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Teach English in Cambodia

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Often called the Kingdom of Wonder, once you step foot in this truly unique country, you’ll wonder why you never came here before. It’s a one-of-a-kind destination with a rich culture, beautiful islands, a fantastic expat community, and ancient temples - with the most famous of course being Angkor Wat. So, it's not a surprise if you want to come and teach English in Cambodia!

How to teach English in Cambodia

With recent economic growth and a thriving tourism sector, many Cambodians are eager to learn English. ESL teaching is a fast-growing job market here and there is a significant number of jobs teaching English in Cambodia available year round. As long as you have an accredited TEFL certification, you should have very few problems finding teaching positions here.

Many teachers in Cambodia work in private language centers, but some also work in private schools, international schools, universities, or even choose to volunteer. Salaries can be quite low in some private schools, but very high in others. There’s also nothing to stop you from doing private tutoring on the side to make some extra cash as there is no strict requirement that you must work for only one employer. Let's take a look at your teaching options in more detail:

Private language schools

There are private language schools in most of the major towns and cities throughout Cambodia. 

The best language center to teach at by far is the Australian Centre for Education (ACE), which has five campuses in Phnom Penh and one in Siem Reap. You will need a CELTA certification to teach here, but they also sometimes hire based on other TEFL qualifications and teaching experience.

There are other language centers, especially in Phnom Penh, that do not require a CELTA certification, and completion of an accredited TEFL course should suffice.

Teaching English at a private language school in Cambodia could also be a great opportunity to start teaching IELTS preparation as many schools pay per hour and the hourly rate for these classes is much higher.

International schools

You can teach English at international schools in Cambodia too. Your students can be from pre-K up to grade 12 depending on your qualifications and teaching experience.

If you want to get a job in an international school here requirements can vary, with some schools preferring that you have a degree, PGCE, or a teaching license. Other schools do not require you to have any qualifications beyond a TEFL certificate, but these do pay significantly less. 

Teach at a university

Teaching at a university is also an option when looking for a job teaching English in Cambodia, and many teachers do this as a side job in the evenings or on weekends. 

If you have a degree and a background in tourism this could also be useful for you as many universities run tourism courses that are taught in English.

Tutor privately 

Once you have been teaching English in Cambodia for long enough and have gotten to know people, don’t be surprised if you start being approached for private tuition. This can be a great side hustle for TEFL teachers as private tutors in Cambodia can earn anywhere from $10-$30 USD per hour. If you specialize in Business English or IELTS, this rate can potentially increase.

Work Online in Cambodia

Many digital nomads choose to live and work in Cambodia due to the lost cost of living and comfortable lifestyle that's available here. Getting a visa is fairly easy compared to other countries so it's the perfect place to base yourself if you prefer the freedom of teaching online or pursuing other online ventures.

Volunteering in Cambodia

If you’re looking to give something back, you can also volunteer to teach English in Cambodia. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer to teach English throughout the country. These teaching positions offer some of the most unique and rewarding experiences that you'll remember for the rest of your life.

On a serious note, it’s important to avoid being a volunteer in orphanages in Cambodia. Many are usually scams and take advantage of vulnerable locals, usually doing more harm than good. However, there are fantastic organizations throughout Cambodia that you can volunteer at. You will just really need to do your research and check any online reviews first to ensure that they are ethically sound.

Teach English in Cambodia salary

The average salary for English teachers in Cambodia can range anywhere from $700 to $1,800 USD per month. This will all depend on the school or institute you work at, your previous teaching experience, and where in Cambodia you want to teach English.

Some schools don't have fixed salaries and pay per hour. These schools regularly need their teachers to work extra hours while other teachers are sick or on vacation leave so covering these classes can be a great way to make some extra cash.

Most schools and language centers in Cambodia don’t usually offer subsidized accommodation or free airfare, but employee benefits can include free or partially funded health insurance, paid vacation days, and end of contract bonuses. 

Requirements for teaching English in Cambodia

When you're looking to teach abroad you'll find that employers tend to prefer a native English speaker over a non-native speaker. However, if you have teaching experience, have completed a TEFL course, and can show that you can speak English fluently, this shouldn't be a major issue in Cambodia.

TEFL certification

As with most other countries, having a TEFL certification is a basic requirement for almost all English teaching jobs in Cambodia. Almost all employers will expect you to have completed a 120-hour TEFL course at the very least as it proves that you have the knowledge and skills to teach at their school. Completing a TEFL course really is worth doing if you want to teach in Cambodia.

Bachelor's degree

Depending on the teaching jobs you apply for, having a bachelor's degree is not always required, but it's usually preferred.

Previous teaching experience

If you want to start teaching abroad and don’t know where to go first, Cambodia is a great option for those who have just completed their TEFL course. Newly qualified teachers can find a job teaching English relatively easily here compared to other countries around the world.

Language requirements

More often than not, native English speakers are generally favored over non-native speakers when it comes to teaching English in Cambodia. That’s not to say you couldn’t teach in Cambodia if you are from Spain, Italy, or any other non-native English speaking countries. As long as you can show that you are fluent in English and have an international TEFL certificate you are likely to find a job in one of the language schools or private schools.

Visas and documents 

Before you start teaching English abroad, it's vital that you look into the visa process for the country where you decide to live. If you choose to teach English in Cambodia, then you are in luck as the visa process here is much easier than in most other countries in Southeast Asia.

One major benefit is that you do not need to have a job lined up before you arrive in Cambodia, and can start looking for work once you get here. However, as with any job that involves teaching English abroad, it is better to do some research, apply for jobs, and contact as many schools as possible before you arrive. 

If you intend on arriving in Cambodia without securing a job first, you can get a tourist visa on arrival. To get this visa you will need to bring a passport-sized photograph and have a passport valid for at least 6 months with at least two blank pages for the visa to be affixed. Visas on arrival need to be paid for in cash in US dollars. You can complete the visa form, which is usually given to you on the plane, before you arrive and hand it over to immigration along with your passport. You then need to wait in line until your visa is ready. This process usually doesn’t take too long and it can be quite quick if there are no queues. 

To bypass this process, you can apply for an E-visa for Cambodia online before arriving. You will need to print two copies of your E-visa before arrival. As visa requirements for countries change frequently, it’s always important to check up-to-date information online before you book your flight. Tourist visas last for 30 days and if you want to teach you will need to obtain a business visa. This is also known as a work visa.

You can apply for your work visa after your tourist visa and the duration of the visa can be one month, three months, six months, and one year. Getting a work visa can take one to two weeks.

However, you won't necessarily need to worry about this yourself. Once you’ve secured a teaching job in Cambodia, your employer should handle getting you a work visa. You just have to hand over your passport to your employer and wait until they get it back from immigration. Your employer should also process a work permit for you, which is extremely important to have so make sure you ask about this in the interview.

Teach English in Cambodia Jobs

Finding English teaching jobs in Cambodia can be relatively easy and, unlike most other TEFL destinations around the world, it is possible to just show up and look for a teaching job once you get here. It is one of the most accessible countries to teach English abroad.

Where to teach

It’s always important to do your research when deciding to move abroad. There are teaching jobs in various regions of Cambodia with each one offering something unique.

Phnom Penh

Phnom is the easiest place to find a teaching job in Cambodia. It's the capital city and has by far the country's largest commercial area.

Alive with bars, restaurants, and cultural delights, Phnom Penh has a lot to offer. There are many good schools here, both language centers and international schools. The cost of living is slightly higher than in other regions of Cambodia, but employers do take this into consideration and monthly salaries tend to be a bit higher to make up for it.

All major roads in Cambodia connect with Phnom Penh, so if you feel like getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s only a three-hour drive to Kampot or about five hours to Sihanoukville. 

Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the most popular tourist destination in Cambodia and for good reason. Boasting ancient temples and legendary nightlife, this charming town is an excellent location for anyone who wants to teach abroad.

Most Cambodians living in Siem Reap work in the tourism industry so there is a high demand for English language teachers here. Since the city is much smaller than Phnom Penh and everything is more central, getting around is extremely easy, especially if you decide to invest in a motorbike or scooter.

The world-famous temples at Angkor Wat are less than 15 minutes away, so a temple pass is really worth buying. Long time residents can avail of discounted passes that allow you to enter the park freely. They range from $100 USD for two months to $200 USD for a whole year and can be bought all year round.


About three hours from Siem Reap, Battambang may not be as well known but is certainly somewhere to consider if you’re looking for a slower pace of life away from the crowds of tourists.

Teaching jobs are less available here than in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, but there are some opportunities to be found if you’re patient.

Battambang is usually described as sleepy and quaint, but there are plenty of activities and sites to check out. There are some beautiful colonial buildings and also temples to explore, such as Banan temple, which is only about 20km away.

You can head to the bat caves where every evening thousands of bats exit the cave flying in unison in impossibly large swarms. You can also take a ride on the bamboo train, enjoy frequent cute little cafes, and visit Phare Ponleu Selpak, which is Cambodia’s first fully dedicated performing arts school.


Probably the most laid-back place on this list, Kampot boasts natural beauty and a small but tight-knit expat community. The gorgeous Praek Tuek Chhu river snakes lazily through the region so you can spend your days off relaxing by the water. The clean calm waters are also perfect for swimming and doing other water activities such as stand up paddle boarding.

Living in Kampot also makes it extremely easy to get some beach time in as it’s just a few hours from Sihanoukville and the beautiful islands of Koh Rong and Koh Ta Kiev. While English teaching jobs here are rare, they do pop up now and again, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for them.

What it’s like to teach English in Cambodia

Teaching English in Cambodia is a unique experience and it's important to have an understanding of the local culture and etiquette when you're teaching.

Classroom culture

In terms of classroom culture, teaching in Cambodia is a dream for anyone teaching English. Students throughout the country are generally extremely polite and respectful towards their teachers. This is another reason why it is the perfect destination for anyone new to English language teaching!

It's important to note that students tend to be shy with their teacher at first, but this usually doesn't last long once they warm up to you.

Cultural etiquette

There is certain cultural etiquette to be aware of before you start teaching in Cambodia. First of all, always remember to use your right hand when passing anything to your students as this is much more polite and respectful.

Showing the soles of your feet or pointing towards someone or something with your foot is seen as highly disrespectful both in Cambodia and pointing directly at someone with your index finger should also be avoided. Instead, you can gesture towards someone with an open palm. 

Dress codes

As with most teaching jobs around the world, it’s important to dress modestly and Cambodia is no exception. Men are expected to wear long trousers and closed-toed shoes. For women, skirts and dresses must be below the knee and shoulders should always be covered.

Many private and international schools in Cambodia have a teacher uniform. This typically consists of a polo shirt and your own long trousers or skirt. 

Cost of living in Cambodia

Living in Cambodia is fairly inexpensive when compared to most popular English teaching destinations. While the salaries may be lower, the low cost of living in Cambodia means that there is still huge potential to live a very comfortable life and even save some cash too. Both US dollar and Khmer Riel are accepted everywhere, which can be very convenient.

Rent in Cambodia

Considering the low cost of living, you may be surprised to learn that rent can be extremely low or comparatively very overpriced when compared to other countries. You can expect to pay anywhere between $150-$800 USD per month on rent depending on where you live and what you want out of your accommodation. 


Electricity can be on the expensive side at $40-$150 USD per month. This is because Cambodia doesn’t produce much of its own power and purchases it from other neighboring countries such as Thailand and Laos. Limiting your use of air conditioning and finding accommodation with up to date appliances can really lower your utility costs.


Other monthly expenses such as buying groceries and eating out can range from $100-$300 USD. This also depends on your preferences. Eating at local restaurants and shopping at the local outdoor markets can reduce this cost.

Saving money

One great way to save money is to start picking up the language as soon as you arrive. Besides the obvious cultural benefits, speaking a little Khmer at the local markets can go a long way as vendors will realize that you’re not a tourist just passing by and will lower the price a little so that you come back.

Life in Cambodia

Cambodia’s biggest allure is its people who are extremely friendly and welcoming. Beginning your teaching career here may spoil you as the students are extremely respectful of their teachers and are just a joy to teach.

On top of that, Cambodia boasts cities that are modern and gorgeous islands in the south that could rival those found elsewhere in Southeast Asia.  

After decades of going through extremely tragic times, the country is a testament to itself in terms of bouncing back and it’s constantly developing. Siem Reap's continuous development over the last few years means that if you visited the town five years ago as a tourist, it would be unrecognizable to you now.

New infrastructure, especially in tourist hotspot Siem Reap, has made traveling around the country much easier.

Cambodia is also relatively safe and although there may be some petty crimes such as bag snatching and pickpocketing, there are rarely any serious safety concerns.

The cost of living is low in Cambodia will also allow you to spend your time teaching English here very comfortably while also enjoying everything that the country has to offer. It’s no wonder more and more people are deciding to become English teachers in Cambodia. 

Frequently asked questions

Is Cambodia a good place to teach English?

Cambodia is an excellent place to teach English. There are a lot of great schools and English language centers and the students are wonderful.

Is it easy to get an English teaching job in Cambodia?

As long as you have a TEFL certificate, you shouldn't face many issues. Having a bachelor's degree and previous teaching experience is beneficial but not always necessary.

How much do English teachers make in Cambodia?

The amount of money you can make depends on where you decide to live and in which English language center or international school you decide to teach. Salaries for English teachers in Cambodia can be anywhere between $700 USD and $1,800 USD per month, occasionally even more than this. 

Are English teachers in demand in Cambodia?

English teachers are most definitely in demand in Cambodia and there are many TEFL jobs available. There is a constantly growing demand for English speakers in Cambodia’s workforce and as tourism in the country goes from strength to strength, this should be set to continue. 

Can I teach English in Cambodia without a degree?

Yes, you can teach English in Cambodia without having a bachelor’s degree. However, job opportunities for TEFL teachers without a degree may be limited. If you have gained some previous teaching experience or have an international TEFL certification, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to find an English teaching job without a degree, especially if you are a native English speaker.

Can non-native speakers teach English in Cambodia?

Yes, it's entirely possible to teach English in Cambodia as a non-native speaker. Many schools will hire non-native speakers as long as they have completed the right TEFL training. Sometimes previous experience isn't required either.

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