Public School Jobs


There is a lot of information on this page. Please take your time to review it very thoroughly. Public schools in Korea have very strict screening processes and are highly sought after jobs.

  • Hire twice a year: March/April (first semester) and August/September (second semester)
  • These jobs are from 8:30am until 4:30pm, even though you most likely finish your classes by 2pm.
  • You will be contracted to teach only 22 x 45 minute classes each week. Anything above this, you will be paid over-time for.
    • You will not have a set curriculum.  You must plan and create all of your units and lesson plans yourself.
  • Your pay will be determined by a set pay structure, and all contracts are signed directly with the Korean government.
  • You will be the only native teacher at your school and you will be at the same school for the entire school year.
  • You will always have a Korean co-teacher in class with you for support and guidance.
  • Teachers can choose their holidays (2 weeks in the summer, and 2 weeks in the winter), based on the school’s schedule.
  • It is common to get bonus holidays with these jobs for special school activity days or test days.
  • Please be aware that you will be the only native teacher at a public school, and since the school likely doesn’t have as much experience dealing with native English teachers the level of support might not be the same as you would find at private schools.

All things considered - lower teaching hours, a Korean co-teacher in class, extra vacation time and government sponsored contracts make the public school jobs a very attractive option.  Though, do bear in mind that more time is required for class preparation.  We think, in hours worked, it all comes out about the same.

Additional information on public schools

The 2 main public school boards in Korea are EPIK and GEPIK. EPIK has recently taken over the hiring for SMOE, which handled inside Seoul.


For EPIK (which covers most of Korea, including major cities like Busan, Daegu, Seoul, etc, as well as all provinces in Korea), except for Gyeonggi-do province which is all handled under GEPIK. Teach ESL Korea has both EPIK and GEPIK jobs available.

Applicants must start gathering documents at least 5 months prior to the date they would like to start.

For example: actual applications for EPIK should be submitted by April 1st, 2013, for the August 2013 semester.

EPIK has finished all hiring for the March and April intake of teachers.

EPIK hires on a “first-come, first-served” basis, as long as you have all documents in hand (submitted), and pass the EPIK phone interview. Additional qualifications on your resume, such as a TEFL course; specific/related university degree; teaching or related work experience will help you get the job over other applicants.

As of 2012, applicants can no longer request their top 3 cities to be placed in.  They can request a “provincial” or “metro city” placement. 

EPIK assigns you your location without negotiation.  You will be asked to “accept” your job with EPIK, prior to knowing where your location will be.

EPIK no longer promises to places couples in the same city. We believe they are essentially trying to slow down hiring couples, whether they are married or not.

EPIK has now cut all middle and high school jobs for inside Seoul city. We expect they will slowly phase out these native English teacher jobs for the rest of Korea, which will reduce the number of available jobs in an already competitive market.

EPIK only wants to hire those with a degree in English, Education or Linguistics. Those with CELTA or TEFL (at least a portion must be in-class) will officially qualify, but will only be considered if EPIK cannot fill all jobs with the above mentioned applicants.

You pay for your own flight to Korea, and are reimbursed 1,300,000 won as a travel allowance after you arrive in Korea. You also receive a 300,000 won settlement allowance for start up costs.
In April 2012, EPIK received 600 applicants for 300 jobs in under 10 days for the Sept 1st intake.
LORs – letters of reference are the most important document for you to work on for your EPIK application. They must be ink signed, dated, on letterhead, 1 full page in length and written strongly in your favor. Please work on these urgently!



Here is our company’s GEPIK website -

GEPIK schools do their own hiring and not through a head office like EPIK. When you interview it will be with a specific school.  Also, unlike EPIK, you can decline one school and hope to find another.

GEPIK schools typically start looking for a teacher about two to three months in advance.  In this regard, it is just like hagwons.  A school contacts us, looking for a teacher – and they review the teachers who are in our database as well as our personal suggestions. They interview 2-5 teachers and hire one of them.


GEPIK (public school for Gyeonggi-do province) and SMOE (public schools for Seoul Metro) have very recently changed their application requirements. Officially, “Category 2” teachers on their pay scale (this is anyone with a university degree and a 100-hour TEFL certificate) qualify.

But, we have found the school board is very strongly leaning towards only hiring those who have a major in English, Education, or Linguistics, even turning down applicants who have experience in Korea or even a Master’s degree.  Some schools have told us they will only consider these applicants first.

In January 2013, GEPIK announced they have cut all middle and high school jobs for native teachers in all cities in Gyeonggi-do province. Some rural placements in middle and high schools will be available.

As of January 2013, GEPIK schools are trying to hire teachers who are already in Korea. This way they know the teacher has experience handling a classroom, can attend an in-person interview, as well as saving the school the costs of the flight to Korea. With more teachers staying in Korea for several years it isn’t hard for them to fill jobs in this manner.

This is a result of the fact there are 10 times more applicants than available jobs.


Your Chances of Getting a Public School Contract

If you are hoping to start ASAP with a public school – in any location outside of Gyeonggi-do, we’re sorry, but it simply isn’t possible. These jobs are filled months in advance through the EPIK program. GEPIK sometimes has a few last minute jobs available.

Teach ESL Korea places more couples in Korea than any other recruiting company.  However, if you are a couple hoping to teach in a public school, we feel with the recent policy changes EPIK is not really an option at all. We have had very limited success placing couples with GEPIK, for a few different reasons. Each school does their own hiring, and they don’t like to work together when a couple is involved.

Even though both EPIK and GEPIK have policies to look past gender, skin color, nationality, heritage, etc, they both seem to prefer hiring females over males, N. Americans over others, and Caucasians. **This is not an official policy, and we are just helping you understand the market in Korea.

Teach ESL Korea will never discriminate against any applicant.  It is our policy and a matter of ethical pride.  But we will also be honest with you.

If you want an EPIK public school job, and you’re:

  • Flexible on your desired location
  • You have a degree majoring in English, Education, or Linguistics, or a CELTA
  • You are applying at least 5 months in advance of the start dates
  • You have 2 or 3 strongly written letters of reference
  • You have excellent attention to detail on the application process


Then we would be happy to help!!!!



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