The Teaching English In Korea Salary

Would you like to travel the world and make money at the same time? Then teaching English abroad is a great option. Teaching abroad will allow you to broaden your horizon, learn about different cultures and save money to pay back university loans. Read on to find out more about the teaching English in Korea salary.

Teaching English In Korea Salary

Things To Know Before Teaching English In Korea

Things in Korea are quite different to back home. The language, culture and society might give you a culture shock. It is best to be prepared and know what to expect before moving to South Korea to teach English. Below is a list of the main things to be aware of.

  • Learn Korean – If you are planning to stay in Korea at least a couple of years it is highly recommended to study Korean, especially the alphabet and the basics. This will definitely help you in day to day life. Good resources are TTMIK, Sogang University books and Rosetta Stone,
  • Packing – Korea has 4 season with rather extreme temperatures. In winter it is very dry and temperatures can reach -20°C, while in summer it is humid and temperatures around 40°C. Check what to wear in Korea here.
  • Tips Tipping in Korea is generally not done. If you offer a tip it might even offend some people. The only occasions where tipping is acceptable is to a taxi driver or tour guides who come in contact often with foreign visitors.
  • Greetings – When greeting another person, no handshake, hug or kiss is given. Instead a small bow is the norm. Learn more about Korean customs here.
  • Wearing shoes – When walking into someone else house taking off your shoes is a must. Normally you will find some typical Korean style slippers you can put on. When going to the bathroom, you will find another pair of bathroom slippers.

Different Teaching Positions

There are different options when teaching English in Korea and the salary differs for each of these. Public schools pay between 1.8 million and 2.7 million krw. Private academies or hagwons around 1.8 million and 3 million krw. University English teachers get paid between 2.3 million and 3.5 million krw. When working at an international school the salary lies between 1.8 and 2.8 million krw. Private tutors can charge at least 50 000 krw per hour.

The Teaching English In Korea Salary

The English teaching in Korea salary differs from school to school and also depends of the region you are working in. When working in the capital the salary is bound to be higher as the living costs are higher as well.

1. Public schools Salary

Working in a public school is one of the better options when looking to teach English in Korea. There are public schools all over the country and you will be employed as a government employee.

The teaching English in South Korea salary for first-timers lies between 1.8 – 2.1 million krw, this equals to approximately $1600 – $1900 per month before tax. Experienced teachers can earn between 2.0 and 2.7 million krw ($1800 – $2500). This will differ from school to school and also depends on the area, but are quite similar all over the country.

When working in a public school you will often have the change to work overtime or work at English camps during the holidays, this will be paid on top of your monthly salary. At public schools you’ll receive approximately 18 days paid vacation and all the national holidays.

teaching english in south korea salary

1.1 Different Programs

There are different types of programs for foreigners to teaching at public schools in Korea with the most known one being EPIK (for all of Korea, except Seoul). Others are GEPIK (teaching English in the suburbs of Seoul, Gyeonggi province) and SMOE (teaching English in a public school in the capital, Seoul). The salary for all these programs differ slightly.

  • EPIK (English Program in Korea) – EPIK salary ranges between 1.8 and 2.7 million krw. This program is less competitive than SMOE or GEPIK as you can be placed in more rural areas of Korea, or in major cities like Busan, Daegu, Daejeon or even on the exotic island Jeju. Teachers working at multiple schools also receive an additional bonus on top of their monthly EPIK Korea salary. More info here.
  • GEPIK (Gyeonggi English Program in Korea) – English teaching in Korea salary lies between 2 – 2.5 million krw. Gyeonggi province is the province surrounding Seoul. It it less crowded and expensive than the city and traveling into Seoul is very easy. More info here.
  • SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education) – The salary is betwen 2 – 3 million krw. This is a more competitive program as many of the foreign English teachers want to be located in Seoul. The living cost in Seoul is slightly higher than the rest of the country, therefor the salary is higher. English teaching experience is required before managing to get a teaching job in Seoul. More info here.
epik korea salary

1.2 How To Apply

The positions for all these programs are limited and works on a first-come-first-served basis for accepted applicants. The documents required to apply for a public school position are a university diploma, sealed university transcripts, resume, valid passport (with at least 18 months before expiry date), national criminal background check, letter of reference, application forms and an optional TEFL certification. Getting the TEFL certificate is highly recommended as the chances are higher to be accepted into the programs. Only native English speakers (with a passport from U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa) can apply for these programs.

1.3 Benefits Of Public Schools

When being accepted to work at a public school you can expect the following benefits: free housing, paid/reimbursed flights, a severance bonus of an extra month at the end of the teaching contract and during the first 2 year of teaching English in Korea you are exempt from paying taxes.

2. Hagwon Or Private Academy

There are far more positions available at hagwons and private academies than at public schools. Hiring happens all year around and positions are less competitive. The English teaching salary for these school vary much more than the public government schools. Salaries generally start from 1.8 million krw per month for first timers and can go up to to 3 million krw. Hagwons could include teaching kindergarten, elementary, middle school, high school and adults.

There are fewer paid holidays when teaching English at a hagwon, but this again depends on the hangwon owner. Usually you’ll get 7-10 holidays and all the national holidays. Only native English speakers (with a passport from U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa) can receive a sponsored E2 visa when working as a teacher in Korea. Non-natives are allowed to work as English teachers only when they have a valid visa like F2/5/6.

2.1 How To Apply?

The same documents are need to apply for a hagwon position and a public school teaching position. Namely the national criminal background check, university diploma, sealed university transcripts, passport, resume, letter of reference and an option TEFL certificate. Getting a TEFL certificate is highly recommended as you might be able to apply for higher paying teaching positions. Dave’s ESL cafe is a good place to start looking for a hagwon teaching position. Another good place to look for teaching jobs is on Facebook groups like expat women in Korea, teaching jobs in Seoul, etc.

3. Teaching Online

When teaching online you don’t necessarily need to be in South Korea, but you could be anywhere. It is quite likely you will be teaching Korean kids or adults. Depending on the company, the salary for teaching English online differs. Full time online teachers can make anything between $1500 to $2500, depending on experience.

To become an online teacher you need to have a bachelor degree, be from a native English speaking country and any additional certification like TEFL would help. Great websites to start your online teaching job search are HigherEdJobs, Inside Higher Ed, Indeed, etc.

4. Teaching English At University Level

University teaching jobs are the best kind of teaching jobs in Korea, but they are of course very competitive and difficult to get, especially in Seoul. The requirements for teaching at a university are therefor higher as well, most positions require a master degree and a couple of years English teaching experience at public schools or private academies.

teaching jobs in korea salary

These jobs are highly desired as the salary lies higher than other teaching jobs, the teaching hours are minimum (could be as low as 8 hours a week), older and more mature students and 4 months paid vacation.

Starting English teaching salary at university is 2.3 million krw and can go up to 3.5 million krw. This will totally depend on your experience and the university. University positions are high paying jobs in Korea for foreigners which are worth pursuing.

5. English Tutoring

Tutoring English when working is illegal when employed on an E2 visa and can lead to big fines or deportation from Korea. It is legal on an F visa and is a very lucrative job. Private English teachers tutor kids and adults 1-on-1. The starting fee starts around 40 000 krw per hour for new teachers and can go up to 120 000 krw per hour when teaching business or advanced English.

Many E2 teachers still take on extra tutoring jobs and accept the possibility of being caught. Most illegal teaching jobs never get discovered but be careful who you accept as a student or who you tell about your extra income.

Requirements To Get A Higher Paying Teaching Job

Having a bachelor degree in any subject and being from a native English speaking country is a bare minimum when applying for teaching jobs. Starting a first teaching job with these qualifications will get you a rather low salary.

Getting a TEFL certificate is highly recommended. The TEFL certificate can be obtained in less than 60 hours and is very affordable (around $200). This will definitely help to land you a higher TEFL salary and maybe better teaching hours. Get a 15% discount when signing up here.

Korean Teacher Salary

The salary of Korean teachers in South Korea depends again on the teaching position and experience but most hagwon Korean English teachers earn a salary starting around 1.5 million krw and can go up to 2.5 million krw. The Korean staff doesn’t receive free housing, severance pay or aren’t tax exempted.

Koreans working at a public school tend to earn more, especially when working at a national school like the language schools. Here the average salary is around 2.3 million but can go up to as much as 4.5 million krw for highly qualified and experienced teachers.

How Much Can You Save A Year

Let’s assume your teaching English in Korea salary is 2.2 million krw a month and your school pays for your accommodation and healthcare. In the country side and even in Seoul, you can easily live on 1 million krw a month, this means you have 1.2 million krw a month left in savings. In one year that is around 15 million krw. Which is quite substantial. This all depends of course on how much you go out or travel around the country.

korea living expenses

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Are you planning on teaching English in South Korea? Do you have any questions about the teaching English in Korea salary? Have you taught English before? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

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4 Responses

  1. Mandy says:

    Hi Marie,

    First of all, I enjoy reading your blog. It is very helpful as I am planning to possibly move to Korea in around 2 years. However, my big dilemma is that I am not from an English native speaking country. I have done my bachelors degree fully in English and I am planning to do my Masters fully in English as well. Do you know or have you met people who are or have been in the same situation as I am in now? Thank you in advance for reading my comment!

    • Marie says:

      Hey Mandy, this will mainly depend on your visa status. You can teach English in Korea, even if you are not from a native country, but you’ll need a visa that allows you to teach. Which visa will you be having?

  2. Ariel says:

    What visa will be needed to teach in Korea because I am also not from an English Native Speaking Country.

    • Marie says:

      Most schools will only accept those on an F visa, but there are some programs where students can be English (or other language) tutors.

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