What Qualifications Do You Need to Teach English in Korea – 2024 Guide

Thanks to the internet and other modern technologies, we are not able to do things that were once considered impossible and hard to conceive. At the touch of our fingertips, we can access a world of information, knowledge, and entertainment and spend hours out of our days buys doing things we love.

Considering how easy it is to get in touch with others from all corners of the world, there are also numerous new jobs available that can help you advance your career and challenge yourself like never before. Since everything and everyone is connected, you can go to a distant country and start career there very easily.

Among the most popular jobs for which people are willing to leave their motherland for a few months or years include teaching and tutoring jobs in faraway countries. For the Europeans and the rest of the Western Civilization, these are usually countries in the south and east of Asia where certain subjects and areas of education need foreign expertise.

By far the most common type of work is teaching foreign languages, with English leading the way. While there are proficient speakers all over the world as well as capable teachers to transfer their knowledge onto others, these countries lack enough of them which is why they require help from across the border. One such country is South Korea where people from numerous countries travel to in order to teach English.

If you are interested in a gig like this but lack the information and facts needed in order to prepare, we got you covered. In this article, we will dive deeper into the matter and reveal what qualifications one needs to be a teacher in South Korea. To find out more about this as well as to browse a great selection of jobs, make sure to check out



Traveling to a distant land and teaching foreigners something that was once foreign to you too is not an easy task, mostly because you will have a hard time communicating with the natives since they do not know your language and you do not know Korean. There have probably been those who know enough Korean to hit it off with the locals immediately, but this is a rarity.

It is far more likely for the language barrier to exist and make things difficult both for the teachers and the students. Teaching English in your own country, as a second language, and teaching English as a foreign language to foreigners are two very different approaches, which is why they are also looked at the same.

Teaching English as a Second Language, or TESL for short, exist in countries where English is spoken as one of the official languages or as the official second language, where students’ first language is not English. Teaching English as a Foreign Language, or TEFL, is recommended for countries where English is not the primary nor the secondary language, but a completely foreign one.

To have a successful teaching career in Korea however, you will need the skills and experience of both, or as it is sometimes known, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). In the following sections we will go over the qualifications and skills that you need in greater detail so that you can have all the info you need before making the decision to travel to Korea.

Qualifications Needed


Before you start such a chapter and decide to step out of your comfort zone in order to travel and teach English, you have to make sure that you are a suitable candidate for the positon. Most jobs are full-time, meaning the qualifications necessary make sense and they are needed for the position. First of all, you will need a Bachelor’s degree. This implies that you have finished higher education and have completed three of four years of college, depending on the country and program.

Since the Bachelor’s degree does not imply you are proficient enough in English to teach others, you will also need a language certificate. This is where the aforementioned programs come into play. Most jobs ask for a TEFL, but some give you the option of TESOL, which is a blanket term for several different certificates that all deal with teaching English to foreigners. In addition, you could also have a CELTA, which stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Speakers of Other Languages. By now you have probably figured out that all of these certificates are based on the same premise.

Good news is that these are not considered challenging or difficult to pass if you already speak English well. If you are an upper-intermediate, advanced, or proficient speaker, you should have no problem with preparing in order to eventually take the tests and claim the certificate. If you are a native English speaker or have a Bachelor’s degree in English language (and literature), you will get a job much more easily. Mind that a great deal of positions requires English-speaking nation citizenship, which means that you have to be a USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa native.

Regarding visas, South Korea is not strict with most of the world having no issues. Europe, North, Central and South America, Australia, Japan, and South Africa do not need visas and their citizens can stay between 30 and 180 days. Most of Asia, apart from Japan and Russia, needs visas, as well for almost the entire African continent. However, nations whose citizens make up most of the foreign teachers and tutors have no reasons to worry as they are on the list of accepted countries that do not require visas to cross the borders.

Salaries for these positions range between $1,300 and upwards of $3,000, depending on the school, contract, and amount of work you find. In any case, the job is fun, challenging, and rewarding and it will do wonders for your career and your private life. If you are in a situation to give it a shot, you should not hesitate. Some contracts last a few months, others can give you a chance to spend years in South Korea. Depending on where you are in life, either can be great.

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