This is an excerpt from my book, How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams. If you’re looking for a university job in South Korea and like what you see, consider buying the book, which is available in electronic form (downloadable to any computer, tablet or smartphone by getting the Kindle App) or paper form.
There are three types of university jobs in South Korea that you can get and the vast majority of job advertisements you see will be for one of these positions.
Your job will often consist of teaching mandatory Freshman (and sometimes Sophomore) English courses. Schools vary in how they administer this. But, it can involve one 3-hour per week course during either the student’s first or second semester. Or, it could involve something like four 1-hour per week courses over the first two years of a student’s program.
You will sometimes be able to teach other classes like writing, presentations, or business English to students in majors like business, airline business, tourism or English. It really depends on the university. Student English levels range from almost fluent to very low. All of these classes involve designing a syllabus, administering tests and homework, and giving final grades.
The Takeaway: Some excellent students!
These institutions offer two-year programs in fields like hair-styling, security or cooking. The students are still required to take English courses. They will likely be extremely low-level and have almost no motivation to learn English. There is usually no opportunity to teach anything besides basic conversation at these places.
This job is similar to the one above in that you will have to design a syllabus, administer tests and homework and give final grades.
The Takeaway: Often terrible students, but also very low expectations in terms of teaching skills or results.
These are hybrid “university + hagwon” positions, which are located on university campuses. You will teach mostly university students and some adults from the wider community, but quite likely some children as well (if not mentioned explicitly in the job advertisement, you should ask about this in the interview).
None of your classes will be for official credit so there are no tests or grades and you will teach things like basic conversation or run English discussion clubs. Your students will often be quite motivated because they have chosen to be there, unlike the previous two positions where students attend your classes because they must fulfill academic requirements.
The Takeaway: more hours + less vacation than the previous two jobs, but usually the most highly motivated students.
What About Public School or Hagwon Jobs in Korea?
Along with university jobs, by far the most common English teaching jobs are at Hagwons and public schools. A hagwon is basically a “cram” school where students go after school for English classes. You may also find some daytime ones that operate as English preschools.
Public schools are just like they sound—where Korean students go for most of their days. The role of the foreign English teacher is as kind of an English teaching assistant to the Korean teacher. However, in some cases, you will be teaching on your own, particularly for summer and winter camps.
Are these Jobs Any Good?
So, what’s the deal? Are these jobs any good? In some cases, some of the them are excellent jobs and are even on-par with university jobs. This is quite rare though.
At hagwons, you’ll run a serious risk of getting ripped off, in either a big or small way. While in public schools, you’ll get paid on time and in full, there is a whole lot of bureaucratic crap as well as desk warming during summer and winter vacations which can be annoying.
They can be a stepping stone on your way to bigger and better things and it’s a way to get your boots on the ground in Korea though, along with a local reference or two.
What are the Requirements for Getting a University Job in Korea?
Having these basic qualification will get your foot in the door. However, it’s very competitive these days and you’ll need to bone up your resume!
How to Get a Uni Job in South Korea
If you’ve got your eye on the prize and want to get yourself a sweet uni gig teaching English in Korea, then you’ll need to check out this book: How to Get a University Job in South Korea.
It’s packed with all sorts of information, including resume tips, networking skills, serious mistakes to avoid, interviews, and more. You can easily find it on Amazon in both digital and print formats.
Learn more about it here, but only if you want to get a leg up on your competition.
What Do You Think about the Kinds of Uni Jobs in Korea?
Are there some university jobs in Korea that are far better than the others? Leave a comment below and let us know which Korean university job you have your eye on.
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Last update on 2019-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API