Salaries and living conditions for English teachers vary greatly depending on where they are located and what type of position they hold.
Teaching English abroad is a great opportunity to explore cultural immersion and professional growth. From the bustling streets of Asian metropolises to the serene landscapes of European towns, there can be considerable differences in salary and living conditions which, in turn, can shape very different types of experiences.
Teaching English overseas can be an incredibly fulfilling career, ranking among the most gratifying professions available. Through your lessons, you can connect with a wide range of diverse individuals. They can help you learn more about the world around you, while you can help them unlock the potential that mastering a common language can offer.
While money is certainly not the primary motivation for entering this field—rather, it’s the sense of purpose it brings—an adequate salary that would recognise the importance of this role would be very appealing.
English Teachers Salaries in Different Countires
Although it is true that salaries of teachers of English as a foreign language are quite low in many countries, there are some parts of the world where this role is much appreciated and comes with a salary to match this. Let’s explore ESL salaries around the globe:
Let’s start in the Middle East. Kuwait, though small, stands as one of the world’s wealthiest nations. In demand are instructors specialized in Business English and English for Specific Purposes (ESP), particularly for the oil industry. Salaries here are notably high, ranging from $2,600 to $4,000 per month, often complemented by extensive benefit packages covering housing, utilities, insurance, transportation, and return flights, all tax-free.
TEFL contracts in Kuwait span one to two years, welcoming newly certified teachers with the requisite qualifications and offering residency visas and work permits for employment.
This beautiful country presents a myriad of attractions, from vibrant urban hubs to breathtaking natural landscapes, a rich tapestry of history and tradition, and a cuisine known for its robust and spicy flavors. What’s particularly striking about South Korea is its position as the highest-paying TEFL destination globally, with salaries ranging between $1,350 and $3,100 depending on the institution you join.
For those looking to secure a public school position, government-led initiatives like SMOE, GEPIK, and the immensely popular EPIK offer promising avenues, especially in areas like Seoul. Alternatively, private language academies known as hagwons also promise competitive salaries and flexible schedules.
Renowned for its healthy cuisine, efficient public transit, and low crime rates, Japan stands as a high-demand, well-compensating hub for ESL professionals. Research indicates potential monthly earnings between $1,900 and $4,500, contingent on the institution.
Similar to South Korea, programs tailored for international teachers, such as JET, facilitate placements in public schools, particularly appealing due to their high salaries and renewable contracts. Successful candidates work as Assistant Language Teachers (ATLs), supporting local educators and sharing their cultural insights.
Sitting off the coast of China, Taiwan often escapes consideration as a TEFL destination. Yet, it offers an enticing lifestyle, marked by ubiquitous free Wi-Fi, modern infrastructure, and significant historical landmarks like the Chung Tai Chan Monastery and the National Palace Museum. The average monthly pay hovers around $2,200, provided specific visa requirements are met.
China reigns as the largest employer of ESL educators. Earnings, averaging between $2,500 and $3,400 per month, hinge on qualifications, teaching background, and the institution. Private language schools offer superior pay but often require evening and weekend teaching hours, while public schools feature larger class sizes but more traditional teaching hours and extended holidays.
Hong Kong stands as an exceptional destination for both new and experienced TEFL teachers. This diverse city offers formal teaching opportunities in schools, universities, and language institutes, alongside informal roles like private tutoring and online teaching. The need for English educators remains robust due to Hong Kong’s international business environment and the global importance of English proficiency.
While the competitive salaries for English teachers in Hong Kong often come with benefits like housing allowances and health insurance, it’s essential to consider the relatively high cost of living in this vibrant city-state. Adapting to local customs and respecting traditions, along with exploring various housing options and making use of the efficient public transportation, contributes to a fulfilling experience for educators in Hong Kong.
How to secure a TEFL position in a competitive market
Obtaining a TEFL certification opens doors to a range of teaching positions, offering foundational pedagogical skills and enhancing job prospects both within and outside the TEFL industry. These certifications, attainable through in-person or online courses, are essential for securing positions in reputable institutions.
A TEFL course offers essential training in teaching methods, classroom management, and lesson planning, enhancing employment prospects and enabling teachers to work with diverse student groups. It fosters transferable skills, provides global job opportunities, and instills confidence in educators, serving as a crucial step towards a successful career in teaching English as a foreign language.
One final thought
Teaching might be a vocation, but it’s a demanding job–even challenging at times. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be paid accordingly. Countries like Kuwait, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong are among the countries that appreciate TEFL professionals and value the importance of education offering the highest salaries in the world as well as appealing benefit packages. So, where would you like to go next?