Requirements for EPIK

Category : Education/Teaching / Career/Business / Visa/Legal Issues/Tax
Mar 24, 2015

Requirements for EPIK Jobs in Korea


EPIK stands for the English Program in Korea. The program is run by the Ministry of Education. EPIK is also responsible for recruiting native English teachers to teach at public schools across the country including in Seoul, Incheon and the other metropolitan and provincial areas. The region that EPIK does not recruit for is GEPIK, the Gyeonggi-do English Program in Korea. Gyeonggi-do is the provincial area surrounding Seoul. Check the Requirements for GEPIK Jobs in Korea.


EPIK jobs are good. They are stable. You will be paid on time. You won’t get fired suddenly or on any unreasonable grounds. You will receive benefits like health insurance, a pension and severance pay. You will get the vacation days allotted to you and you won’t be forced to come to work if you are sick. The pay scale for EPIK jobs starts at 1.8 million KRW per month and are capped at 2.7 million per month. Pay depends on your qualifications. When you apply for an EPIK position you can indicate which area of the country you would prefer to be situated, however locations are not specific or guaranteed. You will hopefully be placed in that region (or as close to that region as possible). There is great competition for placements in certain metropolitan areas like Seoul, Busan, Incheon and Daegu. If you are not highly qualified with teaching experience you may not be able to work in these regions.


In addition to little control over your job location, another downside to EPIK jobs is the application process. It is also rigorous and long. Read carefully and check over the EPIK website thoroughly before you send any documents. The competition is fierce; you don’t want to lose your chance for an excellent public school job because you forgot one paper or filled in one document slightly wrong.


à Check the official EPIK website for all related information and to apply!


EPIK ESL Teacher Base Requirements


  1. Native Speaker: You must be a native English speaker to teach at any EPIK school across Korea. There are 7 official English speaking countries: Canada, USA, England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland. You must hold a passport from one of these countries, and have lived in that country for at least 10 years. In addition, you must have been educated from grade 7 onwards in the country of your citizenship (or another English speaking country).


  1. Degree Holder: You also need to hold a bachelor’s degree (a 3 or 4 year university degree, not college) from an accredited institution to teach with EPIK. The school of hard knocks doesn’t count. You must have received the degree from a school in an English-speaking country. Most schools are recognized so don’t worry too much if you didn’t go to Harvard or Oxford. Finally, your degree can be in any subject. You don’t have to be an English major to teach English. You also don’t need an education degree or teaching certificate. Once you’ve graduated with your bachelor’s, start job searching!


à Exception: There is a public program called ‘Talk Korea’ for ESL teachers which does NOT require a 3 or 4 year university degree. The program calls for applicants to have either a 2 year college degree/associate degree or 2 years of university education completed. The 2 years of education must be done in an English speaking country and you still need to be a native speaker. See the Talk Korea Website for more information.


Pay Scale Qualifications


Pay Level

Metropolitan Areas

Rural Areas


Busan / Incheon

Other Cities

Jeju Island

Other Areas

Level 3

1.8 million KRW

1.9 million KRW

2.0 million KRW

2.1 million KRW

Bachelor degree in any field

Level 2

2.0 million KRW

2.1 million KRW

2.1 million KRW

2.2 million KRW

BA + 1 of the following:

  • 100+ hour TESOL/TEFL/CELTA certification
  • 1 year of teaching experience
  • 1 year TALK experience

1 of the following:

  • Education degree
  • Master’s degree in any field
  • BA in English or English related field.

Level 2+

2.1 million KRW

2.2 million KRW

2.2 million KRW

2.3 million KRW

1 year full time teaching experience + 1 of the following:

  • BA in an English related field
  • 100+ hour TESOL/TEFL/CELTA certification
  • Education degree
  • Master’s degree in any field

1 of the following:

  • Master’s degree in English related field
  • Master’s degree in any field + a BA in an English related field
  • 1 year at level 2 in a renewing province

Level 1





2 years full time teaching experience + 1 of the following:

  • BA in an English related field
  • 100+ hour TESOL/TEFL/CELTA certification
  • Education degree
  • Master’s degree in any field

1 year at level 2+ in a renewing province

Level 1+





2 consecutive years at level 1 with a renewing province


Application Procedure


  1. Apply via email to EPIK directly or via a recruiter.

You must to send the following together in the same email:

  • A completed EPIK application form which can be downloaded from the EPIK website.
  • 2 reference letters from professional or academic references. The originals must be scanned and then sent electronically.
  1. If contacted, you will have a phone interview.
  2. After that, the recruiter or EPIK will ask you to send hard copies of all the required documents (listed below). It is this part of the application that is complicated and can take time.
  3. If you are offered that job, you will then need to apply for an E-2 ESL teaching visa. Please read the procedure for that in the article, The E-2 Visa for Foreign Language Teachers in Korea.


Hard Copies of Documents Required for EPIK


Send all of these documents to your recruiter or EPIK. Take care in preparing your documents. If you make a mistake, you will not be given a chance to send in what you are missing. The public school jobs are very competitive and someone who has their documents ready will be chosen first.


à Notes

  1. Make sure that your name appears exactly the same on all your documents. Write your full name out including your middle name. Do not use a middle initial. Korean authorities can be very particular about the spelling of applicants’ names, so don’t make a tiny error that could cost your job and experience.
  2. The documents required to apply for your job are not all the same as the documents required by immigration when you apply for your E-2 visa. Again, documents required by GEPIK (the Gyeonggi-Do English Program in Korea), EPIK (the English Program in Korea) and Hagwons (Language academies) are all different. See the following articles for those details:
  • The E-2 Visa for Foreign Language Teachers in Korea
  • Requirements for GEPIK Jobs in Korea
  • Requirements for Hagwon Jobs in Korea
  1. Your employer may also want copies of these documents with an apostille or notarization if applicable. It is advised to get two copies of all your documents so that you may give one to your employer and one to immigration. Also, your potential employer won’t give your documents back, especially if you will be working for EPIK or GEPIK. If you decide not to take the job, you’ll need to do all the paperwork again. Another reason to get at least one extra copy done at the start!


Documents Required


The EPIK Application Form X 2

This application form can be found online. There are different forms for different nationalities. Make sure you download the correct form and fill it in thoroughly and carefully. You will need to print and fill in two copies of the forms. Send them both to EPIK or your recruiter. You also need to sign in ink three times where indicated.


One Color Passport Photo

You need to attach one color passport photo to the first page of one of the copies. Use a paperclip to attach the forms.


Self Health Check

This is a basic health check answered by you. It is done to ensure that you are mentally and physically fit to teach. It is recommended that you have it completed by a doctor although it is not essential. Once you arrive in Korea you must visit a Korean hospital to have a medical done in country. If discrepancies are found between the self health check and the Korean doctor’s examination, you risk losing your visa. In other words, don’t lie!


Degree Certificate

Copies of all your degrees must be notarized and an apostille authenticated on your degree by your local notary authority. Send that copy to Korea, not your original. Bring the original with you to Korea and to the Korean Embassy, just in case your school or the authorities want to double check it’s real.


à Note: If you’re Canadian, you need to get your degree notarized by the Korean consulate as well as the Canadian notary authority. Most countries signed an apostille agreement with Korea so that their home apostille is recognized, but Canada did not. It applies to Chinese applicants as well.


Transcripts x 2

You must send a set of sealed and stamped official transcripts from your university to verify your degree further. EPIK does not require two sets of transcripts. However they recommend that you order two copies in case the Korean embassy asks to see it or in case something happens to the first one. Do not have your university send your transcripts directly to EPIK. Have them sent to your house and then mail them all together with your other documents.


Criminal Record Check

This part of the process gets complicated. You must have a recent criminal record check completed within the last six months. It must be done at the national level for your country. It then must be must be notarized and/or apostille authenticated by your local notary authority. You need to send the original to Korea to receive your visa issuance number and you need one copy to give to the Korean consulate in your home country. Since it’s such a hassle to get, it’s advised to make a few copies of it or if possible get an extra check done at the same time. If you have been living in Korea, apply for a Korean Criminal Background Check instead. See more details below.

à Tip: It usually takes awhile to process criminal records checks. You can visit your police department before you even have a job in Korea as the check is accepted by Korean authorities up to six months after the issue date.


Letters of Reference X 2

You should have already sent these electronically when you first applied for the job. Now you will send the originals. They should be professional or academic references. Your name must be clearly addressed at the top and the signature of the referee should be signed in ink at the bottom. If possible, the letter should be printed on official letterhead. If not, you must include a business card of the referee attached with a paperclip to the letter. You may also print and use an official reference template from the EPIK website.


Passport Copy

Include a color passport copy of the first page of your passport. Make sure your name and information are fully visible and that your passport is valid.


Employment Records (optional)

Employment records must be included if you have teaching experience. If you don’t have teaching experience, you do not need to send employment records of other work history. The employment records should be on official letterhead with a seal of the school. Your name should be clearly printed at the top and your experience should be at least one full year to be accepted by EPIK.


Copies of ESL Certifications (optional)

ESL certifications can increase your pay scale and if you want a job in a metropolitan area you will need it to be competitive with other candidates. EPIK only accepts at least 100+ hour certifications. You will also need at least 20 hours of offline experience and EPIK references in-class certificates. Send a copy with all your documents and then bring your original when you come to Korea.


Information on Criminal Background Checks


  1. Australia: You need a “National Police Clearance Certificate” from the Australian Federal Police in Canberra. Get it certified with an apostille.
  2. Canada: Get a “Certified Criminal Background Report” with a Vulnerable Sector Search issued from your local police department or the RCMP and then notarized from a Canadian notary authority. Canadians must submit their report to the Korean consulate to be notarized once more.
  3. Ireland: Obtain a “Police Certificate of Character” from the local or federal police in your region. Be sure the police include a ‘Vulnerable Sector Search’ or a ‘Sex-offender Registry Search’. It must first be notarized by a notary public and then authenticated with an apostille.
  4. New Zealand: You can’t get a criminal record check in NZ, so request a copy of your ‘Conviction Records’ at your local police department instead. You will need to, then, get it certified with an apostille. It takes 20 days to get your records, so start early.
  5. South Africa: You’ll need a “Criminal Background Report” from the SA Police Services in Pretoria. If you’re not from around there, start the process early to get it on time. You’ll also need to get it authenticated with an apostille.
  6. The UK: It’s called a “Subject Access (Basic Disclosure) Certificate” in the UK. Get it from your local police authority. Request it in advance as it takes about a month and get it notarized after.
  7. The USA: You need a “Criminal Background Check (National Clearance)” done by the FBI. It can take a while if you have to send away for it. It must first be notarized by a notary public and then authenticated with an apostille.
Tags : EPIK. Education. Employment. Teaching.

Lindsey lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea for over 5 years. While there, she dabbled in different areas of work and explored the culture. She spent time teaching elementary students, business English to adults and high school students about college preparation. She also studied Korean, wrote blogs and tasted as many foods as she possibly could including fermented skate fish. Over the years, Lindsey developed a love for Korea and the culture. She is keen to share her knowledge of Korea with others and she will always consider Korea a second home.