English ESL/EFL teaching in South Korea

English ESL/EFL teaching in South Korea

If you dream of traveling around the world and making money to indulge yourself, think of South Korea. There are so many opportunities not only to realize a professional potential, but also to become an intrepid tourist. This place will amuse you with its outstanding landscapes, delicious cuisine, and friendly environment. It's a wonderful blend of ancient history and modern skyscrapers. Moreover, the population is interested in learning English, so it won't be a problem to get a well-paid job. The country seems to be one of the most powerful and advanced in terms of technology and medicine. It is likely to live the best life living here and making $1,300-3,100 teaching children or adults. Are you intrigued? Keep reading this article, and we are going to share the most important things you must know to live and teach in Korea.

Requirements for English teaching in South Korea

In comparison with other countries such as China, Japan, and Thailand, South Korea has similar requirements for ESL teachers. Obviously, some factors are flexible and depend on a type of institution. However, a list of typical neccessary things to follow is a must-have to get a visa and work permit. Whether you are going to teach in class or online, employers prefer candidates with either a higher or a college education. It has something to do with obtaining a work visa. It also comes with no surprise that most schools prefer native teachers rather than non-native speakers. However, it's not the end of the world if you aren't from an English-speaking country. We will share some secrets about it later.

Such significant check-ups like criminal record and health couldn't be skipped, so we sort them to a must-have category. As long as South Korea is an attractive place for ESL teachers to put money by, it's a cut-throat competition. You may try to get a job without TEFL or TESOL certification, but it won't help you to make a fortune.

Let's have a look at all important requirements:

  • bachelor's degree (required);
  • TEFL certification (preferred);
  • citizenship from an English-speaking country (preferred);
  • previous experience (preferred, but not required);
  • clean criminal background check (neccessary);
  • English Prociency certificate (if you are a non-native);
  • visa & work permit (neccessary);
  • local health check (neccessary).

Teaching English by a non-native teacher

Fortunately, such a request as being from an English-speaking country is just a desire of some employers. Obviously, most people think that native speakers know English better than anyone else. Does it make any sense? Technically, it goes without saying that a native speaker is better at some details in terms of English jokes, slang, and accent, however it doesn't mean that they are better in terms of teaching. When it comes to sharing knowledge and explaining Past Perfect Continuous, the winner is that, who can explain complicated things wih simple words.

You can't be a good teacher just because of nationality. It's good for you that not all people believe that native speakers are the best teachers in the world. In order to prove your high level of the language and teaching comprehension you should provide some international certificates such as IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, CPE. Be confident and make a good first impression on an interviewer.

Teaching ESL without a degree

If you wonder how to start a teaching career in South Korea without a diploma, you should know that it's impossible. Firstly, it's illegal. And secondly, it has something to do with getting a work visa. You can't teach with a tourist visa or something like that, so you need the special, which called the E-2 teaching visa. So, the visa regulations include having a bachelor's degree. There is no another way.

Be careful, if some agencies or potential employes convince you in the opposite. Such suggestions seem a red flag. Be aware that the immigration law in South Korea is very strict. Working under the table isn't a good way to stay in this country, so we don't recommend considering it.

Teaching English with no experience

If non-degree holders don't have a chance to work in South Korea, the news for inexperienced tutors are better. When it comes to landing a job, teaching background isn't a neccessity. There are so many institutions, which turn up every year, so they are always in need of staff. You can easily replace such a prefered request with a lot of other things.

How to compensate a lack of practice:

  • 120-hour TEFL course;
  • relevant experience at school or college;
  • awareness of Korean culture;
  • enthusiasm, positive thinking, and confidence;
  • C2 level of English;
  • teaching license;
  • impressive accomplishments.
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Average salary and benefits for teaching English in South Korea

Working in Korea you may expect to earn a decent amount of money each month. However, the sum you will have at the end of the month, depends on many factors. South Korea is so attractive because it offers well-paid terms. An ESL teacher can make $1,300-3,100 every month. It is difficult to predict the amount of money for each institution, because it changes depending on different things. It's clear that the higher salary, the more requirements you must fit. For example, working in a public school EFL teacher earn $1,200-2,000 a month, whereas Korean private institutes offer about $2,000.

It's also important to understand the reason of making money. It will help to save some dough at the end of the month. Fortunately, employers from South Korea are quite generous and provide a lot of essentials to newcomers and foreign teachers.

You may expect to get:

  • flight reimbursement;
  • accommodation;
  • bonus for a contract completion.

If you think of it, there isn't much left to pay for. So there are plenty of ways how you can use your money here. If you think of lucrative terms to ESL teachers, we have prepared the list of the most well-paid countries. Check it out.

How to spend money in South Korea?

As long as your employer pays for your apartment and flight tickets, you have to take care of only essentials like utilities and food. When it comes to the cost of living, it is believed that Korea is quite affordable, however you just need to know some secrets. You will be short of money in a couple of weeks of eating in international restaraunts, so immerse yourself in the culture and go shopping and eat like a Korean.

There are some essential monthly expenses:

  • mobile tariff and Internet $23;
  • utilities $145;
  • transportation with a monthly pass $50;
  • food $150-200.

Usually people put money by teaching English in South Korea to do such things:

  • pay off students loans;
  • save money;
  • travel to nearby places such as China, Japan, North Korea;
  • sponsor a friend or a family member to come visit.

But before you start dreaming of spending a salary, let's figure out where you may teach and what you should expect.

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