You won’t ever become a billionaire teaching English, but if you are looking to earn a decent salary and save money – you have hit the jackpot.
Considering how affordable TEFL and CELTA courses are these days, your immediate return on investment will be two-fold if you find a job in one of these top paying destinations. Some even add free accommodation and flight reimbursement on top to really sweeten the deal for their teachers.
Here are some of the highest-paying countries for EFL teachers where you will make serious bank:
1. The United Arab Emirates
Salary Expectations: $4,000 per month.
The highest paying ESL jobs in the world are found in the UAE. Depending on your experience, you can earn anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 a month.
However, it’s getting a job here that is the hard part. Requirements are stringent, and most jobs require a minimum of two years teaching experience, a bachelor’s (some even prefer a master’s), and a TEFL certification.
Salary Expectations: $2,500 per month.
Japan is a picturesque country with its springtime cherry blossoms, snow-capped mountains, and rich culture. Add amazing food and a booming teaching industry, it’s no wonder this country is fast becoming a sought after destination.
While you do not need previous experience to apply, the EFL job market in Japan is competitive, and it can be hard finding a position without some.
3. South Korea
Salary Expectations: $2,500 per month + housing
Not only is South Korea an incredible country to explore, but for EFL teachers, it is somewhat of a unicorn in a field of horses destination. With salaries around $2,000 a month plus housing and full or partial flight reimbursement as well as overtime and bonus opportunities – teaching in South Korea is a dream.
However, if you want to teach in this ESL mecca, you need to have a three-year bachelor’s degree as well as a TEFL or CELTA certificate minimum.
Honourable Mention: China
Salary Expectations: Varies greatly based on city.
While China doesn’t boast the highest salaries compared to Western countries – and may not be the best option for those teachers paying off debts – a list of places to make money and save would not be complete without China. While salaries vary greatly based on which city you’re teaching in, this is mostly due to cost of living. The potential for savings in China is enormous because in most regions an EFL teacher’s earnings are far more than the average cost of living.
Being a large and varied country, however, the process of getting a job in China is more complex than elsewhere, with each province having its own requirements for legal work.
To find out more about teaching in China, click here.
How to Get a Top ESL Salary
While each country will have its own way of structuring salaries, inexperienced teachers without a teaching qualification can expect a lower salary. Teachers with a relevant degree and years of experience will be more valuable employees and will be able to demand a higher salary.
So before you start applying for jobs, boost your chances of getting hired as well as your salary by taking a TEFL or CELTA course.
Teach Abroad And Settle Your Debts
Teaching abroad as a TEFL or CELTA teacher is an excellent way to pay off student loans, travel, save money and immerse yourself in another country. While you still need to consider if the country and school will be a good fit for you, it is always nice to know that you can earn a ridiculous good salary while exploring a whole new way of life.
About the Author
Lauren Melnick is a South African travel blogger and ESL teacher currently living in Ubon, Thailand. When she isn’t making lesson plans and watching nursery rhymes on YouTube, you can find her eating up a storm, taking selfies with dinosaurs, and planning her next adventure.