The Benefits Of Teaching English In Korea
Return Airfare: All teachers can expect to receive free return airfare to and from South Korea unless alternative agreements are made between the teacher and school. Some schools offer pre-paid flights and others offer an airfare reimbursement. Please refer to our Teacher Airfare page for more details.
Furnished Apartment: Schools in Korea typically provide single studio apartments for their western staff. These apartments are free of charge to the teacher, usually within walking distance of the school and tend to come with the following furnishings; fridge, bed (possible linens), TV, phone, table, chairs, range for cooking and some cooking and eating utensils. Larger cities such as Seoul and Busan tend to offer the smallest apartments. Some apartments may be equiped with their own washing machine and/or an air conditioner. Please refer to our Housing in Korea page for more details.
Competitive Salary: Salaries vary based on qualifications and desired working locations. Generally speaking, teachers in Korea can expect to earn 1.8 million Won to 2.4 million Won (Currency Converter). Remember: The better schools in desirable locations typically offer lower salaries then other schools with less desirable working conditions and locations. Why? The quality schools with good locations have enough applicants to select from who are willing to work for slightly less in order to gain employment with a credible school and live in a more favorable area.
Severance Pay: Most Korean schools provide a severance package to their teachers who complete the full 12 month contract. The Severance pay (also referred to as “The Completion Bonus”) will be the equivalent to 1 month’s salary.
International Work Experience: Teaching English in South Korea gives teachers the ability to broaden their horizons and gain a true international working experience. Employers view new employees with international work experience in high regards and value their ability to take on new challenges and overcome the fear of change.
Limited Taxation: Western teachers in Korea can expect to pay only 3% to 5% of their monthly salary to the Korean Revenue Agency. The amount a teacher pays depends on the salary the teacher is making. Schools in Korea will deduct these taxes directly from your monthly salary; therefore, filing tax claims and receipts in Korea is not required. Note: Public school teachers are exempt from paying income taxes during their first 2 years of employment. In order to request the income tax exemption teachers must submit a ‘Residency Certificate’ that was issued by the appropriate government office from their country of citizenship. Please be advised: Canadians and Irish are not eligible for the income tax exemption.
Medical Coverage: Schools in Korea are required (by Korean law) to cover 50% of their western staff’s medical plan. The remaining 50% of the coverage fee is deducted from the teacher’s monthly salary which usually equates to a minimal 1.5% – 2.5%.
Pension Plan: Although Korean schools are required to pay into the Korean National Pension scheme, many employers fail to do so because there is no government office in place to monitor or enforce the rule. Please Note: Schools that don’t offer the pension plan tend to offer higher salaries to compensate for the difference. Additionally, just because a specific school doesn’t pay into the scheme does not mean the school itself is not credible or financially stable; the fact is many established schools with exellent reputations also fail to pay into the scheme. Schools located in the Seoul metro area tend to offer the plan more than schools located in other parts of the country. For teachers who gain employment with schools that provide a pension plan, they can expect to contribute 4.5% of their monthly salary into the plan. The school will match this 4.5% each month for a total of 9% entered over the course of your 12 month contract. The full amount will be reimbursed once you return home. Note: Only Canadian and American teachers are eligible for the pension refund.
Visa Sponsorship: Korean schools are responsible for sponsoring their foreign staff. The E2 working visa sponsorship is granted to western teachers and is based on a 12 month working period. Once a teacher has obtained the working visa, they can legally enter Korea as a foreign worker. After the 12 month contract expires, teachers will need to extend their working visa or find employment with a new school and ultimately apply for a new visa. Gone2Korea is here to help and guide our teachers through each step of the visa application process.
Vacation Time: Private school teachers can expect 2 weeks of paid vacation time in addition to all Korean National Holidays. Public school teachers can expect 4 weeks of paid vacation time in addition to Korean National holidays.
National Holidays: Depending on the year, National Holidays in Korea can account for an additional 10 to 14 days of vacation time.
1 Year Contract: 12 month contracts are the industry standard for public and private schools in Korea.
Teaching Hours: Teachers in Korea can expect to teach (in the classroom) for 22 – 30 hours per week (this is the industry standard). Although the in-class teaching time is minimal, it is important for teachers to understand that all schools require a certain amount of ‘prep-time’ each day. Prep time includes, making photo copies for your students, organizing books and related games, preparing your flash cards, etc. Please Note: Required prep time varies between schools – most schools will expect their staff of complete 1 – 2 hours of prep time each day. Gone2Korea will inform you of the schools requirements prior to your interview with them. Please visit our ESL teachers responsibilities page for more information.
Teaching Materials: Korean schools supply teaching related resources for their staff. Teaching resources usually include: flashcards, photocopiers, paper, coloring tools, white boards and/or black boards, shared office computers, English related games, CD players and English learning CD’s, story books, student books, work books and so on. Each school will provide different resources; therefore, do not expect every school to have all of the items listed above.
Cost Of Living: Day to day living expenses in Korea are noticeably cheaper than most western countries. Paying monthly utility bills, buying groceries and other day to day expenses such as transportation, entertainment, etc. usually requires a budget of 600,000 to 800,000 KRW a month.
Overtime Pay: Overtime is usually paid out to teachers who work above and beyond 120 teaching hours per month – this is the industry standard. Overtime is based on the length of the class and the location. Schools in the larger urban areas usually provide 18,000 to 25,000 Won per 50 minute class, and 15,000 to 18,000 Won for classes that are less than 50 minutes.
Challenging Role: Although the jobs are fun, they tend to require more attention than many people assume. Teaching English in Korea is a challenging job and making sure the students are learning is a big responsibility.
Opportunity to Absorb a New Culture: Korea’s rich history, ancient traditions and modern advancements offer westerners the chance to experience something truly unique. Most people are pleasantly surprised by Korea’s welcoming attitude and engaging in local cuisines, traditions, lifestyles, etc. is a great way to learn about one of Asia’s most exciting cultures.
Chance to Meet Interesting People: There’s an abundance of interesting people to meet in Korea, including; Korean locals, western teachers and engineers, travellers, etc. At present there are more than 20, 000 western teachers teaching English as a second language in Korea and this number continues to grow on an annual basis. You will find that most individuals who choose to teach overseas are open minded, outgoing, and eager to develop new friendships. Don’t be surprised if you leave Korea with new life-long friends from around the world.