In the latest post, I wrote my answer to if you can move to Korea during the pandemic. I mentioned that I would go through what is said to be required if you are wanting to move and get things in order now, before things open up again. The first thing that usually comes up is the topic of a college degree and if it is necessary. But a number of videos on YouTube have made it seem like any degree will work to get you into Korea, or that you don’t even need a degree to get a visa into Korea. So in this post, we’ll look at this topic to see what, if any, degree requirements there are to get you into Korea on a visa.
Is a Degree Required?
The simple answer is no, you don’t need a degree to move to Korea as a non Korean. A couple of situations where you don’t need a degree is if you are going to Korea to pursue a degree or doctorate, or if you are going to marry a Korean citizen and planned on living in Korea. As far as moving to Korea to work, it would be very hard to do so without a degree. In most job ads, you’ll see that a degree can be a minimum requirement to get a job that will sponsor a visa. If you don’t have a degree, you may be able to apply for a job with an international company that has an office in Korea. But these companies may choose to fill open positions with people who have been working in their company for a while and understand their protocol. Still, it can be worth a shot to set up a profile on a company’s website and list your self as being available and willing to relocate if you do not have a degree.
What Kind of Degree Is Needed?
If you do want a degree to help your job chances in Korea, you’d be looking at a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. (This is a degree that typically takes 120 credit hours to fulfill. It can also be called a 4 year degree, even though you can earn it in less time depending on the college work load you can handle.) As far as the field of study, that really depends on what kind of job you want. Some jobs just require a degree, while others want a degree in a field of study that directly applies to the job that is being applied for. It is best to look at companies that hire in the field you want to work in to see what they will require of you.
A note on a degree to teach English in Korea. While many sources will say use a bachelor’s degree or higher in any discipline to teach English in Korea, assuming you meet the other requirements, having a non teaching or non English degree could result in you getting a lower wage offer when you first apply to teach. If you are positive that you want to teach English, you may want to pursue a degree in a discipline that is directly related to teaching English. Having teaching experience will can also possibly increase the amount of money you will be offered to teach in Korea.
What to Look For In a School
If you are looking to get a degree to work in Korea, it will need to be from an accredited school and be apostilled. In a nutshell, accreditation means that the a independent body that is authorized to has reviewed college programs has concluded that the programs offered are legit. However, your degree being apostilled is vital. An apostilled degree means that is has been officially notarized by a government official as being legitimate.
If you are a US citizen, you would want to look at where the school is located and go to that state’s board of education website to make sure that the school is registered there. Schools will usually have an option for you to get your degree apostilled so that you can use them at a job overseas. Once you get your apostille, make copies of it, including digital copies that you have saved to access if they are needed in the future.
Count The Cost
A degree may be nice to have, or vital to have in a career, but it comes with a cost. There are many who spend decades trying to pay off student loans; and sadly, many never pay them off. While a teaching job in Korea will usually come with an apartment where you will have your rent paid for you, it doesn’t mean that you will save a ton of money to pay off your student debt faster. A number of positions can start a new person out of college off at under $25,000 US as a first year salary. If you have a large amount of student loan debt, you could struggle to pay them off at a regular teaching job.
There are many different education choices out there, so pick your choice wisely. While there are ways to get to Korea without a degree, a degree can make it easier for you to get a good job in Korea. Information can change at anytime, so be sure to get as many facts as possible before you give someone your money. And be sure that if you do seek out a degree, that it will equip you to be able to get the kind of job you are looking for. Be sure to check back later as we go into the process of a federal background check for getting your visa to Korea.