How much do TESOL teachers earn?

The first thing to appreciate, regardless of which country you are talking about, is that within any country there are vast differences in job opportunities and pay and conditions.

Within any single country there are distinct areas which we could divide into three categories:

1. Urban

2. Sub-Urban (or Provincial)

3. Rural

As you may expect, the level of opportunity, typical salary, and benefits, all decrease as you go down the list. A first world city such as Tokyo will be a vastly different teaching experience to a rural hamlet on a hillside in Cambodia.

Many economically challenged areas will not be able to afford English teachers at all and jobs in these areas tend to be for volunteer work.

If we look at mainstream job opportunities in urban environments this will give you an idea of a comparison between countries, but always remember to factor in the national average salary and any benefits other than pay that the job offers.


Western Europe

This is a popular choice for many western-born teachers as the culture is more familiar than in many other areas of the world, particularly those from the UK, USA and Australia for example. However, within the European Union it can be harder to find employment if you are not an EU citizen, though it is certainly not impossible.

Salaries can vary between $1,000 per month in countries such as Spain, to $2,500 per month in Germany.

Eastern Europe

A number of countries in this region have seen huge political changes in the last twenty years leading many areas to become more ‘westernized’, both culturally and in terms of business relationships. This has led to increased opportunities for teaching in many countries, both in the adult and school age sectors. Both EU and non-EU citizens are typically able to gain employment in this region.

Salaries can vary between $800 per month in countries such as Romania, to $1,500 per month in the Czech Republic.

Latin America

The relatively low cost of living in many South and Central American countries leave you with a reasonable standard of living from a TESOL teaching salary. Many areas in the region will hire people who are already ‘in-country’ so many jobs are not advertised.

Salaries can vary between $600 per month in countries such as Chile, to $1,500 per month in Brazil.


This is probably the largest single region for TESOL teaching opportunities and the salaries and conditions variation shows that. Countries at the higher end of the salary scale typically require a degree in addition to a TESOL qualification, many others do not. The diversity of cultures within this region varies tremendously as does the general cost of living.

Salaries can vary between $500 per month in countries such as Cambodia, to $2,500 per month in Japan.

Middle East

The Gulf Arab States vary enormously in size and population, from Saudi Arabia (at around 37 million) to Qatar (at around 2.7 million). They have a very high standard of living and salaries and benefits reflect this.

Salaries can vary between $2,000 per month in countries such as Saudi Arabia, to $4,000 per month in the United Arab Emirates.