Cultural Differences

South Korea has a unique culture that may take some time to adjust to for foreigners. This cultural difference could make it harder for some candidates to feel comfortable living and working in the country, which could affect their job performance and satisfaction.


In conclusion, getting an English teaching job in South Korea is not necessarily easy, but it is possible with the right qualifications, timing, location, and preparation. It is important to research the requirements and expectations of schools, plan your job search accordingly, and be prepared to face competition. With the right mindset and effort, you can find a rewarding and fulfilling teaching job in South Korea.

How hard is it to get a job teaching English in Korea?

In order to secure a teaching job for English in Korea, you must possess a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, you’ll need to obtain an E-2 teaching visa, be a native English speaker, and pass both a national-level background check and a health and drug test. These requirements must be met by January 13, 2023.

Is there a high demand for English teachers in Korea?

Private schools, known as hagwons, have a great need for English teachers, leading to year-round hiring. These hagwons have less competition in the job market due to their abundance, making it easy for English teachers to find a job starting on their preferred date.

Is teaching English in Korea competitive?

The EPIK program is highly competitive and the application process can be difficult, but CIEE’s Teach Abroad program in South Korea offers assistance with applying to EPIK.

How much do American English teachers make in Korea?

The salary for English teachers in South Korea varies depending on the type of school they work for. Public school teachers with the EPIK program can expect to earn between 1.5 to 3 million won per month, while those employed by private schools or Hagwons may earn between 1.9 to 2.4 million won per month.

Do you need to be fluent in Korean to teach English in Korea?

It may seem obvious, but Korea is a country where English is not the primary language. Although English teachers go there to teach, it is important to learn some Korean. While younger Koreans may have a good grasp of English, older generations may not, so knowing some Korean can be helpful.

Do English teachers in Korea get free housing?

Teaching in Korea has the benefit of free accommodations as schools cover the costs of housing. This means that the school will either provide a rent-free apartment or a monthly allowance to cover the costs of rent in addition to salary.

Networking and Connections

Networking and connections can also play a role in finding an English teaching job in South Korea. Knowing someone who works at a school or having connections with recruiters or agencies can increase your chances of getting hired. It is important to build relationships and network with people in the industry to potentially uncover job opportunities.

Covid-19 Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has also affected the English teaching job market in South Korea. Many schools have shifted to online classes, which has reduced the need for in-person teachers. Additionally, travel restrictions and quarantine measures have made it harder for foreigners to enter the country and start teaching jobs. As a result, some schools may have put their hiring plans on hold or reduced their hiring needs.

Criminal Record

Another factor that could affect your ability to get an English teaching job in South Korea is a criminal record. Schools typically require a background check as part of the visa process, and a criminal record could disqualify you from obtaining an E-2 visa. It is important to disclose any past criminal history and be aware of the potential consequences for job opportunities.

Age Restrictions

Some schools may have age restrictions for English teachers, which could limit job opportunities for older candidates. While age discrimination is illegal, some schools may prefer younger teachers due to perceived energy levels or cultural fit. It is important to research schools’ policies and be aware of any potential age restrictions before applying.

Certification Requirements

While TEFL or TESOL certification is not always required for English teaching jobs in South Korea, it can be beneficial to have. However, not all certifications are created equal, and some schools may prefer certain certifications over others. It is important to research which certifications are recognized and valued in South Korea before investing time and money into obtaining one.

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