southkorea salary

Teaching English In Korea Salary: How Much Can You Earn?

Are you considering teaching English in South Korea? You’ve probably heard that it can be a great way to make money and live abroad, but you might not know exactly how much you can earn and save.

In this article, you’ll learn about the average salaries you can expect from teaching English in Korea. We’ll detail the different kinds of teaching positions available, so you will have a good idea of which type is the best fit for you. We will also discuss the associated costs of living in South Korea and tips for increasing your income, so you will have a well-rounded idea of your budget and earning potential.

Key Takeaways

  • The main types of English teaching you can do in South Korea are through public schools, private schools, universities, international schools, and private tutoring
  • Public schools are the most stable, with set pay scales
  • Hagwons are private schools that cater to after-hours students and professionals
  • Korean universities have the most competitive salaries but less jobs available
  • Korean international schools offer access to expat communities and wider teaching subjects
  • Private tutoring online can be a great source of side income, if your visa allows for it

Quick Answer: How Much Does an English Teacher Earn in South Korea?

South Korea offers one of the most competitive salaries for teaching English abroad. However, the compensation packages depends on several factors such as the type of teaching institution and where you live. The official currency for South Korea is the South Korean won (KRW), and the exchange rate as of 2023 is approximately ₩1,300 KRW per $1 USD.

You can expect to earn between $1,850 to $2,650 USD per month as an English Teacher in South Korea, with free housing and flight reimbursements included for some positions. With these attractive compensation packages, teaching English in South Korea is an excellent path for anyone looking to have an impactful and immersive experience living abroad, while still building savings.

You’ll have the chance to make a difference in people’s lives and to experience a unique and exciting culture. On top of that, you’ll be able to save money while having the chance to explore a new country and the surrounding region. All in all, teaching English in South Korea is a great way to make a living while experiencing all that the country has to offer.

In South Korea, there are five main institutions for teaching English. These include public schools, private schools (hagwons), universities, international schools, and private tutoring. The salary you make depends on which institution you work for, so continue reading to learn more about what each avenue entails.

South Korean English Teaching Salary by Type

Teaching English in South Korea can be very rewarding, experientially and financially. Salaries for teaching English in South Korea vary depending on the type of institution you choose to work for.

Korean universities offer the highest salaries, followed by private schools, and then public schools. International schools offer similar levels of pay, but there are less of these jobs available.

You can also make money on the side by teaching English online to Korean students, or offering private tutoring in Korea. However, private tutoring is only legal under certain types of working visas.

Public School Salary

Public school English teachers in South Korea can expect to make a monthly salary of $1,200 to $2,450 (₩1.5 to ₩3 million).  This salary is determined by an established pay scale for government employees, adjusted yearly for demand. Public school salaries also depend on your teaching experience and employment location.

Public schools offer one of the most reliable English teaching positions, since government funding is stable and pay scales are preset. There are three main programs that place teachers in public schools:

  • EPIK (English Program in Korea): Teachers in EPIK make an average monthly salary of $1,450 – 2,180 (₩1.8 – ₩2.7 million). EPIK is the largest employer for English teachers in Korea, as it is one of the less competitive programs. Teachers who work in rural areas or at multiple schools receive a monthly bonus.
  • GEPIK (Gyeonggi English Program in Korea): Teachers in GEPIK make an average monthly salary of $1,600 – 2,000 (₩2 – ₩2.5 million). Gyeonggi is an urban province surrounding Seoul, allowing teachers to live within an easy commute to the capital and other major satellite cities such as Suwon.
  • SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education): Teachers in SMOE make an average monthly salary of $1,600 – $2,400 (₩2 – ₩3 million). SMOE guarantees teachers a place in South Korea’s capital city of Seoul. While the cost of living is higher in the city, the salary is reflective of the costs.

In addition to monthly pay, teachers can also expect EPIK and GEPIK programs to cover their monthly housing costs and flight reimbursements.  These generous benefits afford teachers a high quality of living and opportunities to save money easily.

Private School (Hagwon) Salary

Private schools, or Hagwons, offer more flexible teaching hours and higher salaries, as they are catered to students that study English after school. The average salary for English teachers at Hagwons range between $1,500 to 1,900 (₩1.9 to 2.4 million) per month. The compensation packages vary based on experience, qualifications, and private negotiations.

When teaching at Hagwons in South Korea, you can expect to have a more diverse range of students, from kindergarteners to after-school primary students to adult professionals. The work hours are also more flexible, but there are less holidays given than in public schools.

Private language learning centers in South Korea are a great place to work for English teachers who value flexible work schedules and want higher starting pay than public schools offer.

Korean University Teaching Salary

South Korea has over 400 universities, the majority of which offer English language learning classes taught by native speakers. Salaries for teaching English at universities in South Korea typically range from $1,800 to 2,800 (₩2.3 to 5 million) per month.

English teaching positions at universities in South Korea are highly sought after, as they can offer more independence, less working hours, longer vacations, and mature students. You can also expect to receive travel and accommodation expenses in addition to the salary.

With the right qualifications and a bit of patience, you can find yourself in an enviable lifestyle with a university-level teaching job in South Korea.

Korean International School Salary

Working at a Korean international school can provide a stable salary of $1,450 to 2,250 (₩1.8 – 2.8 million) a month. The benefits of teaching at an international school are numerous – access to an expat community, a familiar curriculum, and the ability to teach other subjects besides English.

Plus, international schools may pay partially in won and partially in an international currency like the US dollar. If you are building savings, this will help you save costs from converting your pay into your home currency when you decide to leave Korea.

Although the position is attractive, there are fewer of these jobs available compared to other English teaching positions in South Korea. However, if you do land one, teaching English at a Korean international school is a great way to experience a whole new culture, be part of a unique expat community, and possibly pivot to teaching different subjects.

English Tutoring to Korean Students Salary

Being a private English tutor to Korean students is another option for English teachers abroad to make additional income on the side. Depending on the number of hours worked, online English teachers can earn an additional $800 to $1,600 USD ($1-2 million KRW) from tutoring.

However, it’s important to be aware that private tutoring is illegal if you’re in South Korea on an E-2 visa. Your visa is granted on the basis that you will work for one specific employer for the duration of your time in Korea, so be sure to check the rules of your visa before accepting any tutoring jobs.

There are a host of companies that offer online tutoring services, connecting English teachers to Korean students. Depending on the company, you can earn anywhere from $8 to $25 per hour teaching online English classes, on your own schedule. The requirements and pay vary for each company. Below is a comprehensive list of the main employers for teaching English online in South Korea.


  • Focuses on IELTS exam preparation
  • Pays up to $20 per hour

Global IT:

  • Requires a bachelor’s degree and teaching experience
  • Pays up to $14 per hour

Tutoring Go:

  • Audio-only platform with flexible hours
  • Pays between $10 and $14 per hour

Carrot Global:

  • Focuses on adult Korean students
  • Offers video and audio lessons
  • Pays up to $17 per hour

Global VCC:

  • Focuses on Korean teenagers and children
  • Pays $15 per hour

Boku Tutors:

  • Prepares Korean students for studying abroad
  • Pays up to $18 per hour for native English speakers

Nil English:

  • Hires North American teachers
  • Requires a commitment of at least 10 hours per week
  • Pays between $12 and $17 per hour


  • Offers video and audio classes
  • Pays $17 per hour for audio classes and $20 per hour for video classes


  • Hires both native and non-native teachers with good English proficiency
  • Pays between $10 and $15 per hour


  • Focuses on adult and college students
  • Prefers college students or graduates with an education major
  • Pays around $8-$10 per hour


  • Pays between $15 and $25 per hour

Mentor Phone:

  • Requires North American teachers with teaching experience, a university degree, and a TESL/CELTA certificate
  • Pays CAD 18 per hour

English Aloud:

  • Offers 1-to-1 classes with Skype, based in South Korea


  • Prefers North American teachers with a university education
  • Pays $2 for each 10-minute session


  • Teaches various languages
  • Prefers native teachers but also hires non-native teachers with high English proficiency
  • Pays USD 19 per hour

Every company offers something different, so English teachers in Korea have a good chance at finding an online tutoring position that is a good fit for them. If you’re looking for an extra bit of spending money each month, consider private tutoring!

Cost of Living: How Far Will Your Teaching Salary Go  in Korea?

Living in Korea can be expensive, so it’s important to be aware of the cost of living before committing to a teaching salary.

The cost of housing, utilities, transportation, food, and clothing can vary depending on the location and lifestyle. To get an idea of what you should expect to pay, here are a few examples of the cost of living in Korea (in USD):

  • Average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $325 in rural areas and $482 in city centers (many school employers will assist with housing costs)
  • Internet: $22 per month
  • Dining out: Between $4.85 – 12.12 per person for a meal at a standard restaurant
  • Domestic beer at a bar: $3.23
  • Public transportation: $44.45 for a monthly pass or $1.05 per one-way ticket

With all these costs in mind, you can start to plan your budget and get an idea of what your salary can cover. A frugal teacher living in Seoul, for example, could plan to spend $980 per month on housing, utilities, transportation, food, and clothing.

This number is just an estimate, so it’s important to remember that everyone’s costs will be different. The cost of living in Korea can be high, so make sure to research the costs in your area and budget wisely.

How Much Can an English Teacher Save in Korea?

Saving money in Korea can be achievable with the right budget, allowing you to maximize your earnings. With the right budget in place, you can save up to $1,000 or more each month and up to $12,000 or more each year. It’s important to remember, however, that this is just an estimate – costs will vary depending on the person and location.

In order to save, you’ll need to be aware of the methods available for transferring money from the US or UK to South Korea, and the costs associated with each.

Method Cost Speed
Wire Transfer High Slow
Specialist Provider Low Fast
PayPal Low Fast

Wire transfers will usually cost the most, but can be arranged easily through online banking, visiting a branch, or over the phone. Specialist providers are often the cheapest and fastest way to send money to South Korea from your bank account in the US or UK. PayPal is another cost-efficient and speedy option available, although you’ll need to set up an account with them first and link it to your bank account or credit card.

How to Move up The Career Ladder & Improve Your Salary in Korea

If you’re looking to give your career a boost, there are plenty of ways to increase your income and move up the ladder in South Korea. Here are four ways you can improve your salary:

  1. Get more qualifications: The EPIK pay scale is based on qualifications, teaching experience, and where in Korea you’re teaching. The more qualifications you have, the higher your salary will be.
  2. Stay at your job longer: The longer you stay at your job, the better your salary will be. This can be a great way to increase your salary without having to move.
  3. Move to less desirable locations: If you’re willing to live in less desirable locations, you can easily increase your salary. Some positions even pay more to live in regions with lower living costs!
  4. Look for bonuses: EPIK offers a few different bonuses that can increase your salary such as an entrance allowance, settlement allowance, severance pay, and exit allowance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What qualifications do I need to teach English in South Korea?

To teach English in South Korea, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL certification, and native-level English proficiency. You’ll also need to pass a background check and provide documents like a criminal record and medical check.

What are the visa requirements?

You’ll need a valid passport and a work visa to teach English in South Korea. Depending on your country of origin, you may need to apply for a visa before you arrive. Make sure to check the requirements for your specific situation.

How do I find a job teaching English in South Korea?

There are many online resources for finding an English teaching job in South Korea. Check out online job boards and listings to find potential employers. You can also use your network to connect with people already teaching in Korea.

What is the job market like?

The job market for English teachers in South Korea is vibrant and competitive. Although salaries and exchange rates may fluctuate year to year, the demand for English teachers remains steady. You’ll find a wide range of positions, with something surely to fit your needs.

What kind of support is available for foreign English teachers in South Korea?

Foreign English teachers in South Korea are supported with a range of resources, such as access to job boards, housing assistance, and cultural immersion programs. You can also get help with visas, taxes, and other paperwork.


You’ve learned a lot about the earning potential for teaching English in South Korea. While it’s definitely possible to make a decent living, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Cost of living is an important factor to consider, so make sure to consider your lifestyle preferences into your budget. Also, if you’re looking to move up the career ladder, there are ways to increase your salary.

All in all, teaching English in South Korea is a great way to make a living and enjoy a unique cultural experience. So go ahead and take the plunge, you won’t regret it!