Private Language Schools

About Private School Teaching In Korea (Hagwons)


qualified teachers

The correct term for a private school in Korea 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, ESL schools, English academies, language academies or English institutes.

There are many lucrative job opportunities in South Korea’s private school sector. Korean hagwons are usually franchised institutions so there are various branches of the school spread across the country. At present there are roughly 11,000 westerners teaching English at thousands of private school branches across Korea. Note: Most Language schools are managed independently although some branches and campus locations are owned and operated by the franchise head office.


Typical working conditions at private language schools

Starting DatesNew jobs available every month (However, most positions are available in February & August)
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 Korean Won (based on experience)
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AccommodationsFurnished apartments provided by the schools
Severance PayEqual To 1 Month’s Salary
Avg. Work Hrs (Day)8 to 9 hours (including prep time and breaks)


Typical operating hours of Korean Hagwons

  • 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.


qualified teachers

Most common student age groups

Kindergarten education is a huge deal in Korea and most English schools will offer some K1 level classes. Private English programs offering K1 classes easily make up the large majority of the job market in Korea, and many teachers have no choice but to accept employment that will require some K1 teaching. Elementary and middle school are the second most common age groups available to teach but often (not always), these positions get filled by candidates with relevant experience.


Senior high school and adult teaching

The private sector doesn’t really offer much at the high school level. Korean parents tend to take their children out of English schools once they reach senior level; anticipating their child will study harder and get accepted into the better universities and colleges. If you’re only interested in teaching senior high school students then your best option is in the public sector.


Resources for teachers

Most of the schools Gone2Korea works with will offer a broad range of resources for teachers to utilize. Often schools will have modern facilities coupled with extensive books, games, activities, puzzles and flashcards to use in your classes.


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


Typical private school facilities and resources

It’s not uncommon for schools to be equipped with CCTV cameras. The cameras are set up for 2 reasons: 1.) child safety 2.) So the parents can come in (randomly) to see their child studying. Schools will often have large auditoriums, gymnasiums or play rooms, and lunch rooms for teachers and students to utilize.