Korean Government Programs
bucheon korea.jpg

There are three main Korean government programs for providing English teachers for Korean public schools and they are divided into Seoul (SMOE), Gyeonggido province (GEPIK) and everything outside of Gyeonggido province (EPIK). Each of these programs are designed to place college educated native English speaking westerners in Korean public schools to teach conversational English. These programs normally have one western native English speaker paired with a Korean English teacher and they team teach and keep regular school hours. The benefits of public school jobs is the longer vacation (normally 4 weeks), government employee status and block hours. The downsides are that normally only one native English teacher is allotted per school, large class sizes and normally you do not know which school one will be placed in until after arriving in Korea.

SMOE stands for the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education organized and run by the government of South Korea. SMOE accommodates 2,210 schools with 1,573,684 students and 72,711 teachers. Its aim is to improve the English speaking skills of students and teachers in Korea and promote cultural exchange and strong global ties between Korea and the wider world.

EPIK stands for English Program in Korea and it is a government-sponsored program to hire English teachers to teach English conversation classes in the public school system outside of Gyeonggido, which includes Seoul.

GEPIK stands for Gyeonggi English Program in Korea. It was established in 2003, to provide English education to the region. There are currently over 1,000 foreign ESL teachers working for GEPIK. The number of English teachers working in public schools across Gyeonggi province is expected to grow to 2,000 by the year 2010.

  • EPIK  ( 2 items )

    What is special about EPIK?



    Settlement Allowance - 300,000 KRW (one-time payment)


    All EPIK GETs, regardless of level, will be provided with a settlement allowance of 300,000 KRW within the first month of their first contract.

    Free Furnished Housing Provided - Single studio-type housing


    Free furnished housing or a rent subsidy will be provided by the host POE.

    A leased house/apartment/studio-type room as well as basic household goods will be provided by the host POE.

    Basic household goods include: a bed, a table and chairs, a wardrobe, a gas stove, a refrigerator, a washing machine, a microwave oven, and a TV set.

    Utilities and maintenance fees are not provided for and are the responsibility of the EPIK GET.

    Due to variations in housing costs in different regions of Korea, the size and location of the supplied housing can vary from POE to POE.

    If housing is unavailable, a monthly rent subsidy of 400,000 KRW will be provided in lieu of free furnished housing

    Severance Pay - Equal to approximately one month's salary / year


    All EPIK GETs, regardless of level, who successfully complete a one-year contract, will be entitled to receive severance pay. Severance pay is equal to approximately one month's salary.

    Entrance/Exit Allowance


    Within the first month of the contract, all EPIK GETs, regardless of level, will be provided with 1,300,000 KRW of Entrance Allowance.

    To prevent early termination of contracts, the Entrance Allowance is issued as a form of a loan from the employer to the EPIK GET. In the event that the contract is terminated within six (6) months of its implementation, including renewal contracts, regardless of course or grounds, the EPIK GET will repay the above-mentioned loan to the EPIK office immediately.

    An Exit Allowance of 1,300,000 KRW is provided upon successful completion of the 1 year contract.

    Renewal Allowance


    2,000,000 KRW will be provided upon successful completion and renewal of your contract with the same POE. In this case, the other allowances (Settlement, Entrance, and Exit) do not apply.

    Compulsory Medical Insurance - 50% of your premiums paid by your employer


    Pursuant to the National Medical Insurance Act, 50% of your medical insurance premiums will be paid by your host POE. Current medical insurance premiums total approximately 4.31% of your salary and are payable monthly. Half of this amount, about 2.1%, will be paid by your host POE, with the remaining amount being deducted from your monthly salary. This medical insurance will allow you to receive medical attention and prescription medicines at a fraction of their original cost. In the event that EPIK GETs have dependents living with them in Korea, their host POE will continue to pay 50% of their medical insurance premiums for both the GET and his/her dependents.

    National Pension Scheme - 50% of your compulsory contributions paid by your employer (some information is outdated but will soon be updated)


    National Pension Scheme - Pursuant to the Korean National Pension Corporation Act, 50% of your compulsory pension contributions will be paid by your host POE. Current compulsory pension contributions total approximately 9% of your salary and are payable monthly. Half of this amount, about 4.5%, will be paid by your host POE, with the remaining amount being deducted from your monthly salary.

    National Pension Scheme Refunds - At present, only EPIK ELIs holding American or Canadian citizenship are eligible for a lump-sum pension refund upon successfully completing their contract and departing Korea. Information and documentation to apply for this refund can be found on the Korean National Pension Service website. EPIK ELIs from countries other than the USA and Canada are only entitled to receive pension benefits in the case of retirement or tragedy. More information about pension benefits and refunds can be found on the Korean National Pension Service

    Tax Exemption - 2 years of income tax exemption (except for Canadians-this information is outdated but still relevant for some job applicant, please ask I Love ESL for updated information


    With the exception of Canadians, all EPIK ELIs, regardless of ELI level, are exempt from paying Korean income tax for the first two years of their employment in Korea. To be eligible for this tax exemption, you must submit official proof of residency in the form of Residency Certification from the relevant jurisdictional tax office of your country of permanent residence. This document must be submitted to the supervisor of your POE within one month of your arrival in Korea. In order to be tax exempted, you are required to submit documents below to your supervisor within the first month of your employment.


    • Application Form(provided by your supervisor)
    • A copy of Residence Certificate(issued by the competent authority - Revenue Office of your resident country)

    If you have previously worked for more than two years in Korea, you are ineligible for this income tax exemption. Income tax exemption can be an exceptional benefit since, for example, in the USA, single persons with no dependents may need to pay one-third of their income as tax. As there is no tax treaty between Canada and Korea, Canadian EPIK ELIs will be taxed between 2 and 4 percent on their Korean income depending on their EPIK GET level.


    When you renew your contract with a same POE:


    • An additional paid two-week vacation will be provided between contracts for renewing members.
    • Teachers complete the 1 year contract will be entitled to receive severance pay one month equivalent.
    • 2,000,000 KRW will be provided upon successful completion and renewal of your contract with the same POE. In this case, the other allowances (Settlement, Entrance, and Exit) do not apply.








    Only in Seoul

    Suburb of Seoul

    Other than Seoul and Suburb of Seoul

    Salary(depends on qualification




    Rural Allowance

    Not available



    Paid Vacation

    21days(including weekends)

    20days(excluding weekends)

    21days(including weekends)

    Rural paid vacation bonus

    Not available



    Single Housing

    within 20~30min from School

    Walking distance

    Within 10~20mins from School

    Housing Allowance

    0.5M(No key money support)

    0.4M(No key money support)

    0.4M(No Key money support)

    Settlement Allowance





    1.3M Cash

    Full reimbursement

    1.3M Cash

    Working Hour




    Teaching Hour




    Overtime(teaching hrs)

    Not fixed



    Overtime(working hrs)

    Not fixed











    Date for Salary






    Required Document for EPIK application


     1. Application form

    Applicant must fill in EPIK application including personal essay and self medical check form. Personal Essay must be more than 300 words and TEIK recommends that you to write this essay briefly about why you would be an outstanding teacher in the EPIK program. 


    2. Formal Resume (cover letter)

    Resume must be formal and appropriate for applying at a public school teaching job. Highlight one's education background and full time/part-time/volunteer teaching experience must be clearly stated on your resume and a cover letter must be included as well.


    3. BA and MA Diploma (notarized copy only)

    EPIK applicant must have a 3~4 years BA qualification or above and applicants must provide a notarized (Apostilled) copy of their BA and MA diploma(s). Do not send the original.


    4. Official Sealed Transcripts (BA and MA)

    Officially Sealed Academic Transcripts must be provided and the applicant must provide MA or Doctorate transcripts as well (if it is applicable).

    *Note: Statewide CBC (Criminal Background Check) clearance is only acceptable.


    5. A clear copy of Passport (Photo page only)

    Photocopy of one's passport needs to be submitted and notarization is not necessary. 


    6. Criminal Record Check(Photo page only)

    Notarized (Apostilled) CBC (CRC same as CBC) criminal background check. Criminal record check is only valid up to 6 months after it is issued.

    l  CBC/CRC Web Search Results by a private company are not acceptable and the CRC must clearly state that "No criminal record" or "No criminal record found" on the statement.


    7. Two sealed reference (recommendation) letters

    Recommendation letters must be sealed and the EPIK office will open these documents when they screen applicant's documents. A friend or close relative can't issue this reference letter. An academic professor or former/current employer should issue this letter and the letters must have a letter head and contact information with a signature on it.


    8. Teaching Certification or Language Certificate (TEFL, TESOL or CELTA)

    Certified teachers must provide notarized copies of teaching certifications and or Language certificates such as CELTA, TESOL or TEFL and these courses must be more than 100 hrs to receive credit otherwise it won't positively affect your salary level (certificate holders can have a higher salary).


    9. Three passport size photos

    You need to prepare several passport photos because you will need one also after you arrive in South Korea for your alien registration card. You need to paste one of your passport size photos onto your application and send two to Korea with your documents. 


    10. Letter of full-time teaching experience.

    Applicants must provide an official letter from their previous employers in order to prove an applicant's full-time teaching experience. A copy of your previous E2 visa or a copy of your previous contract(s) will not be acceptable and the period of employment and "full-time employee" should be stated in your letter.

    Only one full year of experience will be considered as a full time teaching experience, so less than that will not be considered for higher pay (for better salary criteria).