Finding a Teaching Job in Korea - Where to Work

Finding a suitable teaching job is a good idea as long as you do the appropriate amount of research and have a true interest in living in Korea. You can never be too careful with an employer who you will have to fly half way around the world to work for. Ask them a lot of questions before accepting the job and make sure you get clear, definitive answers. In deciding where to work you should first understand the difference between the three main types of English-teaching institutions.

Hagwons (Hakwons): The most common employers of English teachers are Hagwons, or private language institutes. While they are the most common hirers, they are also the most common scammers. When you decide to apply to work at a hagwon, make sure it is an established institution and isn't on any of the many blacklists you can find online that list schools you should avoid (for example http://www.geocities.com/hagwonblacklist/list.html). Since the ESL market in Korea is extremely competitive, many of these institutions are short-lived and close within a month after their founding. Therefore, many of these institutions are unable to fulfill promises made to you on contract. Salaries average at about US $2000 a month in major cities or US $1700 a month in smaller franchises.

Public Schools: Teaching English at a public school is perhaps harder for new teachers as the class size is much larger than private institutes, but public schools are much more reliable in upholding contracts. If you have some teaching experience or are willing to teach large and potentially rowdy classes, you should look into teaching at a public school. Salaries range from US $2100-2700 and are always paid on time. Finding a position at a public school may be slightly harder than at a hagwon as some have higher eligibility requirements, but should still be a relatively simple task. If you do not have teaching experience or a master's degree in TESOL, it usually just means your salary will be on the lower end of the scale.

University Foreign-Language Institutes: If you have high qualifications you may want to consider teaching at a language institute that most major Universities operate. Eligibility requirements here are the highest in Korea, and you should hold a master's degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in addition to several years of teaching experience. The pay and benefits here are among the best, and if you don't mind living away from the city, language institutes in the countryside provide even better housing, working conditions and salaries.

Other options exist as to where you can find a teaching job in Korea, but are significantly less common. It should be kept in mind that private instruction is illegal, although prevalent.



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