Teach English in South Korea

Salaries

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Kirsten Colquhoun
February 28, 2024

Table of Content

Other benefits available
Where teachers earn the most
South Korea cost of living
Saving as a TEFL teacher
How to start teaching

South Korea is a popular choice for TEFL teachers. South Korea offers loads of teaching jobs and is known for its generous salaries. But contracts do vary according to the type of position and the location, both in terms of working hours and salary packages.

 In South Korea, you’re likely to find a teaching position in a public school, a hagwon or private school, or a university.

A public school teaching position will earn you a monthly teaching salary of ₩2.2 million to ₩2.75 million ($1,700 to $2,100).

At a hagwon/private school, the average salary starts from ₩2.2 million to ₩4 million ($1,700 to $3,000).

Your monthly salary at a university is much higher and can start from ₩2.5 million to ₩4.1 million ($1,900 to $3,100).

In addition to salary, what other benefits may be available?

South Korea offers generous salary packages to TEFL teachers.

For the majority of teaching jobs in South Korea, it’s likely that you’ll be reimbursed for your flights and given rent-free accommodation. Public schools offer a pension, and some schools contribute towards your medical insurance. You may be entitled to a settlement bonus on arrival, as well as a completion bonus on completion of your contract.

Paid holidays are plentiful, from two to four weeks a year, depending on your school.  

Where in South Korea do teachers earn the most?

Though this is not true for all positions, higher-paying jobs are found in the bigger cities of Seoul, Daegu and Busan. 

However, there are positions in more rural areas which offer high salaries as a way of attracting teachers to their schools. 

At the same time, living in smaller cities and rural areas means you will save money on living costs.

How much is the cost of living in South Korea?

The cost of living varies between regions in South Korea. Urban areas are quite a bit more expensive than the rural areas. A basic rule of thumb is that the bigger the city, the more expensive the cost of living.

Seoul is the most expensive city to live in, followed by Incheon, Jeju Island and Busan. A single teacher in Seoul can expect to pay around ₩1.5 million ($1,100) a month on living costs, excluding rent. 

Is it possible to save in South Korea as a teacher?

Most definitely. The low costs of living and generous salaries allow TEFL teachers to live well and save at the same time.

The TEFL Academy alumni tell us that it’s possible to save around ₩1.3 million ($1,000) a month – or even more if you’re careful!

 Our top tips to save money in South Korea:

  • Tune your taste buds to local tastes. Local produce and products at groceries stores are much more cost effective than trying to find Western equivalents.
  • Save your BIG nights for special occasions. Going out on the town is expensive, especially at the fancy clubs in Seoul. 
  • Curb your shopping habits. South Korea is a shopper’s paradise but those cute phone cases are sure to suck your wallet dry.

How to start teaching English in South Korea

Finding a job in South Korea is pretty straightforward, though it may take a while. 

The first step is to get a reputable, internationally-recognised TEFL qualification. The next step is to gather your documents: your CV, passport, apostilled degree, and reference letters. Check out online jobs boards and start applying. 

Once you have a contract in hand, be sure to read the small print carefully to find out exactly what you are getting in terms of remuneration. Remember to consider all the benefits you are receiving to truly assess your salary package.

Table of Content

South Korea is a popular choice for TEFL teachers. South Korea offers loads of teaching jobs and is known for its generous salaries. But contracts do vary according to the type of position and the location, both in terms of working hours and salary packages.

 In South Korea, you’re likely to find a teaching position in a public school, a hagwon or private school, or a university.

A public school teaching position will earn you a monthly teaching salary of ₩2.2 million to ₩2.75 million ($1,700 to $2,100).

At a hagwon/private school, the average salary starts from ₩2.2 million to ₩4 million ($1,700 to $3,000).

Your monthly salary at a university is much higher and can start from ₩2.5 million to ₩4.1 million ($1,900 to $3,100).

In addition to salary, what other benefits may be available?

South Korea offers generous salary packages to TEFL teachers.

For the majority of teaching jobs in South Korea, it’s likely that you’ll be reimbursed for your flights and given rent-free accommodation. Public schools offer a pension, and some schools contribute towards your medical insurance. You may be entitled to a settlement bonus on arrival, as well as a completion bonus on completion of your contract.

Paid holidays are plentiful, from two to four weeks a year, depending on your school.  

Where in South Korea do teachers earn the most?

Though this is not true for all positions, higher-paying jobs are found in the bigger cities of Seoul, Daegu and Busan. 

However, there are positions in more rural areas which offer high salaries as a way of attracting teachers to their schools. 

At the same time, living in smaller cities and rural areas means you will save money on living costs.

How much is the cost of living in South Korea?

The cost of living varies between regions in South Korea. Urban areas are quite a bit more expensive than the rural areas. A basic rule of thumb is that the bigger the city, the more expensive the cost of living.

Seoul is the most expensive city to live in, followed by Incheon, Jeju Island and Busan. A single teacher in Seoul can expect to pay around ₩1.5 million ($1,100) a month on living costs, excluding rent. 

Is it possible to save in South Korea as a teacher?

Most definitely. The low costs of living and generous salaries allow TEFL teachers to live well and save at the same time.

The TEFL Academy alumni tell us that it’s possible to save around ₩1.3 million ($1,000) a month – or even more if you’re careful!

 Our top tips to save money in South Korea:

  • Tune your taste buds to local tastes. Local produce and products at groceries stores are much more cost effective than trying to find Western equivalents.
  • Save your BIG nights for special occasions. Going out on the town is expensive, especially at the fancy clubs in Seoul. 
  • Curb your shopping habits. South Korea is a shopper’s paradise but those cute phone cases are sure to suck your wallet dry.

How to start teaching English in South Korea

Finding a job in South Korea is pretty straightforward, though it may take a while. 

The first step is to get a reputable, internationally-recognised TEFL qualification. The next step is to gather your documents: your CV, passport, apostilled degree, and reference letters. Check out online jobs boards and start applying. 

Once you have a contract in hand, be sure to read the small print carefully to find out exactly what you are getting in terms of remuneration. Remember to consider all the benefits you are receiving to truly assess your salary package.

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