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Best Online Korean Classes

90 Day Korean is our top pick, with well-designed modules and reasonable pricing

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Learning Korean with one of these best online Korean classes can help you form cultural bonds and make new friendships. The language has over 81 million speakers and learning it also seriously improves job prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, translation jobs are expected to grow by 20% from 2021 to 2031. The U.S. Department of State considers Korean to be a critical language; it even sponsors overseas scholarships for Korean language learners. For teachers or avid travelers, South Korea is one of the best destinations for teaching English abroad, thanks to high salaries and excellent benefits.

While Hangul, the Korean writing system, is relatively easy to learn, Korean is a difficult language to master. As with any dialect, the key to learning is practice. The following online classes allow for plenty of practice and a pathway to mastering the language.

Best Online Korean Classes of 2023

Best Overall : 90 Day Korean


90 Day Korean

90 Day Korean

  • Instruction Type: Self-paced, online
  • Membership: Basic $35 per month
  • Tutors: Available at a fee
Why We Chose It

90 Day Korean offers well-structured, organized modules, private Korean “coaches,” and reasonable pricing. Those combined benefits make it our pick as the best overall online Korean class.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Strategic goal-planning

  • Reasonable pricing

  • Lessons delivered in formats for all learning types

Cons
  • Private tutor access costs extra

  • Entirely self-paced

Overview

The platform uses strategic goal-planning to help students create traction to propel them forward in their journey. The first goal is to be able to participate in a three-minute conversation in Korean after 90 days, which is where the company gets its name.

The full 90 Day Korean course is designed as a 12-month program, divided into four modules that, according to the standard scheduling, should take three months each to complete. However, as these modules are entirely self-paced, students can take as much or as little time as they need.

The core of 90 Day Korean is the Inner Circle, where each of the lessons is delivered via text, audio, exercises, and interactive games. Members who pay for Full Access can work with private language tutors who provide feedback and support to students.

The basic membership, called Standard, without private coaching, is $35 per month, while the premium VIP membership is $49 per month. Monthly memberships can be upgraded or downgraded as needed, and annual rates are available for additional savings.

Best Budget : Quick Korean


Quick Korean

Quick Korean

  • Instruction Type: Traditional classroom
  • Membership: Free
  • Tutors: Not available
Why We Chose It

Quick Korean is completely free and offers four levels of courses as well as additional lectures, making it the best budget option for any potential Korean language learners.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Completely free

  • Classroom style teaching

  • Additional three-minute Korean lectures

Cons
  • Additional tutoring not available

  • Increasing difficulty levels

Overview

Sponsored by The Cyber University of Korea, Quick Korean is a four-level course designed by instructors at leading Korean universities with the intention of providing high-quality Korean language and culture education online.

Classes are broken down into four levels, each progressing in difficulty. After completing the fourth level, students should be able to pass the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) with a 3.5, a basic level of proficiency.

Delivered in a traditional classroom style, each lecture covers a different language topic in a structured, easy-to-follow lesson.

In addition to video language lectures, Quick Korean offers three-minute Korean lectures intended to introduce students to Korean expressions.

Best for Beginners : First Step Korean


First Step Korean

First Step Korean

  • Instruction Type: Self-paced, online
  • Membership: Audit for free or Basic $59 per month
  • Tutors: Not available
Why We Chose It

First Step Korean focuses on teaching basic language principles to help students build a strong foundation, making it the best online Korean class for beginners.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free to audit

  • Provides good foundational knowledge

  • Downloadable completion certification

Cons
  • Not interactive

  • Focuses largely on basic principles

Overview

Offered through Coursera, an online learning platform founded by Stanford professors in 2012, First Step Korean is an excellent online course for complete beginners. The class is sponsored by Yonsei University, South Korea’s oldest private university, and is instructed by Seung Hae Kang, an associate professor of Korean Language Education as a Foreign Language.

First Step Korean consists of five lessons, each with pre-recorded video lectures, reading assignments, and quizzes to introduce learners to the basic principles of Korean, including the writing system and vocabulary for common occurrences. Each class covers speaking, reading, writing, and listening. While the course is not interactive, it does provide a solid foundation in preparation for further study.

The course is free to audit, so participants can watch the lecture videos for free by simply registering for a Coursera account. Students can also choose to purchase a Coursera subscription for $59 per month, which opens access to quizzes and assignments and offers a downloadable completion certificate that can be added to a resume or a LinkedIn profile page.

Best One-on-One Instruction : Italki


Italki

Italki

  • Instruction Type: One-on-one private lesson
  • Membership: Instructors' prices per hour vary
  • Tutors: Yes, tutors teach courses
Why We Chose It

Featured by the BBC, The Guardian, Business Insider, and HuffPost, Italki offers training on real-world Korean language skills and is the best online class for one-on-one Korean instruction.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Private video lessons

  • Focused on real-world language skills

  • 30-minute trial lessons available

Cons
  • Price varies greatly by teacher

  • Trial lessons not free

Overview

The platform, which hosts over 20,000 teachers in more than 150 different languages, focuses on human connection through mainly private video lessons. By matching students with experienced teachers, Italki removes the student from the cycle of simply learning grammar, vocabulary, and syntax while improving real-world language skills.

Italki users can browse through a list of private teachers. Instructors can be either community tutors (native or near-native speakers) or professional teachers who are licensed to teach a foreign language. Other filters include price, availability, and additional spoken languages. Teachers also offer 30-minute trial lessons at a reduced price so you can see if you like them before investing heavily.

While researching the best online Korean classes, we filtered out non-native speakers, community tutors, and non-English speakers, and we were left with a list of over 120 teachers whose rates ranged from around $4 per hour for new teachers to about $80 per hour for experienced instructors.

Best for Auditory Learners : KoreanClass101


KoreanClass101

KoreanClass101 

  • Instruction Type: Self-paced, online
  • Membership: Basic $4 per month
  • Tutors: Available at a fee
Why We Chose It

With thousands of podcast-style audio and lessons, KoreanClass101 is the best option on the market for students who want to improve their listening skills. The content is produced for all student levels, from beginner to advanced.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free app download

  • Available for all student levels

  • Video and audio lessons

Cons
  • Access to teachers costs extra

  • Largely independent learning

Overview

KoreanClass101 stands out because of its unparalleled listening experience. Not only are lessons available online and on the app, which is free to download, but the company also produces short, digestible podcast episodes for free.

The program is built on pathways, or broad topics, that include a variety of language and vocabulary lessons offered in both video and audio formats.

There are three different subscription tiers and a seven-day free trial. During the trial, you only have access to a limited number of lessons. The Basic tier includes access to all lessons. Premium adds features such as line-by-line audio translation and much more. Premium Plus includes one-on-one access to teachers.

Pricing starts at $4 per month for a Basic subscription, $10 per month for a Premium package ($6 with a 40% discount), and $23 per month for the Premium Plus bundle ($13.73 with a 40% discount). There is a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Best for TOPIK Preparation : My Language Connect


My Language Connect

My Language Connect

  • Instruction Type: Private Skype and Zoom classes
  • Membership: About $41.50 per hour for private lesson
  • Tutors: Yes, tutors teach courses
Why We Chose It

My Language Connect is the best option for the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) preparation because it offers high quality TOPIK-specific training. In addition, the course provides access to private tutors during the learning process.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Customized lessons for TOPIK

  • Access to private tutors

  • Instructors are native speakers

Cons
  • More expensive

  • Must purchase minimum of 10 hours

Overview

TOPIK is a written exam administered by the Korean government to determine Korean language ability for university eligibility and career advancement. Test levels range in difficulty from one to six and often require specific practice and tutoring to achieve desired results.

My Language Connect is a language school offering classes in Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, and many more languages. Instructors are native speakers, certified to teach foreign languages and experienced in educating students of all ages. My Language Connect offers private classes and group courses both in-person (currently suspended) and online. It also offers courses of customized lessons for students who are preparing to take the TOPIK.

With one-on-one sessions via Skype or Zoom, students have the opportunity to work closely with private tutors from My Language Connect to develop the listening, writing, reading, and speaking skills necessary to complete the TOPIK. Instructors use specialized textbooks and practice questions designed to prepare students for the exam. However, as courses are private, instructors have the freedom to adapt lessons to the specific needs of each student.

The hourly cost of private lessons is $41.50 per hour with a minimum of 10 hours. Exam Prep classes are $41.50 per hour with a minimum of two hours of classes weekly, and you must purchase 10 hours at a time. There's the option of taking up to seven sessions per week for a more intensive learning experience.

Best for Learning Hangul : Talk To Me In Korean


Talk To Me In Korean

Talk To Me In Korean

  • Instruction Type: Online and textbook
  • Membership: Free, and Premium about $16.99 per month
  • Tutors: Not available
Why We Chose It

Talk To Me In Korean offers a collection of different learning formats, including a premium option focused entirely on reading and writing Hangul, the writing system for the Korean language. These combined offerings make it the best option for learning Hangul.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Engaging video lessons

  • Learning offered in multiple formats

Cons
  • Lacks structure

  • Tutor interaction not available

Overview

When King Sejong the Great developed Hangul, the featural writing system of Korean, he intentionally made it easy to learn in order to improve literacy across the Korean peninsula. Most of the 24 characters represent the speaker’s mouth or tongue while producing the sound. This makes learning the Korean writing system a logical place to start for language learners.

As one of the most popular Korean-learning platforms available, Talk to Me In Korean (TTMIK) offers comprehensive online courses, video lessons, and textbooks to language learners. These classes have been known to lack structure and personal interaction, but what TTMIK lacks in interactive lessons it makes up for in engaging lesson videos. The premium course, Learn to Read and Write in Korean (Hangul), stands out as the best online class for learning Hangul.

The eight online video lessons that make up the program cover everything from vowels and consonants to the basics of writing. Premium access to the site is necessary for this course and costs about $16.99 per month, though this fee can be paid annually ($122) to save money. With a free membership, you can access a limited selection of other courses on the site.

Final Verdict

90 Day Korean made the top spot on our list because it hits all the notes—it's affordable, comprehensive, and well-structured, giving you a solid runway for learning the language. But the other picks on our list could be right if you're looking for something in particular.

Try Quick Korean if you're on a budget, for example, or First Step Korean if you're a true beginner and are worried about getting started. Or, if you're interested in learning Hangul, check out Talk To Me In Korean.

Compare the Best Online Korean Classes

Company Name Instruction Type Membership Tutors
90 Day Korean Best Overall Self-paced, online Basic $35 per month Available at a fee
Quick Korean Best Budget Traditional classroom Free Not available
First Step Korean Best for Beginners Self-paced, online Audit for free or Basic $59 per month Not available
Italki Best One-on-One Instruction One-on-one private lesson Instructors' prices per hour vary Yes, tutors teach courses
KoreanClass101 Best for Auditory Learners Self-paced, online Basic $4 per month Available at a fee
My Language Connect Best for TOPIK Preparation Private Skype and Zoom classes About $40 per hour for private lesson Yes, tutors teach courses
Talk To Me In Korean Best for Learning Hangul Online and textbook Free, and Premium about $16.99 per month Not available

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is Taught in an Online Korean Class?

    The following is typically taught in an online Korean class:

    • Hangul: The Korean writing system
    • Language goal planning
    • Short conversations
    • Vocabulary
    • Pronunciation
    • Korean culture
    • Grammar
  • How Much Does an Online Korean Class Cost?

    There are many online Korean classes. They range from free apps and basic versions to more in-depth classes designed to help you pass the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK). Prices vary from free to a range of $4 to $59 per month. Private lessons cost more. 

  • How accurate is Duolingo Korean?

    Duolingo Korean is a great place to start learning and building a foundational knowledge of the language. However, if you are looking to pass the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK), you may need to take a more in-depth course.

  • How long does it take to become fluent in Korean?

    Becoming fluent in Korean can take anywhere from 1,200 to 2,400 hours depending on the level of fluency you are aiming for. This equals about two years of study if you commit to learning for 23 hours each week. Being able to have a short conversation in Korean takes less time, about three months or 7-10 hours weekly.

Methodology

We researched more than a dozen online Korean classes before narrowing it down to the top seven. We chose these as the best online Korean classes based on TOPIK preparation, flexibility, and pricing. We also looked at reviews, the use of native speakers as instructors, and the curriculum offerings.

Online Korean Class

Hill Street Studios / Getty Images

Article Sources
  1. Ethnologue. "What Are the 200 Most Spoken Languages?" Search "Korean."

  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook Interpreters and Translators."

  3. U.S. Department of State. "Critical Language Scholarship Program."

  4. 90 Day Korean. "The Fastest Way to Learn Korean Online Guaranteed," Select "Q1) Why Is It Called '90 Day Korean?'"

  5. The Cyber University of Korea. "The Curriculum."

  6. Coursera. "Leadership."

  7. Coursera. "First Step Korean."

  8. italki. "Become Fluent in Any Language."

  9. italki. "Learn Korean."

  10. KoreanClass101. "Frequently Asked Questions," Select "What if I Buy a Subscription But Don't Like It?"

  11. TOPIK. "Test Level and Grade."

  12. Asia Society. "King Sejong the Great."

  13. Asia Society. "Introduction to Korea," Page 11.

  14. 90 Day Korean. "How Long Does It Take to Learn Korean?"

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