“Show me the money!” Although this might not be the phrase on every the lips of every EFL or ESL teacher, there are many amongst us who’d like to make the best possible salary whilst teaching English abroad – even if we are just in it for the experience. So where can you go and teach to stack that cash in your bank account? Let’s take a look at some of the highest paid English teaching jobs abroad.
Which countries pay the highest salary for teaching English abroad?
Ready to make some serious money teaching English abroad? EFL and ESL teacher salaries vary from country to country with some countries paying significantly more than others. So, if you want to be one of those English teachers abroad earning the big bucks, it’s important to know which destinations you should be looking at.
To help you out, here is a list of the top 6 countries where you can find a teaching job and make the highest salary teaching English abroad:
The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The UAE boasts salaries ranging between $3,500 – $5,500 per month depending upon your experience, with the majority of jobs being found in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. The top end of this figure is up there with the highest EFL and ESL teacher salaries you can find abroad. However, you can earn even more as an independent TEFL teacher.
The entry requirements for the UAE are usually quite strict. You’ll be expected to possess a bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification, but experience is rewarded. Consequently, you will make considerably more money if you have more advanced qualifications.
It’s not just about the money in the UAE either. Other benefits such as flights home and a housing allowance can also be offered to you. So, if you decide to get a teaching job here, keep a look out for those!
Like the UAE, you could expect to receive a relatively high salary of around $3,000 – $4,000 per month. This will sit alongside similar benefits and allowances, which can be very attractive for TEFL teachers looking to save.
As a devout Muslim country in the desert, Saudi Arabia may take a bit of getting used to for some. However, for those of you who are up for a new experience it could be a very interesting proposition. Especially with the opportunity to save a considerable amount of cash!
If you’re ever looking for something slightly different, Oman and Kuwait offer salaries in a similar bracket.
China has the largest TEFL market in the world. There are an estimated 300 million plus people taking English classes every year and needless to say, demand for English teachers is high.
You could expect to make $3,000 per month as an EFL teacher in China and possibly up to $5,000 per month if you teach a specialist subject. Many job packages also come with benefits such as airfare and housing allowance included. This makes it possible to save a significant amount of cash whilst you are working there.
Salaries for teaching English in Japan can range widely from $2,000 – $5,000 per month. This depends upon your teaching certifications, teaching experience and where you work. For example, you could expect to earn more working for international schools than you would working for an Eikaiwa (independent English school).
Japan is one of those countries that combines the allure of a travelling experience, alongside a strong culture and incredibly modern cities. Allied with good pay and conditions, this makes it a popular destination for English teachers abroad. As a result, the job market can be competitive.
Nevertheless, demand for English teachers and English learning in general is very high here. You should therefore have no problem being able to find a TEFL job if you have the necessary skillset.
Many of the lesser experienced teachers who want to go to live and work in Japan get their start with the JET Programme. They even have a grant for getting a TEFL certification, so if this applies to you it could be worth checking them out.
South Korea is a great destination for teaching English abroad and saving money. As a modern, prosperous nation, South Korea has a strong commitment to education and increasing the level of English of the population.
You can expect a salary of around $2,500 per month and you should be able to save $1,000 of that. If you take on one of the many positions that offer free flights and free housing for English teachers you can save even more. Some employers will also offer a bonus if you commit to 12 months of teaching English there.
Salaries for English teachers in Taiwan are very similar to those in South Korea, typically standing at $2,000 – $3,000 per month. Taiwan boasts a similar, if not slightly lower, cost of living than South Korea so you should be able to save a decent amount each month, whilst taking advantage of a warm, subtropical island climate.
Online (Bonus option)
Wherever you decide to teach, teaching English online is a great way to make a supplementary income. You can do it alongside work when teaching abroad, or focus on it as your primary source of income.
Due to the increasingly global nature of our world, you’ll be able to get work at any time of the day to fit around your schedule.
Teaching English online can be done full-time or part-time and you can expect to earn at least $10 – $25 per hour. The highest paid online English tutor jobs can pay $50 an hour and above.
Depending upon the platform you’re working from you’ll be able to increase your rates once you have built up your profile and experience there. Check out our guide to online English teaching jobs to see what options are available to you.
Of course you may also decide to try freelance English teaching online. In this case the sky is the limit in terms of what you can earn, but it will take a bit of time to build up your reputation and client base. A great way to establish your presence online is by having your own teacher website where potential clients can find out about you and what you offer.
Consider this before chasing the money
If you’re in it for the money and looking for the highest paid teaching jobs abroad, the best place to start would be in the Middle East. This is closely followed by some of the more affluent countries in Asia. Places such as China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are all great for teaching English abroad.
However, it is important to remember that a high salary isn’t always the be all and end all. In some cases, higher living costs in wealthier countries mean that your money may not go as far. Therefore, the money that you could save there is no greater than in a country with a comparatively lower salary but also with lower living costs.
As a result, it is important to do your research about each country. You should see what is included in any potential employment package and also find out the cost of living there before taking the plunge.
Another thing to consider is that you need to feel comfortable spending time in the country you choose. After all, work is not everything. You don’t want to get stuck somewhere you don’t enjoy being as this will make the job feel more difficult.
Having said all that, there is no denying that the highest salaries for teaching English abroad are certainly appealing!
Some final thoughts
When you’re first starting out on your English teaching journey it’s important not to expect a mega salary right away. There’s nothing stopping you aiming for one, but you’ll find that you will be rewarded for your experience over time.
Furthermore, not all of the salaries will be exactly the same as we listed here. This is why you need to do your research before going away, and it’s important to emphasize this again.
Going to a new country to teach English is a big undertaking and will be the first time that many of you live abroad. It’s therefore worthwhile making sure that both the job and place is the right fit for you. The country may pay the highest salary for teaching English abroad but you need to be comfortable there at the same time.
You might decide that you just want to work as an English teacher in your own country such as the USA or UK. Good salaries are offered here too. ESL teachers in the USA can expect to make on average between $40,000 – $75,000 per year! This is certainly not to be sniffed at and is comparable to the highest salaries available for teaching English abroad.
Finally, even though salaries might be less in destinations in Europe and South America, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t great places to go and teach English abroad. Money isn’t everything at the end of the day. When you look back at your life in 10 years time, you’re more likely to remember the great experiences you had over the few extra thousand you were able to save.