I was going to write a blog about this process, but I was told the blog function is not available.
There is a process that you have to go through once you secure a job (public or private) in Korea. The first thing you need to do is have an interview which is usually done via skype. Once you secure a job you will have to send many documents via courier to Korea.
You need to send a lot of documents (courier) to Korea before you can receive a contract in order to get a visa stamped in your passport.
As a Canadian you need a notarized copy of your degree, and a criminal background check (you can get a CBC in as little as a week for Canadians). The degree needs to be notarized by a lawyer and then apostilled by the Korean embassy. The CBC then needs to be apostilled at the embassy as well. You need one copy of sealed transcripts when you get the other documents apostilled at the Korean embassy.
You also need another set of transcripts to send to Korea with your other documents. As a Canadian you don't need to get fingerprints for the criminal background check. You can just get the vulnerable children CBC that is a piece of paper with a stamp saying you have a clear record. As an American you do need fingerprints. It takes a long time to get fingerprints (2-6 months I believe). You also need as part of the documents to send to Korea; two passport sized pictures, printed application signed, passport info page photocopied, CELTA/ESL degree copy, two original letters of reference and then photocopies of everything. You also need to get letters of experience from previous employers because you can get an increase in salary based on your experience.
Once you get everything together you need to courier the documents. Once the recruiter or school receives the documents, they will send you a letter of appointment and a contract. You need both to go to the embassy to get a visa (E2) stamped in your passport ($50). The visa is good for a year and can be renewed. You also need a medical exam done, but that can be done once you arrive in Korea.
I hope this helps someone. If you have any other questions pertaining to the process, you can pm or ask questions on here.
I've been looking into teaching in South Korea within the next year or two. I am Canadian but in Thailand now.. loving it but can't save a dime. I managed to find a good job and just got a hold of a non-immigrant b visa - even though I don't have a degree. I want to go someplace where I can make a higher salary after I'm done in Thailand.. although it seems like I would not have this kind of luck in South Korea without a degree. Do you happen to know much about this? Thanks!
You don't have much of a chance in Korea
China would be worth looking into tho
interesting post but it'd be more useful if you divided the employer's requirements from the government's. (i'm pretty sure the government require the background check, and the school wants the letters of recommendation, but not sure what's what with the rest as i've never done it).
one of my co-workers is an ex cop and he confirmed that it's a bitch and a half for Americans to get the criminal background check. given that the wages on average aren't dazzling there, it'd have to be a plum job for me to consider it, but i'm still looking into it a bit as i have friends there (Korean men, even <gasp>).
Imodium can't stop me.
requires a Bachelor's degree copy (with apostille), national police check (FBI if you are American) with an apostille and a medical that includes drug screening.
E1 = visiting professor / guest lecturer at a post secondary institution (university/college).
Requires (usually) post graduate qualifications and is not limited to teaching English.
E7 = teacher or other profession.
(usually) related degree and home country certification needed.
It was pretty straightforward for me. The criminal record check was a pain the butt. They started the requirement when I was in Korea for my second time and changed schools. I used the FBI and it cost a little money and took some time. My sister in California had to drive something from Bakersfield to Fresno to get it all done in time for one job.
One Canadian just used her local police department. Very quick and easy and cheap.
I never did have an interview for my first job, but the embassy is fairly convenient in Bangkok. It would have been no problem.
The bottom line: we cashed out right when the won hit a ten year low against the dollar (and baht). We didn't do that well.
Forgive me for saying the obvious:
If any would-be Korea teachers haven't downloaded The Pitfalls of Teaching English In Korea from the US Embassy in Seoul, you might want to do so.
Dave's ESL Cafe has a huge Korea section.
And they do want the original diploma, sealed transcripts, and I had to provide a web address for verification.
To all who go, enjoy the bi bim bap!