Many will say that nobody chooses to teach English overseas for the money, but this isn't entirely true. Becoming a TESOL teacher abroad will by no means make you rich, but it can pay a decent local salary. Earning a decent local salary can allow you to live comfortably, travel and even put money into savings. The question still remains, however: where can you get the best TESOL salary?
Before we answer this question, there is one important note. Higher salaries aren't everything! You should look at the cost of living, as well as benefits when choosing a specific country to teach in. TESOL teaching positions in some areas of Asia and the Middle East often pay higher salaries. However, the cost of living in these areas is also higher. Countries in Southeast Asia may give you a lower salary, but the cost of living there is significantly cheaper. This could allow you to travel more or save up more money.
In China, your TESOL teaching salary will probably be up to around $2,200 per month. While the salary isn't high in China compared to other countries; the low cost of living in most cities evens things out. Currently, it is one of the biggest employers of ESL teachers in the world. ESL teaching positions in China can be found in both public schools and with private companies. Most teaching positions come with over ten days of annual leave, as well as public holidays. Travel and culture brings most teachers to China; the people and the way of life is what makes them stay!
Teaching English in South Korea can earn you up to $2,500 per month. Up until recently, South Korea hasn't been a popular destination for travel. However, TESOL graduates looking to teach English off the beaten track are now arriving in larger numbers than ever before. The decent salary is a huge draw, and other benefits often include partial reimbursement for the flight or housing.
As a teacher, you can also get paid for overtime, and even receive performance-based bonuses. It is worth mentioning that the English teaching industry is still relatively small in South Korea and positions are highly competitive. If you are lucky enough to land a teaching job in Korea, make sure you take advantage of the opportunities available.
Indonesia boasts amazing world heritage sites, picturesque rice terraces, mountains, and beaches, making it a great country for English teachers who love to travel. TESOL teaching salaries here range from one to two thousand dollars each month. While it's not as much as other countries, the cost of living is incredibly low in Indonesia. Everything from the food to housing to transportation is affordable.
Teaching jobs in Indonesia at larger companies like EF English First are available all year round. There is no "best time" to apply, but it's often better to apply early to choose the best location.
Japan is one of the countries where you can earn a much higher salary. However, the cost of living here is higher than other nearby countries, and the market for teaching jobs is more competitive. Even though the cost of living in Japan is higher than places like Indonesia and China, a salary of around $3,000 per month can still go a long way. Some English teaching positions even provide housing.
Aside from money, there are still a lot of unique selling points that make Japan a valid option. From the food to fascinating cities and beautiful nature, Japan is a very appealing country for English teachers and travellers alike.
You'll probably find the highest salaries for teaching English in The United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. However, job availability and cost of living won't exactly be working in your favour. If you can't see yourself teaching in Asia or the Middle East, there's always the possibility of teaching in Europe. In much of Europe, you'll probably make enough money to cover the cost of living each month. Once you have settled your bills, you won't be able to save money like you would in Southeast Asia. If you have got your heart set on living in Europe though, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Poland are probably the best places to go to. In these countries, you'll get the most out of your money.
No matter where you choose to teach and the salary you get, everything hinges on your lifestyle. In Asia, there is a big temptation to spend money on western products and eating at nice restaurants. Although you can do this, it is worth making sure you work out a simple budget, eat local produce and pace your self. Teaching English abroad is an unforgettable experience. But make sure it is unforgettable for the right reasons.