Teach English in Seoul

Seoul, the capital city of Korea, is a sprawling mega-metropolis where colorful streets, modern skyscrapers, world class public transportation and a crazed pop culture, intersect with historic palaces, Buddhist temples, and traditional street markets. It’s an amazing place to teach English for a year…or three!

Looking for jobs in Seoul?

If you’re ready to begin then just head over to our application form and enter your details, or visit our job board for more info.

Looking for jobs outside of Seoul?

We realize Seoul isn’t an ideal working location for everyone. Luckily, Korea has lots of beautiful cities, large and small, with exciting opportunities available. Check our Popular Destinations page for some helpful recommendations.

Everything you need to know about teaching English in Seoul!

Teaching in Seoul is a wonderful way to experience one of Asia’s greatest metropolitan cities. Gone2Korea works with many great schools throughout Seoul and the surrounding Metropolitan Area (a.k.a. Gyeonggi, or the Capital Region, or Greater Seoul) with new full-time positions available all year long.

Let’s get this out of the way first

Teaching Jobs in Seoul are Competitive

Although schools in Seoul hire 1000’s of new western English teachers every semester – one of the top English teaching destinations in the world by job count – opportunities in this city are still competitive compared to other locations across the country, with the exception of Busan which is also quite competitive.

Why is Seoul competitive compared to other locations? Because a large major of people searching for teaching opportunities in Korea tend to favor Seoul as a working location. As a result, schools in Seoul get to review lots of candidates for each job vacancy. This allows them to be quite ‘selective’ with their hiring practices, which in turn, makes the job market more competitive for teachers.

Seoul Public School Jobs (SMOE)

We understand the draw to working for the Seoul Office of Education. It’s a great gig in a fabulous location, what’s not to love!  Unfortunately, the SMOE only hires 30-50 new foreign teachers every semester, but there are 1000’s of people, many of whom are education majors and licensed teachers, pursuing them. In short, it’s incredibly hard to land a public school job in Seoul because you need good credentials, you need to apply very early and most importantly, you need to be incredibly lucky. SMOE jobs are the most coveted positions in Korea for a reason… they’re rare and competition is fierce!

Worth Noting

SMOE’s internal recruitment program merged with EPIK years ago, this means it’s no longer possible to apply directly to the SMOE for public school jobs. Alternatively, applicants now have to apply through EPIK and list Seoul in the preferred location field. Furthermore, job counts with the SMOE continue to decline because of budgetary constraints (they no longer hire foreigners for the middle and high schools) and a renewed interest in Korean English teachers.

Primary Teaching Options in Seoul

Seoul Private Language Schools (hagwons)
many jobs
Seoul Public Schools (SMOE)
limited jobs
Private Schools, i-Schools & Universities
rare
Seoul Business & Corporate Teaching
scarce
Private Language Schools
Private schools, known as hagwons in Korea, is where the big demand for foreign teachers resides. There are hagwons for every student age group, although the vast number of these schools cater to K1, elementary and middle school students. In many cases, this sector is the only viable option for people with limited teaching credentials.
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Seoul Public Schools
Public school jobs with the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) are probably the most coveted positions in the country. Because of budgetary constraints, and a renewed interest in English speaking Korean teachers, jobs available to foreign teachers are only at the Seoul elementary schools. Unfortunately, the middle and high schools no longer employ western staff.
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Seoul i-Schools & Universities
There’s a sizeable number of private schools, international schools, and universities in Seoul. Many of these institutions employ some foreign staff but as you can probably imagine, they only hire highly qualified teachers. Furthermore, face-to-face interviews are often required so being in Korea is key to landing one of these highly lucrative positions.
Corporate Jobs in Seoul
The Seoul Capital Region is home to many multinational corporations, including Samsung, LG and Hyundai, just to name a few. Many department managers, sales reps, etc. of these companies need to maintain their English-speaking skills. As such, some companies hire westerners to teach, train and maintain their employee’s English abilities. Some companies even offer free language training classes to their factory workers.
The Pros & Cons of Working in Seoul
PROS
CONS
Common Seoul Questions

There are new full-time positions available all year long. However, February/March and August/September are the two peak hiring periods, commonly described as the spring and fall hiring sessions. As you’ve probably guessed, these hiring periods are aligned with the school semesters.

There isn’t a yes or no answer to this question, what you do or don’t need really depends on the job you want to pursue (public or private) and your other teaching credentials, or lack thereof. Having a TEFL certification that consists of 120 course hours or greater, is mandatory for all public school jobs; unless you have an education major or valid teaching license. Being TEFL certified is not mandatory for private school jobs, although it’s definitely worth having on your resume because Korean schools take it into consideration when they’re reviewing applicants. In short, having a TEFL certification will make your application more competitive. If you’re thinking about get your TEFL then we recommend TEFL Source – it’s a comparison site where you can find lots of accredited courses with competitive enrollment prices.

Because of tuition laws, teacher salaries in Seoul are comparable to salaries in other parts of the country. Teachers with no formal teaching experience can expect to make somewhere between 2.0 – 2.3 million KRW a month for 110 – 120 hours of classroom teaching. Education majors and licensed teachers can expect to make a little more, typically in the 2.3 – 2.7 million KRW a month range. There are some jobs that pay 2.8 and higher, but it’s not very common.

Seoul proper, is it’s own independent city and the capital of Korea. The Seoul metropolitan area, also known as the Capital Region, Greater Seoul or Gyeonggi, is the urban area surrounding Seoul. The Seoul metropolitan area constitutes all the satellite cities on the outskirts of Seoul such as Suwon, Ansan, Anyang, Bucheon, Bundang, Ilsan, Suji, and Yongin. When combined, this area has an astounding population of more than 25 million people, making it one of largest and most densely populated urban areas on the planet.

This obviously depends on your preferences, both options have their positives and negatives. Seoul is definitely more entertaining although it’s also more expensive, more polluted and extremely crowded.

If you speak to people who live downtown then they’ll likely tell you it’s the place to be. Likewise, if you speak to people living in the satellite cities they’ll likely tell you it’s better to live there and travel downtown by subway when needed. Either way, both locations offer an exciting teaching experience in one of the world’s most amazing urban areas. It’s worth noting that the entire Seoul Metropolitan Area is connected by the Seoul Metro Subway System and traveling between districts is simple and painless.

Competition in the greater Seoul region is less competitive than the central area. If you request central Seoul, but we’re unable to help, then considering options in the metropolitan area is an excellent alternative.

Thanks for checking us out, we’re glad you’re here!

Gone2Korea is your connection to full-time teaching jobs in South Korea. Western graduates, primarily from the US, Canada, UK, and Australia, use our services to secure jobs with trusted Korean schools, and schools use our services to find and hire enthusiastic teachers from the West.

Worth noting: We’re not a job ‘sourcing’ agency or recruiter that finds new schools on the fly. On the contrary, we work with a select group of schools and programs that we know and trust. 

In addition to helping you land a job, we’ll also be helping you with your work visa, departure, arrival, and offering support for the entirety of your contracted term.

Prior teaching experience and related degrees are NOT prerequisites for teaching in Korea. Here’s what you’ll need in order to qualify.

Korean schools and programs offer western English teachers highly competitive benefits packages which includes: