How Much Can I Earn Teaching English Abroad?

It seems these days you can barely throw a rock across the digital landscape without hitting a blog about some lucky soul happily living out their lives sipping Mai Tais on the beach of some distant tropical paradise. How they are doing is no mystery. You can live that life when you teach abroad – if you’re the adventurous type and have a background in teaching, then you are already halfway there.

TEFL, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language, programs are an excellent resource which may provide an income for those adventurous enough to investigate the possibilities.

Here is a list of five of the most popular TEFL destinations and what you can expect to earn while teaching there.

China – As China’s role in the world economy increases, the demand for ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers is off the charts. Currently the demand far outweighs the availability of teachers. Depending on which type of school at which you choose to teach, expect to receive anywhere from $1K U.S per month for public schools, $1.3K-$1.5K for private schools, while private universities may pay as much as $5K per month should you meet their stringent requirements.

Gulf Arab States – For the truly adventurous type, consider teaching in a Middle Eastern country. Many Arab countries are currently spending billions of dollars on education projects, especially English instruction. Extremely high competition requires top-notch backgrounds in the education field (the top programs require both a public teaching school license/certificate from your home country and at least a year or two of actual in-classroom experience). Once you find employment here, you can expect a salary average of anywhere between $3K-$5K U.S. per month.

South Korea – Are you looking to save money by teaching English abroad? South Korea will be a hard choice to beat. An up trending economy, low living costs, and a high importance placed on education make this fertile ground for enterprising teachers. The cost of living is low enough that many teachers are able to stow away around 50% of their income, which can be expected to be around $15K U.S. per year. Stipends for airfare, yearly bonuses, and modern cities are all excellent perks, which allow you to save a little extra.

Thailand – One of the most popular destinations to teach English as a second language is Thailand. If you have a degree from a four-year college, and a TEFL Certification you can expect to earn around $1K U.S per month as a TEFL teacher. Speaking Thai is not required, and it is actually preferred that you speak NO Thai! The cost of living is also noticeably lower here, and you will be able to afford many of the Western amenities you are accustomed to on this salary.

Japan – Although currently going through tough economic times, Japan continues to be a destination choice for many TEFL teachers. The competition is much tougher here, so the more qualifications you bring to the table the better your chances will be of landing a job. At the lower end you can expect the average of 1K per month while opportunities elsewhere pay up to $25 U.S. per hour. The culture, diverse landscape and close proximity to other countries make Japan a popular choice to teach English.

Now you have some solid ideas about where to go teach abroad. So dust off that resume and apply today!