Top 10 Sites and Apps to Teach Korean Students English Online (Make Up to $21 per Hour)

English fever – this is what the Koreans call their zeal for English education. They believe that learning English, especially at a young age, can boost their social status and increase their chances of getting into a prestigious university or landing good jobs.

The problem is that the current education system in South Korea still focuses on passive English learning like grammar, reading, and listening. This is why so many Koreans turn to online English teachers to fill in the learning gap.

This is where you can come in as a native English speaker. With an affluent population and many mature online learning platforms to choose from, teaching English online to Korean students is both easy and potentially lucrative as a side hustle.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to land that Korean online ESL teaching job, including the best places to find them.

Perks of Teaching English Online to Korean Students

Of course, before anything else, we should talk about the awesome benefits of being an online English teacher to Korean students.

  • Teach anywhere using your desktop, laptop, and even smartphone.
  • Meet new people and possibly make friends.
  • Learn about Korean culture
  • Earn $10 to $20 per hour from home.
  • Flexible work hours
  • Most Korean students pay on time
  • Korean students are hardworking and polite

Things You Need to Land a Korean Online ESL Teaching Job

Now that you’re convinced you want to give this a shot, what exactly do you need to get hired?

  • At least 10 Mbps download and upload speed
  • A noise-cancelling headset
  • A decent laptop or desktop
  • Excellent English proficiency with neutral accent
  • A webcam (not required if applying for calls-only jobs)

A TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate (not to be confused with TOEFL) will significantly increase your chances of getting hired. Some companies only accept TEFL-certified applicants.

Where to Get an Online TEFL Certificate

Aside from being a requirement to get accepted in some companies, a TEFL certificate is an investment that will also make you a better online English teacher. Thankfully, there are online TEFL certification programs.

I advise looking for those that have at least 120 training hours.

Here are budget-priced deals that are good enough for beginners.

Once you’re making decent money and want to get a higher hourly rate, you can invest in a TEFL certificate from accredited programs like the ones below.

  • International TEFL and TESOL Training – Courses range from introductory to advanced TEFL courses with or without tutor support. Price starts at $239. You get a hard copy of your TEFL certificate.
  • Bridge TEFL – For $380, you get 13 modules, videos, teaching resources, and a personalized tutor feedback.
  • i-to-i TEFL – Starting at $130, you get at least 120 training hours with many online resources and tutor support.

Best Sites and Apps to Teach Korean Students English Online

1. Skybel

  • Hourly Rate: $15 to $20
  • Requirements: IELTS experience, 3 years of teaching experience, college degree, at least 25 years old
  • Class Size: One-on-one
  • Class Duration: 25 or 50 minutes
  • Student Age Group: High school and college students, adults
  • Minimum Hours Per Week: 10 hours

Since 2009, Skybel has been offering video and call English lessons through Skype. They cater to students who are planning to take the IELTS. Hence, they highly prefer applicants with IELTS experience. The good news is that, if you have the required experience, you’ll have one of the best hourly rates as a Korean online ESL teacher.

To become a regular instructor, you’ll have to pass three rounds of screening. First is the documents examination where they check if you meet the requirements mentioned above. The second round of screening is a grammar test and an assessment for pronunciation, intonation, teaching manners, and passion for teaching.

As for the third round, you’ll need to demonstrate your teaching and corrective abilities through lectures. If you pass all rounds of screening, you’ll have to undergo a month of training period and another month for observation.

2. Engliphone

  • Hourly Rate: $17 for audio classes, $20 for video classes
  • Requirements: Native speaker from US or Canada, 1 year of teaching experience preferred, Windows computer
  • Class Size: One-on-one
  • Class Duration: 4-hour shifts, 6am-11am & 6pm-12am Korea Time, Monday to Friday
  • Student Age Group: Elementary, high school, college, and adults
  • Minimum Hours Per Week: 5-day availability during the week preferred

If you don’t have a college’s degree or a TEFL certification, Engliphone is one of your best options. They have a large client base and high booking rate. Plus, even if your student doesn’t show up, you get a base pay of $13.50 per hour.

They prefer it if you have some teaching experience, whether online or in a classroom. But, I’ve read reviews where teachers were hired even without teaching experience as long as they pass the demo. Engliphone also has their own program. It isn’t Mac-compatible so a computer with a Windows OS is a must.

Google translate doesn’t work well with their website which is in Korean. So, it can be confusing how to apply. However, if you are interested, you can send your resume and recent photo to their Skype (sangjuhenry) or email them ([email protected]).

3. Classo

  • Hourly Rate: $18 to $21
  • Requirements: Experience and certificate preferred but not required, prefer native English speakers, highly proficient non-native English speakers will be considered
  • Class Size: One-on-one
  • Class Duration: 25 minutes with a 5-minute break in between
  • Student Age Group: Elementary, high school, college, and adults
  • Minimum Hours Per Week: 20 hours

Formerly known as Storivers, Classo offers not just English but Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, German, and Italian lessons as well. This means that if you’re a native speaker of any of these languages, you can apply to teach that as well. Even better if you have a background in business English or test preparation for IELTS, TOEIC, and other similar exams.

Classo has its own browser-run app which you’ll be using for your virtual classrooms. In case of emergencies, they use Skype as a backup so you’ll have to install that. All classes are done through video so a webcam is a must.

Payments are done via direct bank deposit every 10th of the month.

4. Bok Tutors

  • Hourly Rate: $13 to $18
  • Requirements: College degree, TEFL certificate, native English speaker, 1-year relevant experience
  • Class Size: One-on-one or group setting
  • Class Duration: Not indicated
  • Student Age Group: Mostly elementary, high school, and college students
  • Minimum Hours Per Week: 12 hours

Bok Tutors is a US-based company that offers different online language lessons with a focus on English. As such, they only hire native English speakers from countries like the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Teachers need to stick to a schedule since they will be maintaining the same students each week. Skype is the go-to platform and all classes are done via video.

5. GlobalT English

  • Hourly Rate: $14 to $15
  • Requirements: College degree, Windows-based computer with at least 2GB RAM, hardwired 10Mbps internet, certification and experience preferred
  • Class Size: One-on-one
  • Class Duration: 10, 15, or 20 minutes; video classes can be longer
  • Student Age Group: Elementary, high school, college, and adults
  • Minimum Hours Per Week: At least 3 hours per day during peak hours

GlobalT English offers a competitive hourly rate. Successful applicants are contracted for 6 months at a time. 

Just like many other Korean online ESL companies, it’s hard to find the details of the application on their website. If you’re interested, you can send your cover letter, resume, certificate, digital photo, and diploma to [email protected]. They also ask that you include your availability so they can check if you can teach during their peak hours.

Their peak hours are 5PM to 9PM EST and 5AM to 11AM EST. Payment is sent monthly and teaching materials are provided by the company.

6. Carrot Global

  • Hourly Rate: $13 to $17
  • Requirements: Certification preferred, college degree, wired connection
  • Class Size: One-on-one
  • Class Duration: 10, 15, 20, 30, 45 or 60 minute classes
  • Student Age Group: Mostly adults
  • Minimum Hours Per Week: 15 hours

Carrot Global is a great choice for aspiring online ESL teachers who do not have experience but have been certified. Having a North American accent is a bonus but they accept those with a neutral accent when they’re mass hiring.

You need to be available 5 days a week especially during peak hours. Their peak hours are 6AM to 11AM (Monday to Friday) and 5PM to 9PM (Sunday to Thursday) Eastern Daylight Time. 

To help you be a successful teacher, the company will provide you with online training, teaching materials, and an internet VOIP phone. There are regular pay raise evaluations, a monthly bonus for good attendance, and even paid holidays for full-time employees.

7. Nil English

  • Hourly Rate: $10 to $15
  • Requirements: College degree, experience, and certification preferred, North American accent
  • Class Size: One-on-one
  • Class Duration: 10 to 60 minutes
  • Student Age Group: Mainly kindergarten and elementary students
  • Minimum Hours Per Week: 2 hours per day for 5 days (10 hours)

Nil English caters to Koreans of all ages but you’ll mostly be teaching children. Lessons are held over Skype, Zoom or a phone call. Teaching materials are provided.

The pay and booking starts slow. However, if you’re patient and hard-working, you’ll see your schedule being full just after a few months.

You’ll start with a rate of $1.50 for every 10-minute class. You get a 10% bonus fee once the student sends in his review. There’s a pay raise every 3 months provided that you have good reviews.

8. Global VCC

  • Hourly Rate: $15 to $18
  • Requirements: College degree or certification, native English speaker, experience preferred
  • Class Size: One-on-one
  • Class Duration: Not indicated
  • Student Age Group: Kids and teens
  • Minimum Hours Per Week: 10

Global VCC is a company that has been in the business for 10 years. They only accept applicants that can commit to working at least 6 months. You should also be available during their peak hours which are during 7PM to 12PM and 6AM to 10AM Korea Standard Time.

Basic training, a tutor’s manual, and teaching materials will be provided to successful applicants. The only downside is that the company’s interactive online class platform only works on Windows.

9. Ziktalk

  • Hourly Rate: $10 to $15
  • Requirements: Neutral accent, certification preferred
  • Class Size: One-on-one
  • Student Age Group: High school, college, and adults
  • Minimum Hours Per Week: 20 hours

If your smartphone is your device of choice for teaching English, then Ziktalk is a must-try. It’s a community language exchange app that’s part teaching platform and part social media hang out. 

Aside from not requiring a college degree, they hire non-native English speakers as long as you have a neutral accent. You get paid by the minute for chatting with your Korean students either through video or audio calls. What you earn the company will send you via Paypal or bank transfer.

Tutors can upload short educational videos about various topics to get promoted and gain more students. This means that you get an edge if you specialize in areas like law, business, and marketing since you’ll gain students who are Korean professionals looking to boost their career.

10. GMNY

  • Hourly Rate: $12
  • Requirements: Native English speaker residing in the US, college degree, experience preferred, hardwired Internet connection
  • Class Duration: 20 minutes
  • Student Age Group: College students and adults

Global Mate New York is a US-based global educational call center which connects ESL teachers to Korean students. 

Aside from the requirements mentioned above, you’ll need a computer with at least 1.7GHz and 1GB RAM. There’s also a minimum Internet speed of 3Mbps.

Successful applicants are provided free training and some practice with a mock class. You will also be given a 6-month contract so you have consistent work during that period. If your performance is good, you can expect different bonuses and pay raises.

How to Be a Good Online English Teacher to Koreans

If you want to succeed as an online English teacher to Koreans, here are some tips for you to follow.

  • Be Prepared – Since they’re studying English to boost their career prospects, Koreans are hardworking students and want to get true value out of their lessons. While some students are satisfied with just chatting to improve their conversational skills, it’s still a good idea to prepare some topics and materials beforehand.
  • Get Some Props Ready – If you’re teaching kids, supplement the class with flashcards and toys to grab their attention. If you’re working with adults, look for interesting photos and topics to get the conversation going.
  • Learn About the Korean Culture – K-pop and Korean dramas are all the rage right now and, understandably, Koreans are very proud of this. Try to learn about these so you can have a common ground to talk about with your students. Plus, if you demonstrate an interest in these areas, you’ll be able to get them on your side right away. Tourist destinations, food, and history are great topics too!
  • Try Korean Food – There’s a vast difference between reading about Korean food and actually trying them. If you can, try some of their famous dishes in Korean restaurants or cook them yourself. Not only will this give you hours and hours of teaching material, Korean cuisine tastes delicious and most of them are healthy. I recommend starting with popular ones like chimaek (fried chicken and beer), jajangmyeon, samgyeopsal, bibimbap, kimchi, army stew, and galbi.
  • Talk About Their Career – Given that most Koreans are learning English to land a good job, you can tailor your lessons to fit it. Questions like what their job is, what industry they’re in, and what their career goals are will let you know which direction to take.
  • Focus on Conversational Skills – As I’ve mentioned before, the Korean education system already focuses on grammar and other passive aspects. What your students really need is someone to practice their conversational skills on.
  • Give Constructive Feedback – It might be awkward at first to give feedback but your students will surely appreciate it. Make small pronunciation corrections throughout your conversation and give constructive feedback once the lesson is over. Of course, it’s equally important to praise them for what they do well too.

Common Language Problems to Expect

When teaching Korean students, you’ll often face the following English language challenges.

  • Grammar – Since the Korean language sentence structure is very different from the English language, students often mix them up. For example, instead of ‘eating food,’ they’ll say ‘food eating.’
  • Pronunciation – Hangul, the Korean alphabet, is phonetic. This means that every letter corresponds to a sound. So when your students pronounce them, words like ‘fish’ become ‘pishie’ and ‘sandwich’ to ‘saendeuwichi.’ They also have a hard time with l and r, p and f, and v and b. For example, ‘very fruity’ sometimes becomes ‘bery pruity.’
  • Speaking Directly – Koreans are very respectful and this can be seen in their language as well. For example, the way they talk with their seniors is different from when they’re talking to their friends. However, this distinction doesn’t exist in English so they find it difficult to speak up lest they offend you.

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