Teach ESL in South Korea - Why and How?

Published : 24 May 2021 | Author : ESL Job Station

Find out why South Korea has been a top English teaching destination over the decades and how to get hired in South Korea.

“South Korea is one of the best places — if not the best — to teach English overseas.” (Nomadic Matt)

South Korea has been a top English teaching destination over the decades. Here’s just a few of the latest ranking of South Korea as Best Places to Teach English:

  • Nomadic Matt: Top 1 of 8
  • Oxford Seminars: Top 1 of 6
  • International TEFL Academy: Top 3 of 10
  • Go Overseas: Top 2 of 10

Korea is one of the most competitive markets for ESL teaching. Here are a few reasons why.

  • Abundant Jobs
  • High Pay
  • Awesome Benefits
  • Accepts first-time teachers
  • Great food and friendly people

A typical package will also include:

  • housing assistance (either apartment provided or a housing allowance)
  • airfare support
  • visa sponsorship
  • health insurance (50% covered by school)
  • pension plan (50% covered by school)
  • severance pay equivalent to 1 month’s salary upon contract completion

*ESL Teachers in Korea are subjected to a low-income tax - only 3.3% of your salary. Beginner ESL teachers can expect to start off making 2.1 million Korean won or more per month.

Why is Korea an Ideal Place to Work?

  • Safe working environments
  • Modern school facilities
  • Efficient transportation system
  • Fairly low cost of living
  • Large ex-pat communities
  • Many jobs in a wide range of locations
  • Friendly and welcoming society toward westerners

Why is Teaching English in South Korea so Popular?

South Korea is a relatively small country with about 50 million people. It has an amazingly efficient transportation system, so combined with the size of the country, travelling around Korea is quite easy and affordable. So, there's always something to do over the weekend and during holidays. Whether you like mountains, beaches, going on a food trip or just enjoying the city life, Korea can offer it all!

If you’ve ever heard of K-pop, K-drama, or K-beauty, you don’t need an explanation as to why teaching English in South Korea is so popular. One major reason is that it’s fairly easy to save money while teaching here... it’s possible to save almost $1,000 per month if you spend wisely. Housing, healthcare, restaurant meals, and transportation costs are cheap compared to the U.S. South Korea feels extremely safe. In fact, South Korea’s crime rate is very low, “with most offences of a petty nature,” according to USA Today. (Kenzie P.,)

A well-developed, modern economy, comfortable quality of life, and sensational pop culture that’s enraptured the world has made South Korea one of the best countries to teach abroad in recent years. ...private teaching placement organizations...successfully attract thousands of English teachers each year with generous compensation packages that feature a whole lot of everyone’s favourite buzzword—free. (GoAbroad)

As one of the world’s largest employers of ESL teachers, there are more than twenty thousand westerners who are currently teaching in Korea and a large percentage of them are first-time teachers and first-time travellers. (Gone2Korea)

Where to Teach in Korea?

Metropolitan Cities: Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Gwangju, Daejeon, Ulsan

Gyeonggi (Outskirts of Seoul) Main Cities: Bucheon, Yongin, Seongnam, Anyang, Goyang, Hwaseong, Namyangju, Gimpo, Suwon, Osan, Siheung, Pyeongtaek, Cheonan, Ansan, Gwacheon, Hanam, Asan, Gwangju, Icheon, Uijeongbu, Byealre New City, Dongtan

Provinces with Major Cities: Chung-Buk, Chung-Nam, Gangwon, Gyeong-Buk, Gyeong-Nam, Jeolla-buk, Jeolla-Nam, Jeju


Send us Your Application and Get Hired in South Korea

Please send us your application, if you are a native English speaker with a bachelor's degree and want to teach English in Korea. There are no application fees or obligations.


Fun Facts about Korea

  • It’s heaven for tech junkies - The country was judged to have the world’s fastest internet connection speed for the 12th consecutive quarter last year, according to Akamai - The report showed South Korea’s average broadband is ahead of Norway, and Sweden, Hong Kong and Switzerland.
  • It’s one of the biggest economies in the world - currently has the 11th largest GDP in the world ($1.4 trillion, according to the latest ranking by the World Bank).
  • It is home to one of the world’s best airports

Incheon International Airport was named the world’s best for the 12th year running at last year’s Airport Service Quality Awards.

  • The busiest air route on Earth is there

The most crowded flight path on Earth is found in South Korea.

  • More than half of South Korea is cloaked in forest

Beyond the skyscrapers, South Korea boasts a spectacular natural landscape, 64 per cent of which is covered in forest. The country also has 2,413 kilometres of seaside, with wide coastal plains to the west and south, and nearly 3,000 small uninhabited islands just offshore.

  • It has a world-beating food scene

Korean food has been making waves across the globe, with kimchi, among other dishes, popping up on restaurant menus everywhere.

  • Kimchi - There are hundreds of different varieties of kimchi in South Korea, and about 1.5 million tons of it is consumed each year.
  • The city of Suwon boasts not only Samsung Electronics but the world’s first toilet-themed amusement park. The Restroom Cultural Park opened in 2012.
  • The literacy rate is extremely high in South Korea at 98%.
  • The people of South Korea are known for being very nice and extremely respectful of their elders.
  • Korea is one of the highest-paying countries in the World to teach English. Teachers can save up a lot of money here. Almost all teaching contracts include your flight to and from the USA, a free apartment, and generous salaries with some good bonuses. If you want to travel, have a college degree, and are a native English speaker, you are qualified for practically all English teaching jobs in Korea.
  • Partnering with Japan in this honourable accolade, South Korea has the lowest number of obese citizens in the world. Well with their healthy diet no wonder!
  • The majority of restaurants, including MacDonald’s, will deliver food directly to your door. You don’t even need to clean your rubbish up afterwards – just leave it outside your door and the delivery person will pick it up later.
  • Like several other cultures, babies in South Korea are considered one year old at birth. For those not familiar with this concept, (and to confuse you even more), following the New Year in South Korea, everybody automatically ages a year. If a newborn baby enters the world in the last week of December as a one-year-old, then the same child is considered two years old a couple of weeks later.

ESL Teaching Jobs in Korea are Waiting for You

If you are a native English speaker with a bachelor's degree, you can apply for ESL teaching jobs in Korea at trusted employers. Just send us your application and let us set up the interviews for you.



Apply Anytime For ESL Teaching Jobs In Korea

You can apply anytime! We have year-round openings.


To legally find an ESL job Korea, you must meet the following requirements:

    • You are a native English speaker with a passport from the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand
    • You have a Bachelor’s degree.
    • You have a clean criminal background check.

Placement Procedure

  1. Apply for a job opening in South Korea. You can apply through an eligible ESL job posting site, a licensed ESL recruiting agency or directly to the school.
  2. Interview via Zoom or Skype. You might be asked for a mock class.
  3. If both parties are satisfied with each other, you and the school sign an employment contract
  4. You send to the school your documents required for the E2 visa process.
  5. The school submits your documents to the immigration office to get your visa issuance number.
  6. You apply to the Korean consulate in your country or state for an E2 visa. You need the visa issuance number for this application.
  7. You get an E2 visa from the Korean consulate.
  8. You come to Korea.
  9. You take a health examination.
  10. You apply to our immigration office for an Alien Registration Card(ARC).

Documents Required for the E2 Visa Process

1. A photocopy (color) of your passport (picture page).

2. Self Health Statement.

3. Degree Certificate with 'Apostille'(Diploma or Degree 'Copy' with Apostille)

    • You must have acquired a bachelor's degree (at least 3 years degree) or higher from that country that uses English as its first language.

4. Criminal Record Check(original/hard copy) with 'Apostille'

    • It must cover the whole country of your nationality.
    • It must be clean. It must not show any criminal records.
    • Note: It is effective only for 6 months after it is issued.

5. Four(4)pieces of passport size (3.5㎝ x 4.5㎝) color photos(Head Shot)

    • All of them must be the same shot.
    • The background must be white.
    • Note: Please do not wear sleeveless shirts and earrings.

6. Resume

7. Employment Contract(original/hard copy) signed by you.

Standard Work Conditions

The following are the standard work conditions for ESL teachers in Korea.〔Most of the academies (Hagwon) have their own employment contracts including the specific work conditions.〕

  • Period of contract: One year(12 months).

* E-2 visa holders can stay in Korea for one year. This visa is renewable.

  • Salary: 2.2 to 2.5 million won per month (depending on your qualification)
  • Teaching hours: 30 hours per week, Mon-Fri
  • Length of each class: about 45 to 50 minutes
  • Class size: 7 to 15 students in each class
  • Overtime pay : 17,000 to 23,000 won per hour
  • Vacation: 6 - 10 days of paid vacation per year [depending on the school]
  • Paid sick days: 2 - 3 paid sick days per year
  • Severance pay: equivalent to a one-month salary upon contract completion
  • Housing: provided
  • Airfare Support: provided
  • Health Insurance and/or Pension: provided

Want to Teach ESL in South Korea? Get Hired Through ESL VivaCom!


ESL VivaCom is a licensed recruiting agency and is rated as one of the Best English Teaching Recruiters in Korea by 90dayskorean.com. We have been around for more than ten years now and have earned an excellent reputation among the teachers that we have placed throughout the country. Honesty is the best way to make real friends! – with this in mind, VivaCom always does its best to help you find the right teaching position in Korea. Many of our teachers like to find jobs through us again after their contract is done! 

We offer jobs for both entry-level and experienced ESL teachers. We have close ties with reputable and stable ESL Academies all over the country. Providing fast, reliable and competitive service is always our priority. Find a job through us. Our service is 100% free for ESL Teachers.


Send us Your Application and Get Hired in South Korea

There are no application fees or obligations.






Kenzie, P. (2018). How to Get a Job Teaching English in South Korea. Retrieved August 5, 2018, from:


Thomsen, R. (2018). This Just In! The Best Place to Teach Abroad in 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018, from: https://www.goabroad.com/articles/teach-abroad/best-place-teach-abroad-2018

Teaching English in Korea as a First-Time Teacher or Recent Graduate. (n.d.). Retrieved August 5, 2018, from: https://www.gone2korea.com/teaching-jobs-for-unqualified-teachers/

Gamlam, R. (2017). The Top 10 Places to Teach Abroad in 2017-2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018, from:https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/top-10-places-to-teach-abroad

The 9 Best Places To Teach English Overseas. (n.d.) Retrieved August 5, 2018, from: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/best-places-to-teach-esl-overseas/

Kim, S. (2018). 14 Facts About South Korea, Home To The Most Popular Tourist Destination You've Never Heard Of. Retrieved August 6, 2018, From:


Important and Interesting Facts about South Korea. (n.d.) Retrieved August 6, 2018, from:


10 Very Cool Facts About South Korean Culture. (2017). Retrieved August 6, 2018, from: