4 Ways to Overachieve on the Basic Requirements to Teach in Korea


You’ve been waiting for this for quite some time now.

It’s time to finally start your journey to living and teaching English in South Korea!!

Maybe you’re in your final year of university or a few months out from quitting your job, or maybe you’re in between jobs.

Regardless, it’s time to make your Korea daydreams reality. You know you meet the BASIC requirements already. And just to be safe, let’s go over them now and check them off one by one.


● Citizenship from one of these English-speaking countries: U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand (Check✅.)

● Bachelor’s degree/diploma from an accredited college or university (Check✅.)

● Clean National level criminal record check (Future Check✅.)

● Clean health check and drug test (Future Check✅.)


So what can you do to get like.. eligible, eligible?

Who do schools reaaally look for?

Not just who can apply, but who actually gets chosen?

I’ve met plenty of English teachers in Korea, I’ve also been on the other side watching employers sift through applications, and on top of that, I’ve helped women like you successfully make it through the application process.

But without evening getting into things like essays, interviews or lesson plans, let’s go over 4 ways you can be eligible, eligible.


A Bachelor’s degree is the minimum, so of course having a Master’s degree will put you above average but so can a TEFL certification.


Now I’ll be the first to let you know that you do not need to drop thousands on a TEFL course but today we’re talking about ways to be super duper eligible. The money spent on a TEFL certification isn’t what would make you stand out but rather, taking a course that is over the standard 100 hours or even better, a course that has an in-class component.

Again, these are NOT necessary.

The only region that requires an in-class component is Busan.

So don’t sweat it if your TEFL certification is fully online and from Groupon (that’s what I usually recommend for those who aren’t looking to spend a ton but want the credentials).

However I’ve come to realize that I tend to work with and get questions from overachievers —are you one of them? ;p

If you’re looking to not only look good and get extra brownie points during the hiring process but also feel more prepared, then a longer course or in-class course is a great option!


If you don’t have teaching experience, you’re probably feeling a little insecure about teaching a full class of students who don’t understand English—let’s be honest, very insecure.


Your insecurity has the potential to show itself in your application, through your essays and even more, in the interview.

Squash this insecurity AND have a more solid background (for yourself and future employer) by getting some experience under your belt.

Go out there and teach!

It can be informal teaching, such as assisting with Girl/Boy Scouts, coaching a club sport, leading a church youth group or counseling at summer camp.

Another way is online English education. The online English market is BOOMING and there are tons of platforms nowadays, specifically for teaching students in China. Shameless plug here, I am a teacher for VIPKID (affiliate link coming) and genuinely love this company. They literally improve and grow every day. If interested in becoming a VIPKID teacher, so you can have actual ESL teaching experience on your resume before applying to teach in Korea, click here.



A lot of people get tripped up on this because they aren’t sure what counts as “living” abroad. Now, just to be clear, I always recommend you mention any and ALL experiences abroad in your application. Because even during vacations you learn, interact and grow from cross-cultural communication and interactions.

But maybe moving to Korea is going to be your first time abroad?

Making yourself uber eligible in this way may be hard to swing because it involves being able to take some time (and money) to travel abroad.

But I want to share with you one way that one of my clients was able to do this and that’s through workaway.info.

This gem of a site is the world’s leading community for sustainable travel and cultural exchange.

For many of these experiences, in exchange for staffing a guesthouse, or working as an English language partner, you get free housing! And for most of these guesthouses, basic foods like ramen, eggs and toast are provided.

How perfect would it be to be able to say,

“Yea, I worked in Korea for 3 weeks, I’m confident in my ability to adjust to the culture", during your interview?!

4. PHOTOS 📸💄


Korea likes its pretty people!

There’s no hiding this.

Whenever you’re showing yourself, whether in the pictures you submit or during a video chat interview, looking good will give you points.

Shallow? Yea.

Reality? Oh, yea.

If you can afford to, get a professional headshot, but honestly with today’s smartphone cameras and photo editing, you can work wonders!

When you get to Korea, you’ll notice that no one looks like their ID cards because professionally photoshopped pictures are basically expected.

There’s no shame in you taking part in this social norm in order to get yourself the job!

And of course, during your video chat interview, make sure you look professional, polished, and neat. No bold, crazy patterns/colors for clothes or makeup and no busy backgrounds.

If you’ve read til the end, you truly ARE an overachiever (I see you) and I commend you!

You are really passionate about this next step in life, and for good reasons, moving to Korea is a life-changing experience.

You most likely want to get accepted on your first try and so you’ve been reading up and watching as much Korea content as possible to put yourself in the best position for success.

Maybe you’ll be able to implement one or a few of the above eligibility hacks listed above!

Making yourself super eligible won’t be worth it if you can’t navigate the tedious application process. Stay organized with my Roadmap to Korea Checklist (download here)!