While teaching English overseas was probably not on top of your list of dream careers, it’s a respectable profession that comes with good perks and more importantly, a surprisingly sizable monthly salary. In fact, there are plenty of English teachers working abroad that make as much as $2,000 a month; some even make more!
Of course, not all countries pay equally. Countries don’t exactly have a standard average English teacher salary to abide to. However, many countries, especially in Asia, pay English teachers relatively decent wages. The best part? Living costs aren’t nearly as high as well. This means that you not only get paid more, like, for example, when you teach in China, you also get to pocket more of your salary as well. Below, in no particular order, you’ll find information on some of the countries that pay ESL teachers the most, and the average monthly pay.
South Korea – $1,600 to $2,000 per month
Experiencing a huge growth in popularity among tourists in recent years, South Korea has also emerged as one of the highest-paying countries for expats, including English teachers. With an average take-home pay of between $1,600 to $2,000 per month, ESL teachers in Korea can also expect to enjoy additional bonuses such as free housing, as well as partial (and sometimes even full) reimbursement for their flight costs.
Add in overtime pay, as well as other income opportunities, and a relatively lower cost of living compared to other highly developed countries in Asia, those who are interested to teach English abroad should try and give South Korea a look. For those who are interested to teach English in Korea, minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate, especially if you want to get into the various programs such as SOME, GEPIK, and EPIK.
Thailand – $800 to $1,500 per month
Thailand has one of the lowest entry-level salaries for ESL teachers in all of Asia. However, because of the country’s lower costs of living and the relaxed requirements compared to other countries, Thailand still makes for an attractive option, especially for those who are still new to teaching and want to gain some experience.
As long as you are a Native English speaker and have a four-year degree, it is possible to find a job that pays at least $800 a month even with little to no previous experience. If you have a bit of experience and have a teaching certificate from your home country, it’s not unreasonable to expect a monthly salary of around $1,500 in Thailand.
Vietnam – $1,000 to $2,000 per month
Similar to Thailand, Vietnam doesn’t boast the highest average salaries for English teachers. However, it is a great option for teachers who have minimal previous teaching experience but have a bachelor’s degree and are TEFL certified. Flocked by many travel enthusiasts for its interesting mix of tropical beaches and world heritage sites, Vietnam is also great for ESL teachers who want to travel and see the world on the side.
With an average monthly salary of $1,000 to $2,000 per month, ESL teachers won’t make as much in Vietnam, but the low cost of living – from rent to food to transportation – means that you should be able to save more despite earning less if you do decide to teach English in Vietnam.
Russia – $1,000 to $1,500 per month
Most people don’t know this, but there is a huge demand for English teachers in Russia, and with an average pay of $1,000 to $1,500 per month, the salary is not unreasonable either. For those who are still starting out, it is recommended to work with a school that provides free housing. This is because finding affordable housing within the city might prove difficult for a foreigner, not to mention expensive. Although, if you do insist, the average monthly rental for apartments in Russia can run up to $600, especially in cities such as Moscow, so you may want to keep that in mind.
Another important thing to take note is that English teachers in Russia are usually required to sign a form stating that they will not poach students from the school for private sessions. But it is not unusual for students to approach teachers themselves for private tutoring. In most cases, private English tutoring can cost students around $30 an hour.
Indonesia – $1,200 to $1,500 per month
Indonesia’s reputation for lower costs of living, paired with the sizable monthly salaries for English teachers in the country and ease-of-access to tropical beaches, especially in Jakarta, make it one of the more attractive destinations for those interested to teach English abroad. Expats in Jakarta can expect to earn an average of $1,200 per month and receive either free housing or assistance with their housing search.
Teaching English abroad is a great way to see the world while also building your resume, learning about new cultures, and paying off your debts and student loans. Featuring attractive salaries, decent accommodation, and contracts as short as 6 months and as long as 2 years, you’re sure to find a situation that fits your preferences.
China – $1,500 to $2,000 per month
While China may not have the high salary that you would expect from a country as big as itself, the country also hires the most ESL teachers in the world. Anyone with a bachelor’s degree can teach in China, regardless of certification or not. Although, having a TEFL certificate should help you earn a higher salary. With an average monthly salary of $1,500 to $2,500 per month, English teachers in China can enjoy a decent salary without necessarily having to spend a lot for a good quality of life.
EF teacher’s salaries start at 13,500RMB, which converted to USD is $2,000 per month and is on the higher end of the average spectrum. Keep in mind, EF give three performance reviews and evaluations within your first nine months of starting in your center. So you have the ability to earn a monthly salary bonus before your year is up. The last thing to keep in mind is $2,000 may sound underwhelming, but don’t compare numbers without taking cost of living into consideration. For example – $2,000 in the USA is not the same as $2,000 in China!
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