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How Much Do TEFL TESOL English Teachers Get Paid

Q: Around how much money do English teachers working abroad tend to get paid? How does this pay differ across the world? What are the best and worst countries for teaching English as far as pay? A: Teaching English can vary in pay very widely. I’ve tended to go for countries where the wages are high [...]

Q: Around how much money do English teachers working abroad tend to get paid? How does this pay differ across the world? What are the best and worst countries for teaching English as far as pay?

A:

Teaching English can vary in pay very widely. I’ve tended to go for countries where the wages are high and the cost of living is low so that I can save up for more traveling. I’ve heard of a lot of volunteer programs in Latin America and Africa. Some of them include housing and some of them even require YOU to pay quite a bit for the program.

As for normal proper jobs the wages start at a few hundred per month. This would be in some Latin American countries, parts of South East Asia, or Africa. Russia and Eastern Europe are a bit better in the salary department, and Japan and Western Europe have high wages but are also expensive places to live.

For real possibilities of saving money, East Asia is the best place to start. You can easily find a contract that includes housing and pays around $2000 per month. If you are careful with your savings you can easily save more than $1000 per month or more with a job in South Korea, Taiwan or Hong Kong. China pays less, even in cities like Beijing or Shanghai, but you might be able to save a little bit since the cost of living is also low.

The best wages are in the Middle East though. Jobs also generally include housing and it’s not too hard to find something paying $2500 or $3000 per month. Plus there are generally no taxes. This would be for Kuwait, Saudi
Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, or the UAE. I applied for one job in Iraq a couple years ago that paid $7500 per month tax free, but didn’t get to the interview stage.

Once you have a few years experience it’s possible to find English teaching jobs paying $3-5k per month in East Asia and the Middle East.

Loren Everly is Vagabond Journey’s teaching English as a foreign language correspondent. He has been traveling the world perpetually for well over a decade, often working as an English teacher. To date, he has taught in East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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  • Caitlin January 18, 2011, 8:07 pm

    In Mexico TEFL teachers can make OK money if they play their cards right. If you network and establish a reputation you can make about 1000 dollars a month teaching adults. It’s easy to move into teaching at a private high school like I did and that will increase your salary a lot but it will entail a lot more work.

    I’m talking about Mexico City though, money is not so good outside the capital.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com January 18, 2011, 10:36 pm

      Right on. The teaching in Mexico City sounds pretty good, but my wife, Chaya — a fully certified and experienced TEFL teacher with a university degree in international education — was only offered like 40 pesos ($3.30) an hour. Which it is my impression that English teaching jobs in just about any country’s capital city is going to pay way more than in its other cities. That is where the rich kids are.

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  • TEFL Jobs January 21, 2011, 11:35 am

    I used to recruit English teachers for large oil companies in Saudi Arabia. It’s true the wages can be amazing, up to $120,000 per year. However they are looking for the cream of the crop. In reality at least 10 years teaching experience, an immaculate resume with little or no gaps and at least an MA in Linguistics or TESOL.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com January 21, 2011, 11:58 am

      Good call here. You can make a ton teaching English abroad but there are a lot of people doing this — so the best jobs go to, as you put it, “the cream of the crop.” For the rest of us, there’s China haha.

      Thanks.

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