TESOL Certification Program in South Korea

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  • Overview

    Get to know the amazing culture of South Korea while becoming TESOL certified in Incheon. After graduation, we’ll assist you with finding a hagwon (private school) job so you can stay in South Korea and teach English.

    • Intensive 3-week in-person TESOL/TEFL certification course in Incheon, South Korea
      • 120-hours of coursework
      • 16 hours of practicum
      • Taught by highly qualified instructors
    • 1-week cultural orientation upon arrival
      • Korean culture and language lessons
      • Taekwondo
      • Palace visits
      • Korean cooking lessons
    • Assistance finding paid work in Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand or Myanmar following your successful course completion*
    • Accommodation during course
    • Two months of comprehensive medical travel insurance
    • Pre-departure and in-country support
    • Visa document support

    *In most cases, we are able to place you with a private school in Korea prior to your arrival for the course!

  • Course Dates

    For those planning to work in Korea after the course, you will start the job search process after your registration. This involves gathering the documents you need for your visa, which can take up to 3 months to obtain. If you want to work in Korea after the course, you need to register at least 4 months in advance.

    Start Date Availability  Anticipated Contract Start
    January 27 – February 21, 2020 FULL March 1, 2020
    March 2 – March 27, 2020 Open – 9 spots April 1, 2020
    April 27 – May 22, 2020 Open – 23 spots June 1, 2020
    July 27 – August 21, 2020 Open – 19 spots September 1, 2020
    August 31 – September 25, 2020 Open October 1, 2020
    October 26 – November 20, 2020 Open December 1, 2020
  • Eligibility

    TESOL Course + Placement in Korea:

    • Native English speaker
    • BA or 4-year equivalent
    • Citizen of the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa
    • Must have studied in one of the above seven citizenship countries since the 7th grade (no later)
    • 21-35 years old
    • NO criminal record (besides very minor traffic offenses like speeding) including underage drinking charges, DUIs, misdemeanors, etc. 
    • Knowledge of and access to Google Drive or Microsoft Word
    • Have a laptop to complete coursework (tablets not acceptable)

    TESOL Course only
    We are able to place course-only students without degrees in Thailand and Myanmar

    • Fluent English speaker
    • Citizen of the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa
    • High school diploma
    • 20-60 years old
    • NO criminal record (besides very minor traffic offenses like speeding) including underage drinking charges, DUIs, misdemeanors, etc. 
    • Knowledge of and access to Google Drive or Microsoft Word
    • Have a laptop to complete coursework (tablets not acceptable)

    All students must show a serious commitment to learning and a willingness to plan and teach in groups and to work reflectively. In order to make sure you gain all of the tools and practice you need to teach English, the course is intensive and involves long days in the classroom, plus homework on nights and weekends.

  • Costs

    $2,500 USD

    A $600 USD deposit is required to register and reserve your spot on the course; the remaining tuition balance is due 6 weeks before your course.

    What’s Included:

    • 3 weeks of intensive TESOL/TEFL training in Incheon
      • 120 hours of classwork
      • 16 hours of student teaching
    • 1-week cultural orientation upon arrival
    • Accommodation during the course (shared housing)
    • International medical and accident insurance (two months)
    • Airport pickup and transfer
    • Job, visa and housing assistance 

    Additional Expenses You’ll Need to Cover (Estimates):

    • Airfare to Korea ($800-$1000)
      • Private school teachers will receive a flight reimbursement from their school
    • Visa fee or any costs associated with obtaining documents required for the visa ($200-$250)
    • Meals and daily transportation in Korea ($20-$25/day)
    • A deposit for your orientation or course accommodation electricity and water usage ($100). Just don’t use your air conditioning like crazy and you should get most of this back 🙂
    • A laptop:  Teachers are responsible for bringing a laptop computer to Korea with them for lesson planning
    • Startup cash to hold you over until your first paycheck ($1500-$2000)
  • Accommodation

    Shared housing in a guesthouse in Incheon is included in your program fee for the month of your course. You will be within a short distance of a metro stop, the TESOL school as well as various restaurants. The exact guesthouse you will be staying in will depend on availability – your accommodation details will be confirmed about three weeks before you arrive in Korea. 

    You should expect to share a room with at least one other student, but you may share a room with up to four other students. This will be booked and paid for on your behalf, but you will need to submit a refundable deposit when you arrive which you will get back as long as the room is not damaged.

    The accommodations will be equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi, air conditioning and heating. Although there may not be a daily cleaning service, there will be one mid-way throughout the course. You may have access to a communal kitchen space and shared living areas where you can study, read and hangout, but this will depend on what accommodation is available at the time of your course. Laundry may be available at your accommodation; but if not, there are inexpensive laundromats nearby.

  • Your Day to Day

    This course is an intense three weeks and students should expect to be at school for the majority of the day, Monday – Friday, and to complete homework assignments every night. Hours at the school are typically 9:00am – 6:30pm. You will do your student teaching either at night after the course or during the day on one of the Saturdays.

    Here is a typical daily schedule:

    8:00 AM Wake up
    7:00 – 8:00 Get ready, eat breakfast
    8:00 – 8:30 Make sure your prepared for today’s class
    8:30 – 9:00 Commute to school
    9:00 – 10:00 First module
    10:00 – 10:15 Coffee break
    10:15 – 12:00 Second module
    12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
    1:00 – 3:30 Practicing lessons with the group and instructor
    3:30 – 5:00 Open study time used for lesson planning, office hours with instructor, etc.
    5:00 – 6:30 Homework, prepare for tomorrow
    6:30 – 10:30 Eat dinner, hang out with friends
    11:00 PM Go to bed

    Although this course should not be taken lightly, as long as you go to class and get your homework done each night, you will do great! It is rare for students to fail this course, but you should be prepared for an intensive three weeks of classes, teaching practice and homework.

  • Accreditation

    Accreditation ensures that your certification course meets quality standards in the level of instruction, the quality of the curriculum, inclusion of a practicum, extent of training and other areas. It ensures that the course’s quality and ethical standards are maintained, and to recognize professional acceptance and recognition in the international job market.

    This course is internationally accredited by the TEFL and TESOL Standards Agency (OTTSA) and meets international TESOL/TEFL course standards.

    International Standards

    Most schools, language institutes and Ministries of Education recognize TESOL/TEFL certifications that meet certain basic standards that are also recommended by leading bodies in the field, including the British Council. These standards reflect those incorporated in to a standard, accredited intensive four-week TESOL/TEFL class and include:

    • At least 100 hours of coursework and training
    • At least 6-20 hours of live practice teaching and observation involving actual ESL students (not peers – no role-playing)
    • External validation and accreditation by a recognized, independent body within the field
  • Job Market

    Job Market at a Glance:

    • Peak hiring season in the spring and fall
    • Legal work permits required
    • Mostly private schools, some public school positions
    • ~$1,700/month, depending on current exchange rate
    • 12-month contracts

    South Korea is has a huge demand for certified native English-speaking teachers in both public and private schools. The majority of South Korea TESOL student graduates will work in private schools, or hagwons, as the private school hiring season is longer and not as competitive as the public school program, EPIK. However, there are some opportunities to work in public schools that hire teachers directly, outside of EPIK.

    Korea offers some of the best benefits available to TESOL-certified English teachers – salaries typically start at $1700 USD/month. Along with this salary, most schools will also offer a free, furnished apartment, flight reimbursement, contract bonuses and health insurance. With only utilities and personal spending to worry about, many teachers can save up to $1000 USD every month!

    Jobs are available with students of all ages between kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. University positions are rare and usually require more robust teaching credentials like a degree in Education or valid teaching license.

    Though you may be able to find a hagwon that offers a 6-month contract, most schools will require a 12-month commitment from teachers. It’s very easy to re-sign and stay longer than your initial contract – many teachers end up living in Korea for much longer than they had originally anticipated!

    Here’s a bit more about our South Korea TESOL Course and job placement:

  • FAQs

    Why should I choose this course?

    You should get TESOL/TEFL certified in Korea if you are looking for a quality training course as well as help finding work in Korea. The majority of students taking this course will find a job soon after finishing the course, and some students have even been able to secure positions prior to arriving!

    How do I know if this course is right for me?

    You should take this course if you:

    • Prefer learning in a physical classroom (instead of online)
    • Want to teach English in Korea
    • Are still in school, but want to teach English when you graduate
    • Get qualified in the summer
    • Are interested in being immersed in a different culture while earning your certification
    • Are seeking the best accreditation from an independent, accrediting body
    • Are a novice teacher: The course offers solid, practical, teaching techniques to ensure you enter the classroom with confidence
    • Understand that a highly qualified, experienced instructor, an exceptional curriculum and excellent accreditation are absolute necessities in TESOL/TEFL Certification training
    Do I qualify to take this course?

    Students must be 18 years old or older, be a native English speaker, and have a BA if they are planning to stay and teach in Korea after the course. Those who do not want to work in Korea will just need be required to have a BA to take the course.

    Where will I do my practicum?

    You will do your live student teaching and observation at the local hagwon (private Korean language school).

    Is Korea safe?

    Korea is generally a very safe country, but it’s advisable to use the same safety precautions you use in your hometown to keep yourself safe. Always be aware of pick-pocketing when near major tourist destinations in Seoul. Just be sure to educate yourself on these tourist scams to be aware of them when you move to Korea.

    Is there a threat from North Korea?

    Although there are tensions between North and South Korea, there is no threat to South Korea at this time. For more information about relations between North and South Korea, please visit the U.S. Department of State website.

    How do I get to the school when I land?

    Airport pickup and transfer to your accommodations is included in your program fee so the school will have this set this up for you. All you have to do is look for your name with the driver after your leave baggage claim.

    Do I need a visa?

    For the TESOL course, a tourist visa is sufficient as it usually allows you to stay in the country for 90 days. If you plan to stay in Korea to teach afterwards, you will have to plan ahead and gather a few documents to bring with you to Korea so you can apply for a work visa once you receive a job offer including a federal background check and various apostilled documents.

    If you would like to apply for a work permit after the course, you will be supplied with a checklist and guides for gathering these documents and the TESOL school staff is very familiar with this process and will help you finish this process in Korea. Keep in mind that you will need to do a visa run to a neighboring country, like Japan, to finalize the work visa so you will need to budget for this trip.

    Do I need to speak Korean?

    It is not required to speak Korean to take the course or teach in Korea. Many Koreans have will know basic English and most street signs will have English translations. However, learning a little of the language before you arrive is always a good idea! There are many programs and apps to help you learn hangul like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone.

    Is it easy to get around?

    Yes! Getting around Korea is easy and affordable with the abundance of trains and buses available all over the country. The Seoul Metro covers a large area of Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi. So, even though you will be staying in Incheon, you will have easy access to the city

    What’s covered in the arrival orientation?

    During the first week, you and the other students will tour Incheon and Seoul, learn about Korean culture and language, take Taekwondo lessons and get to know your fellow students! All the excursions during the first week are covered in your program fee with the exception of metro rides and lunch. Our in-country staff will be leading these tours and are there answer any questions you have and help you get acclimated to your first week in Korea!

    How much money should I bring to get started?

    The cost of living in Korea is likely less than what you are used to, and once you start getting paid you will not have to worry about covering your day-to-day costs. If you plan to teach in Korea after the course, we do recommend having access to at least $1500 USD to hold you over during the course and for the first month that you’ll be working as you won’t receive your first paycheck until you’ve worked a month. If you don’t plan to stay in Korea to teach after the course, you will be fine with $600-$1000 USD depending on how much you plan to go out, shop or travel after the course.

    Will I be able to find a job teaching English in Korea once I’m done with my course?

    Yes! You will receive assistance from the TESOL/TEFL school staff to help you start looking for work during your course. Generally, students don’t have a problem finding a job within a few weeks of the course ending as long as they are actively applying for jobs.

    I identify as LGBTQ+. How will I be supported?

    Greenheart Travel welcomes travelers identifying as LGTBQ+, and is committed to helping you find the best program for you. We can provide information on the cultural norms of our destination countries and are prepared to advise you on the best programs based on your needs and interests. 

    Please read more here.

  • Why Greenheart Travel?

    Greenheart Travel has been working in South Korea for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:

    • 33 years of experience with cultural exchange programs
    • Friendly, responsive, and professional support from your program manager, Kara, who has taught English abroad in Asia and has visited Korea.
    • Connect with alumni and others on the program via our Greenheart Travel only Facebook forums, before you even leave!
    • Greenheart Atlas Program. The Greenheart Travel Atlas is a cultural training interactive guidebook alongside five videos where you will find three main topics covered: Personal/Professional Development, Cultural Understanding, & Environmental Awareness.
    • Our alumni recommend us! GoOverseas.com Reviews // GoAbroad.com Reviews
    • Hands-on support and personal attention every step of the way
    • 24/7 emergency phone number to reach a staff member at any time
    • Pre-departure “Culture Shock and Adjustment” Webinar before you leave
    • Discounts for future Greenheart Travel programs
    • We are a non-profit, mission-based organization
    • Continued support throughout your contract

    We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel teachers and alumni!

    Greenheart Grants

    Greenheart Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country. A Greenheart Grant is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.

    Greenheart Alumni Program

    We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!

    Greenheart Global Leaders Conference

    Each August Greenheart offers full ride scholarships to over 40 alumni to attend our annual conference in Washington, DC. Participants even get a chance to advocate for cultural exchange in a presentation to the US Department of State. You can see more about what GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.

  • Application Process

    1. Start Your Application Here (Approximately 5 Minutes)Greenheart Travel Application. This first step includes things like your name, address and chosen start date and should take around 5 minutes to complete. Once complete, you will receive a link to a digital Terms and Conditions form.

    2. Sign the Terms and Conditions Document (Approximately 10 Minutes): These are our basic policies like cancellation policies, deferral policies, etc.

    3. Fill out your Registration Form (Approximately 10 Minutes): Fill out a simple form to formally register for your course.

    4. Submit your $600 Deposit (Approximately 5 Minutes): A deposit is required in order to apply for the program and is subtracted from your total program fee. After you submit your deposit, we will start to arrange your arrival details!

    5. Schedule your Video Interview! (Approximately 15 Minutes): Once you have submitted your online application and paid your application deposit, you will be asked to schedule a video interview with a Greenheart Travel representative.

    6. You’re Accepted! Woohoo! We are usually able to accept people within a 1-2 weeks of their interviews.

    7. Submit your Placement Documents: We’ll need a short video and a new resume in our defined format after you’re accepted, and we’ll send you the instructions on completing them after you’re accepted.

    6. Balance: Your remaining tuition balance will be due 6 weeks prior to your course start date.

  • Schedule a Call

    Have questions or want to talk to a program manager? Set up a time to have a phone call below.


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