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Holding an F4 visa but without a degree..
« on: July 03, 2016, 07:17:21 pm »
Hi everyone. This is my first post and I hope to get some answers with regards to teaching English in Korea.
I am considering to teach in Korea, and through some searching online, I find that one basically has to have a bachelor's degree and be from a select few native speaking countries in order to apply for a work visa.
However, I do not have a bachelor's degree nor am I from any of the list of native speaking countries(I am from Singapore, which has English as the official language.) But I do have an f4 visa which means I can start work immediately if hired.
Now I'm wondering, given my current conditions, will I be able to find a job in a hagwon in Korea? I'm not looking to teach in public schools as I know that would be impossible. I need to know if it's possible at a private school. Please help. Thanks.


  • valkriex
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • August 05, 2009, 09:31:38 am
    • gwangju
Re: Holding an F4 visa but without a degree..
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2016, 08:31:33 am »
I'm no expert but I reckon that it's possible but far from the easiest thing.  Korean hagwans, in general, aren't shy about being discriminatory in their hiring practices.  Young, pretty, white women are preferred I've heard stories of hagwans saying outright that they won't hire black people. overweight people, or a man etc....  Because you are from Singapore and without a proper degree you will likely find it challenging to get a favorable job.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2016, 11:31:03 am by valkriex »


  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1542

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: Holding an F4 visa but without a degree..
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2016, 08:44:18 am »
With an F4 visa you probably easily find a job, but without the degree getting an NET job maybe difficult. And if you manage to find one, expect pay to be substantially lower.


Re: Holding an F4 visa but without a degree..
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2016, 09:33:01 am »
I have a friend who was in your position; however, he was Korean-American. Because he did not have a degree, he was forced to work in a hagwon, which was obtained through his father's acquaintance with a hagwon owner, for about 1.5 million won a month. That is about $500 USD less than the bare minimum a NET would hope to receive. My friend was barely able to hit the 2.0M mark via private lessons but even those did not last long.

If you do not have a degree, I strongly encourage you to seek one out in an acknowledged country. Needless to say, my friend was not qualified to teach English at all. He told me about an event where he once spelled the word "anonymous" as "anonimous" (wasn't a typo; he genuinely did not know how to spell the word) and was subsequently corrected by his sixth grade student. If you cannot obtain one, I advise you to seek employment elsewhere because you cannot ever hope to earn more than 1.8M teaching English. Furthermore, you would also have to make extra effort finding a job that would accept you while simultaneously negotiating for your employer's advantage. Now, any reputable institution would never employ you -- the shoddy ones might consider you though. Therefore, if you have an overwhelming urge to teach in a private institution, you must go to each institution in-person and pass out your resume and/or explain to them your current situation.

Other questions to consider:
Since you have an F4 visa, you must be ethnically Korean, but are you full 100% Korean? As in, do you look like a Korean and not mixed? Are you light skinned?

Are you male or female?

Do you have a TEFL certificate?

Do you have close friends/relatives that can help you find employment in Korea?
« Last Edit: July 04, 2016, 09:35:16 am by impressionn88 »


  • Mezoti97
  • The Legend

    • 2666

    • April 14, 2011, 03:02:50 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Holding an F4 visa but without a degree..
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2016, 10:25:53 am »
Because you are from the Philippines and without a proper degree you will likely find it challenging to get a favorable job.

The OP said he is from Singapore.


Re: Holding an F4 visa but without a degree..
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2016, 03:45:58 pm »
Hi all thanks for all the prompt responses. I have to say though after reading them the prospect seems pretty discouraging. :( Well I am actually in the final year of my degree studies but due to personal family problems I had to delay completing them, resulting in my current situation. Thing is, I do not see how my degree in math is going to be relevant at all to teaching English. I don't think my English is that bad though to the point I can't spell 'anonymous' haha.

To answer the questions,
1) I am half Korean/half Chinese, which grants me the eligibility to hold the F4 visa in Korea. I would say I am a full Asian looking dude haha which I know is going to work against me getting an English teaching job in Korea.. oh well.
2) I do not yet have the TEFL certificate, but am definitely going to get one if it helps getting a job at a hagwon. Does it?
3) Unfortunately, I don't have any good connections here in Korea. :(

If I pull through and get a degree in Math next year, plus attaining the TEFL certification, will it help to increase my prospect of getting a decent job in a hagwon? Despite being a Singaporean, Asian-looking male? I still have the F4 visa though, which means I don't have to go through the trouble of getting the work visa.

Also, pardon my poor knowledge in the English teaching environment in Korea, but may I know what is the meaning of a NET job? I see it being used in a couple of responses.


  • Imogen1991
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1109

    • March 18, 2015, 12:26:47 am
    • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Re: Holding an F4 visa but without a degree..
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2016, 03:53:40 pm »
Hi all thanks for all the prompt responses. I have to say though after reading them the prospect seems pretty discouraging. :( Well I am actually in the final year of my degree studies but due to personal family problems I had to delay completing them, resulting in my current situation. Thing is, I do not see how my degree in math is going to be relevant at all to teaching English. I don't think my English is that bad though to the point I can't spell 'anonymous' haha.

To answer the questions,
1) I am half Korean/half Chinese, which grants me the eligibility to hold the F4 visa in Korea. I would say I am a full Asian looking dude haha which I know is going to work against me getting an English teaching job in Korea.. oh well.
2) I do not yet have the TEFL certificate, but am definitely going to get one if it helps getting a job at a hagwon. Does it?
3) Unfortunately, I don't have any good connections here in Korea. :(

If I pull through and get a degree in Math next year, plus attaining the TEFL certification, will it help to increase my prospect of getting a decent job in a hagwon? Despite being a Singaporean, Asian-looking male? I still have the F4 visa though, which means I don't have to go through the trouble of getting the work visa.

Also, pardon my poor knowledge in the English teaching environment in Korea, but may I know what is the meaning of a NET job? I see it being used in a couple of responses.

Yes, getting a degree in any discipline should greatly increase your chances! Even though it seems irrelevant, just having a BA at all is what counts here, they really don't care what you studied, unless it's education or your have your teaching certificate.

NET stands for Native English Teacher, in Korean terms that means being from one of the 7 countries (UK, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, USA). In other places it is not as strict as this, it simply means that English is your native tongue, the language you grew up speaking and were educated in

PS for what it's worth I think your English sounds great. The native rule is fast becoming outdated in my opinion, there are many people who have a fantastic command of the English language but are not considered native and so are penalised.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2016, 03:57:23 pm by Imogen1991 »


Re: Holding an F4 visa but without a degree..
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2016, 11:51:41 am »
Hi all thanks for all the prompt responses. I have to say though after reading them the prospect seems pretty discouraging. :( Well I am actually in the final year of my degree studies but due to personal family problems I had to delay completing them, resulting in my current situation. Thing is, I do not see how my degree in math is going to be relevant at all to teaching English. I don't think my English is that bad though to the point I can't spell 'anonymous' haha.

To answer the questions,
1) I am half Korean/half Chinese, which grants me the eligibility to hold the F4 visa in Korea. I would say I am a full Asian looking dude haha which I know is going to work against me getting an English teaching job in Korea.. oh well.
2) I do not yet have the TEFL certificate, but am definitely going to get one if it helps getting a job at a hagwon. Does it?
3) Unfortunately, I don't have any good connections here in Korea. :(

If I pull through and get a degree in Math next year, plus attaining the TEFL certification, will it help to increase my prospect of getting a decent job in a hagwon? Despite being a Singaporean, Asian-looking male? I still have the F4 visa though, which means I don't have to go through the trouble of getting the work visa.

Also, pardon my poor knowledge in the English teaching environment in Korea, but may I know what is the meaning of a NET job? I see it being used in a couple of responses.

By all means do get a TEFL certificate, as you have stated that you wanted to learn how to teach English somewhat competently. A TEFL certificate nets you more than basic ESL teaching skills--you attain a higher market value compared to other ESL teachers that do not have one. Since you have an F4 visa, obtaining a degree from the "7" English speaking countries is not essential. Therefore, I highly advise you to push on through college and get a BA asap. Actually, I would ask you not to even consider teaching in Korea without one.
It appears your main concern is whether obtaining a degree+TEFL cert. will improve your chances at landing a hagwon job. My answer: immensely
Are you fluent in Korean? Especially in hagwons, there is some discrimination towards ESL teachers that have asian heritage--even ethnic Koreans living overseas (gyopo). However, there are a lot of jobs that cater specifically towards Gyopo, and this phenomenon has become increasing popular over the years and I will project it will continue to be so; however, nearly all of them requires you to be competently bilingual.
Therefore, my recommendations for your unique position are:
1) get a degree in mathematics
2) study and become fluent in Korean by the time you graduate(work especially hard in verbal communication)
3) get a TEFL cert.
4) and head to Korea


Re: Holding an F4 visa but without a degree..
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2016, 06:22:38 pm »
Wow..it seems like getting a degree is really crucial to getting a teaching job in Korea.
Thank you guys for all the helpful responses. I have always wanted to live in Korea and I thought teaching English would be a great opportunity. I'm now a lot clearer in the direction I should take in order to do so. My Korean is just ok but it's getting rusty from lack of use. I guess it's time to brush up on that too!
As for the degree, I will definitely be getting it now plus the TEFL certificate.
Thank you all once again for the helpful responses! Really appreciate them! :)


Re: Holding an F4 visa but without a degree..
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2016, 07:02:22 pm »
If you get your degree you could probably get a real job, especially if you speak Korean.