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Employment

South Korea - Employment


Work as an English teacher is available through various companies, with the desired minimum level of education being a Bachelor's degree. Schools prefer native English speakers, and some prefer North American accents. In most instances, native English speakers from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Republic of Ireland, and Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) are the only applicants that can be considered because the South Korean government usually (information has been inconsistent) just accepts those from the aforementioned pre-approved English-speaking countries.

Native speakers of English who have four-year university degrees may find it easy to obtain employment in one of Korea's many private academies (hagwon). These schools have proliferated in response to perceived failings of the public education system, although there are also hagwons aimed at adult instruction. Often, people interested in these teaching positions find them via professional recruiters. There are pros and cons to teaching ESL in the hagwon system. On the plus side, the money can be quite good. As of late 2005, the average monthly salary is approximately 2 million KRW, and housing is usually provided. It's possible to live comfortably on half of one's salary, and to save the rest. However, it is important to evaluate each prospective employer before accepting an offer; tales of unscrupulous academy owners and incompetent directors abound.

Dave's ESL Cafe and ESL Jobs World have general Korean job ads. Korea-specific sites include a blog called The Daily Kimchi, a job ads site called HI Teacher and the Hagwon Blacklist, which is essential reading. A web search will turn up many more.

University employment is also possible. Those who have a graduate-level degree, preferably in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) may find professional opportunities at the postsecondary level preferable to teaching in private academies.


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