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Guide to Korea teaching jobs

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Applicants wishing to teach on the public school program in Korea need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

  • Passport holder of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, UK or USA
  • Minimum education of Bachelor's degree
  • Under 55 years of age
  • No criminal record
  • Be mentally and physically healthy

Applicants must also have at least ONE of the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in Education / English / English Education / English Literature or Linguistics (major's in Writing will be considered as an English major. E.g., Creative Writing, Critical Writing)
  • Valid teacher certification for either Elementary or Secondary level schools
  • TESOL / TEFL or an English Teaching Certificate comprising a minimum of 100 course hours (can be applied for now as long as qualification will be received before mid January) - Sign up for your TEFL course here.
  • Master's Degree
  • Bachelor's degree in any discipline with at least ONE full year of English teaching experience

If you do not currently have any of the above qualifications, the easiest way to get the eligibility is to take a 100+ hour TEFL qualification.

You would need to complete your TEFL qualification by mid January at the latest.

For applicants who need to complete a TEFL course in order to get the eligibility to apply for a public school job in Korea, we offer a 120 hour On-line TEFL qualification here.

Apply now for your position on the public school program in South Korea to start February 2015

Please just fill out the following application form and we will get right back to you.


Application process for teaching at a public school in Korea

See: Getting a teaching visa for Korea, public schools

Download the official public school pay-scale

Payscale.doc (39KB)

View ESLstarter jobs

How can I qualify for more pay with a public school?

The best way to increase your salary is to take a TEFL / TESL/ TESOL or CELTA course.

If your course is over 100 hours, you will qualify as a Level 2 teacher which means a pay increase of either KRW200,000 or KRW100,000 per month.

What if I don't have a TEFL certificate at the time I apply for a position but expect to receive one at a later date?

As long as you can have your 100+ hour TEFL / TESL / TESOL or CELTA certificate a month before you go to the orientation, you can still qualify for the higher salary.

When you apply, you can submit your Current Qualification and your Expected Qualification.

The Expected Qualification denotes the salary that you expect to receive with completed TEFL / TESL / TESOL or CELTA certificate.

For more information about how to enroll on the best value, fully accredited distance learning 120 online TEFL courses, our Get TEFL Certified page

Download a sample public school contract

Find out about your duties, responsibilities and entitlements with the public school program with this sample contract.

Please note that this contract is a general contract and there is a slight possibility of variation between different POEs.

Download Sample Contract (PDF, 25MB)

Download a sample orientation schedule

Sample-orientation-schedule.pdf (674KB)

Watch a sample video about teaching in Korea

FAQs - public school positions, Korea

Find out what ESLstarter's teachers have been asking about the public school program in Korea.

Although we've tried to cover as many previous questions as possible, we're sure there are things that can be added so if you have any suggestions or questions, drop us a line at and we will do our best to address them as quickly as possible!

How much do I have to pay for ESLstarter's service?

You don't pay us anything. All our services to teachers are completely free.

What kind of salary and benefits can I expect from a public school position?

Salary varies according to experience, but public school teachers make between 1.9 and 2.7 Million KRW per month. Please download the official pay scale which categorizes the various levels of salary. Rural and provincial allowance are added to basic salary depending on where you are placed.

Other benefits are plentiful and include free private apartment, airfare allowances, severance pay equal to one month's salary, settlement allowance, medical insurance and 18 days of paid vacation plus around 12 Korean national holidays.

What is the housing like?

The housing is of a high standard. You will be provided with a private, furnished apartment, usually very close to the school. The accommodation includes TV (most with cable), washing machine, cooking facilities and utensils, shower, under-floor heating, air-con and queen size bed plus bedding. Internet access can also be provided and is super-fast.

If I have an F4 visa, do I still need to send my visa documents?

Yes, you will still need to send all of the required visa documents. In the case of an F4 visa, this is not an immigration requirement, rather a requirement of the hiring committee.

How does the flight reimbursement work?

Public school teachers are given an entrance allowance of 1.3 Million KRW to cover the cost of the flight into Korea. This allowance will be paid to you within approximately one month of arrival. You are entitled to this allowance even if you are already in Korea and starting a position at a public school. Also this allowance is a flat rate and is paid to you regardless of how much your ticket costs.

When you finish your contract, you will receive an exit allowance of 1.3 Million KRW to cover the cost of your trip home. Again, this payment will be made regardless of the cost of your ticket and even if you decide to fly to a country other than the one you usually reside in.

Will somebody meet me at the airport?

Absolutely! You will be met by an ESLstarter representative as soon as you walk through the arrivals gate. Korean staff will also be there to meet you and take you to the orientation.

What happens at the orientation?

The orientation is a chance for you to get to know your fellow teachers. Around 600 teachers typically arrive with each in-take. The orientation includes Korean cultural tours, social events, performances, tips for adjusting to life in Korea, guides to effective lesson planning and much more. Orientations are always held at nice resort areas and represent a gentle 'easing in' to life in Korea!

To download a sample orientation schedule, please click here.

How will I get paid?

You will be paid monthly in local currency and into your Korean bank account. Being a government sponsored organization, one of the great things about working with a public school is that pay is delivered on-time and in full every month.

How will I set up a Korean bank account?

Setting up a Korean bank account is very straightforward and somebody from your school will be on hand to make sure you get one started within a day or two of your arrival in your assigned province. It is also easy and cheap to send money home from Korea, a telex transfer costs around 15USD per transaction.

Can I get a cell-phone?

Yes! Usually, foreigners get set up with a prepaid service cell phone. You'd have a local number and can top your phone up with cards from local newsagents and supermarkets.

How much are monthly utility bills?

Thankfully, very cheap! Electricity, water and gas combined usually come to around 70,000KRW.

All Korean apartments have under-floor heating which makes them very snug in winter. Even with the air-con blasting away all summer, you'll rarely pay more than 75,000KRW a month in bills.

My Korean isn't what it used to be so how will I cope?!

Don't worry. This really isn't as much of a problem as it seems. Once you get out to Korea, you'll find that the locals go out of their way to help foreigners.

Although English is not always widely spoken (especially in rural areas), a combination of hand-waving, sign language and sense of humor is almost always enough to get by. In the larger towns and cities, bus and train stations have signs in English whilst taxis also provide interpreter service.

Is it easy to meet other foreigners?

Another great thing about teaching at a public school is that the orientation provides a great chance to establish contact and friendships with other foreign teachers who are in exactly the same boat. Also, such is the boundless Korean enthusiasm for learning English that even the smallest towns and villages have sizeable expat communities.

How will I be assigned a location?

When you fill out the application form, you need to list your most preferred province. The coordinators will then try to ensure you are allocated a position in the area you want. Please note that locations are assigned on a first come, first served basis and therefore you are not guaranteed to be placed in your chosen province.

What will I teach?

This will differ according to school but you will be given plenty of guidance and assistance in preparing your lessons. This will be provided both at the orientation and be ongoing from when you arrive at your school. Also, when you are in class teaching, you will have a Korean co-teacher to assist.

Who do I go to if I have problems after I've arrived in Korea?

You can simply contact ESLstarter. We will be on hand to assist you whenever you need us. If you have an issue with the school and don't want to ask them about it directly, we will support you and help you reach solutions with them whatever your problems. We will be there for you and at your service throughout the entire duration of your contract.

How much money will I need to see me through until my first pay-check?

It is possible to live relatively economically in Korea. USD800 should comfortably be enough to see you through your first month. At a push, it could probably be done on USD600 whilst USD1000 would ensure plenty of meals out, shopping and the odd weekend away!

Also see: Living Cost Guide to South Korea