Teaching English abroad is never usually regarded as a top paying job.
In fact, when it comes to the expat community in many cities throughout the world, ESL teachers are probably at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to wages. Playing a little game of ‘Spot the English teacher’ in the CBD is like shooting fish in a barrel, as the expats working at large financial institutions wear neatly-pressed suits and matching ties. On the other hand, English teachers stand out with their bargain-basement shirts and generally world-weary look on their faces. Having said this, ESL teaching can be a lucrative industry for those with a B.A and a CELTA or TESOL, can make a nice little pay-packet to afford luxuries like a flashy pad, holidays and even a brand-spankin’ new motorbike. What it all boils down to is: ‘Location! Location! Location!’ This article will provide a guide to the top paying countries for ESL teachers.
ESL teachers make more $$$ in...
How much would I get? Between US$1000 and US$3000 per month. Do I get insurance? No. Is my flight paid? No. Do you guys provide me with a pad? No, but most places will help with finding a place to stay. What about a bonus? Some companies will pay up to 1 month’s salary.
Vietnam is a relatively newcomer to the world of high-paying ESL jobs, recently knocking off Thailand for the fifth position. As the country opens up to the outside world, a greater need for English speakers has arisen in the past 10 years. ESL teachers will find that schools are in remarkably high demand, as there is an ESL centre on practically every corner of the two major cities, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Schools and universities are also great places to work in Vietnam and generally have the best work conditions and salaries. Language centres can pay up to US$20 per hour for qualified teachers who can teach specialist subjects like IELTS and TOEFL. The downside of things in Vietnam, if you want to live like a westerner and enjoy a cool western-style apartment, you will need to pay at least US$500 per month.
How much would I get? Around the US$2000 mark. Do I get insurance? Sometimes, check your contract. Is my flight paid? Yes, return airfare is usually included. Do you guys provide me with a pad? Sometimes. If not, your employer should assist you in finding a place. What about a bonus? A small bonus that is less than a one month.
Note: Ever since the earthquake and tsunami have affected Japan, teachers have been reportedly leaving in record numbers. The next few months will be an interesting time for those who want to work in Japan in terms of benefits and salary.
Japan has long been a favourite for ‘gappys’ who take the year off their studies between school and university to spend a year discovering the world before heading back to do four years of study. This has since changed in recent times as countries crack down on qualifications, and Japan is now a common place for those who have recently obtained their degree. The ESL culture in Japan is quite interesting; the majority of English teaching takes place after school, with many institutes offering classes as an extracurricular activity. This is an ideal option for many of those who want their mornings free (although the occasional private student may come along, and turn your mostly-free day into a horrible split shift). Japan is also a great place for those who want to sink their teeth into business English.
How much would I get? On average, US$2000-US$3000 a month. Do I get insurance? Yes. Is my flight paid? Yes, return airfare. Do you guys provide me with a pad? Usually a furnished apartment. What about a bonus? Most ESL jobs offer a bonus of 1 month’s salary.
Long been considered as being one of the best destinations to teach, Korea comes in at third sport as the highest-paying ESL country. With a slightly lower salary than Taiwan, the extras are absolutely spectacular! The usual ESL job in Korea comes with the lot, insurance, apartment and bonus. For those who want to sink their teeth into a job with a kickass salary, Korea is definitely the place. South Korea, that is (even though Pyong Yang in North Korea has a British Institute with foreign teachers, apparently!) Teaching at language centres seems to be the way to go, but many teachers living in the capital (Seoul) make a very good living off teaching private students.
How much would I get? Approximately US$3000 – US$4000 a month. Do I get insurance? No, the teacher must cover it themselves. Is my flight paid? NO! It seems that’s just the way it is with ESL teachers in Taiwan. Do you guys provide me with a pad? Yes, but without furniture. What about a bonus? No return flights, no bonus. Just a high salary.
Taiwan comes in at number two spot on the list for salary although additional benefits are slim. With no insurance, no bonus or no flights, teachers may have to dip into their incredibly-high salary to fund those extras. Teachers have the option of schools or language centres, while some great local holiday spots can be found to the south of the island.
How much would I get? Between US$3,200 and US$5,000 per month. Do I get insurance? Nope! With $5,000 a month, you can pay for it yourself! Is my flight paid? Yes, many companies include a yearly return airfare to your home country. Do you guys provide me with a pad? Yes. In Dubai, most companies include free, furnished accommodation What about a bonus? Nope! Unless you count your return fare as a bonus.
In the first position, it’s no surprise that Dubai takes the cake when it comes to the highest paying salaries for ESL teachers. The oil rich nation has enough to splurge on the world’s tallest residential tower, an indoor skiing centre that’s located in the middle of a desert, and the world’s only 7-star hotel – the Burj al Arab. The phenomena of learning English amongst those living in Dubai are a rather recent trend that has soared in the past decade or so. Many residents of Dubai, including the vast number of Pakistanis and Indians living in the oil-rich nation, have been spurred on to improve their English skills by the number of international corporations that have set up their base there. The ESL setting in Dubai is quite competitive, and teachers are paid according to experience. Most teachers who work in Dubai generally come with years of experience and have worked at other countries, especially throughout the Middle East. Language centres are the most common ESL learning institute, which mostly cater for the booming hospitality and finance industries.
Have you worked in any of these countries? How was it? Please share your experience with us!
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I currently work in China, Henan Province. My salary is 700 per month or 7000RMB, which works out to be a very good wage in China. My working hours are never more than 6 per week and my accomodation is paid for. The cost of living and doing activities in China are very low, it is not difficult to save money. However I did have to pay for my flight to Beijing (500) and visa. Return airfare was included
I know this is an old article but I'll comment on my experience teaching in Brazil. The cost of living is very high in Brazil and I spent most of my salary on food, transportation, and housing. I know of no ESL teachers who were able to make more than US$1000 per month, but it's widely known that it's not a country that you can make a lot of money in as a teacher. It's more of a destination to experience a rich culture and to meet good people.
On another note, to burtwayne: burtwayne, "I almost never usually sometimes comment, but I am earning $6000 per month in KSA now. Earned $12000 per month last year in Baghdad."
How is it possible to "almost never usually sometimes " do something?? How are you even a comprehensible English teacher with statements like "I almost never usually sometimes comment"??
I work outside Dubai in Abu Dhabi. The pay is good, over $4,000US/month. I am a certified teacher in the US and have my CELTA (CELTA wasn't necessary here). I teach in a public school run by the government so most of my students are local (Emirati). Insurance is paid. Apartment is provided- unfurnished. I pay utilities. Taxes are low or not required, depending on income level (but you do need to file every year). Some people rent cars, but I bought mine. There are options of things to do here, and many people travel during big holidays. Many people, including myself, come here with ideas of paying off debt, but it isn't as easy as it may seem even with the high salary. First, the cost of living here is comparable, if not higher, than large US cities. Second, to do many activities here requires a fair amount of money, and most of us like to travel. While it's not necessarily expensive to travel from here, it's also not cheap. Saving your money to pay off bills ends up being more difficult than one may imagine. Finally, for those with children, you may want to think long and hard about moving here. Your child, if of school age, will have to be enrolled into one of the private schools and tuition is very expensive for schools with decent international curriculum. Some parents have taken to home schooling here as a result and others are given tuition breaks for enrolling their children in the school where they teach (if they are lucky enough to be hired at one of the better private schools). Best of luck to you all!
Currently working in Japan! I'm getting 2000 per month and bonus twice a year. If you want to save money and travel a lot this is not the place for you. Japan is insanely expensive. I spend most of my salary just paying my apartment, food and living.
just realized this is an old article, but will post my comment anyway for anyone curious about taiwan. taiwan isn't as lucrative as it once was, as it has the lowest birthrate in the world and the demand for efl teachers has plummeted.
this ranking system is off. i'm currently working in taiwan, and most schools don't pay salaries in the range that's stated. only the public school system and universities pay within that range, but it's rare to find teachers who have the qualifications required for those positions (i.e. master's degree, unexpired teaching credential from the teacher's country, and years of experience). the average teacher's salary here is US$2,000/mo, and most people i know make less, including myself. korea far outstrips taiwan as far as salaries and benefits are concerned. also, this rating system doesn't take into account cost of living. japan would fall off the list if cost of living was part of the calculations. i'm also surprised that the middle eastern countries aren't listed (as a previous poster mentioned dubai is not a country), as they now offer the top salaries & benefits in the field.
Hi, thanks for the knowledge about ESL and money, Am working in china guangdong prov. Its now 6 months Both in a middle school and a training centre, but salary still very low 1200$ If any one has connections to those countries or better pay post it or send on firstname.lastname@example.org am ready to travel in any country.
Guys this time its ME. How do I get in touch with agents in Baghdad or any better place? Smithtrojan@gmail.com
I'm currently coming closer to looking for a position in another country and I'm wondering what my chances are on getting as lucky as I did with my first position in China. I was able to get a position without a university degree. I do have two college diplomas and at the beginning of November I will have 1 full year of ESL teaching experience.I am a native english speaker. Is it possible to get work in another country without the university degree and still get paid well?
Good morning, I am also getting my CELTA certification this upcoming May 2013 and I am a little nervous being that I'm not sure if its worth it. Do the above countries pay the same amounts for teachers without a BA or is it only if you have a degree?
I lived in Japan. The cost of living is high. You spend ridiculous amounts in bars, clubs and shopping. If you are diligent you can save but you have to work at it. People are earning 4000 dollars on average if you work 30 plus hours or have good university jobs. Now in KSA and I earn 3700 dollars for 15 hours teaching time per week.
Based on my research for the past several years, I would say these numbers are off as well. Yes, the ME does pay a lot, but you usually need a Master's degree and MANY years of teaching experience to get that kind of salary.
I'm actually going to be graduating at the end of 2012 with my BA in Linguistics (with a TESOL certificate) and have been looking at opportunities overseas. Almost all places in the world now require "2 years of post graduate" teaching experience (full time). If you don't have that, then you need to teach at very undesirable places that only pay $700 USD per month until you reach the 2-year mark.
I've actually hired a recruiter to help me find placement so that I don't get ripped off. Many schools take advantage of new people like me. I'd be willing to hear from anyone who has information contrary to what I've just stated. However, please don't go off of rumor; go off of actual experience and not what you heard or read in some blog. You are more than welcome to contact me directly through my website at http://www.EnglishBuddha.com
All of the salaries you guys have listed are much higher than I have found with my own research. Is anyone willing to share specifics names, number or resources to get me started? I am open to Southeast Asia or the Middle East. Thanks!
Malcovich, could you please provide any websites or advice on looking for work in Vietnam whilst still based in the UK. Or is the situation similar to Thailand, where it's advisable to go out there first and look for work. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
Hi everyone,I'm a teacher English language and I'm looking for a place to teach outside my country, I'm Chilean and unfortunately teachers are paid very little money here, that's why I want to work abroad. Which country would you recomend me? Could be the fact that I'm not a native speaker of English an impediment to get a good job? I would really appreciate your help, bye.
I have been working in Japan for over ten years. Contrary to the above article, most English teachers get paid more than 3000 USD/month (at the current exchange rate). Also contrary to the above, teachers are not leaving in droves. In fact there has been little change since the disaster. Although a lot of teachers do work afternoons/evenings, there is a lot of work in the daytimes at kindergartens/elementary/junior/high schools, both private and public. A fair number of experienced teachers work at universities earning 5000USD/month +.
I almost never usually sometimes comment, but I am earning $6000 per month in KSA now. Earned $12000 per month last year in Baghdad. Even basic salaries in KSA are $4000 per month with free housing. This is common knowledge. The ME left all your listed Asia countries behind 15 years ago, so there must be something besides sheesha burning in your writer's hubbly-bubbly bowl!
I worked in Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. In Vietnam, I made between $2,000 and $3,000 a month, and my rent was $270, not $500. I was paying more than a lot of people. When I made $2000 a month, I was only working twenty hours a week. You can get a meal for a dollar or splurge for three dollars. On the weekends, I went to a really nice restaurant and spent ten dollars. It was definitely the number one place to save, much better than Taiwan or Korea. Taiwan was second best, and all employers help with insurance. They pay about ten dollars a month and you pay about ten dollars. But get this: insurance in Taiwan is better than anywhere I've seen! If you need anything done, including any dental, even braces, you pay a copay of five dollars! And the medicine copay is about two dollars. I spent much less on medical expenses in Taiwan than in Korea, or than in Vietnam for that matter. I'd like to go to Japan but I'm afraid of the cost of living. And you guys say you get paid $2000 a month? How could that be number four when Vietnam is number five?
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