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What qualifications do you need to teach English in Korea?


Teaching English in Korea is a popular option for many individuals seeking to live and work abroad. However, it’s important to note that there are specific qualifications required to become an English teacher in Korea. In this article, we’ll explore the necessary qualifications, including education and certification requirements, as well as the application process and potential job opportunities.

Educational Qualifications

To teach English in Korea, you must have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. The degree can be in any field, but having a degree in Education or English will give you an advantage in the job market. It’s important to note that some universities may require a Master’s degree or higher for certain teaching positions.

Certification Requirements

In addition to having a Bachelor’s degree, you must also have a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification. This certification can be obtained through various programs both online and in-person. Most programs require at least 120 hours of coursework and include teaching practice with real students.

Language Requirements

While it’s not required to speak Korean to teach English in Korea, it’s highly recommended that you have at least a basic understanding of the language. This will not only help you communicate with your students but also make your transition to living in Korea smoother.

Application Process

To apply for an English teaching position in Korea, you will need to submit your resume, cover letter, and copies of your degree and TEFL certification. You may also be required to provide references from previous employers or professors. It’s important to note that the hiring process can take several months, so make sure to apply well in advance.

Types of Teaching Positions

There are several types of teaching positions available in Korea, including public schools, private language academies (known as hagwons), and universities. Each type of position has its own requirements and benefits, so it’s important to research which one is the best fit for you.

Salary and Benefits

English teachers in Korea can expect to earn a competitive salary, with most positions paying between 2-3 million won per month (approximately $1,700-$2,500 USD). In addition to salary, many positions also offer benefits such as housing, airfare reimbursement, and health insurance.

Working Conditions

Working conditions can vary depending on the type of teaching position you have. Public school teachers typically work Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, while hagwon teachers may work evenings and weekends. It’s important to note that Korean culture places a high value on education, so teachers are highly respected and often receive special treatment.

Cultural Differences

Living and working in Korea can be a big adjustment for many foreigners. It’s important to be aware of cultural differences, such as the importance of hierarchy and respect for elders. Learning about Korean culture and customs can help make your transition smoother and ensure that you have a positive experience teaching in Korea.

Visa Requirements

To legally work in Korea as an English teacher, you will need to obtain an E-2 visa. The visa application process can be lengthy and requires several documents, including a valid passport, background check, medical exam, and proof of employment.

Job Opportunities

There is a high demand for English teachers in Korea, so finding a teaching position shouldn’t be too difficult. However, it’s important to research potential employers and make sure that they have a good reputation. Websites like Dave’s ESL Cafe and ESLrok are great resources for finding job postings and connecting with other teachers in Korea.


In conclusion, teaching English in Korea can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for those who meet the necessary qualifications. By obtaining a Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certification, and learning about Korean culture, you can successfully navigate the application process and find a teaching position that fits your needs and interests.

Can I teach English in Korea without a degree?

To become an English teacher in South Korea, you must possess a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL certification, and a clean background check. Some employers may require experience and native English-speaking teachers. The age limit for teaching at a public school in South Korea is 62.

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

Whether or not you are eligible for the job depends on certain factors such as having a criminal record, possessing a college degree, and being a native English speaker. If you meet these qualifications and make an effort, you can secure the job. However, for non-native English speakers, it may be a bit more challenging but still possible.

What bachelor’s degree do I need to teach English in Korea?

To be eligible to teach English in South Korea, you must have a bachelor’s degree in any field, be a native speaker from the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa, be under the age of 62 (based on Korean retirement age), and have a clean background check without any misdemeanors.

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

It may seem obvious, but Korea is a non-English speaking foreign country. Even though English teachers go there to teach, it is essential to learn some Korean. While younger Koreans may have a good grasp of English, it may be difficult to communicate with older generations without knowledge of Korean.

How much do TEFL jobs pay in Korea?

New English teachers in South Korea who work in public schools through programs such as EPIK usually receive a monthly salary between 1.5 to 3 million won ($1,850 – $2,650 USD). English teachers at privately-owned schools, known as Hagwons, earn a salary ranging from 1.9 to 2.4 million won ($1,600 – $2,000 USD) per month. This information was last updated on January 13th, 2023.

How much is rent in Korea?

As of February 2021, the average monthly rent for one-bedroom apartments in Seoul, South Korea increased to approximately 510,000 Korean won from about 480,000 Korean won in the month before.


While teaching English in Korea can be a wonderful opportunity, it also comes with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the language barrier. Many Koreans have limited English proficiency, which can make communication difficult at times. Additionally, adapting to a new culture and lifestyle can be overwhelming and may take some time to adjust.

Another challenge that some teachers face is the pressure to perform. Korean culture places a high value on education, and students and parents have high expectations for their teachers. This can be stressful for some teachers, especially those who are new to the profession.

Career Development

Teaching English in Korea can also provide opportunities for career development. Some teachers may choose to stay in Korea long-term and pursue advanced degrees or other teaching opportunities. Others may use their experience in Korea as a stepping stone to other international teaching positions or careers.

Additionally, teaching English in Korea can help develop important skills such as communication, adaptability, and cross-cultural understanding, which can be valuable in any profession.


Despite the challenges that come with teaching English in Korea, it can be a rewarding and life-changing experience. By meeting the necessary qualifications and being prepared for cultural differences, you can successfully navigate the application process and find a teaching position that fits your needs and interests. Whether you choose to stay in Korea long-term or use your experience as a stepping stone to other opportunities, teaching English in Korea can provide valuable skills and experiences that will benefit you throughout your career.

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