The profession of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), or as it is also known, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), is both rewarding and demanding. The good news is, you won't need to compromise on a decent income!
Table of Contents
You may be wondering which English teachers earn the most when teaching abroad. Let's dive into it.
Your earning potential in this field typically hinges on three primary factors: your qualifications, the country you decide to teach in, and the school you choose to work for.
In essence, teachers certified in TESOL or TEFL typically command higher salaries compared to their non-certified counterparts. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates are among the highest-paying globally for English teaching, with income ranging between $2,000 and $4,000 USD a month. Additional benefits often include free housing and health insurance. Teachers at universities and international schools usually enjoy the highest salaries.
Absolutely! Your qualifications directly impact your income. For instance, an individual with a TESOL or TEFL certification usually earns more than someone without one. This doesn't only pertain to the principle that better-qualified teachers earn more but also highlights the fact that those with higher qualifications have greater access to a wider variety of job opportunities, such as university positions.
The more teacher training hours you have under your belt, the better. The 120-hour TESOL certification is the globally recognized standard for teaching English abroad and is also the most common among ESL teachers. However, if you hold a TESOL certificate exceeding 120 hours, you will instantly distinguish yourself from the competition.
Check out all our online TESOL certification courses
Your pay is also influenced by whether you are employed in a public or private language institute. Due to government funding, public schools in certain countries may offer higher salaries. Conversely, many private language schools may offer better pay as they often charge higher tuition fees and hence have larger budgets.
Moreover, the level at which you teach matters. You are likely to earn more teaching English at a university than at an elementary school, for instance. Corporate English instruction for large businesses may also yield higher pay than facilitating conversational English at community centers.
We have analyzed the TESOL world by key regions to identify the highest-paying countries in each. The salary data per country is estimated based on their major cities. Broadly, the Middle East offers the highest salaries, with countries such as the UAE and other Gulf nations paying up to $6,000 per month, tax-free. However, they often have stricter requirements for teachers, including several years of teaching experience and a Master's degree.
Asia is another lucrative region for ESL teachers. High-paying countries include China, Japan, and South Korea, where salaries average around $2,200 USD per month. It's also common in these countries to receive substantial benefits like paid airfare, housing, and end-of-contract bonuses.
While Europe is a favorite among many English teachers, the high living costs coupled with relatively low salaries can make living comfortably challenging. Western Europe is particularly competitive, and most positions recommend a bachelor's degree and an on-site TESOL certificate. Moreover, strict visa rules may complicate employment for non-EU citizens. Therefore, Eastern Europe can be an excellent alternative, with governments often more open to hiring non-EU citizens.
Latin America typically offers the lowest ESL salaries, ranging between $600 and $1,000 USD per month. However, the region's comparatively low cost of living, with rent as cheap as $150 a month, should be factored into the equation.