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Teach English in Philippines

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Located in Southeast Asia, the Philippines offers sparkling white beaches, exotic islands, mountain adventures, exciting nightlife, unparalleled cuisine, sunny weather throughout the year, and hospitable locals. It's therefore no wonder it's popular with travelers! And, while English is already widely spoken here, there are still opportunities to teach English in the Philippines. Read on to learn more!

How to teach English in the Philippines

Formerly occupied by the US, the Philippines is well known for its English proficiency. Today, many Western businesses outsource work to the Philippines because of the populace's level of English. However, that's not to say there aren't still opportunities to teach English here.

The demand for English teachers in the Philippines is actually quite high. While Filipinos often use Tagalog to communicate, most schools use English as a form of instruction. So, if you are a native English speaker you'll still have an advantage even though a lot of Filipinos are qualified to teach ESL classes.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the different options for teaching English in the Philippines.

Language schools

This is the most popular option for TEFL teachers from abroad. There are many teaching jobs for English speakers at the various language academies in the Philippines. These centers cater mostly to Filipino graduates and other students from around the world who come to the Philippines to learn at an affordable price.

Private schools

If you want to teach younger students at the primary or secondary level you can teach in a private school. These offer a more relaxed environment but the trade-off is that you'll receive a lower wage, which is often on the same level as Filipino teachers.

International schools

There are over thirty international schools in the Philippines, the majority of which are located in Metro Manila. These schools cater to children of prominent families and expats so they prefer to hire a teacher who is from the country where the schools’ curriculums are based.

A trainer in private companies

Call centers want their employees to not just be able to speak English fluently, they want their agents to sound like native speakers as well. That is why these companies often look for foreign nationals that can serve as trainers. The pay is significantly higher in these positions compared to what you can get as a teacher of English as a foreign language in a language center.

Teach English in the Philippines Salary

The salary of an English teacher in the Philippines can be quite low compared to that in other countries, but it should still be enough to cover most of your daily expenses since the cost of living is also pretty low. You may even be able to save up for weekend trips to Banaue rice terraces and other popular destinations.

A TEFL teacher from abroad can expect to make anywhere between $800 to $1,200 per month. However, this will be less if you work in a private school where you'll be paid the same as Filipino teachers.

On average, teaching jobs in schools in the Philippines can earn you from $400 to $600 a month. Those with a TEFL certification and existing teaching experience can negotiate for higher pay of up to $700 to $780 per month.

Many ESL teachers also work as private tutors, charging from $10 to $20 per hour for English lessons.

Requirements for teaching English in the Philippines

The basic requirement for English teaching jobs in the Philippines is fluency in English. Besides that, here are the other common requirements for teaching in the Philippines:

Bachelor's Degree

Employers in the Philippines often look for a degree from their applicants. For those planning to teach in a school, you must have completed a course in the field of education.

If you want a job at an international school, you will also need to have a valid teacher’s license from your home country. A bachelor's degree is required for that. 

TEFL Certification

While a TEFL certification isn't always requested in the Philippines, having one can give you an edge over other applicants since competition for teaching jobs can be tough. Plus, if you want to teach English abroad in other countries you'll almost certainly need one.

Luckily, you can get a TEFL certification relatively easily by completing an online TEFL course. In this way, earning a TEFL/TESOL certification won’t interfere with your work or regular studies. However, you should be prepared to put in the work!

Documents and Visa

Any foreign national planning on teaching in the Philippines for more than 6 months needs to secure an AEP or Alien Employment Permit from the office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Documents needed to apply for AEP

  • Completed application form

  • Copy of the employment contract for the teaching jobs

  • Copy of your passport

  • Copy of the employer's business permit

How to apply for a work visa

Once you have your AEP, you can work on getting a work visa to be able to legally teach in the Philippines.

Documents needed to apply for a work visa

  • Completed application form

  • Valid passport

  • A certification of the employer’s number of foreign and Filipino employees (must be notarized)

  • Copy of your AEP

  • Clipping of the publication of your AEP by DOLE (this can be found in any major newspaper)

  • Clearance from the Beaurea of Immigration

  • Certificate of registration

  • Copy of your employment contract

  • Articles of Incorporation and Securities and Exchange Commission certification of your employer

File all these at the Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines.

Teach English in the Philippines jobs

Where to teach

Metro Manila is where you’ll find most of the teaching jobs in the Philippines. It's the place to be if you dream of teaching English abroad. The big universities, prestigious private schools, and international schools are based here. However, you can also try your luck by looking for teaching jobs in Cebu and other major cities all over the country.

Metro Manila

Metro Manila is made up of various cities like Manila and Makati where most of the international companies are based. As such, many companies look for English-speaking TEFL trainers to help their employees learn to speak English like a native. It also happens to be home to many of the language schools and international schools.


Cebu is a highly developed city that can rival Metro Manila. With its improving economy, many businesses are choosing to open here and people are flocking here in the way they used to with Metro Manila. And since more people are choosing to live in this city, more schools are also opening. 

Besides the increasing demand for TEFL teachers in Cebu, the city also offers a lot of opportunities for leisure and relaxation. Its white, sandy beaches are tourist draws that you shouldn’t miss.

Where to find jobs?

The best way to find TEFL teaching jobs in the Philippines is to check out online hiring platforms, forums, local community boards, or social media groups for those planning on teaching English abroad.

Alternatively, you can look on school websites for job postings. Find the email address of the hiring officer and send your applications through that.

When to apply?

You can apply for teaching jobs throughout the year if you plan on becoming an English teacher at any of the language schools in the Philippines. If you are interested in working at a private school in the Philippines, it's best to start looking for job openings around January to February.

What’s it like to teach English in the Philippines

Filipinos are possibly the warmest people in the world so you should feel right at home almost immediately. However, there are some things that you may need to know to make your experience better.


The locals are somewhat conservative when it comes to appearance, especially for teaching jobs. Some schools even forbid their employees from getting tattoos or colored hair.


Filipinos are lax when it comes to arriving on time. Most school activities start late. However, the view on punctuality depends on the institution.

Classroom culture

Students, especially the older ones, like having fun in class with their teacher. Don't expect your classroom to be quiet for long as Filipino students love participating and joking around.

Cost of living in the Philippines

The cost of living is comparatively very low in the Philippines, which makes it a great destination to live and work.


If you go online you’ll be able to find a studio apartment for around $100, depending on the area. In big cities like Makati, which is the capital city for business, you’ll probably spend around $200 for a studio apartment. You can also look for bed spaces if you have no problem with sharing a room. These can go for as cheap as $50 a month.  

Add $30 to $50 a month for utilities. This includes electricity, water, and Internet service. 


The best way to get around is to ride a jeepney. One trip can cost you as low as $0.16. You can also use the LRT and MRT (Light Railway Transit and Mass Rapid Transit) for longer distances. Each trip costs about $0.50.


Food is very cheap in the Philippines. You can spend less than $3 for a full meal in some areas. A meal from a moderately-priced restaurant typically costs around $5 to $10. However, cooking your own meals is still the most economical option. You can spend around $100 and have enough ingredients to last you for two to three weeks.

Life in the Philippines

Life in the Philippines can be idyllic and hectic at the same time. Places tend to get overcrowded and the commute can be challenging especially during rush hour when the roads are very congested.

However, it can also be laid back when you travel to the nearby provinces. Here you can spend your free time hiking up mountains, sunning yourself on the beaches, or exploring the Philippine islands and its many unique landscapes like the Banaue rice terraces.

No travel to the Philippines is complete without sampling the local cuisine. Filipino dishes are often a result of a fusion of world cultures. Try the ever-popular adobo, kare-kare, bulalo, or sinigang. All the restaurants and even roadside eateries have their own versions of these popular dishes.

Still looking for more information on how to teach English in the Philippines? Check out some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding English teaching jobs in the Philippines below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do English teachers make in the Philippines?

The average monthly salary of an English teacher in the Philippines is about $400 to $600. Native speakers who have come to teach abroad can make more with earnings of up to $800 to $1,200 per month.

Are TEFL teachers in demand in the Philippines?

Yes and no. ESL lessons are in demand, however, many are conducted online rather than in English schools or language centers. There is also a large population of local educators ready to fill those positions. However, there is still a place for TEFL teachers in the Philippines.

Can foreigners teach English in the Philippines?

Yes, foreigners interested in teaching abroad can teach English in the country as long as they have completed a degree or hold a TEFL certificate. You must also secure a work visa.

Can I teach English in the Philippines without graduating from college?

A diploma is a minimum requirement for teaching jobs in the Philippines. Elementary and high school teachers are also required to hold a teaching license.

What are the requirements for teaching jobs in the Philippines?

Besides completing a degree and securing your diploma, you must also be fluent in English. Schools also look for a TEFL certification and some require classroom experience. 

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