Hello, lovely humans. I’ve been in South Korea for over 5 months and I haven’t begun to touch on how I got my teaching job here. I was meant to come to Korea in August 2017, but my University didn’t have my paperwork in time so I had to cancel my big move. To put it bluntly, I was pretty fucking upset. I’d set myself up for this big move and didn’t really have a backup plan. I really don’t like being home… Honestly, the unhappiest years of my adult life have been at home. I didn’t want another one of those years.
I was extremely lucky to have a job open up at my sister’s school in the city of Seoul. So, I went out and got it. I literally wrote the boss an email telling him why he should hire me. He agreed with me. I liked him already. Thanks, Ian Teacher!
I am going to follow up this post with a step-by-step guide on how the whole visa process works (for South Africans), but I felt if I added it to this post – we’d be here all day. I’ll also be doing a post on the different types of teaching jobs you can get. OMG, all this information!!!!
Am I eligible to teach in Korea?
You need a Bachelors Degree to teach in Korea. If you don’t = End of story. Bye Bye. See you later. You cannot get a visa for a teaching job unless you have a Bachelors Degree. The visa cannot be processed otherwise.
It is extremely beneficial to have a TEFL certificate. Some schools demand it, while others will look the other way if you’re from an English speaking country. There are other certifications you can get, like TESOL, just make sure they’re accredited before parting with your money.
If you have experience, you are more likely to be placed but people without experience are also hired every day. This is just a heads up if you’re looking and struggling to find somewhere, it could be because of your lack of experience or TEFL certificate.
You can acquire a TEFL certificate through a company that will also place you – if you’ve got the spare cash I’d suggest this route. Some will even say “guaranteed placement upon completion” and you know… always trust a slogan! I’ve linked a great company that offers both training and placement later in this blog post.
How to get a Teaching Job in South Korea:
By now, you probably know of a friend or two that have taught English in Korea. It’s been popular for a few years and most know someone who has had the experience. Like with any job, finding work in Korea can be hit or miss. Applying and securing a job ONLINE leaves even more room for the ‘miss’ factor because you cannot scope the place out beforehand. If someone you know has worked there previously, you’ll be more comfortable asking a bunch of questions about the place and they’ll be more forthcoming with their answers versus a stranger.
Something to keep in mind about this; you could easily make your friend look bad. If you complain a lot and become a liability to the school – you’re doing your friend a disservice if she wants to return to that school in the future.
This is how I was hired and so far – so good! Haven’t been an asshole at work, so, 10 points to Lamb!
This is also a desirable option for the school as they can forfeit the hiring fee they’d have to pay the recruiter. Which leads me to…
This is a VERY popular option and most people at my school were hired this way. The recruiter is VERY helpful and guides you through the entire visa process. They also set up interviews and try finding you the best fit. You can state your job preferences and they work as the go-between you and your new school until you arrive. You don’t pay a thing, the school absorbs the cost, so don’t let ‘fees’ put your off.
I wasn’t hired this way, but my sister was and she had zero problems with her recruiter. Have a look at “Teach Koreans”. This was mainly for the Cheonan Area (about an hour by KTX train from Seoul) but they could’ve expanded to more areas since she used them two years ago.
I also asked the two girls from Canada who work with me and they used the same recruiter. They also had a good experience so visit “Teacher-tech” – they also include the necessary training in order to be hired.
Recruiters hire throughout the year and are always looking. It’s also OK to be signed up with more than one recruiter at a time so don’t stop at just one. Sign-up with a few so you have more chance of being hired.
EPIK (English Program in Korea)
A lot of people don’t recommend this program because you have no say on where you get placed, but if you don’t know anything about Korea, I feel like it’s a cool idea! Go off the beaten path and work in more remote areas. Korean countryside is beautiful and I feel that people look to Seoul because it’s the most popular area. There are other beautiful areas to live in that offer their own charm.
They organize everything for you and walk you through the visa process too! From what I can see on their website, they hire at different times throughout the year. Be sure to check the dates so you don’t miss out!
Emailing the schools directly
This can be very time-consuming but definitely doable. You just need to do a lot of research and hope there are contact details available so you reach the right person. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the time! If your heart is set on a particular area, take the initiative and contact them directly.
So, I’m tired. Just kidding, I love researching this stuff! I want more people to travel and enjoy this life they’ve been given!
Do you know of any other ways to get a job in Korea? Leave them in the comments below to help more travellers find their way.