Private Language Schools

What Are Korean Private Schools?

Hagwons | English Academies | After-School Programs

The Korean term for private school is Hagwon, sometimes spelled out as Hakwon. The translation essentially means private school, however, many westerners also refer to them as language schools, English schools, English academies or English institutes. To the surprise of many, private schools are the largest employers of foreign teachers in Korea, by far! At present, there are over 11,000 westerners working at private schools across the country.

qualified teachers

Typical working conditions at private language schools

Starting DatesNew jobs available every month
Class Size10 – 15 Students Per Class
CurriculumSet curriculum provided by the school
LocationTeachers can request specific locations
Western Teachers1 – 20 teachers per school
Salary2.0 to 2.7 million KRW per month Currency Converter

AccommodationsFurnished apartments provided by the schools
Severance PayEqual To 1 Month’s Salary
Avg. Work Hrs (Day)8 – 9 hours (includes prep time & breaks)

There are many lucrative opportunities in South Korea’s vast Hagwon industry. These private schools are usually franchised institutions with different branches across the country. Most of these schools are managed independently although some branches and campus locations are owned and operated by the franchise head office.


Typical operating hours of Korean private schools


  • Kindergarten & Elementary school students (example working hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm)
  • Elementary & Junior High school students (example working hours: 1:00pm – 9:00pm)
  • Kindergarten, Elementary and Junior High school students (Schools that offer lessons to all 3 age groups usually have two different work schedules available.  Some teachers at the school would be working the morning – afternoon shift and the other teachers would be responsible for working the afternoon – evening shift)
  • Adult students (example working hours: 7:00am – 10:00am, 6:00pm – 8:00pm)   English institutes that offer adult level classes will usually require a split shift from their teachers.  Unlike the younger age groups, adults have limited time and available hours to study English, due to this factor the schools must coordinate the operating hours with adult work schedules.

Student Age Groups


Kindergarten & Elementary Schools
Kindergarten & elementary education is a huge deal in Korea with many private schools catering specifically to these two age groups. As such, a large portion of jobs – which are available to western teachers – are at K1 and Elementary level. 
Middle & Senior High Schools
Schools that cater to middle school students are also common with relatively large job counts available annually. Unfortunately the private sector doesn’t have much to offer at the high school level. Korean parents tend to take their children out of private English schools once they reach high school; anticipating they’ll study harder and get accepted into the better universities.
Adult Level Schools
Private schools that cater to adults are typically found in the big metropolitan cities. Generally speaking, adult language schools gravitate towards candidates who have previous TEFL teaching experience. 


Resources for teachers

All of the schools Gone2Korea works with will offer a broad range of resources for teachers to utilize. Most schools have very modern facilities coupled with an extensive array of books, games, activities, puzzles and flashcards to use in your classes. The teachers office will also be equipped with pc’s, photocopiers and other crucial tools necessary for teachers. Some facilities even have auditoriums, gymnasiums, indoor play rooms and mini libraries.




Top 15 Hagwon franchises in South Korea

The following schools, when combined, constitute more than 70% of the private teaching sector in Korea.  The remaining 30% is comprised of independent schools and smaller less known franchises.

  • Avalon English Schools
  • Berlitz Adult English Schools
  • CDI English Institute
  • Eastern Language Schools
  • ECC Schools (Division of YBM Education)
  • Ewas English Academy
  • GNB English Schools
  • JungChul English Schools
  • Kids College English Schools
  • Language Club International (LCI Kids Club Schools)
  • Poly Language Schools
  • Reading Town English Schools
  • Sogang Univeristy Language Program (SLP Schools)
  • Topia English Zone (Topia EZ Schools)
  • YBM Sisa



Related Topics


Visit our job board to see some of our upcoming private school job openings. Lots of positions available year round!
Looking for some useful application tips before you apply? Check out our tips and advice page for some great recommendations.
Stay in the loop! Join us on Facebook for all things Korea…job notices, Korean festivals and events, recommendations, teacher news and more.