The Complete Guide to the GEPIK Program in South Korea
GEPIK (Gyeonggi English Program in Korea) is an English teaching program that provides education to students in the Gyeonggi Province of South Korea. Teachers are placed in public schools (typically Elementary level) around this region, either in urban or rural areas.
GEPIK recently merged with EPIK, so applicants wishing to teach in this province are now required to apply through EPIK and list Gyeonggi as their preferred location. Its close proximity to Seoul makes it pretty popular and positions fill up fast.
The requirements are strict and the application process extensive, but with a competitive salary and added perks like free housing, paid vacation days and flight reimbursement, it’s a great option for those wishing to teach in South Korea.
Requirements to Teach for GEPIK
You must meet ALL of the following requirements:
- Native English speaker
- Bachelor’s Degree or above (in any subject)
- Clean criminal background check
- Meet the requirements for a Korean E2 visa
- Good mental and physical health
On top of these, you must have ONE of the following teaching qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree in English, Education or Linguistics
- Teaching license
- TEFL/TESOL or CELTA certificate
Native English Speaker
You must have citizenship from either Canada, USA, UK, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand.
Bachelor’s Degree or Above
A Bachelor’s degree (either 3 or 4 years) or above, in any subject, is essential. If you’re in your final year at university you can still apply to GEPIK, but you must submit a letter of expected graduation.
Clean Criminal Background Check
You’ll be required to obtain an Apostille National Level Criminal Record Check (CRC). It must be completely clear with no criminal record being stated – misdemeanors and felonies will disqualify you.
Korean E2 Visa
In order to teach on the GEPIK program, you’ll need a Korean E2 visa. This is granted after certain requirements are met and you can only apply for the E2 visa once your placement has been confirmed by GEPIK. They’ll send you a Notification of Appointment (NOA) number which you’ll need when applying for the visa.
Read up on our Understanding the Korean E2 Visa Process for English Teachers section.
Good Mental and Physical Health
You must be in good health and have no major health problems. You’ll be required to fill out a self-medical check survey as part of the application process and complete a physical once in Korea.
If your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is in English, Education or Linguistics, then you don’t have to complete a TEFL/TESOL or CELTA course.
If your degree is in a different field, you’ll need to have a teaching license or a TEFL/TESOL or CELTA. Online and offline certifications are accepted, but it must be a 100-hour or more certification program.
Difference Between EPIK and GEPIK
GEPIK used to be its own entity and recruited teachers solely for the Gyeonggi province whereas EPIK recruited teachers for everywhere else in South Korea, apart from Gyeonggi.
Since EPIK and GEPIK have merged and EPIK now recruits for the Gyeonggi province, the programs and the application process come under the same banner. The only real difference between the two teaching programs is that GEPIK still refers to schools specifically in the Gyeonggi province.
GEPIK Salary and Benefits
Teaching with the GEPIK program will allow you to live comfortably with the possibility to save money. The salary is dependent on your qualifications and experience and teachers usually earn between 2 and 2.5 million KRW a month (between $1,800 USD and $2,250 USD). You’ll also receive a pay rise every year you teach through GEPIK.
Korvia recruitment has the most up to date GEPIK pay scale.
Within the first month of your contract you’ll receive a one-time payment of 300,000 KRW (approx $270 USD).
Free furnished housing is provided. If your school can’t provide housing, you’ll receive a stipend of 400,000 KRW (approx $360 USD) a month.
You’ll receive a flight allowance of 1.3 million KRW ($1,162 USD) each way. Your Entrance Allowance is given to you in your first month, and the Exit Allowance after leaving South Korea.
Paid Vacation Days
On top of the weekends and national holidays, you’re given 20 paid vacation days (2 more than other EPIK locations)! Typically you’ll be expected to take these days during the breaks in August and January.
Anytime you successfully complete a one year contract, you’re entitled to an additional full month of extra salary as a bonus.
GEPIK teachers who choose to renew their contract at the same school receive a bonus of 2 million KRW ($1,800 USD).
GEPIK will pay 50% of your medical insurance premiums. The remaining 50% will automatically be deducted from your paycheck each month. This insurance covers your health, vision and dental.
GEPIK Orientation and Training
Upon arrival, you’ll receive 8-10 days compulsory orientation and training related to living and teaching in Korea. This will take place prior to your contract start date and is unpaid.
GEPIK Application Process, Timeline & Location
The application process is extensive and you should only apply if you meet all of he requirements. Any mistakes or missing documents mean your application won’t be considered. You apply for GEPIK through EPIK, specifying the Gyeonggi province on your EPIK application form.
It’s a competitive and popular program due to its close proximity to Seoul and applicants are advised to apply as soon as possible. GEPIK hires in accordance to the public school calendar, with contracts starting 1st March and 1st September.
You can apply directly with the EPIK offices in Korea or through recruiters affiliated with EPIK. The EPIK website states that direct applications are accepted and processed earlier than applications sent through recruiters. Recruiters, on the other hand, will likely guide you through the process.
There are public schools in Gyeonggi that are funded through the city hall rather than the government and have yet to be taken over by EPIK. They have a different application process to EPIK with the schools interviewing prospective applicants. Applications for these schools are done separately to EPIK, through a recruiter.
The EPIK website provides a timeline, breaking down the process of applying for the March and September start. You can apply from February for the September start and August for the March start.
If you’re accepted on the GEPIK program, you’re guaranteed to be placed in a public school within the Gyeonggi province. The exact location within Gyeonggi is determined by the administrators and could be urban or rural.
You’ll find out your exact location within Gyeonggi after arriving in Korea. You’ll also find out which school you’ve been placed in with the majority of teachers going to Elementary schools.
What’s It Like Teaching for GEPIK?
GEPIK teachers are expected to work 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday, with 22 hours actual teaching time. You’ll work alongside a co-teacher (almost always a Korean teacher), and your duties will range from teaching and preparing materials to extracurricular activities (like English camps).
The contract is one year, starting from the first day of employment. You won’t work weekends or National Public Holidays. You may be expected to work during the school holidays, either ‘desk warming’ or teaching at English Camp.
Apart from the location, GEPIK is very similar to EPIK, so most of the reviews on EPIK are worth a read and will offer an insight into teaching on the program, as well as shedding some more light on the application process. In general, it seems as though your experience will depend on certain factors, like where you’re located and the school you’re working at. Any GEPIK specific review may have been written before the merge, so some of the comments might not still apply.
A Day in the Life of a GEPIK Teacher
“The days vary wildly in workload. Today for instance, I only have one class…Thursdays though, I teach for eight hours back to back. So it makes for a mix of easy and stressful days.”
This blog is written from the perspective of a GEPIK teacher and offers an indepth look into the daily routine.
“Actually working environment all depends on what school you are placed in and the staff there. School might as well be separate entities with how principals run their schools.”
Glassdoor has mixed reviews on GEPIK, covering the good and the bad.