Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), also known as teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), is a rewarding profession that needs commitment and love. Luckily, you also won't have to sacrifice a good salary!
We are sure you are curious about what type of teachers earn the most when teaching abroad, so let's have a look.
The simple answer is your potential salary often depends on three main factors: your qualifications, the country you teach in, and the type of school you work for.
The fact is, TEFL and TESOL certified teachers earn higher salaries compared to teachers without a certificate. Saudi Arabia, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates are among the top-paying countries in the world to teach English, with salaries ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 USD a month. Extra perks such as free housing and health insurance are often included. The salaries of teachers working for universities and international schools are usually at the top of the pay scale.
Will I earn more with a TEFL or TESOL certificate?
Yes, your income is influenced by your qualifications. Someone with a TEFL or TESOL certificate, for example, earns more than someone without. This is related not just to the basic premise that a more qualified teacher earns more but also to the fact that teachers with better qualifications have more access to a broader range of employment, including university posts.
Generally speaking, the more TEFL training hours you have completed, the better. While the 120-hour TEFL certificate is the international standard qualification for teaching abroad, it is also the one that most teachers obtain. This means that if you possess a TEFL certificate with more than 120 hours, you will automatically stand out from the competition.
Which type of school pays the highest teaching salaries?
Your salary is also affected by whether you work in a public or private language institute. Because of government funding, some public schools may pay more depending on the country. On the other hand, there are numerous cases where private language schools pay a greater compensation since they may charge parents more to enroll their children and therefore have a larger budget.
Another factor to consider is the level at which you teach. Teaching English at a university will most likely earn you more money than teaching English to young learners at a primary school. Teaching corporate English for a large corporation may also pay better than teaching conversation sessions at a community center.
Which countries pay English teachers the most?
We have broken down the TEFL world into major regions and investigated the highest-paying countries in each. Salary data for each country is an estimate based on its largest cities. Generally speaking, the Middle East is the highest paying TEFL region. Countries like the UAE and other Gulf nations can pay up to $6,000 per month – tax-free. However, they also tend to have higher demands for their teachers, such as various years of teaching experience and a Master's degree.
Asia is another region to look into if you want to earn a good salary. Here, the highest-paying countries include China, Japan, and South Korea, where you can earn around $2,200 USD per month. In these countries it is also the norm to receive attractive benefit packages, like paid airfare, paid housing, and end-of-contract bonuses.
Even though Europe is a popular destination for many English teachers, the high cost of living and rather low salaries can make it quite difficult to live comfortably. Western Europe is also known for its fierce competition. A bachelor's degree and an onsite TEFL certificate are recommended for most positions. On top of that, strict visa regulations can make it difficult for non-EU citizens to find employment here. That is why Eastern Europe is a great alternative. In this region of the world, governments are more lenient when it comes to recruiting non-EU citizens.
Latin America is one of the regions with the lowest TEFL salaries ranging between $600 and $1,000 USD per month. However, it is worth considering that the cost of living in this region is also relatively low and you can rent a good place to live for as little as $150 a month.