Private vs. Public English Schools in Korea

Private vs. Public English Schools in Korea

Updated September 2019

Confused by your options between Korean private schools (hagwons) and Korean public schools (EPIK, GEPIK , and SMOE)? You aren’t alone!

There are significant differences with each option. It is important to think carefully about which type of position is most suited to your goals as an ESL teacher.Wann and Jujuan are new teachers that moved to Korea in August 2019 to teach English with EPIK.

The schedule for teaching in Korean public schools is similar to that of western countries with working hours generally from morning to mid-afternoon.

Private schools, known in Korea as hagwons, have an afternoon/evening schedule.

Most Korean students attend public school in the morning and then attend private English schools in the evening.

Class sizes, arrival dates, vacation time and the number of western co-teachers at schools can differ between each option.

Teach English in Korea- Public School or Private School?

We’ve come up with some comparisons for you to make while you are making your decision.

Read on or feel free to download our chart that outlines the differences between public and private school teaching positions in Korea.

Korea Private Schools

Qualifications: 4 year Bachelor degree. Most Korean private schools now require a 120-hour TEFL certification as well if you are an inexperienced teacher with less than one year of formal teaching experience. Check out our TEFL Directory to find out which programs come most highly rated by our teachers.

Location: We have positions in major cities as well as rural areas.

Salary Range: You can expect to earn between 2.1 and 2.5 million Won per month.

Number of foreign teachers at your school: Most Korean private schools have between 2 and 15 foreign teachers on staff.

Class Size: 15 students or less per class

Working Hours: 40 hours per week including office hours. (30 teaching hours per week.) The teaching hours are afternoons and evenings, five days a week.

Accommodation: Free single furnishing apartment provided.

Airfare: Round trip airfare provided reimbursed with your first paycheck. Your ticket to Korea is reimbursed with your first paycheck. Your ticket home is reimbursed at the end of your contract.

Benefits: The school will cover 50% of your health insurance. You’ll also receive a contract completion bonus that’s equal to one month’s pay.

Vacation: 7-10 days per year, plus national holidays.

Start dates: Monthly and year-round. You can start teaching at any time during the year.

Reach To Teach EPIK teachers arrive to teach English in Korea in February 2019.

Korea Public Schools

Qualifications: 4 year Bachelor degree plus one of the following:

  • TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate of 120 hours or more (EPIK gives preference to applicants who have a 20 hour in-class teaching component)
  • BA Degree in Education with a major in Teaching, TESOL, Second Language Studies, or Education
  • MA Degree in Education with a major in Teaching, TESOL, Second Language Studies, or Education
  • Teaching license in your home country
  • 1 year of full time teaching experience

Check out our TEFL Directory to find out which programs come most highly rated by our teachers.

Location: We have positions in major cities as well as rural areas.

Salary Range: You can expect to earn between 2.0 and 2.7 million Won per month.

Number of foreign teachers at your school: One foreign teacher per public school.

Class Size: 25 to 30 students per class

Working Hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 16:30pm.  22 teaching hours per week plus 18 office hours. Visit our post teaching schedules in Korea to learn more.

Accommodation: Free single furnishing apartment provided.

Airfare: Round trip airfare provided reimbursed with your first paycheck. Your ticket to Korea is reimbursed with your first paycheck. Your ticket home is reimbursed at the end of your contract.

Benefits: The school will cover 50% of your health insurance. You’ll also receive a contract completion bonus that’s equal to one month’s pay. For teachers who are placed in rural areas, you’ll receive a larger compensation package.

Vacation: 18 days per year, plus national holidays.

Start dates: EPIK has two intake sessions per year with teachers arriving in Korea in February and August.

Here is a handy downloadable chart that breaks down the differences and benefits to teaching in Korea for both options. We hope it helps you decide which school environment is the best fit for you.

Apply For A Teaching Position With reach To Teach

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