Teaching in Korea

I am wanting to teach in South Korea. I have taught third-fifth for the last six years for public schools in the U.S. I have a BS in elementary education. What are my options to get a teaching job in South Korea?  For example, I heard a reference to international schools. I have research that topic with little success. Also, I need information on language camps that would sponsor me. I have looked into public verses private, but what other options do I have? Thank you.

Hi there,

It sounds like you've done your homework on the subject.

The answer is pretty simple really. You have to decide which kind is school you want to work in. There are pros and cons for working in the different kinds of schools.

Firstly if you're interested in a camp, the best deals are given to those already in Korea, that is the cost of getting you to the location is minimal. Usually camps are for 1 month either in summer or winter but primarily they coincide with school holidays.

The second option for you is to enrol in the EPIK program where you'll be working in the local public school system. Be aware the Korean government has decided to reduce their funding in this area recently and quite a number of teachers are not having their contracts renewed. But if you do land a position in this system the holiday times are higher as well as the pay is a little better. On the downside class sizes are bigger, this depends on the school of course.

The next is hagwon or private academy. The holidays are less, the pay is ok all the usual benefits are included. The nice thing is that the class sizes are much smaller, this does have its advantages as your attention to students is better and they can progress quicker. I have been working in a hagwon for the past 18 months or so.

Another choice is to get a job in a university. These are the holy grail of teaching jobs in Korea. However you really need some local experience before landing one of these jobs.

Really my suggestion would be to try a hagwon, be in mind you must sign up for a year. If you're only interested in a camp for a month or two, then it's not really in their best interests to invest in you. It's very costly to recruit a teacher from abroad and the recruiting agencies don't usually get paid until you've worked there six months. Also there are more jobs here than there are teachers so finding a place is not a problem.

Not sure what else to say, any questions feel free to email me here


Thank you. That helped "clear the muddy waters."

Try not to be heavily influenced by the salaries. Whatever job you choose you should be able to save around 40-60% as the cost of living is quite low. If you save an estimated 40%, you'll be able to travel within Korea a fair bit, eat in many restaurants and basically have quite a nice life. Salaries are around the 2 - 3 million mark, I get 2.1 and I enjoy a pretty comfortable lifestyle with savings at around 50%.

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