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Teaching Jobs in Korea- Public vs Private language schools (hagwon)

This section contains a brief comparison of the private language schools (known as hagwon in Korean) and public schools in Korea.

*Please note that this is a rough guideline of some of the general differences between private and public schools in Korea. Some schools may differ from these for any number of reasons. This chart is for general reference only and not indicative of any particular contract nor a guarantee of any particular benefit.


Public Schools

Private Language School (hagwon)

Salaries (range)

-1.8-2.7 (based on qualifications, experience and location exclusively)
-documentation required for proof or experience/certifications

2.0-3.0 (based on qualifications, experience and work hours). Varies from school to school


-One month severance at end of contract
-W300,000 settlement bonus
-renewal bonus of W2,000,000 with EPIK

One month severance at end of contract


Tax free (Canadians pay standard 3-5%)

All nationalities pay standard 3-5%


Always single furnished (unless couple housing requested for married couples)

Some single, some shared, sometimes stipend

Working hours

9-5ish (could be 8-4), Monday to Friday. Standard 40 hour work week. NO weekends.

Varies: daytime, afternoon/evenings, rarely weekends. Standard 40 hours at work to be expected. Some 9am-6pm, others 3pm-10pm. Schedules could change

Teaching (contact hours)

22 teaching hours/week

30 teaching hours/week


1.3 million won reimbursed for each flight (paid within a month of arrival)

Some schools pre-pay for airfare, others reimburse


1 week comprehensive training (sometimes not for those arriving later or not during normal hiring periods)

Some schools have 1 week, others are usually a couple days in the school with other teachers learning curriculum etc.

Medical insurance

Always 50% of monthly premiums of national plan paid for (4.48% of monthly salary)

Usually 50% of monthly premiums of national plan paid for- some schools have their own policies or don’t cover- you would know in advance


18 business days (some areas have up to 5 weeks!)

8-10 business days is normal


1 Korean English co-teacher in the class with you. Usually no other native English speakers in the school with you.

At least one other native English speaking teacher at the school with you. Sometimes as many as 20. Rarely have another teacher in the class with you though.


Can vary- specific location not known until orientation. Usually a city or province is confirmed ahead of time.

You will always know exactly what school you will be working at.

Class sizes

Often about 30-40 students

Usually no more than 15 students


Very organized – government schools and are very structured with fantastic support

These schools are private businesses and at times subject to schedule changes and changes due to parents requests etc.


Pre-determined curriculum for you to follow- sometimes varying level of students in the same class/grade.

Curriculum is usually pre-developed, classes are often determined by skill level as well as age.

Work Environment

No pressure to retain students- not profit motivated

Success of business is based on student numbers and satisfaction of students/parents.


Some more paperwork initially, but no personal interviews at Korean consulates.

A little less paperwork, but usually the necessity to have an in-person interview at a Korean consulate (at your own expense).

Hiring Period

Hiring mostly at end of February and end of August. Positions sparse the rest of the year. Can plan ahead if you apply early.

Hiring every month of the year- more positions in August and February. Sometimes more rushed hiring process.



16 days Public Holidays in korea -2014

16 days Public Holidays in korea -2015