K-Pop Idols: Who Trained the Longest and the Shortest?

With the recent debut of G.Soul who trained for 15 years, the length of K-Pop idols training (which can be particularly long in the K-Pop industry) has become a hot topic. Is it necessary to train for that long? How long exactly should one train for? Idols often discuss how long or how short their training period was, so here is a compilation. The list is divided by trainee period. By the way, these years can vary as there are different opinions on official debuts (those with debatable trainee lengths will be marked with an asterisk*). Do you think trainee length is directly related to talent? Share how long your favorite idol was a trainee for in the comments below! Also see if you can guess who the trainees in the pictures are!

+10 years:

G.Soul was a trainee for a grand total of 15 years. Before G.Soul’s debut, BIGBANG‘s G-Dragon* was considered to have the longest period of training. He trained approximately 5 years at SM Entertainment and 6 years at YG Entertainment for a total of 11 years.


7.5-8 years:

MissA‘s Min, 2AM‘s Jokwon, and Jessica* all had lengthy years of training. Jokwon and his mother have shared about their difficult financial situation when he was a trainee.


6.5-7 years:

Girl’s Generation members Hyoyeon, Seohyun*, and Sooyoung trained for a similar amount of time. Taeyeon actually revealed that she had been surprised when Seohyun joined their group when they were preparing to debut.


~6 years:

EXO‘s Suho*, Yuri, JYJ‘s Junsu*, Super Junior‘s Leeteuk, Eunhyuk, Taeyang*, BEAST‘s Yoseob, and Wonder Girls‘ Sunye* all trained for approximately six years. Suho has shared how difficult it was when fellow trainees debuted before him.


~5 years:

Yesung, Donghae, Sungmin, Sunny, YoonA, Kikwang, and 2NE1‘s Minzy are all K-Pop idols who have trained for five years or so. Minzy has revealed a list of rules and a letter to CL, both of which were written when she was a trainee.


~4 years:

Kangin, f(x)‘s Sulli, Kai, Kris, 2PM‘s Jun. K, Junhyung, and Park Bom went through four years of training. Kai’s friendship with SHINee’s Taemin during their trainee days is widely known.


~3 years:

Three years proved to be the most common length of training for the idols on this list. So many that we had to separate them into two pages. First, we have BoA, Yunho, Heechul, Minho*, Taemin, Jonghyun, Key, CL, Fei and Jia. BoA’s mother shed light on how difficult it is to balance studying and training at a young age.


The second group of approximately three year K-Pop idol trainees includes Taeyeon, Tiffany, Xiumin, Lay, Chanyeol*, Sehun, Hyunseung, Dongwoon, Krystal, and Luna. Many idols like Taeyeon trained at a separate academy before becoming a trainee at an agency.


~2.5 years:

The following singers trained for two and a half years: TVXQ‘s Changmin, Onew, Victoria, Nichkhun, Taecyeon, Junho, Chansung, and Sohee. Trainee life can be doubly difficult for singers who come from different countries and cultures. A JYP Entertainment representative once shared, “Nichkhun adapted to life in Korea relatively quicker than other foreign trainees.”


~2 years:

Jaejoong, Siwon, Luhan, D.O, Tao, DoojoonSeulong, Yubin, and Sandara Park trained for 2 years. While trainee life is difficult, Sandara Park has shared that hardships continue even with debut.


~1 year:

Yoochun, Amber, and Sunmi were able to debut after one and a half years of training. Meanwhile, Wooyoung, Daesung, T.O.P, KARA‘s Seungyeon, and Nicole trained for a year.


More than 6 months:

Shindong, Seungri, Jinwoon, Suzy, and Gyuri had a training period of less than a year. As we go further down this list, it’s harder to find pictures of the K-Pop idols as trainees since they trained for a short time. Suzy, modeled before her debut, so there are some more pictures of her available.


Less than 6 months:

The following idols were lucky enough to train for less than 6 months: Ryeowook*, Kyuhyun*, Chen*, Baekhyun*, 2AM’s Changmin, Hara, and Jiyoung.


Zero Years and Months!

Yeeun was able to join Wonder Girls immediately after auditioning; this was seen through their reality show “MTV Wonder Girls.”


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