I personally believe that those individuals who come here with their children tend to be more responsible because we have so much more to lose, and I think we tend to stay longer due to the fact that we have our family here.
Just because it is more difficult to get employed here doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. You will be rejected many times, but you must not let that discourage you. When we tried to come back our second year, it took us almost 8 months to get a job offer. If you really want it, you have to be persistent. Don't give up!
What are the requirements to teach in Korea?
- Must be a citizen of one of the following countries: United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or South Africa.
- A Bachelor’s degree in any field.
- TESOL or TEFL 100+ hours (no in-class requirement) (Those who have a teaching license, B.Ed., M.Ed., or majored in Teaching, TESOL, Second Language Studies, or any forms of Education [Physical Education, Math Education, etc.] are not required to have a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate)
- Be a maximum of 62 years of age
What if I don’t have a bachelor’s degree?
Please be aware that the pay for the TALK program is less than if you were to have a Bachelor’s degree (About $1200 a month), and the locations are only in rural areas.
What if I have a Master’s degree or teaching license?
Which recruiting agencies should I use?
One benefit of going with a recruiter is that they may pay for your airfare (not your dependents) so you won’t have to come out of pocket. If it wasn’t for our recruiters when we applied our first year, we wouldn’t have been able afford to come to Korea. If you apply with EPIK directly, you are required to purchase your ticket out of pocket, and then when you come to Korea, your school will reimburse you for your airfare. Just be aware the recruiting agencies will not assist you with finding any information regarding your children (airfare, visas, school placements, etc.)
One suggestion I’d like to make when you are applying for a particular city is that Seoul and Busan are very competitive cities to be placed in. Many applicants want to be placed in those cities so the likelihood that you’ll get placed there as a family is very low. If you pick one of those cities and you are not placed, you could be placed anywhere (rural areas). If you are a family, I would suggest being placed in other cities. The other big cities are still great to live in like Daegu, Gwangju, Daejeon, etc. I currently live in Daejeon, which is a great city for families. It still has all the conveniences of a big city, and there’s still a lot to do. I love it here!
Here is the link to the EPIK website:
Here are a list of recruiting agencies (Some hire for other countries as well):
Website with many Job Postings
(Be careful with job postings on this site. Do your research about the school and area that the school will be located in. If you get asked for an interview, ask many questions and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Never pay for any job searching services)
When is a good time to apply for jobs?
Here is a link to show the EPIK hiring timeline:
Here is a link to show how to apply with EPIK:
What documents should I gather while applying for jobs?
- 2 Letters of Recommendation (Best to use an Employer or Teacher/Professor)
- Resume (List anything where you have dealt with children, volunteer, etc)
- Apply for a Passport
- FBI Background Check (Apostilled)
- University Diploma (Apostilled)
- University Transcripts (Recommend at least 4 sealed copies)
- All children need a passport, regardless of age.
- It can take up to 6-8 weeks to process unless you have it expedited, and it costs around $110 for adults and $80 for children.
- Both parents have to be present when applying for a child passport. If a parent is not involved, you will have to show proof of full custody.
- Here are links that supply information on applying for a passport:
FBI Background Check Information
- The FBI Background Check can take up to 3 months to receive. If you want to apply for a job soon, I’d get started with this ASAP, but keep in mind the background check only lasts for 6 months from the date it was issued, and it needs to be valid when you apply for your visa. If you are offered a position, you typically apply for your visa at least a month or two before your contract starts.
- Instead of going through the FBI directly, you can also use an FBI Channeler to get your FBI Background check. The good thing is that it takes less time. It can take up to 2 weeks to receive, but the costs are a bit more. It may cost around $50 plus shipping.
- The process starts by getting FBI fingerprinting cards (You can download the cards from the FBI website and print them using card stock paper). Most fingerprinting places already provide these cards, just call and ask when you set up an appointment to visit. Get fingerprinted either at a police station or approved fingerprinting place. Send in your fingerprinting card, payment, and forms. Before submitting, make sure you let them know or note on the application form that you need a signature to get it apostilled. An apostille authenticates the document for use in other countries.
If you want to apply with the FBI directly here is their link.
Here is a link to an FBI approved channeler:
- Once you receive your FBI Background Check, there is an additional step. You must get it apostilled by submitting it to the Office of Authentications. Here’s the link with information regarding that:
- You can also get your apostille expedited using the companies listed below. The cost to get it expedited is more expensive than sending it to the Office of Authentications. It costs around $50-100, but you can get it in less than a week. Here are links to get an expedited apostille for your FBI background check:
University Diploma (Apostilled) information:
- You must get your diploma apostilled by the state your diploma was issued. If you are no longer living in the state where you got your diploma, you can pay a company to do it for you. Here is a link to all of the state agencies. It usually lists on each state’s website how to apostille your diploma.
If you apply with EPIK, you must submit an essay and a sample lesson plan.
Always be ready to have a great response when answering the following questions:
“Why do you want to come to Korea to teach?”
“What is your teaching philosophy?”
“How will you deal with cultural differences?”
“What will you do with your children while you’re at work?”
(Give specific examples of anything you’ve experienced first-hand that relates to the question)
(If you have done any kind of work with children whether it was work related/volunteering, or if you have traveled or lived abroad, be sure to reference that in your application/resume/and interview).
What is the salary of a teacher?
What are the benefits?
If you are employed in Korea, your dependents are eligible for medical insurance. Your employer pays 50% of your dependents health insurance and you pay the other 50%. Altogether it’s 4% of your pay, and it’s deducted monthly. Medical Insurance includes dental and vision benefits.
With EPIK, if you are not applying as a married couple, you are not guaranteed family housing. If you are applying as a single applicant, you are only guaranteed a single apartment. A single apartment is usually a small studio apartment (it varies in size, but it’s pretty small for a family). Some schools do provide larger housing, but it’s a case by case basis. If you do get family housing, they are not required to provide more than what is in your contract, so anything your child needs for the home is extra. Your school will provide you one bed, dresser, microwave, refrigerator, stove, dining table, TV, and washing machine. You are responsible for the utilities (gas, electric, housing fees, cable/internet, phone, etc).
How long is the contract? Can I see a sample contract?
What will be required of me as a teacher?
What are the teaching conditions?
How is life in Korea?
Can I just get my own housing in Korea?
Should I apply with a public school or private academy?
How can I afford airfare for my whole family?
One year we used our tax refund to purchase our children’s airfare. Saving the money from your tax refund could be an option. I don’t recommend accumulating debt, but you could try and apply for a 0% or low interest credit card. You could use the credit card to purchase your children’s tickets and then pay it off during the introductory period. The only other option is to save monthly to purchase the tickets. It’s best to have at least $1,000 in spending money, because you will incur expenses once you get here. Please be aware that after you arrive, you will not be paid or reimbursed for your airfare for at least a month.
How do I find childcare or a school for my child in Korea?
Usually, you will not be informed on where exactly you are going to live until you arrive in Korea. It’s best to wait until you know where you’re going to live before you start looking for childcare. If you were to get hired with EPIK, you will have to attend a mandatory orientation program for at least a week. Your children will not be able to attend or reside on campus during that time. You are required to stay overnight during the orientation. You will have to know where you can house your children during that time.
When we went to the EPIK orientation the first time, we left our daughter with my in-laws for a few weeks and paid the airfare for my father-in-law to bring our daughter to Korea. It allowed me enough time to get things situated and find a suitable daycare. If you have someone that is willing to watch your children for a few weeks and bring them over, that could be an option.
Another suggestion is to bring a family member or friend to stay with your children in a hotel during the orientation, and then have them watch your children for a few weeks until you can find childcare.
One year, I was the only one offered a job, so I brought my husband and daughter to Korea anyway. Once we got here, my husband cared for our daughter until we found a daycare. Once we found a daycare, he began looking for a job and found one a few weeks later. It’s typically easier to find a job if you are already living in Korea. If you are married and only one of you is hired for a position, one of you can watch the child until a daycare is found and then search for a job shortly after.
Each time I’ve searched for a daycare, my Korean co-teachers assisted me in finding one. They helped me with researching information, and they also came with me to help register my children. You will need assistance if you don’t speak Korean. Some daycares may be afraid to enroll your child because of the language barrier, but don’t give up. I would always advise them that my co-teacher would help translate if there was ever a problem. Your co-teacher is not required to do this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask them.
If you find trouble finding someone to find a daycare for you, there is an company called askajumma. They help you with any kind of Korean translation. They will look up information for you, order things, and so many others. I heard of some people using them to find daycares in their area.
The good thing about daycares is that even if it’s not close by, they will pick up your child for free.
Here’s a link to daycare information in Korea:
How much do daycares usually charge?
4-6 year olds it's $180/month
2-3 year olds about $240/month
1-2 year olds it's $290/month
0-1 year olds it's $330/month
Can my child go to the school I teach at?
What if my child cannot speak Korean?
There are some English preschools, but they are way more expensive than Korean preschool.
If your child is school age, it will be a bit more difficult for them to adjust. You can still try to enroll them in a public school, but keep in mind that everything will be taught in Korean. They must learn to read and write in Korean. There are private academies and tutors that can help your child learn Korean. Private tutors are less expensive than they would be in the U.S. If your child is middle or high school age, I’d recommend homeschooling. It can be difficult to home school when you are working full-time, but you can also hire a tutor to help you with this as well. If you work at an international school or Christian international school, the curriculum is all in English, and your child’s tuition will be free. This is a good option for those with older children. Some universities have onsite schooling.
If you don’t work at an international schools and you wanted your child to attend one, international schools can be very expensive and range from $8,000-20,000 a year.
When applying should I mention I have children?
What do I do if my child gets sick?
Many big cities have international clinics at some of the major hospitals with nurses or doctors that speak English. Usually they will escort you to the departments you need to visit and help translate for you while you’re there. Many doctors speak English because they have to study in English. Most nurses do not speak English, but there are ways around it. Healthcare is very affordable and widely available. Once my daughter had a fever and an ear infection, and it only cost $12 for the doctor’s visit and her medicine.
If you are ever hired here as a teacher, try not to take too many days off, as this will make it harder for other parents to relocate here. I can count on one hand how many days I’ve taken off. I don’t ever want my school to regret hiring me. Koreans are known to come into work even when they are sick, so the work culture is a bit different from what we are used to. If you feel horrible, by all means take the day off, but don’t make it a habit. Try to save your days for when you really need it.
What if I want to have a baby while I’m in Korea?
Here is an awesome website that offers a lot of information if you ever decide you want to have a baby in Korea:
How can I survive Korea?