Teaching English in Korea Salary

Truth about Your Teaching English in Korea Salary

With teaching English in Korea, anything is possible!

Who doesn’t want to travel after graduating from university? Drink tea in China, ride a scooter through Vietnam, live like a local in Seoul… talk about the dream. But with student loans and other debt, that dream can seem pretty challenging to fund. But if you were to consider a teaching English in Korea salary, then you are one big step closer to that dream of living and working abroad!

Enter teaching English in Korea!

If you’re a recent grad ✅
with student loans ✅
who likes to travel ✅
Your teaching English in Korea salary could be your perfect opportunity to see the world while paying off your debt.

How much can you save on a teaching English in Korea salary?

Short answer: A LOT! Firstly, we’ve broken down how you can save money while in South Korea:

1: Free Housing

Every school in the country provides their foreign English teachers with accommodations, which means you can say goodbye to spending half your paycheck on rent.

So, curious about what this could mean in real dollars? We’ve compared average 2018 rent prices for a studio apartment in some of our favorite international cities to give you an idea. This is the kind of money you could be saving per month by teaching English in Korea, which includes free accommodation.

Vancouver, BC, Canada $2,100 CAD // $1550 USD (www.padmapper.com)
London, England £1,700 // $2150 USD (https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/london)
San Francisco, California, USA $2,400 USD (https://www.rentcafe.com/average-rent-market-trends/us/ca/san-francisco/)
Melbourne, Australia $900 AUD // $630 USD (https://www.rentcafe.com/average-rent-market-trends/us/fl/melbourne/)

Teach English in South Korea Salary

2: Great Salary

Most Korean schools offer contracts in the range of 2.2-2.5 million KRW per month (depending on your experience), which works out to $1900-$2200 USD per month (and as much as $2900 CAD or $3,000 AUD).

Let’s think about the perks that make this an incredible way to save:

No Rent

Of course, when you don’t have to subtract rent from your teaching English in Korea salary, you can make less money and still save more.

Let’s look at an example. Meet Jenny, a recent University graduate working an entry-level sales job in London. Her salary is works out to $32,000 USD and she shares a flat with a friend:

Working in London Teaching English in Korea
Monthly salary $2,700 USD $2,300 USD
Rent payment $1250 USD $0
Total after rent (take home pay) $1,450 USD $2,300 USD

The bottom line?

Jenny could be saving almost $1000 per month simply through free housing in Korea. That money could go straight towards paying down her loans!

Low Tax Deductions

Country % Income tax deduction based on $25,000 USD annual salary Income lost to tax per year
Korea 3.3% $825 USD
Canada ~ 20% $5,000 USD
New Zealand ~ 15% $3,600 USD
USA ~ 13% $3,200 USD

*note: the ~ values are based on hypothetical situations. Rates vary by region and factor in many costs and circumstances.

As you can see, taxes in South Korea are low. Because of this simple fact, the potential savings are huge!

3: Cheap Travel

How many recently graduated twenty-somethings DON’T have the travel bug? We get it. Adventure calls!

The biggest issue? Travelling is expensive. As I’m sure you are aware, if you’re an Instagram travel influencer (those people have seriously got it figured out), travelling can be costly.

When you teach English in Korea, though, you kill two birds with one stone: you get to make money while you’re travelling.

And once you’re in Asia, travelling between countries is cheap and easy!

Seoul ✈ Tokyo, Japan: $200 USD roundtrip

Seoul ✈ Hong Kong: $250 USD roundtrip

Seoul ✈ Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam: $330 USD roundtrip

Seoul ✈ Bali, Indonesia: $400 USD roundtrip

Teach English in Korea Salary

Most Korean schools offer 10 vacation days PLUS all national holidays, which means you can bet you’ll have time to travel around Asia for a much smaller price tag than if you went from North America.

You’ll be able to live in South Korea, travel to amazing places on your holidays, and still pay off more loans than you would elsewhere.

How to budget with your teaching English in Korea salary

Sounds pretty enticing, right?! However, don’t get us wrong – if you come to this country to teach, you can’t spend like crazy and think you’ll have put a huge dent in your loans at the end of the year. You still have to budget well and spend responsibly.

We’d highly recommend checking out Well Kept Wallet for some FANTASTIC tips on how to budget well.

Let’s look at two possible scenarios for two people with contracts at the same school in Seoul, both making 2.4 million KRW ($2,100 USD) per month:

Spendy Sally (AKA The Girl Who Pretends Her Debts Don’t Exist) Saver Sam (AKA The Budget King)
Income per Month $2,100 Income per Month $2,100
Housing FREE! Housing FREE!
Utilities, Taxes, Phone, Health Care, Pension (The boring stuff) $350 Utilities, Taxes, Phone, Health Care, Pension (The boring stuff) $350
Food $800

She decides to live it up and eats out a ton, barely cooking for herself

Food $200

He cooks for himself most nights, only eating out every once in a while

Shopping $500

She can’t resist that new outfit

Shopping $50

A few new items every here and there

Travel $400

She takes a weekend trip somewhere in Asia every month!

Travel $600

He travels a few times during the year (average $100 per month).

Balance (end of month) $50 Balance (end of month) $1,400

Both Sally and Sam were making $2,100 per month, but Sam was able to save over $1000 of that because he budgeted well.

So, since Sam was a wise little guy, he was able to have the adventure of a lifetime and pay off a good chunk of his loans.

There’s a clear winner here, though, and that you should not be like Sally. Be like Sam. Use budgeting tips from pros like the Well Kept Wallet and being debt-free will come way more quickly.

Teach English in Korea Salary

You Should Probably Do This

Getting out of debt quickly can feel like an impossible task. However, if you put some fiscally responsible practices in place with your teaching English in Korea salary, you’ll be able to experience a new culture, travel, and pay off significantly more loans than you would back home.

Remember, the faster you pay off your loans, the less you pay on them overall. Interest is real, folks. You don’t want to mess with it.

Apply today to get one step closer to maximizing your teaching English in Korea salary

So, paying off debt and having the adventure of a lifetime is definitely within your reach. We’d love to support you through the process – and taking the next step towards your adventure abroad is EASY!

Importantly, follow the link below to fill out our quick application form (it takes less than 5 minutes) and we’ll be in contact with the next steps!

4 Reasons Why You Should Be TEFL Korea Certified Before Teaching

So you’re wondering about becoming TEFL Korea certified before teaching English in Korea? Awesome! It will probably be one of the greatest decisions you make in life and you will no doubt experience a fantastic adventure of growth & discovery, with a ton of fun thrown in for good measure. As you’ve no doubt discovered, embarking on such a grand journey requires various tough decisions. Things like urban or rural? Public School or private school? What do you value in terms of location, salary, benefits, weather & social life?

Certainly, one of the most important questions you will encounter: Do I need to get a TEFL certification? Check out various forums and websites and you will encounter all sorts of answers. And there will be folks maintaining that ‘hey, there are plenty of schools out there that will hire you without a TEFL certification, so don’t bother.’ But the bottom line is that if you want to get a great job and make the most of your experience in Korea, you need to be TEFL certified, and here are 4 major reasons why:

1. Get the Skills You Need to Succeed as a Professional English Teacher in Korea

Let’s say you get on a plane tomorrow and jet off to Seoul or Busan to teach English without getting TEFL certified.  Will you be prepared to teach 4-6 classes a day with 10-20 students each (or even more)?  Would you have the skills to manage a classroom, explain the intricacies of English grammar, or even to communicate with your students who speak little or no English?  What about lesson planning?  In short, do you actually believe that you possess the skills to provide your students with a quality educational experience that will enable them to reach their goal of learning English? And do you believe that students have the right to receive instruction from a trained, qualified teacher?

A quality TEFL certification will provide you with training in all of the major facets of teaching English as a foreign language, including: teaching methodology & practices; classroom management; teaching the ins-and-outs of English grammar; cultural sensitivity training; lesson planning; error correction; use of audio-visual tools; and basic skills that will enable you to communicate with your students despite the language barrier.

Practicum: Any professional-level TEFL certification class will also incorporate a practicum (live practice teaching with actual ESL students) of 6-20 hours. This will provide you with valuable hands-on experience in a live classroom environment and will help you gain confidence and build your skills.  Many employers in Asia and elsewhere only recognize TEFL classes that include a practicum.

Teaching will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life if you gain the basic skills you need to actually function as a professional English teacher.  One of the great aspects of teaching English in Korea is that you don’t need to invest years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars in a fancy degree to do it.

Taking a quality TEFL class will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need to both get a great job and to succeed in the classroom. The vast majority of folks who teach abroad enjoy a great experience. However, one of the primary reasons why some quit their jobs and return home early is because they feel overwhelmed and under-prepared for the job – don’t let this happen to you!

TEFL Korea

2. TEFL Korea Certification Will Qualify You for More Jobs, Better Jobs & Higher Paying Jobs

If you were the owner of a language school in Shanghai, Seoul or Buenos Aires, would you feel comfortable hiring an untrained teacher with no experience to teach classes to your paying customers?  Suppose you are a student – or the parent of a student – would you want to pay your hard-earned money to take classes from a teacher with no training or experience?  Probably not.

The bottom line is that both schools and students want trained teachers with professional level skills as a teacher.  As a result, the vast majority of English teaching jobs in Korea and around the world require a TEFL certification, including many major teaching programs and international schools who typically require a certification (unless you have prior teaching credentials). Even those schools that don’t technically require a TEFL certification are far more likely to hire a job applicant who holds a high level TEFL certification than one who doesn’t.

It is also worth noting that TEFL certified job applicants will typically qualify for positions at better schools with higher corporate standards that often offer the best salary, benefits and professional environment.  Meanwhile, those schools that make a practice of hiring anybody who speaks English regardless of whether they receive training, are typically those schools with the lowest professional standards, which are often cheap when it comes to salaries and benefits.  These are often the lowest quality schools that also care less about their students, as well as their teachers.

What if I am a certified teacher – do I still need a TEFL certification? Any prior teaching experience (especially at the professional level) or education degree that you possess will give you a leg up both in getting great jobs and with your comfort level in the classroom.  That said, unless you have a degree specifically in the field of teaching English as a foreign language, it is still recommend that you get TEFL certified for two main reasons:

  • Most employers still require a TEFL certification as a matter of policy. It is the qualification with which they are most familiar and most comfortable.
  • Like most fields, teaching English as a foreign language requires a specific skill set and knowledge base as well as teaching practices and methodologies. Teaching English grammar to Chinese businessmen or Korean school children is a totally different animal than teaching high school physics or 5th grade social studies. However, becoming TEFL certified will give you the skills you need to succeed in your new environment abroad.

For more on this topic, check out this article!

TEFL Korea

3. Getting TEFL Korea Certified Will Assist You Immensely in the Interview Process

This may fall under the umbrella of the previous point, but it’s important to note that getting TEFL Korea certified will typically prove to be very useful during the interview process for teaching English in Korea. Many schools will ask you straight up about how you might handle a hypothetical classroom situation.  They may ask you about teaching methodology and in some cases you may be asked to provide sample lesson plans.  In almost every interview, you will be asked about experience. And while you don’t have to have prior professional teaching experience, a professional-level TEFL certification will include practicum (live practice teaching) that will at least give you some live classroom experience and experience to draw on should it come up in an interview.

TEFL Korea

4. Korea Job Search Guidance & Alumni Support

Any high-quality TEFL certification organization should provide free, lifetime job search guidance to all students and graduates to assist them with gaining employment teaching English in Korea and/or teaching English online (which is a great way to gain experience and make money even before you head abroad, or to supplement your income once you arrive in Korea). Adventure Teaching may provide you with the guidance you need to get a great job teaching English in South Korea. There are also 80 countries where you may want to teach English later and you will need resources about that. Things like hiring seasons, interview procedures, visas, hiring requirements and more. Getting a job in other continents will all have different processes than getting a job in Asia.

At International TEFL Academy, all of our students and graduates enjoy lifetime access to comprehensive job placement assistance that includes personal assistance from expert advisors. Such as access to hundreds of pages of job boards, school listings, & resume templates; 500-page job search guidance manual; live & recorded webinars; and how-to-get-a-job guides for dozens of individual countries. In addition, our students are able to connect with 25,000 alumni in 80 countries through exclusive channels on social media. Plus connect with others at exclusive meet-ups. Or share their stories in articles, videos and across ITA’s social media channels. These kinds of resources can make the difference when it comes to ensuring a great experience teaching English abroad.

TEFL Korea

So What Kind of TEFL Certification Do You Need?

Deciding to get TEFL Korea certified is one decision – deciding what TEFL class to take from which school is another.  The key is to understand that not all TEFL classes are the same. There are internationally recognized standards that you should look for when looking at your options.  Here are the basics:

  • At least 100 hours of coursework (equivalent to a full-time 4-week intensive in-person class or a part-time equivalent online);
  • At least 6-20 hours of practicum (live practice teaching and observation with a non-native English speaker. Not role-playing with fellow TEFL classmates);
  • An accredited curriculum from a recognized, independent organization within the field;
  • Instruction provided by a qualified instructor(who has an equivalent to a Master Degree in TESOL or related field);
  • Yes, you can take a legitimate professional-level TEFL online that is the equivalent of a top-level in-person class;
  • As mentioned, it is also recommended that you take your TEFL certification course from an organization that provides comprehensive job search guidance.

Luckily, Adventure Teaching and International TEFL Academy have teamed up to provide you with a great option to take ITA’s 170-Hour Online TEFL Class. Widely regarded as the top class in the field.  Taught by university professors (with overseas teaching experience), the class includes a 20 practicum and 150 hours of coursework. Highly interactive with live webinars and videos, designed to accommodate those who are working or going to school full-time.

To learn more about the course and how to register, please check out this link and fill out the form.

By John Bentley – Senior Editor at International TEFL Academy