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Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« on: February 18, 2019, 01:11:51 pm »
Hello,

I'm new here so sorry if this has been discussed before but I couldn't find an answer.

Does anybody know how a foreign teacher's wage compares to a Korean teacher's wage? For example, a "lowball" offer from hagwon is 2.1, right? Would that be considered low for a Korean teacher? On par? Considering foreign teachers are usually offered accommodation or allowance on top of that.

Just wondering how they stack up.

Thanks.

« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 01:13:34 pm by billybungle222 »


Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2019, 03:35:33 pm »
Hello,

I'm new here so sorry if this has been discussed before but I couldn't find an answer.

Does anybody know how a foreign teacher's wage compares to a Korean teacher's wage? For example, a "lowball" offer from hagwon is 2.1, right? Would that be considered low for a Korean teacher? On par? Considering foreign teachers are usually offered accommodation or allowance on top of that.

Just wondering how they stack up.

Thanks.

Depends on whether you mean Korean hagwan teacher or public school teacher. Korean Hagwan teachers probably get a bit less. Korean PS teachers' overall package is better.


  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

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    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2019, 04:58:40 pm »
A brand new, first few years, full-time Korean public school teacher will make about 2.1 million, and contract teachers too. However, they do get much more generous benefits, and way more bonuses, and many more days off. If you were to become a principal, i believe teachers top off at around 6 million/month currently. This is for all levels, elementary to middle/high school.

Elementary teachers have to have specialized early education degrees to work elementary schools, while middle/high school teachers can be drawn from a much wider pool.

Also, some teachers do become janghaksa (supervisors) at the local education office. That is considered the same level as a vice-principal. They do sometimes transfer them back into schools, and if they do it will be at least as a vice-principal.

Keep in mind, the trade-off teachers, and Korean civil servants, make is lower wages (compared to private sector wages) for virtually guaranteed lifetime employment, and a good pension.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 05:04:51 pm by pkjh »


  • leaponover
  • Super Waygook

    • 435

    • March 05, 2012, 12:08:16 pm
    • Iksan, S. Korea
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2019, 07:43:06 pm »
No idea what level it was, but my public high school sent me the wrong pay stub by accident through email once and it was for 3 million.  I don't know who the teacher was and how long they had been employed though.


  • thunderlips
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    • 1420

    • June 07, 2012, 10:01:55 am
    • South Korea
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2019, 08:11:51 am »
Hello,

I'm new here so sorry if this has been discussed before but I couldn't find an answer.

Does anybody know how a foreign teacher's wage compares to a Korean teacher's wage? For example, a "lowball" offer from hagwon is 2.1, right? Would that be considered low for a Korean teacher? On par? Considering foreign teachers are usually offered accommodation or allowance on top of that.

Just wondering how they stack up.

Thanks.

Depends on whether you mean Korean hagwan teacher or public school teacher. Korean Hagwan teachers probably get a bit less. Korean PS teachers' overall package is better.

Depends on if you mean regular teacher or contract teacher. Contract teachers make less than us.


  • Ariadne
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    • January 23, 2017, 06:24:54 pm
    • Gyeongbuk-do
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2019, 08:35:10 am »
The contract teacher at my school only makes 1.8 mil, plus he's only employed for 10 months of the year and isn't entitled to any holiday (except red days) or severance. I feel so sorry for the guy, as he has the same amount of work as the regular Korean English teachers, minus a homeroom class. If I were him, I would hate me.

A friend of mine (also Korean) quit his job delivering Chinese food to become a hagwon teacher. After working full-time and having 3x as much work to do as the NETs for a measly 1.4 mil per month, he went back to delivering Chinese lol.

Only the public school teachers have it sweet. There's a teacher in my office who teaches 6 lessons of 수석 (home economics?) per week and she gets 80 MILLION WON PER YEAR for sitting at her desk and talking loudly on her phone all week.   :undecided:


  • hangook77
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    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
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Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2019, 09:23:59 am »
Korean public school teachers start at 1.8 million won a month and go up 100,000 a month every year until retirement.  Contract teachers are also the same, but they don't get the pension and other bonuses I believe.  The regular teachers get Chuseok and other bonuses though.  A hakwon teacher use to get 1.5 million won a month and may have been able to get some more with experience but not necessarily.  In many smaller towns a decade ago, this was the bare minimum a woman would find a man marryable for.  (Not so much now as the cost of living is so much more.) 

The school exam is hard and some teachers fail it a couple of times before being hired.  So, let's say they are hired at 25, they start at 1.8 and by 30 they are 2.3 million.  By 35, they are  2.8 million.  By 40, they are 3.3 million a month. 

A provincial level one plus EPIK is 2.7 plus 400,000 housing allowance and another 100 to 150 thousand multiple school allowance.  If they are in a rural county, they get another 100,000 won.   It use to take 6 years to get to this level staying in the same province.  Now, they won't hire level 3's like they did with me years ago.  So, it will now take 5 years and you start at 2 at 2.2 million.  (Next is 2plus, then one, and finally one plus). 

So, a level one plus is at 3.2 (including housing).  It is similar to a 40 year old Korean teacher hired at 25.  If you're SMOE, you're much lower of course.  Late 30's to middle 40's (depending on when they got hired) Korean teacher is equal to me.  But then they soar for the last 20 years of their teaching.  If  you work with some much older teachers, they will make more than you.  Some very young, you will make more. 

Keep in mind these scales have not changed for them and are the same around the nation.  Seoul has high living costs, so that entry level will be crap.  Some southern town like Jinju, Suncheon, etc your money will go further for rents, etc.  (But you will blow your cash if you are gone to Seoul every weekend.)  Live with your folks and it doesn't matter I guess.  (A young female teacher had better be physically attracted to you, think you are funny, or like that you are a rich oppa if you want to marry one.  Ha ha.)

What is not counted is they do get Chuseok and Seollal bonuses (permanent teachers anyways).  But, we get 2 million won renewal bonus each year.  Less than what they get, but it is there.  If you get some moderate overtime and add that to the 2 million, it could be averaged out as equal to another 200 thousand a month.  So, instead of 3.2 million a month for a level one plus EPIK, it would be like getting 3.4 million won a month or more. 

SMOE caps out at 2.3 or 2.4 or something like that and no annual bonus?  (Administrators up there seem like assholes to me for that.) 

The contract teachers register with education office and are in their database for school to hire.  Regular contract teachers are anyways, but are paid for the full year and are on the same rising salary as permanent teacher but without the pension and bonuses.  Some schools personally try to cheap out by hiring lecturers and only pay them for 9 or 10 months of the year.  I am not sure if those ones also go through the education office and are on a sliding scale or not.  Bullcrap for them. 


  • hangook77
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    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2019, 09:27:03 am »
Minimum wage is already at 1.7 million whereas 10 years ago in 2009 it was 880,000 won.  So, entry level 1.8 is pretty bad.  With minimum wage still rising over the next 2 or 3 more years too, I am not sure if the starting wages and pay scale will have to finally increase or not.  Would it be legal to pay less than minimum wage for someone who went to university and studied?  I assume some wage reset will have to happen in the next 2 to 3 years.  As for us, well, Korea is coming to an end and not going to be worth it here anymore. 


Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2019, 09:42:40 am »
Here is a table with teacher's salaries from 2017.


Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2019, 11:42:45 am »
The table by talk20gen below is generally accurate in that it shows what a teacher could max out making, in the same way that an EPIK could make 3.4 million per month. The key number on that table is the column in red on the far right, which is the annual salary.

Salaries for Korean civil servants, including teachers and soldiers, are made up of basic pay and then different allowances that can add up to between 20 and 50 percent of your salary. The basic pay is the table on the far left, and then the amounts in the middle are different allowances for things like being a homeroom teacher or overtime and bonuses for performance and holidays. If you go entirely based on basic pay, new teachers started at 1.9m in 2017 and are probably over 2 million by now, though the bonuses probably put them over 2.5m in their first year.

Based on the comments on that table, that table probably overstates it by 20-30%. New teachers start off at around 2.7-2.8 per month while teachers with 15 years' experience are making around 4.5 and teachers near retirement are close to 7m KRW per month, as ariadne mentioned. Here's a post about a 47-year-old teacher making about 6.3m KRW per month, but doing so by racking up the overtime and extra classes. The comments indicate that 5.5m would be a more realistic salary for someone with about 20 years in the classroom. Here's a third-year teacher making 2.4m before taxes.


Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2019, 12:34:35 pm »
You can see why some Korean teachers don't look upon us favourably.

I probably wouldn't  :laugh:


Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2019, 01:21:10 pm »
Great, thanks guys. That more than answered my question.

Alexisalex, this is why I was asking. I was thinking about Korean teacher's opinions of foreign teachers. Like I was saying, I'm the only foreign teacher in my hagwon, the only male and the youngest by about 10 years at least. My coworkers feel a little cold towards me, which I understand but it just started me thinking about the relationship between Korean teachers and foreign teachers in general.

Thanks for the answers.


  • oglop
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1892

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2019, 01:23:05 pm »
new teachers might start on a low-ish wage, but they have job security, bonuses throughout the year (if i'm not mistaken), options of extra classes to boost pay, a lot of time off, and a very good increase in pay throughout your career.

native teachers don't have any of this (even time off keeps getting cut)


  • pkjh
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    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2019, 04:49:47 pm »
Some schools personally try to cheap out by hiring lecturers and only pay them for 9 or 10 months of the year.  I am not sure if those ones also go through the education office and are on a sliding scale or not.  Bullcrap for them.
In the public system there are two types of schools, public schools, and public-private schools. The public-private schools were started way back in the poor days, when the government had free education up to grade 6. So, encouraged private entities to start secondary schools (Grades 7-12). That's why a lot of them are single gender schools.

Anyways, stringing along contract teachers is way more common in these public-private schools. I think they can employ a contract worker up to 3 years, then they either have to get rid, or hire the teacher full-time. So what lot of schools do (if they like the teacher) is make a deal, and hire the teacher 6 months later, and then get another 3 years out of the teacher.

In the full public schools they are a lot more cleaner with contract teachers.

Also, sometimes they'll move public-private schools to public schools, since public-private schools can't just fire a full-time teacher without permission from the Office of Education.


  • Davey
  • Moderator - LVL 3

    • 1816

    • February 01, 2010, 01:36:20 pm
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2019, 07:33:04 pm »
Korean public school teachers start at 1.8 million won a month and go up 100,000 a month every year until retirement.  Contract teachers are also the same, but they don't get the pension and other bonuses I believe.  The regular teachers get Chuseok and other bonuses though.  A hakwon teacher use to get 1.5 million won a month and may have been able to get some more with experience but not necessarily.  In many smaller towns a decade ago, this was the bare minimum a woman would find a man marryable for.  (Not so much now as the cost of living is so much more.) 

The school exam is hard and some teachers fail it a couple of times before being hired.  So, let's say they are hired at 25, they start at 1.8 and by 30 they are 2.3 million.  By 35, they are  2.8 million.  By 40, they are 3.3 million a month. 

A provincial level one plus EPIK is 2.7 plus 400,000 housing allowance and another 100 to 150 thousand multiple school allowance.  If they are in a rural county, they get another 100,000 won.   It use to take 6 years to get to this level staying in the same province.  Now, they won't hire level 3's like they did with me years ago.  So, it will now take 5 years and you start at 2 at 2.2 million.  (Next is 2plus, then one, and finally one plus). 

So, a level one plus is at 3.2 (including housing).  It is similar to a 40 year old Korean teacher hired at 25.  If you're SMOE, you're much lower of course.  Late 30's to middle 40's (depending on when they got hired) Korean teacher is equal to me.  But then they soar for the last 20 years of their teaching.  If  you work with some much older teachers, they will make more than you.  Some very young, you will make more. 

Keep in mind these scales have not changed for them and are the same around the nation.  Seoul has high living costs, so that entry level will be crap.  Some southern town like Jinju, Suncheon, etc your money will go further for rents, etc.  (But you will blow your cash if you are gone to Seoul every weekend.)  Live with your folks and it doesn't matter I guess.  (A young female teacher had better be physically attracted to you, think you are funny, or like that you are a rich oppa if you want to marry one.  Ha ha.)

What is not counted is they do get Chuseok and Seollal bonuses (permanent teachers anyways).  But, we get 2 million won renewal bonus each year.  Less than what they get, but it is there.  If you get some moderate overtime and add that to the 2 million, it could be averaged out as equal to another 200 thousand a month.  So, instead of 3.2 million a month for a level one plus EPIK, it would be like getting 3.4 million won a month or more. 

SMOE caps out at 2.3 or 2.4 or something like that and no annual bonus?  (Administrators up there seem like assholes to me for that.) 

The contract teachers register with education office and are in their database for school to hire.  Regular contract teachers are anyways, but are paid for the full year and are on the same rising salary as permanent teacher but without the pension and bonuses.  Some schools personally try to cheap out by hiring lecturers and only pay them for 9 or 10 months of the year.  I am not sure if those ones also go through the education office and are on a sliding scale or not.  Bullcrap for them.

Yes, that's correct.  I was surprised when I arrived back in 2009 with EPIK I was getting paid equivalent to elementary school teacher with 5 years of experience (MOE gave an extra 300k/month for TEFL back then). Throw in the housing allowance (which I think was equivalent to 400kish) and NETs are pretty well paid initially, but obviously public school teachers will come out ahead eventually. They also have have excellent pension. 


« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 07:34:43 pm by Davey »
------------------------------------------
Search this site using Google by typing, "site:waygook.org [search term]," especially during peak hours. Alternatively, use the site's search function.

EPIK: VISA, RENEWING, PENSION, ETC:

http://waygook.org/index.php/topic,2614.0.html


  • hangook77
  • Hero of Waygookistan

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    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2019, 09:03:21 am »
Some schools personally try to cheap out by hiring lecturers and only pay them for 9 or 10 months of the year.  I am not sure if those ones also go through the education office and are on a sliding scale or not.  Bullcrap for them.
In the public system there are two types of schools, public schools, and public-private schools. The public-private schools were started way back in the poor days, when the government had free education up to grade 6. So, encouraged private entities to start secondary schools (Grades 7-12). That's why a lot of them are single gender schools.

Anyways, stringing along contract teachers is way more common in these public-private schools. I think they can employ a contract worker up to 3 years, then they either have to get rid, or hire the teacher full-time. So what lot of schools do (if they like the teacher) is make a deal, and hire the teacher 6 months later, and then get another 3 years out of the teacher.

In the full public schools they are a lot more cleaner with contract teachers.

Also, sometimes they'll move public-private schools to public schools, since public-private schools can't just fire a full-time teacher without permission from the Office of Education.

Interesting.  I did know some public schools that hired teachers through the semester and some that hired for the full year over the years.  They seemed like regular schools on the surface.  But may have been different than what appears. 


  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1487

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2019, 02:50:22 pm »
Some schools personally try to cheap out by hiring lecturers and only pay them for 9 or 10 months of the year.  I am not sure if those ones also go through the education office and are on a sliding scale or not.  Bullcrap for them.
In the public system there are two types of schools, public schools, and public-private schools. The public-private schools were started way back in the poor days, when the government had free education up to grade 6. So, encouraged private entities to start secondary schools (Grades 7-12). That's why a lot of them are single gender schools.

Anyways, stringing along contract teachers is way more common in these public-private schools. I think they can employ a contract worker up to 3 years, then they either have to get rid, or hire the teacher full-time. So what lot of schools do (if they like the teacher) is make a deal, and hire the teacher 6 months later, and then get another 3 years out of the teacher.

In the full public schools they are a lot more cleaner with contract teachers.

Also, sometimes they'll move public-private schools to public schools, since public-private schools can't just fire a full-time teacher without permission from the Office of Education.

Interesting.  I did know some public schools that hired teachers through the semester and some that hired for the full year over the years.  They seemed like regular schools on the surface.  But may have been different than what appears.
Contract teachers are almost treated like full-time teachers as for their workload, and they can be appointed department heads (everything but head teacher I believe). They also get similar vacation benefits. But I think other financial benefits they may not get.


  • debbiem89
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    • 484

    • August 30, 2016, 09:42:49 am
    • South Korea
Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2019, 08:22:07 am »
Some schools personally try to cheap out by hiring lecturers and only pay them for 9 or 10 months of the year.  I am not sure if those ones also go through the education office and are on a sliding scale or not.  Bullcrap for them.
In the public system there are two types of schools, public schools, and public-private schools. The public-private schools were started way back in the poor days, when the government had free education up to grade 6. So, encouraged private entities to start secondary schools (Grades 7-12). That's why a lot of them are single gender schools.

Anyways, stringing along contract teachers is way more common in these public-private schools. I think they can employ a contract worker up to 3 years, then they either have to get rid, or hire the teacher full-time. So what lot of schools do (if they like the teacher) is make a deal, and hire the teacher 6 months later, and then get another 3 years out of the teacher.

In the full public schools they are a lot more cleaner with contract teachers.

Also, sometimes they'll move public-private schools to public schools, since public-private schools can't just fire a full-time teacher without permission from the Office of Education.

Interesting.  I did know some public schools that hired teachers through the semester and some that hired for the full year over the years.  They seemed like regular schools on the surface.  But may have been different than what appears.
Contract teachers are almost treated like full-time teachers as for their workload, and they can be appointed department heads (everything but head teacher I believe). They also get similar vacation benefits. But I think other financial benefits they may not get.

Just to add to the public-private school thing. These schools can also keep their full time teachers as long as they like...whereas in public schools they have to change every 3-4 years usually.

One of my schools is public-private and it's just about to change to public. It means that EVERY SINGLE staff member except me is changing this semester (admin staff...the lot). They were not happy since they've all been there about ten years aha.


Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2019, 09:03:57 am »
I only realised this after being at the same school for a few years (high school so it might be different in middle or elementary), but as well as moving schools after four years, teachers also get rotated around different departments within school as well.

So there are teachers who have their regular teaching schedule, then they might have a homeroom class and all the responsibilities that go with that, and then on top of that they have their extra assigned duties depending on what department they're in. 

Then, after working in that department for a year (having learned their new assigned duties) they just get moved somewhere else and replaced by a new person who obviously has to learn the new stuff.  It makes NO sense.  So many times I've seen teachers switched to new departments come over and ask for help from the person they replaced.

Going back to the thread topic...while all the above is going on, I'm sitting at my desk staring out of the window safe in the knowledge that I'm earning more money than most of the above teachers.  It doesn't make me feel good at all  :-[ 


  • CO2
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Re: Korean teacher's wage and foreign teacher's wage.
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2019, 09:46:49 am »
Then, after working in that department for a year (having learned their new assigned duties) they just get moved somewhere else and replaced by a new person who obviously has to learn the new stuff.  It makes NO sense.  So many times I've seen teachers switched to new departments come over and ask for help from the person they replaced.

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