How to Get Started Now to Teach English in South Korea Fall 2021

How to Get Started Now to Teach English in South Korea Fall 2021

If you’re interested in going to Korea in August of 2021 to teach English abroad, here is an outline of what to know. We will begin accepting applications later this year but you can get started on some things ahead of time. Applying as early as possible is the best thing you can do to increase your chances of being accepted! Here are some things you should get started on now, if you’re applying for the August 2021 start date in order of importance:

1. TEFL Certification

  • A TEFL certification is required unless your Bachelor’s of Master’s degree is in Education, or you have a teaching license.
  • Please read more about the certification required for this program here.
  • It is highly recommended you start on your certification as soon as you decide you’d like to apply since the lesson plan is part of the application. This past round, 90% of applicants were asked to make major revisions on their lesson plans which immensely slowed down their application. It is highly encouraged that you start a TEFL course now so that you have the skills and knowledge to put together an amazing lesson plan!
  • The deadline to finish a course will be in July but you will need to have at the very least signed up for one in order to start the application process.
  • More and more provinces are requiring that online courses have at least 20 in-class or practicum hours, so it’s important to keep that in mind when deciding which course is best for you. Taking an online-only course will drastically reduce your marketability and limit your placement preference choices. Seoul and Gyeongnam require 20 hours and Busan requires 50 hours but that list is continually growing.

Here are the upcoming dates to qualify you for the program on our 170 hour online + 20 hour practicum course:

  • July 15, 2020
  • July 27, 2020
  • August 10, 2020
  • August 24, 2020
  • September 7, 2020
  • September 21, 2020
  • October 5, 2020
  • October 19, 2020
  • November 2, 2020
  • November 16, 2020
  • November 30, 2020
  • December 14, 2020
  • December 28, 2020

2. Letters of Recommendation

  • These have a validity of 2 years, so you can start on them now if you plan to apply within the next 2 years
  • These letters have STRICT guidelines. To be emailed instructions and templates please enter your information here or contact me
  • If your recommenders would like to send them directly via email now to us, that is fine, but have them also send the original ink signed copy to us via snail mail as well.

3. The personal essay and lesson plan

  • These are a part of the actual application, which won’t be released until February 2021.
  • You cannot fill out the application until this round’s is released, as each rounds application looks slightly different, but the essay and lesson plan are usually the same prompt each round, so you can get started on those ahead of time.
  • Please note: we cannot guarantee that the prompts will be the same when the application is released, but in our experience, they have not changed recently.
  • For detailed instructions and the actual prompts please enter your information here.

4. A passport-style photo

  • Must be an actual passport style photo (like the kind you can have taken at Walgreens or CVS) and show only the face and shoulders, with a plain background. Please do not take your own photo.

5. Apostilled copy of Bachelor’s Degree

6. One sealed official transcript of the Bachelor’s Degree

  • Since the transcripts are sent as sealed and official, they do not need to be apostilled. If you open up your transcripts or get them apostilled, they will not be accepted.

7. Photo page of your Passport – Legible color copy



8. Apostilled Copy of Master’s Degree

  • You can save time and money by getting your BA and MA degrees apostilled together.

9. One sealed official transcript of Master’s degree

10. Proof of full time teaching experience letter

  • Like the letters of recommendation, this letter has very strict guidelines so it’s important that it is written correctly so that corrections don’t slow down your application.
  • For detailed instructions and the actual prompts please enter your information here or contact us.

11. Citizens of the UK will need to have an original birth certificate apostilled and sent in to Greenheart Travel via mail.

12. Citizens of Australia will need to notarize a photocopy of their birth certificate and then have the notarized photocopy apostilled and then sent to Greenheart Travel.

13. Citizens of South Africa will need to submit a Proof of English Language Instruction letter from each school they attended since 7th grade with their initial application submission


What you SHOULD NOT start on just yet.

1.  Apostilled Original National Level Criminal Record Check (CRC)

  • Your criminal record check must have been issued within the last 6 months of your visa issuance, so you cannot apply for this until around February 15th, 2021.
  • This process takes the longest so it is important that you apply for your CRC as soon after February 15th as you can. We have had participants in the past who were accepted into EPIK but could not go because they applied for their CRC too late and couldn’t get it by the deadline.

2. The actual application

  • This updated application form will be sent to all Greenheart Travel applicants in February 2021 to fill out. We will send it to Korea on your behalf and coach you through the whole process of filling out the application correctly.

Greenheart Travel has been sending teachers to South Korea for over 15+ years and we have supported thousands of people through the complicated application process as well as prepared them for life in Korea prior to departure. We provide hands-on support and personal attention every step of the way including:

  • Preliminary practice interview with Greenheart Travel
  • Exclusive tips and prep questions for your interviews
  • Access to 11+ guides and tools for each part of the process, built from years of experience, and updated each round
  • Tips and resources to expedite your documents
  • Comprehensive and in-depth pre-departure support includes cultural and logistical training
  • Continued support throughout your contract in Korea
  • We will keep you on track to make sure you have the best possible chance of getting a position in South Korea!

Have some questions about teaching English in Korea? 

Read our FAQs

43 thoughts on "How to Get Started Now to Teach English in South Korea Fall 2021"

  1. Bongeka says:

    Hello! I am from South Africa and I would like to apply for the fall intake 2021. Are applications still going on or have been put on hold due to Covid 19?

    1. Haldis Toppen says:

      Hello! Please take a look at our specific programs for information. We do have programs that are open for applications and hope to have more soon.

  2. Essance says:

    I wanted to become an English teach for August 2021 and I was curious on when was the best time to apply. I finish college in May so I wanted to asked if I should wait till February or start now?

    1. Haldis Toppen says:

      Hello! Sorry for the delay. For more information on our programs, please reach out to our email Cheers, Greenheart Travel

  3. Victoria says:

    With the pandemic are application on hold and for how long.

    1. Haldis Toppen says:

      Hello! Sorry for the delay. For more information on our programs, please reach out to our email Cheers, Greenheart Travel

  4. Joyce Wong says:


    I want to teach English in August 2020, when do applications open for spring 2020 and when would I need everything ready by?

    1. Sara Thacker says:

      Hi Joyce! We will start accepting applications usually 1 year in advance. We’ll help you get everything ready in time to go in August!

  5. Naomi says:

    My B.A. in ELA with a minor in International Studies will be complete 5.19.19 (yay!) I am planning on doing an online TEFL certification beginning August 12 – October 25th. I’d really like to try to find a public school job in Seoul by spring 2020. Is my timeline totally unrealistic or is this possible??

    1. Sara Thacker says:

      Hey Naomi. That’s definitely do-able, but we are accepting applications for public school positions for 2020 now. I’d apply ASAP, the sooner the better 🙂 You don’t need to have completed your TEFL to apply – you just need to finish it before you go to Korea!

  6. Charry Baluyot says:

    Hi good morning.
    I would like to ask if I am qualified to apply. I’m from Philippines and graduate of Engineering course.
    I was thinking to shift on other field or career.
    Actually, i already expressed my interest on this job but i would like to confirm if I am qualified since I read from your website some qualifications particular to Citizen of the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.
    Thank you.

    1. Jill GHT says:

      Hi Charry, thanks for reaching out! At this time our partner requires all applicants to be citizens of the countries you listed above, but we recommend checking out sites like for teaching opportunities that might not have these eligibility restrictions.

  7. Jenny says:

    Oops. …I mean South Korea!

    1. Jill GHT says:

      Hi Jenny, the age limit for teachers is 62 years old. Here is the link to all the eligibility requirements on our program page as well.

  8. Jenny says:

    Is there an age limit for teachers in South Africa?

  9. Sam Advincula says:

    I am aiming for the Fall 2017 semester and meet all of the eligibility requirements, except for one qualification.

    I am a U.S. citizen and graduated with a BA from a U.S. University, however, my U.S. education began in the 10th grade (when I immigrated here), and not the 7th grade.

    Can I still be considered?

  10. Samuel Wall says:

    If I am graduating in May can i still apply for Fall 2017? If so, should i send a transcript with the application and then an updated one upon graduation?

    1. Kara Menini says:

      Yes! But you will have to double check one thing before you proceed with the Fall application. You need to send a notarized and apostilled copy of your diploma to my offices by early July – the problem is that many schools won’t send out diplomas for 6-8 weeks after you graduate and in that case, you wouldn’t get your diploma on time. You’ll need to check with your school to make sure you could expedite your diploma

  11. Marquita Sanders says:

    Its been some time since I have graduated from college (~10 years). I do I still need to provide transcripts or can I provide additional recommendations?

    1. Kara Menini says:

      Hey Marquita – Yes, you’ll be required to submit one set of official, sealed transcripts as well as a notarized and apostilled copy of your degree. Usually, you can order transcripts from your Universities’ website for $5-$10 and have them mailed directly to you

  12. Ruben says:

    I have a bachelors in psychology and I am currently working on my teacher certification. Do I need a TEFL certificate

    1. Kara Menini says:

      Hey Ruben! If you have a BA in Education or a valid teaching license, you will not be required to have a TEFL certification 🙂


  13. Mary says:

    I have a bachelor’s degree in English, and my teaching certificate in secondary education. I have been teaching for 5 years. Do I still need to take a TEFL course?

    1. Kara Menini says:

      Hey Mary! As long as your teaching certificate will be valid through your contract in Korea, you won’t be required to obtain a TEFL certification

  14. Carine says:

    I have a Masters In Education in Counseling. MSEd. I also have over 9 years experience as a Educational Associate in the New York City Department of Education. Do you think I have a chance base on my qualifications?

  15. Danielle says:

    The links to ‘letter or recommendation’ and ‘personal essay and lesson plan’ for instructions and templates are not working

    1. Savannah says:

      Sorry about that! All the links should be in working order now 🙂

  16. Chi says:

    I just saw this teaching opportunity. Is it too late for me to apply? I only have a minor in Education and Educational Services and have not started my TEFL certificate yet, but I will if I know it is not too late to apply for the S. Korea program.

    Thank you!

  17. Kalae says:

    I do not have ‘full time’ teaching experience, but for two university semesters, I did teach a class of 19 once a week as part of my degree requirements and definitely spent more than 20 hours in class–as well as in the companion ‘for credit’ course, which focused on how to teach English/creative writing to k-12.
    Would this make up for the lack of a physical component in the TEFL course I recently began, or would it still be necessary to take a TEFL course with an in-class portion?
    ( I made my own lesson plans, executed them, and wrote a pedagogy paper analyzing teaching methods)

  18. Roisin says:

    Hi, if I were to apply for the Spring 2017 term, when would I be expected to travel to South Korea?

  19. Grace says:

    Hello, I have my bachelor in secondary education so I do I still have to get TEFL certified?

    1. Sara Dorsey says:

      Hey Grace! You are not required to get a TEFL certification to be considered eligible for the South Korea program 🙂

  20. Tika says:

    Hello, the request to obtain recommendation letter information is not working. Is there another way to receive the guidelines? Thank you.

  21. Franz says:

    You links to “enter your information here” are not working.

    1. Jill says:

      Thank you for letting us know! We’re working on getting it fixed right now. 🙂

    2. Danielle says:

      the links are still not working

  22. Bianca says:

    Hello. While in college my coursework and study was elementary education. However, my bachelors degree is applied arts and science. Would there be any chance I would be omitted from having to take the TEFL certification with proof of my transcript?

  23. Elizabeth says:

    Is it possible to get a visa with a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, or is it a waste of time ? Thanks

    1. Jill says:

      Hi Elizabeth, unfortunately our partner in South Korea does not accept teachers who have received a DUI. Are you set on teaching in South Korea or would you be open to learning more about our teaching positions in Vietnam (where this conviction doesn’t disqualify you from the hiring process)?

  24. Joe says:

    I’m a South African citizen and a native English speaker.
    Unfortunately, I attended a high school where English was not the primary language of instruction. On the other hand my 4 year degree was obtained from the Nelson Mandela Metro University, where classes are conducted exclusively in English.

    According to your list of requirements “Citizens of South Africa will need to submit a Proof of English Language Instruction letter from each school they attended since 7th grade with their initial application sbumission”.

    What does this mean for me?

  25. Shandreanna Martin says:

    I’m so excited about this, I’m trying to plan as much as possible to make this as easy as possible!! Any pointers anyone would like to give when going through the application and interview processes??

    1. Kara says:

      Hi Shandreanna, applying for everything as early as possible is definitely the most important thing! This includes submitting your application and applying for your background check as early as you can. You and I will have an interview after you’ve submitted your application to help you prepare for your interview with EPIK 🙂

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