If you are thinking about teaching English in Korea, probably one of the most important things your want to know before you move to the other side of the world is how much you can save teaching English in Korea.
The good news is you can save ALOT! As an English teacher in South Korea you can easily save $16,000 in a single year. Let’s take a look at how that breaks down in terms of an English teacher’s monthly salary, bonuses, severance pay, and other benefits.
Korea English Teacher Salary and Benefits
Teacher Salary In Korea
A new English teacher in Korea can typically expect to earn a salary between 2 and 2.2 million won per month. That’s approximately $1800 per month.
Once you have one or two years of experience teaching English in South Korea, a teacher’s salary can be anywhere between 2.2 and 2.6 million per month, depending on the type of institution you are working at and the type of English teaching qualification you have.
Below we will look in more detail at the EPIK Teacher salary, Hagwon teacher’s salary, and university teacher’s salary. But first, let’s take a look at some of the other benefits you will receive as an English teacher in South Korea.
Benefit 1: Free Housing
One of the best benefits of teaching English in South Korea is that most contracts include FREE housing or a housing allowance. That means you can save all the money you would usually spend on rent. This is a huge help when you are trying to save money.
You typically have two options when it comes to housing benefits: housing provided by the school, or a housing allowance of around 400,000 won.
The type of housing provided for English teachers in Korea is a ‘one-room’ studio apartment close to the school. The school-provided housing is probably best if you are trying to save money in South Korea.
If you do decide to take the housing allowance and find your own apartment, there are other costs to consider. Most apartments for rent in Korea require a large deposit called ‘Key Money’, which can be between 3 million and 20 million won for a one-room apartment.
Usually, the higher the key money you can afford, the cheaper the monthly rent. So, if you can afford to pay a high deposit, which will lower your rent, you could potentially save more money by taking the housing allowance option. Otherwise, the school-provided housing is probably best.
Benefit 2: Re-signing Bonus
This is another great job benefit that English teachers receive in Korea. After one year of teaching, if you decide to stay at the same school for a second year, you will typically receive a re-signing bonus.
This is usually 2 million won, which is almost as much as a month’s salary. Many contracts, however, will stipulate that if, after receiving your re-signing bonus, you quit within 6 months, you must then return this bonus. So, if you were thinking of re-signing to get the bonus and then skipping town, think again.
Benefit 3: Severance Pay
All full-time employees in South Korea are legally entitled to this benefit. Severance pay is an additional one month’s salary for every year you work in an organization.
English teachers, even foreign English teachers, are entitled to this benefit. That means, if you complete your full 12-month contract, you will be provided with an extra one month’s salary when you quit. However, if you quit before the end of your first 12 months, you are not entitled to this benefit.
You will receive this severance pay when you finally finish working for your employer. If you finish your contract and you decide not to re-sign for a second year, you will be given the severance pay with your last paycheck, or shortly after.
If, however, you continue to work for your employer, you will be provided with the severance pay when you finally resign. The severance pay is equal to one month’s salary for every year you work. This means if you work for the same school for 3 years, at the end of those 3 years you will receive 3 months’ salary.
Severance pay provides a big boost to your savings, especially if you work at the same school for many years. After working for 4 years at the same school, my final paycheck was almost 10 million won!
Types of English Teaching Jobs In Korea
One of the main English teaching programs in Korea is EPIK. EPIK jobs are public school teaching jobs in Elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools. These days, however, many cities/provinces no longer hire native English teachers for middle and high schools. The majority of English teaching jobs with EPIK are elementary school jobs.
Working at a public school with EPIK, an English teacher’s salary can be between 2 million and 2.7 million per month (plus housing) depending on your qualifications and years of experience in Korea. A Teacher can expect to work 8 hours a day (9 am to 5 pm) and to teach up to 22 classes per week.
EPIK teaching jobs have relatively low teaching hours, high teacher salaries, and other benefits including many paid holidays. As such, English teaching jobs with EPIK are potentially very lucrative and a great way to save a lot of money.
Hagwons (Private Academies)
Hagwons are private academies where students would go in the afternoon and evening. At these academies, teachers would usually teach a variety of students from kindergarten to high school.
A typical Hagwon teacher would expect to earn a salary between 2 million and 2.4 million (plus housing) depending on experience and qualifications. Most teaching jobs at Hagwons include 30 hours of teaching per week. Teachers would usually work between the hours of 12 pm and 8 pm, or 2 pm and 10 pm.
University Jobs In Korea
English teaching jobs at universities are the most sort after positions in South Korea. A university teacher would typically earn a salary similar to public school teachers, but with a lot less teaching hours and a lot more paid holidays.
A typical university contract would include approximately 14 hours of lessons per week and summer and winter breaks would be paid vacations. That’s 8+ weeks of paid vacation!
Getting a university job in Korea is, however, very competitive. First of all, to qualify you would need a Masters in Education / TESOL / Linguistics, etc. Most jobs, especially in the major cities, also require candidates to have at least 2 years of experience teaching at the university level.
How Much Can You Save Teaching In Korea?
You Can Save up to $16,000 A Year Teaching English In Korea. Due to the low cost of living in South Korea, and the fact that your school will provide you with a rent-free apartment, it is relatively easy to save $1000 dollars per month from your monthly salary. $1000 x 12 months = $12,000. At the end of completing your contract, you will be entitled to ‘severance pay’ which is equivalent to one month’s salary (roughly $2000). And if you re-sign your contract for another year, you will receive a re-signing bonus (approximately $2000). So that’s $12,000 + $2000 + $2000 = $16,000 dollars of savings in one year!
So, what are you waiting for? Start your career teaching English in Korea and start saving!