Requirements for Private Language Academy Jobs in Korea
Hagwon (private language academy) jobs are the primary types of ESL teaching jobs in Korea. These jobs vary from school to school. There are kindergarten, elementary, middle school and adult hagwons. Kindergartens run in the morning and early afternoons, while middle and high school hagwons run from the afternoons to well into the evening. Adult hagwons usually hold classes in the mornings and then again at night when students are not working.
Hagwons are a great place to start your ESL teaching career. Other kinds of jobs are competitive and require more qualifications, while hagwons are fairly easy to get. Hagwons are also located all over Korea. You can have your choice of location, including busy metropolitan areas like Seoul. Pay at hagwons generally starts a bit higher than in the public school board, and can range between schools greatly. Entry-level pay for hagwon jobs is around 2.1 million KRW to 2.4 million KRW per month. It is not common to find a job less than 2.1 million KRW and yet it is possible to find jobs more than 2.4 million KRW.
The downside to hagwon jobs is that they can be unstable because they are owned and operated by individuals, not the government. There is a small risk that hagwons can go bankrupt leaving teachers without work and pay. While it’s true that some hagwons have a bad reputation, they can also be wonderful experiences.
The best way to ensure that you land a good job is to do your research. Talk to the director and the other teachers. Clarify all questions you have and read the contract thoroughly before signing it. If you proceed with some caution and lots of awareness you won’t have any problems!
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Hagwon ESL Teacher Base Requirements
Documents Required for Hagwons Jobs
Each hagwon application is slightly different, but most jobs just want to see some basic documents. Send these things to your recruiter via email:
Hard Copies of Documents Required for Hagwon E-2 Visa Application
Send all of the documents listed below to your recruiter once you have accepted the job and sign the contract (in ink). Although these documents are not needed to secure a job at a hagwon, they are needed to apply for your working E-2 (ESL teacher) visa. These documents are specific and it is important to take care in preparing them. If you make a mistake you must do them again. As well, it can take time to gather this paper work, so start preparing early. It is advised to begin even before you have a job secured because they are needed for every job. The whole process goes much faster if you have these things ready to send to Korea. That just means you’ll be living comfortably in your new house in a new country that much sooner!
Employment contract signed by you and the employer
It must be signed by you and your employer. They will fax or email it to you; you must print it out, sign it and send it back with all the rest of the documents.
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 be a teacher. 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!
A copy of your degree must be notarized and apostille-authenticated 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/consulate, 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.
Criminal Records 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 embassy/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.
à Tip: It usually takes a while 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.
Your Resume or Job Application Form
Some jobs request you send a resume while other jobs have a standardized resume-like a form to fill out. In any case, you should have already sent these through when you first applied for the job. However, Korean Immigration usually likes to see it too.
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.
Four Color Passport Photos
They should follow the correct passport format. That means no smiling and ears must be showing. It should be taken above the shoulders and straight on.
Information on Criminal Background Checks
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.