University Jobs: Working As A Professor In South Korea
A university job is considered ‘the ultimate’ vocation when it comes to teaching English in Korea. It’s the most coveted and highly sought after position. Teaching English at a university is more laid back. It comes with less working hours per week and more vacation time than a public or Private school job.
Kind Of Jobs Available
There are two types of university jobs available in South Korea. Unigwon and Regular university teaching job.
Unigwons are basically university run hagwon or private English institution. As such, you will be teaching mixed age groups from primary school kids to adults. You will teach 20-30 hours per week and have 2 weeks or less of vacation. Since you will be working in the university’s private language academy, the university students you teach will be the ones who come after class for extra help.
In a regular university teaching job, you will teach adults. Regular university jobs can be further sub-divided into two categories: teaching credit courses and teaching non-credit courses.
Credit courses often pay more and consist of classes that teach regular
subjects in English. For example: Science, Business, Writing, Presentation, Literature, and so on.
Non-credit courses usually pay less and are usually conversation, reading, writing and listening classes.
You need a Bachelors degree or higher. A degree in English related field or in TESOL is preferred but not necessary. Most Korean universities ask for a minimum of 2-years teaching experience if you have a Master’s degree or 4 years teaching experience if you don’t have a M.A.
If you’re going to teach English in Korea, you must be a native speaker. The English speaking countries that are considered ‘native’ are Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and the US. You will also need a federal background check with no criminal record.
These are the basic qualifications. But the more qualified you are, the better. Many universities prefer candidates who have conducted workshops, been published, completed a TEFL course (with at least 120 hours and 6 of teaching practice) etc.
Working Hours And Vacation
Teaching hours are usually 10-20 per week (the standard is around 14-16). For example a contract may call for 15 class hours/week, which is basically 5-6 classes a week. Most university teachers end up teaching only 2 or 3 classes a day as opposed to 6-7 classes a day at the private schools. Furthermore, you may have to keep 3-4 office hours a week for paperwork and student counseling.
On average university positions offer 4 months or more of paid vacation. You may be asked to do some special vacation classes. For these classes overtime rates apply so usually these special classes
Salary And Other Benefits
Salaries vary as do hours. Some universities pay between 1.8 mil won 2.8 million per month. However depending on your qualifications, experience and the location of the university you can make up to 3.7 mil won a month. Overtime pay can vary between 20,000 won up to 50,000.
Other benefits include: university provided housing or a housing allowance of around 300,000-400,000 won per month.
Just like most hagwons, public universities provide an end-of-year bonus equivalent to one month’s salary, private universities usually don’t. Universities in Korea also provide a pension (about 10% of your
yearly salary) and health care. Some universities may pay for your roundtrip airfare.
How And Where To Find These Jobs
The academic year in Korea begins in March. The fall semester usually begins in September. The main hiring season starts in October for a March 1st job. The other hiring season is in the spring for a job opening in September.
Right before the semester starts is another good time to look for jobs because some teachers decide to accept jobs elsewhere at the last minute.
Most universities advertise job postings on the Internet. There are some good websites like: HiExpat, Dave’s ESL Cafe, Gone 2 Korea, Craigslist etc. that are worth checking out. You can also visit the website of the universities and apply online.
Furthermore, there are various reputed recruiting agencies that can help you find a suitable position.
If you’re looking to get a job with few working hours, a comfortable salary and lots of vacation time, give the university teaching job in Korea a try! It may end up being the perfect fit for you.