Teaching English in Korea

April cover

Here are a few tips for teaching in Korea.

One, you do not need a TEFL certification. If you have a college degree that is all you need. I met a few people who were hired as teachers with no college degree, they were getting paid under the table. If you are a white female from America or Canada, you will find a job easy. Here is the hierarchy when it comes to being recruited.

I will start with the ideal candidate, good looking blonde white female with experience or education degree from United States or Canada. If you are a good looking white female with no accent, even with no experience, you are solid. But schools in general prefer females, good looking females, over males. Whites are preferred because Koreans have this image. Watching TV, American media is dominated by white people. But, schools will still hire good looking females from different race/ethnicity, but if you are mix Asian or Asian, you will have a harder time getting hired. That does not mean one cannot find a job. I met many people from different backgrounds teaching. Check out this article, from my experience I do not think it is as bad as this article but, there is definitely an issue.

If you are an American you will need a FBI background check. You need to get your fingerprints from the police station for the FBI background check. Schools are going to require a candidate having a BA or BS, especially since teaching English is getting more competitive, there is a shot if you do not have a degree, but a long shot and risk being screwed over. FBI background checks take about 6 to 10 weeks, mine took 6. I called the FBI office twice. I was told if you contact the office and bug them, the process will go faster (not sure if that is true).

I recommend finding as many recruiting web sites like Dave’s ESL. There are also recruiters who will help you find a job. Talk to many recruiters, not just one. Be assertive and do not like them push you into a position you are not comfortable with.

Suggestions during the interview, ask about vacation time, pay, how much tax will be taken out of your check (should be 5% or less), ask to speak to as many teachers at the school (see if they hesitate answering questions or if they say “they heard about..”, anything where you can get a feeling), ask them about bonuses, how they take care of troublemakers, how they will back you up with mad parents, what kind of teacher they are looking for and what to except from them, etc.

Once you get to Korea, you will be given a medical test and have a blood test. You will get your alien card, make sure you carry it around with you and do not lose it. Tutoring is another way to make money. Colleges are probably the best bet to find work for tutoring. I suggest joining Facebook groups to meet other expats. Many cities offer free Korean language courses.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


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