Contract Opportunity in Korea for Degree Holders in February & August

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Since 1995 the government of South Korea has actively invited suitably adventurous university graduates and qualified teachers from seven select countries to come to teach conversational English in their public schools. 

This has been driven by the fact that South Korea is one of the top 10 trading nations on earth and most of that international business is conducted in English. To achieve a steady stream of English competent school graduates the program is designed to expose each Korean school student to the English language.

Today Korea is considered the destination of choice for EFL teachers. High salaries, low cost of living, medical insurance, rent free private apartment, travel allowances, generous vacations and low tax rates provides a very high level of disposable income with an enjoyable lifestyle.

EPIK appointed GoldKey Education as an official agency in 2008 to select and assist suitable candidates to secure contracts in the program.  Over the past decade GoldKey has successfully placed over 2,500 graduates into the EPIK Program and stands ready to place you!

Did you know that over 85% of successful EPIK applicants are not formally trained teachers? 

Most are university graduates who have done TEFL training just before flying to Korea!

Watch Guest English Teacher Bronwyn Pretorius share her experience teaching at an Elementary School in Sejong City, Korea

Eligibility Requirements 

Candidates need to be a native or near native English Speaker, in good health with no criminal record who has attended an English medium schools from Grade 7 through Grade 12 in one of the 7 Designated Nations (or an accredited International School) and hold a bachelors degree and travel on a passport from one of the 7 Designated Nations.

The maximum age is 62. Candidates must have no criminal record or any chronic or communicable disease. You do need to be the kind of person who approaches the difficulties of adjusting to life in a foreign environment and new workplace as an exciting and challenging adventure. When faced with problems you need to be a problem solver. 

EPIK Program 

EPIK candidates are all placed at public elementary schools with:

  • A 12 month govt contract signed before you fly
  • A Korean govt sponsored E2 work visa before you fly
  • A KRW1,300,000 Travel Allowance on arrival in Korea
  • Once-off KRW300,000 Settlement Allowance on arrival in Korea
  • KRW2,000,000 - KRW2,700,000 per month salary
  • KRW1,300,000 Travel Allowance on completion of 12mnth contract
  • A private, furnished, rent free apartment
  • National Health Insurance
  • Generous bi-annual vacations plus public holidays & quarterly breaks
  • Working Hours Mon-Fri office hours (8hrs a day)
  • 22 contact teaching hours per week. Weekends and all public holidays off. 

All of this while living and working in one of the safest countries in the world with excellent support from your school and local community!

The Korean Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Ambassador PARK Jong-Dae together with GoldKey directors JUNG YunOck & Clifford T SMITH along with past, present and future ESL teachers at the Annual “Remember Korea” Banquet held every November in Cape Town, South Africa.

The 7 Designated Nations

EPIK candidates need to have attended English medium school from Grade 7 through Grade 12 and be a citizen of one (or more) of the seven designated nations. They must have completed or will imminently complete a 3 year Bachelors Degree or hold a Higher Diploma in Education from any of the seven designated nations. Korean citizens who have attended school and graduated from university in one or more of the seven designated nations may also apply. 

Afrikaans & French Schooling

University graduates  who schooled in South Africa or Canada at Afrikaans medium or French medium schools from Grade 7 to Grade 12 are not eligible for the EPIK program. If you attended an Afrikaans or French school in or after Grade 7 then please click here to find opportunities to teach English in Korea that does not have this restriction.

Job Description 

As a Guest English Teacher (GET) you are employed in the Korean public school system on 12 month renewable contracts. GET’s enjoy the same salary scales as professional Korean teachers. Work hours are Mon-Fri 8 hours per day with an average of 22 contact (classroom) hours per week. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays are time off. 

GET’s get a Summer (July/Aug) and Winter (Jan/Feb) vacation breaks of 8 & 10 working days respectively. Most public school contracts also include an additional 1-2 week paid vacation for contract renewal.

Watch an Elementary School Lesson in session with South African Carmia Annandale and her Korean co-teacher


The academic year typically begins on March 1st. Korea has all four seasons, and vacation periods fall within the summer and winter seasons. Summer vacation begins end of July and finishes end of August, lasting approximately one month. Winter vacation begins end of December and finishes end of January or early February. These dates can vary depending on each schools vacation plans. During vacation, GETs may be required to teach programs such as an English Camp, since it is common for students to participate in special school activities that are held during these vacation periods.

Class Work

In principle, the GET should teach students in collaboration with the Korean co-teacher. Though the GET learns how to prepare teaching materials and methodologies during the preliminary training at orientation, the native teacher will be informed again about their assigned classrooms, teaching materials, and teaching methods from the Korean co-teacher when the native GET starts teaching at the designated school. All issues related to class work needs to be consulted with the Korean co-teacher.

Class Working Hours

Generally, each class meets for 40 minutes for elementary school, 45 minutes for middle school, and 50 minutes for high school. This is subject to change, however, according to the season, weather, or the individual environment of each school. Some schools have special classes after regular class work, in which GETs are required to teach English for specific subjects or fields.

Korean Public Schools:  Ages & Lesson Duration


Start Age














Your duties as directed by the Local Office of Education will be:

To conduct English conversations classes for Korean teachers & students.

To prepare teaching materials for English language education.

To assist in developing teaching materials for English language education.

To assist with activities related to English language education & other extracurricular activities.

To demonstrate a good command of the English language, written & spoken.

To assist Korean teachers with their English classes & or jointly conduct English classes.

To perform other duties as specified by the host Education Office.

National Health Insurance (NHIS)

As a government teacher you automatically become a member of the National Health Insurance Service paying 5% of your salary as a monthly premium. While the cover is comprehensive it does not cover optical and dental work nor does it provide cover while you are on vacation outside of Korea. It is therefore prudent to take special Travel Insurance to cover you during your vacations outside of Korea. Medical care in Korea is of a very high standard and dentists & opticians are very reasonably priced and easily accessible should you require these services.

South African Sanitino Stallone shares his adventure in Korea with the EPIK Program


Each Guest English Teacher placed at a public school is provided with a private, fully furnished, rent-free apartment. Private means you will have your own apartment. Fully Furnished means your apartment will have a bed, chair, closet, stove, refrigerator, microwave, washing machine & TV. Rent Free means the school that hires you will pay the key deposit and monthly rental on the apartment. Your only financial obligations with respect to accommodation are the utilities and occasionally a small landlord maintenance fee. 

E2 Work Visa & ARC Card

Guest English Teachers are issued a pre-approved E2 Working Visa by the Korean Embassy in their country of residence before they fly to Korea to commence their contract. If required arrangements can be made to acquire the E2 Visa from the Korean embassy in another country. The E2 Visa enables the GET to enter Korea for a year to work at the school/s that sponsor the visa. Whilst Guest English Teachers may engage in voluntary work in Korea the visa does not permit them to work for financial gain in Korea beyond work stipulated in their contract. If found to be teaching or doing other work for financial gain in Korea you are liable for deportation after the cancellation of your contract and working visa. 

On arrival all Guest English Teachers are issued an ARC Card which empowers them to open bank accounts and open internet and mobile phone contracts and is a fully functional Multiple Entry Visa for the duration of their contract. 

Your Foreign Teacher Contract

The contract you will sign and that will govern your employment is a standard Foreign Teacher Contract. The conditions, remuneration and benefits are identical to those of Korean public school teachers with two items:


As a visiting teacher you will be provided a private, rent free, furnished apartment a benefit not afforded to Korean teachers.

Entrance/Exit & Settlement Allowance 

These allowances are only paid to visiting teachers and compensate them for traveling and settlement expenses. The allowance will cover the cost of an economy class ticket to Korea at the start of your contract and a return flight home on completion.

You are encouraged to download and read the Sample Contract to familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions.

Salary Levels

All Guest English Teachers are employed on the standard Salary Scale. Salaries differ between metro and provincial areas while cities like Seoul have their own salary structures. All salaries are shown in Korean Won (KRW) and can be converted to your national currency for illustrative purposes at

Salary Levels are determined by qualifications and full academic years employed as a Full Time Teacher. Original documentation is required to attain each salary level. These documents include apostilled copies of your university degree certificate and sealed university transcripts, a TEFL. TESOL or CELTA certificate, a Teachers Licence (ie. SACE) and/or original signed Proof of Full Time Teaching Experience Letter/s to confirm work experience.

Korean Public School Salary Levels

Salary Level 2

Bachelor’s degree in Education / major in Teaching, TESOL, Second Language Studies, or Education


Bachelor's degree in any discipline + TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate


Bachelor's degree in any discipline + Teacher's License


Bachelor's degree in any discipline + 1 year TaLK scholar experience

Monthly Salary (Million KRW)

Main Cities*


Other Cities






Salary Level 1

2 year of full-time teaching experience plus one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Education / major in Teaching, TESOL, Second Language Studies, or Education
  • Master’s degree in Education / major in Teaching, TESOL, Second Language Studies, or Education
  • Teacher's license
  • TEFL/TESOL or CELTA certificate


  After 1 year as a Level 2+ with the renewing province

Monthly Salary (Million KRW)

Main Cities*




Other Cities




Salary Level 2+

1 year of full-time teaching experience plus one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Education / major in Teaching, TESOL, Second Language Studies, or Education
  • Teacher's license
  • TEFL/TESOL or CELTA certificate


Master's degree in any discipline with a Bachelor's degree in Education / major in Teaching, TESOL, Second Language Studies, or Education


Master's degree in any discipline with a Bachelor's degree in Education / major in Teaching, TESOL, Second Language Studies, or Education


After 1 year as a Level 2 teacher with the renewing province

Monthly Salary (Million KRW)



Main Cities*


Other Cities




Salary Level 1+

After 2 consecutive years as Level 1 teacher within the renewing province

Monthly Salary (Million KRW)

Main Cities*


Other Cities






Full Time Teaching Experience must be documented with a Proof of Full Time Teaching Experience Letter

* Main Cities include Busan, Incheon, Daegu and Gyeonggi-do Province

  • The amount of provincial pay varies depending on the location within the POE and the number of schools taught.
  • A Juris Doctor is equivalent to a non-Education Master's degree.


If you have at least one of the following then completing a 100 hour TEFL, TESOL or CELTA is not required to qualify to teach in Korea at Level 2 or above:

  • a bachelors degree in Education or a major in teaching, TESOL, Second Language Studies or Education
  • any bachelors degree plus a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (ie. PGCE),
  • any bachelors degree plus a Teacher License (ie. SACE)
  • any bachelors degree plus one year TaLK scholarship,
  • any bachelors degree plus a masters degree in Education.

If you have a bachelors degree but do not have one of the above then completing a 100 hour TEFL or TESOL will be a prerequisite to securing a contract and work visa to teach in a Korean public school. This training does not have to be completed before you apply and interview.  However your training must be completed and you must have an original printed certificate in hand before you fly to Korea to commence your contract. 

Bay Language Institute in Port Elizabeth is one of several TEFL schools offering excellent, accredited training

Did you know that you do not need to have completed the TEFL training in order to apply? 

An early EPIK Interview gives you enough time after you pass the interview to do your TEFL

What is TEFL and TESOL?

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) are training programs designed to prepare you for the challenges of teaching English to students whose first language is not English. Both TEFL & TESOL courses - provided they are at least 100hours in duration including both theoretical and practical components - will provide you with very useful understanding of the work you are contemplating.

  • First Preference is given to candidates who have completed an off-line/in-class TEFL or TESOL of 100 hrs or longer.
  • Second Preference is given to 100hr online courses with a minimum 20hrs of certified off-line/in-class training.
  • Third Preference is given to candidates who have completed an entirely on-line course of at least 100hrs.

English Language Centre at UCT offers internationally accredited TEFL training.


Online TEFL and TESOL courses have become very popular around the world. Korean public schools currently recognise certified 100hr courses but are increasingly favouring applicants who have completed traditional in-class TEFL or TESOL courses. While some online TEFL/TESOL companies now offer courses that offer their theoretical component online with an off-line/in-class practical component the Seoul Metro Education Office will not interview candidates unless their course was entirely in-class while Busan Metro Education Office requires a minimum 50hrs in-class and Daegu Metro Education Office a minimum 20hrs in-class. We advise you rather do an in-class course unless this is impossible for you for logistical or financial reasons in which case look at an entirely online course.

What is CELTA?

CELTA is a professional credential for people contemplating a medium to long term career teaching English. While is is not a minimum prerequisite to teach English in a Korean public school a CELTA is considered a superior qualification when seeking a post as an English teacher to adults or at university level. CELTA courses are offered by accredited institutions around the world but are validated by Cambridge University in the UK which issues the final certificates.

Where Can I Do The Training?

There are TEFL & TESOL schools in many countries around the world, some time spent on Google will inevitable turn up a school close to you. Please ensure that the school you select offers a TEFL or TESOL of at least 100 course hours and that this fact is clearly stated on the certificate or in the supporting documentation. Please note that you can be asked to make your certificate available for inspection after you arrive in Korea so be sure to order a signed hard-copy of the certificate from the school on the successful completion of your course. Here are a few schools that offer TEFL or TESOL - each one clicks through to the schools website. This list is not exhaustive so do your own research to find TEFL or TESOL courses that are convenient for you. You are welcome to email us if you would like for us to “check out” a school for you before you sign up for a course or if you would like to add a school to this list.

When Can I Do The Training?

If you have the time and resources we alway advise that you do a TEFL or TESOL as soon as you are able to do so as:

  • With a better understanding of the mechanics and challenges of teaching English as a Foreign Language including lesson planning, classroom management and how to evaluate student progress you will be better equipped to do interviews and present yourself as a serious contender for an English Teacher contract.
  • Direct Placement posts require that all applicants be ready to leave shortly after they have passed an interview - it is impossible to complete a 100hr TEFL/TESOL in the often very short period of time between the interview and flight date.

If you do not have the time or the resources to do the TEFL/TESOL as soon as possible and would prefer to secure a job offer before you spend the time and money on a course you do have the option of applying for one our biannual intakes. This options permits you to apply, interview and then pay for and complete a TEFL or TESOL several weeks before you fly to Korea. Refer timelines to see how you can schedule your TEFL training course.

Spring Intake Timeline

Fall Intake Timeline



Interviews commence Oct/April and continue for 2-3 months



As soon as you pass your final interview you should commence the TEFL training to get the certificate in hand before end of Dec/June






Email scan of TEFL to GoldKey by early Jan/July and take original certificate to Korea when you fly in Feb/Aug




It is best to start your EPIK Application as soon as possible. Formal interviews commence 5 months before the arrival date and continue until the intake has been filled.

Start Your Application Now

You can apply for an EPIK teaching position through GoldKey Education from anywhere in the world. Provided you have reliable internet access and a decent webcam & microphone and you can send and receive documents via a reliable courier service holding face-to-face meetings or interviews with GoldKey Education are not required. 

After you have carefully gone through this website to familiarise yourself with the information you simply need to make contact with us by phone or by email. If you are in the Western Cape you are also welcome to come by and visit us if you prefer - just call ahead to arrange a date and time.

All we need to get your application underway is that you complete and email us the latest EPIK Application Form along with the required Compulsory Application Documents.  These are all described in detail below along with download links for each item and PDF and video guides. Please be sure to study the information provided before submitting your documents to ensure that they are correctly formatted and that they include all the required information. Please do not send anything by courier until we ask you to. Rather email your documents. Once your formal interview is scheduled we will instruct you to send all your original documents using a reliable courier service that provides you with a track & trace or a waybill number so that you can monitor the delivery online, many of the application documents are difficult to replace if they are lost during delivery so we advise against using unreliable postal services such as the SA Post Office.

The Application Process and securing a contract requires a huge amount of work from you, GoldKey Education and the EPIK Offices. So please do not undertake an application unless this is going to be your number one priority for the next year of your life. If teaching English in Korea is your Plan-B or Plan-C then please first exhaust your Plan-A option before engaging with GoldKey Education! 

Applying, interviewing and being offered a contract which you then then turn down is considered very unprofessional conduct in Korean culture. You should quite simply not apply and interview unless you intend accepting the contract when it is offered to you. Please refrain from applying to teach English in Korea public schools through multiple agencies. While this practice is the accepted norm in western business culture it is not in Korea when applying for a public school Guest English Teacher position. EPIK requires applications be submitted through one channel only to avoid duplications. If an Education Office or the EPIK office receives your application from more than one agency they often blacklist you for a period of 12 months. 

So be sure to carefully select an accredited agency - like GoldKey Education - and submit all your application documents only through that one agency.

The EPIK Program Application Process 

1. Initial Application

Contact GoldKey & submit the initial Application Documents (documents 1 to 6) by email to:

2. GoldKey Review

Scheduled a Skype Call with GoldKey to review your application documents, make edits as required & to discuss the application process.

3. Online EPIK Submission

Applicants upload data online to EPIK database & submit Full Doc. set (incl. Visa Docs) to GoldKey offices by courier incl. printout of final EPIK Online Form.

4. EPIK Skype Interview

The applicant has a 30-40 minute Skype Interview with the EPIK office in Seoul. Interview results are announced to the applicant within 1-6 working days.

8. Flight to Korea

Applicants send courier to collect passport from the Embassy. They book their flight & fly on a set date co-ordinated by GoldKey & EPIK. 

7. Work Visa Issuance

Applicants couriers Signed Contract & Visa Application documents to their nearest Korean Embassy for the Issuance of the E2 Work Visa.

6. Applicant Signs Contract

EPIK couriers Contract to the street address provided by the applicant. Applicant signs & submits Visa Application Documents to the Korean Embassy.

5. Document Submission

GoldKey checks and sends applicants Full Document Set (documents 2 - 10) by courier to the EPIK office in Seoul to secure contract & work visa.

Compulsory Application Documents

Candidates applying to teach Conversational English on the EPIK Program will need to submit an Initial Application Document Set (documents 1 to 6) by email to secure an interview and a contract offer. Please submit these items one-by-one via email to:


EPIK Application Form 

(please use Adobe Reader DC to fill the form)


This must be filled in using Adobe Reader DC. Do not fill the form in by hand. Do not try to scan your signature on to the signature page, you will get to hand sign the final draft of the Application Form once you have passed your formal interview. Once completed, save the file and email as a .PDF file to us at:

All EPIK candidates are required to undergo a compulsory medical health check on arrival in Korea during the orientation. please be 100% sure of your medical status before applying as failure to declare any chronic or communicable diseases such as diabetes, TB, HIV etc in the Application Form Medical Self Assessment can result in the cancellation of your contract. the medical health check also includes checks for narcotic drug use.

Two Recommendation Letters 

(please submit at least 2 letters)


You must submit a minimum of two original Reference Letters from two or more persons. The Reference Letters must be written by people you have worked for or studied under. The letters must be written in English or in Korean. They must be written on the letterhead of the company you worked at or college/university you studied at. Private letters from friends/coworkers/neighbors, or au-pair families are not accepted. Letters from your high school will only be accepted if you returned as a teacher, tutor or sports coach. Letters from churches/sports clubs will only be accepted if you where a youth/music leader, volunteer worker, office bearer or coach. Being a regular club member is insufficient. If a letterhead is unavailable then the authors business card must be submitted with a plain letter. The letters must be dated and cannot be older than 2 years on the month you arrive in Korea. The letters must include your full legal name as it appears in your passport. The letters must not be addressed to or refer to TeachKorea or GoldKey Education. The referees must give the context in which they know you& describe your character, work ethic, English ability & general attributes. The referees must explain why they believe you will be an effective ESL teacher in Korea. The referees must include their job title, contact telephone number and email address. The referees must sign their letters by hand with a pen. Letters from Korean schools can be written in Hangul and signed with the official (red)school stamp.


Color Portrait Photograph 

(please email a high resolution photo)

  • Arrange to take a good quality digital photograph with a good cellphone or digital camera.
  • Dress smartly in clothes appropriate for the classroom, collar, no bare shoulders or low necklines.
  • Do not wear excessive jewellery - men should wear a jacket & be clean shaven hair neatly styled.
  • Ensure that you are well lit (no shadows) and standing against a plain white or grey background.
  • The format of the photo must be head and shoulders only with an open space above and to the sides.
  • Be sure to smile, it is important that your open & friendly personality be evident in the picture.
  • Face the camera directly with your shoulders square on to the camera - no “over the shoulder” poses.
  • The photo must be full color and not older than 6 months.
  • Save and email it to You will need 4 passport size color prints later.


Colour Passport Scan

 (Email a high resolution scan or PDF)

  • Please check your passport is valid for at least 12 months from the last day of your planned contract period.
  • Please check that your full legal name (as it appears in your passport) appears in full on all your application documents so it is clear that each application document is your document.
  • Scan the data page in colour, save the image file and email to


Academic Record

 (Email a high resolution scan or PDF)

You will need to email your full Academic Record (university transcripts) with your application to establish that your qualification meets the program requirements. Some colleges & universities make a digital copy of your transcripts available online for you to download otherwise you will need to scan a hard copy. Please email the image file or PDF file to and order at least 2 sets of sealed transcripts for later submission.

Proof of Schooling Letters 

(please use Microsoft Word to complete)


This letter is only required from candidates who attended school in South Africa or Quebec Province. The letter is required because some schools in these locations teach non-language subjects in Afrikaans or French. Applicants must submit a letter from the schools they attended covering Grade 7 through Grade 12. The letters must include the candidates full legal name and birth date, state the year and grade they arrived art the school and the year and grade they finished at the school. It must state that all non language tuition was conducted in English. The letter must be prepared by the schools admin office on a school letterhead and signed by hand. You only need submit a scanned/digital copy of the letter.

The Work Visa Documents

As soon as you have started to submit the Compulsory Application Documents (1-6) by email please start to assemble your Work Visa Documents while we schedule your interview with EPIK. While you do not need the Work Visa Documents to secure the official interview it is important that these are ready for submission by courier by the time you do your formal EPIK interview otherwise your application will stall as these have to be sent to Korea after your interview. Without these documents a contract and work visa cannot be issued.

Criminal Record Check

Certificate with National Govt. Apostille - this is only valid for 6 months


This is the most troublesome document as it typically takes a very long time to get this from your government. We urge you to apply for this as soon as you possibly can. Apply at your local Police Station or through your national government Background Check department (ie. the FBI) and monitor the progress of your application online. Once completed the certificate must be apostilled by your national government. Carefully scan & mail to without damaging the apostille seal. Keep the original safe for submission after your interview.

Copy of Citizenship & Copy of Legal Residence (Korean Nationals)

(Email a scan to GoldKey Education and take the original documents when you fly to Korea.


If the applicant is a Korean citizen and holds legal residency/dual citizenship in one of the seven designated countries where applicants are accepted from, they must provide proof of legal residency/dual citizenship. These original documents must be presented to your school in Korea when you arrive.

Important Information Click if you are currently in Korea on a working visa

Two Sealed Academic Records / Transcripts

Sealed in the Student Records office at your university


These must be two separate, sealed college or university envelopes each containing a complete record of your studies from the first year of study to the last year listing courses and grades. They must be sealed in the student records office with a university stamp, seal or stickers astride the envelope flap. Your full name must be written clearly on the front of each envelope as we cannot break the seal on unmarked envelopes to ascertain to whom they belong. These sealed envelopes must be sent by courier to the GoldKey office for submission to EPIK.

Degree Certificate

Certificate with National Govt. Apostille


Click to download a sample of the Letter of Expected Graduation

If you have completed your studies and graduated then you need to arrange a copy of your bachelors degree apostilled by your national government. Do not apostille your original certificate. If you are still waiting to attend your graduation ceremony then you need to submit a Letter of Expected Graduation. This is best requested from your university faculty office (show them the sample). You do not need to apostille an honours degree certificate but if you have a masters or doctoral degrees these will also need to be apostilled.

Please be informed that as of 2 Dec 2019 the SA Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) have ceased to provide a verification service for degree copies to be apostilled by DIRCO. This function has now been transferred to South African Qualification Authority (SAQA). A R647 fee is now payable as the SAQA process includes independent verification with your university of the authenticity of your degree. So please start this process immediately as it takes a few weeks.

To start the process please send an email to and include the following in the email:

1. A completed SAQA Consent Verification Form - click here to download

2. A high quality digital scan of your degree certificate

DIRCO - Legalisation Section

NE2A Ground Floor. -  OR Tambo Building

460 Soutspanberg Road. -  Rietondale


Telephone: 012-351-1726


SAQA will email you an invoice with their banking details. Deposit the funds and email the Proof of Payment back to SAQA. They will then contact your old university to confirm you are a graduate and then issue an original Verification Letter and print and stamp the scan of your degree certificate. 

You then need to send a courier to collect these 2 pages from SAQA to take them to DIRCO for the apostille to be attached.

Click to see what an apostilled degree looks like

Salary Level Documents

Documents 10, 11 & 12 will establish the Salary Level you are hired on. If you are relying on any of these document to secure a Level 2 Salary then you need to treat these documents as Compulsory Documents. 

All documents must be sent by email with your initial application to and the original documents must be taken with you when you travel to Korea.


(Email a high resolution scan or PDF)


If you do not have a B.Ed or PGCE then you will need to identify a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA  course and indicate your intention to complete the training before you fly to Korea. Ensure you sign up for a course of at least 100 certified hours and that the course hours are clearly stated on the certificate you will be awarded. If you have not yet completed the training by the time you have passed your formal interview and been offered a contract then you need to provide a Proof of Enrolment Letter from the school confirming that you have enrolled for the training. You have to submit a scanned copy of this letter then, later a scanned copy of your certificate once it has been issued to

You have to take the original certificate with you to Korea to show if requested. The certificate must be an original printed & signed by the TEFL/TESOL school. If the certificate does not clearly identify your training as in-class or how many hours the course duration is then a Confirmation Letter is required from the TEFL school. You will not be requested to hand over your original certificate. 

Teachers Certificate/PGCE

(Email a high resolution scan or PDF)


If you have a PGCE or a teachers licence or a certificate (ie. SACE Certificate) then you should email a scan of the certificate/diploma to and take the original licence/certificate with when you travel to Korea. If you do not have a B.Ed/PGCE/teachers licence/SACE certificate then you will need to complete a TEFL or TESOL or CELTA training.

Proof of Teaching Experience

(Email a high resolution scan or PDF)


 Proof of teaching experience letters(PTEs) must be on an official letterhead, dated, state your full name, clearly state whether your employment was full-time or not, and the duration of employment (including specific start and finish dates). They should also state the capacity in which you were employed (teacher, etc.) as well as what levels/grades and subjects were taught. Letters from co-workers are not sufficient to prove teaching experience.  Letters must be issued by your school's administrative office.

Proof of teaching experience letters must prove at least one full “academic year” of teaching experience to qualify a teacher for a higher pay level. For experience at private institutes (such as hagwons), you will want to be sure that the dates stated on the letter show that you have completed a one-year, 365-day contract. If your contract is currently in progress, you will have to submit the letter separately once the contract concludes.

Additional Documents

Document 13 will exempt you from paying Income Tax in Korea for your first and second contract. Document 14 & 15 are required if you are a Korean citizen.

Residence Certificate

(Take this document when you fly to Korea and present it to your schools admin office)


By handing an official Residence Certificate from your countries Revenue Service/ Tax Authority to your school when you arrive in Korea you will be exempted from double taxation on the income you earn in Korea. The Residence Certificate Letter should be requested from your respective tax authority shortly before you leave for Korea to ensure the letter is dated 1 month before departure. Please confirm with your tax office how long this letter takes to prepare and time your application for the document accordingly. Click your respective flag for further information.

Proof of English Education

(Email a scan to GoldKey Education and take the original documents when you fly to Korea.


If the applicant is a Korean citizen they will need to submit proof that they have received their education in one of the seven designated countries from where applicants are accepted or at accredited international schools beginning from the 7th grade/year and through university. Transcripts and proof of enrolment from these schools will be necessary.

1. How can I maximise my chances of securing a contract?

Assuming you are a good candidate you can maximise your chances by:

Applying Early - The hiring processes in Korea run on a first-come-first-served basis so just getting your application documents in early will give you a big advantage.

Applying Accurately - Do a very thorough job when filling in the Application Forms and assembling the documents. Mistakes will delay your application, interview & selection so thoroughly check everything from your essay and lesson plan to your Reference Letters and Sealed Transcripts.

Being Flexible - Early applicants enjoy a good chance of getting posts in their preferred location but if not they do prefer candidates who are willing to be flexible.

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2. When will I sign the contract and be given a work visa?

You will sign your contract in your home country and be issued your work contract by your local Korean Embassy before you book your ticket to fly to Korea.

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3. How much does it cost to apply to the EPIK Program?

Applying through GoldKey Education you will not be required to pay any commissions, placement fees, deposits or administrative fees. The placement service we render to you is always free to you.

GoldKey Education is paid a commission by the Korean Government from a separate budget, no monies are deducted from your salary package in Korea. 

There are however some initial up-front expenses associated with submitting your application, these are all document related and include the costs of applying for your national Background Check, and Sealed University Transcripts. You will also need to get your Background Check and the copy of your degree apostilled. 

After you have passed your EPIK Skype Interview you will need to sign up for and complete TEFL/TESOL training if required, and, when your contract reaches you by courier you will need to arrange for the insertion of the E2 working visa into your passport at your nearest Korean Embassy.

Finally you will need to finance a one-way ticket for your flight to Korea and you will need to take sufficient funds to cover your first months expenses in Korea. An amount equal to US$1,000 is recommended, half in cash and half available to you via an ATM card that is open for use internationally.

All of these post interview costs are paid directly to your national Law Enforcement Agency, your University, your TEFL/TESOL training provider, your courier company, your nearest Korean Embassy and your airline respectively. 

At the end of your first month working in Korea you will receive your first full pay cheque along with a Travel Allowance and a Settlement Allowance. These 3 payments will recover all your initial up front expenses. Please note that the Busan Metro, Daegu Metro, Incheon Metro, Chungbuk Province & Jeju Province Education Offices only pay you the Travel and Settlement Allowances in the 6th month of your contract. So if you are placed into one of these Education offices you will need to take this into account for your budgeting.

Pre EPIK Interview Costs

Post EPIK Interview Costs

Amounts shown are approximations and will vary by country. Currency shown is Korean Won (KRW)

*Online TEFL prices can drop to KRW46,000 but will preclude placements in large metro areas

Amounts shown are approximations and will vary by country. Currency shown is Korean Won (KRW)

Background Check with apostille

University Degree with apostille

Sealed University Transcripts

Courier Fees






KRW  -170,000

If your EPIK Skype Interview is unsuccessful you will not incur any Post EPIK Interview Costs

TEFL/TESOL (if required)*

Visa Application Fee

Ticket to Korea (1 way)

First Month Expenses in Korea






  KRW  -2,400,000

1st Month Salary & Allowances

Amounts shown are approximations and will vary by country. Currency shown is Korean Won (KRW)

1st Months Salary

Travel Allowance

Settlement Allowance

Minus Pre & Post Interview Costs

Balance after 1 month in Korea





  KRW  1,130,000

*Online TEFL prices can drop to KRW46,000 but will preclude placements in large metro areas

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4. I want to go with a friend/partner, can we go together?

Joint Placements with shared accommodation can be specifically arranged for married couples. However the opportunities for these posts are limited so friends and unmarried couples are processed as individual candidates. It is still however possible to achieve placement in close proximity for two unmarried persons provided their applications are submitted early with all the Compulsory Documents in order thereby exploiting the first-come-first-served hiring process to get posts early before these have been assigned to other applicants. At the start of each hiring cycle (Sept & March) we are given data on post availability so the metro areas with lots of open posts can be identified. The two candidates can select one of these metro’s as their preferred location - this with the early and accurate submission of documents greatly increases the opportunity to be placed together.

At best the candidates can be assigned apartments in the same building; otherwise they may be placed a short bus or subway ride apart in which case sharing one of the two assigned apartments with one teacher commuting to work each day is possible. In some cases candidates may need to make a 60-120minute commute via public transport to meet up evenings and weekends. Candidates are at liberty to decide to share one of the 2 apartments that have been assigned to them. Achieving placement for unmarried partners is always dependent on the availability of posts and both candidates successfully passing their interviews. We always makes our best possible effort to achieve Joint Placement for friends/unmarried couples and a flexible approach from the applicants makes these efforts far more fruitful.

On occasion Direct Placement opportunities offer us shared accommodation and posts at two nearby schools which we will then offer to any couples or close friends who are on standby and are seeking contracts at that time.

Korean public schools only ever hire one Guest English Teacher at a time so it is highly unlikely you will ever be placed at the same school.

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5. Can I stay longer/shorter than the 12 month contract period?

All EFL contracts in Korea are limited to 12 month contracts lasting exactly 365 days. If you consistently put in your best effort and fulfill your contract with integrity and enthusiasm there is an excellent chance your school will invite you to sign a contract renewal shortly before your contract period expires. You will then be able to take a long vacation between the two contract periods and return to Korea to commence a second contract without the need to reapply. This way it is possible in many cases to renew an existing contract for several years in a row. If you prefer to move to another city or province in Korea every so often then you can contact us in this regard. We advise you plan ahead by making contact with us midway through your contract to start planning as acquiring Application Documents in South Africa while you are in Korea can take a little longer.

Cutting a contract short by resigning during the year is not advisable as it can adversely affect future employment opportunities as an English teacher in Korea. Schools are very reluctant to hire teachers who have a track record of not completing their 12 month contracts so we advise you only consider this option in the case of family or other emergencies that compel you to resign.

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6. Can I choose where in Korea I will be placed?

The application form for the biannual EPIK Intakes (Feb & Aug) invites applicants to indicate their preferred placement location. While every reasonable effort is made to place candidates into a preferred location the process is determined by location of posts needing new teachers and the order in which applicants submit their documents. For this reason there are no hard guarantees regarding location placements during the biannual intakes. We therefore advise candidates to apply early if they have a specific location preference but to also indicate that they are flexible. At 100,000km² South Korea is smaller than the State of Kentucky and its excellent public transport network with subways, buses, rail network & bullet trains makes getting anywhere in the country on weekends very easy.

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7. Can I choose which age group I will teach?

Most EPIK posts are at Elementary Schools (ages 6-12) There are a few middle and high school positions and you can specifically request these and will be placed depending on availability. Otherwise education offices tend to place experienced, older or male candidates into these positions.

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8. Can I open a bank & phone account in Korea and send money home?

When you arrive in Korea the Immigration Office will issue you with an ARC Card that is legal ID in Korea. This card must then be used to open a bank account as your salary and allowances are all paid by EFT. You can also use the ARC card to open a phone account, internet account and as a multiple entry visa. You are at liberty to send as much of your salary back home as you like.

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9. Can I freely travel outside of Korea during my contract?

Yes, provided you are not required to be teaching classes you are free to travel outside of Korea on your passport and ARC Card which functions as a multiple-entry-visa for the duration of your contract. You will get a summer and winter vacation long enough to travel globally.

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10. Is Korea a safe country to live in?

Yes, Korea and its cities are considered amongst the safest places in the world. Obviously you need to exercise basic common sense precautions (especially when socialising with non-Korean expats) and show common courtesy and respect for Korean culture but generally speaking Korea has a very low rate of crime. It is quite common when you lose your wallet on the street or public transport to get it back provided your contact details are inside or you enquire at the local police station if anyone has picked it up and handed it in.

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11. Can I negotiate my salary/contract?

Public schools have a standard salary scale and your level is determined by your qualifications and teaching experience. If your school requires you teach more than 22 contact hours a week you will be paid an “extra class” hourly rate. If you provide excellent service and quality lessons it is not uncommon for your school to seek to organise extra afternoon classes that can quickly earn you more money than the standard salary.

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12. Can I renew my contract?

Yes, provided you have sufficiently impressed your school and they have been granted a budget for a Guest English Teacher for the following year it is common for your school to invite you to renew your contract. This involves signing a new contract and having Korean Immigration issue you with a new ARC Card for a further 12 months.

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13. What is TEFL/TESOL and is it a pre-requisite to applying?

TEFL/TESOL or a CELTA are a requirement to teach on the EPIK program if you do not have a B.Ed degree or a PGCE or a teachers licence (ie. SACE) You can however apply to the program, interview and secure a contract offer before you undertake the TEFL/TESOL or CELTA training provided you can arrange to complete the training before you need to fly to Korea.

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14. Am I required to have a security bank deposit to apply?

No, you do not have to provide a bank statement in order to teach in Korea. You do however need to have some funds to live on for your first month in Korea until you get your first salary cheque, Travel Allowance and Settlement Allowance. It is advised you have US$500 in cash when you arrive and access to a further US$500 via an ATM card in case required. Your accommodation and meals will be provided during Orientation but once you move into your apartment you will need to take care of your own meals, transport etc.

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Resources  Useful Links

ESL Teaching Resources

Travel, Food & Social

Korean Language & Study Opportunities

Korean Embassy in Your Country

Your Embassy in Korea

Resources  Videos

Beautiful Korea

Imagine Your Korea

A Day at my Korean School

The Wonderful World of Korean Food

South African Teacher Matthew

Typical Teachers Apartment

Korean Table Manners

How & When to Bow in Korea

Lonely Planet - Guide to Korea

Do You Know Korea?

The Boreyong Mud Festival

A Traditional Korean Hanok House

Traditional Korean Music - Drums

Modern Korean Music - K-Pop

10 things to do in Seoul

Busan Travel Guide

Ski In Korea

Wearing Traditional Korean Dress

Foreigners share their favourite Korean foods

How safe is Korea?

Living in Korea

Applications are now open for the next EPIK Intake. 

If you are unsure of any aspect of the application process please contact us for assistance. 

Our contact details are below.

Note: If you are sending documents from outside of South Africa then please courier directly to the address in Seoul to expedite delivery. 

We will collate your documents for you even if some documents are delivered to the South African GoldKey office. 

Please avoid using the SA Post Office & Speed Services these are unreliable.


South Africa (Courier Deliveries)

59 Clan Stewart Street

Glencairn Heights



Republic of South Africa

Office Phone

International Calls: +27-21-180-3043

In-Country Calls: 082-728-4229

Mobile Phone

International Calls: +27-82-728-4229

In-Country Calls: 082-728-4229




168 Ga-gil 4 

Seoul 08774
Republic of Korea

Contact: Jeong YunSuk

Contact Tel: 02-887-1580

Contact eMail:

GoldKey Education Pty Ltd (Seoul)   

GoldKey Education CC (Cape Town) 


Founded 2005 as TeachKorea cc

An EPIK accredited agency since 2008