GoAbroad helps you answer: Where can I teach English abroad and get paid — a lot?
It’s back to school season, and maybe you’re looking a little too wistfully at all those “first day of school” Instagram posts and Snapchats. Well, there’s more than one way to bake a cake, and more than one way to go back to school! With your days sitting at a cramped desk frantically taking notes behind you – or soon coming to an end – it’s time to look at a new path back into the classroom. It’s time to make money teaching English!
Teaching English abroad is a great option for recent graduates, soon-to-be graduates, and mid-career professionals alike. Whether you’re looking to do a little travel, save some serious cash for that future nest egg, or get great professional (and life) experience, teaching abroad checks all the boxes. Now, we know what you’re thinking. How do you make money teaching English? Aren’t all teachers overworked and underpaid? Well— yes, yes they are. Teachers should all be millionaires for the wonderful work they do, but that’s a whole other issue.
To answer that first, very important question: how do you make money teaching English abroad? Well, that’s all about location, location, location, my friend. You want to consider not only your teaching salary, but cost of living, and any additional costs that your school or teach abroad program can help supplement (housing, airfare, maybe even some meals). Once you’ve weighed all of that, it’s up to you to find your perfect program, pack up your bags, and hop on that plane.
Okay, but where do you make money teaching English abroad? Scratch that— where do you make seriously good money teaching abroad? We’ve broken down your potential teaching abroad salary by country in the six best places to teach that will make both you and your piggy bank happy. Check it out!
1. The UAE
Make money teaching English as a teacher in the UAE! Seriously, you will make bank teaching English in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates is a great spot for teachers looking for a little more cosmopolitan, international experience. Travel is easily accessible through Dubai’s airport, so you can still go on great adventures without hassle, but you’ll find it hard to leave when everything you need is right here! The UAE is known for flash (and for cash), so you’ll need to take extra care with your budget in order to maximize the money in your pocket.
As an English teacher in the UAE, you can make up to $5,000 a month. Your salary will vary depending on what kind of school you’re at: private, public, international language school, etc., and the age range of your students. You can expect your students to range in age on either end of the spectrum. Mostly young children just starting to learn English, or business professionals looking to gain a competitive edge.
Even with the higher cost of living, you should be able to pocket upwards of $1,000 a month. Maybe more, if you’re really thrifty, avoid online sales, and stop chanting “treat yo’ self” every time you upgrade your Starbucks order.
Cost of Living
All the flash in the UAE comes at a premium, and so cost of living is relatively high. You could be spending in the range of $800 to $1,000 a month on living expenses. But, your teaching salary will more than cover this. Leaving a fair chunk of change still in your pocket.
As a teacher in the UAE, you’ll definitely need a bachelor’s degree. For the most part, if you have a bachelor’s degree, you don’t necessarily need a TEFL certificate. Especially if you already have an English or education degree. BUT, some programs will require a teaching certification anyway. So, don’t dilly dally and get TEFL certified.
BLESS. ESL teachers are in high demand in the UAE, which means you’re going to get sweeeet perks on top of a sick salary. Most programs will include housing, and the one’s that don’t will still offer a housing subsidy, so you won’t have to shell out every month for rent. You’re also practically guaranteed to get reimbursed for the cost of your airfare, so that extra $1,000+ you’d spend on a flight will go right back in your bank account.
Make it rain teaching abroad in Bahrain! Bahrain might not be the first place that pops to mind for places where you can make money teaching English, but it is actually an incredibly popular destination amongst ESL teachers from Europe and the South Pacific. So let’s get our grubby American hands on those dinars, too!
The monthly salary in Bahrain is up to $3,000 — though not as high sticker-price-wise as Dubai, the real treat of teaching abroad in Bahrain instead of the UAE is the opportunity for savings. ESL teachers in Bahrain save, on average, over $2000 monthly, which can put a serious dent in your debt or award you the savings account that many dream of.
Cost of Living
Life in Bahrain isn’t necessarily cheap. You can expect dinners out, drinks, taxis, and other daily expenses to be more-or-less on par with western Europe. Groceries, and especially fresh produce, tend to be a little more expensive (you are in the desert, after all!). Thanks to your generous perks, though, most of your expenditures will be on incidentals rather than major expenses.
In order to score a coveted position in Bahrain and make money teaching English, you need to tick off the following boxes: you have a bachelor’s degree, you’re a native English speaker, and you have a TEFL certification. Without these three qualifications surpassed, you will have a tougher time trying to find paid English teaching jobs here.
Just like in the UAE, and across the Middle East, teachers are in high demand. You’ll have plenty of perks – like housing and flight reimbursements – to put the cherry on top of the sundae as an ESL teacher in Bahrain. (Not to mention all the Arabic coffee and ghuraiba you can stomach).
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Ku— where? It’s quite possible you haven’t learned too much about this petite country nestled into the Persian Gulf, but despite its size, it packs quite the historical and geopolitical punch! You'll get more than just cold hard cash teaching English in Kuwait. You’ll learn so much as an ESL teacher in Kuwait, and while you’re putting away all that sweet, sweet knowledge and nuanced understanding of major world events, you’ll also be putting away the Benjamins. Honestly, does it get any better?
As a teacher in Kuwait, you can make up to $3,200 a month. Although it still doesn’t come close to the whopping G’s you could make teaching in the UAE, you will make a little more teaching in Kuwait than you would in Bahrain. And, with some creativity and thriftiness, you can still save quite a bit.
On average, you can save $850+ a month. Want more? You can always put in a little extra elbow grease and tighten your belt a little to save even more.
Cost of Living
However, compared to the UAE and Bahrain, Kuwait has a slightly more manageable cost of living. You’ll spend less on housing per month, and all those little “treat yo’selfs” will be comparable to what you spend back home.
If you’re looking to make money teaching English abroad in Kuwait, you’ll need a few things. Namely, a bachelor’s degree (although a master’s never hurt anyone), you’re a native English-speaker, and you have a TEFL certificate. These three things are your golden ticket to desirable teaching jobs in Kuwait.
That’s right, your monthly salary isn’t the only perk to look forward to. Your housing will be covered or subsidized, AND your round-trip flights will be reimbursed. So, those two big expenses are no longer coming out of your pocket and you’ll have more money to save and play with!
4. South Korea
Make serious bank teaching in South Korea — all that bibimbap can set you back, but luckily as an ESL teacher in South Korea, you’ll be bringing home some serious bacon (we mean, uh, twice-grilled pork). The market for qualified teachers, from Seoul to Busan and everywhere in between, is bursting with opportunity. So, bring on the bibimbap! Seconds? Thirds? Have your fill teaching in South Korea without leaving your pockets totally empty.
ESL teachers in South Korea will make money teaching English to the tune of $2,000 a month. This salary doesn’t pack the same punch as teaching positions in the Middle East, but you’re still going to be able to save quite a bit! With some serious budgeting skills you could be saving more than $1,000 a month, actually. That’s not too shabby!
Cost of Living
For the most part you’ll find cost of living relatively comparable to back home, though your utilities tend to come at a steep price and you may find yourself spending a little more a month on basics like groceries. But, additional perks will help mitigate these costs.
To score that sweet salary and those added perks, you need to meet the basic requirements for teaching jobs in South Korea. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree, be a native English speaker (or have near-native level proficiency in English), and a TEFL certificate.
Remember those perks we mentioned earlier? Yeah, the ones that help with your day-to-day cost of living? Well, we hope you’re sitting down. Because between covering your housing costs and the cost of your one-way international flight, you’ll get to keep a few more buck-a-roos in your wallet.
Top program: Get paid to travel with I-to-I TEFL — Read i-to-i TEFL reviews | View their site
Not quite right?: Browse all teach abroad programs in the South Korea
Live the good life teaching English in Taiwan. When you think of teaching English in Asia, Taiwan might not be at the top of your list, but we think it should be. As a teacher in Taiwan you’ll get to experience a unique blend of international influence— including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Dutch colonial influence, as well as increasing influence from the West. Plus, did we mention the bubble tea? Yeah, there’s bubble tea.
Teachers in Taiwan can make a pretty stellar salary of up to $2,100 a month. That’s certainly not chump change! After housing costs and any incidentals or regular spending (groceries, transportation, etc.) you should still be able to put away more than $500 monthly.
Cost of Living
Cost of living in Taiwan will be much lower than you’re used to, but with that comes a loss of convenience. You’ll find yourself spending more money regularly on utilities, regular transportation, and groceries. But, with the right budget and a dream teaching job, you’ll still have some money to put away every month.
Like most paid teaching positions around the world, you’ll need to be a native English speaker, as well as have your bachelor’s degree— though in some cases, an associate’s degree will be accepted, especially in conjunction with your TEFL certificate.
Depending on the length of your contract, you might not get as many breaks as you’ve grown used to all throughout school. Luckily, teachers in Taiwan can look forward to two weeks of vacation time between January and February.
Unfortunately, housing and flights are usually not included in your teaching contract in Taiwan. However, that doesn’t mean your school or organization will leave you high and dry! Most organizations will provide house-hunting assistance. Plus, you can always negotiate your salary and additional perks.
This teaching salary is pho-real in Vietnam. If you exist in the center of the venn diagram between noodle lovers and book lovers, Vietnam is going to be heaven for you. With a rich literary tradition (and even richer broth for your noodles), Vietnam is a poetic dream for ESL teachers with a literature background — and the perfect first stop on your quest towards paid teaching jobs abroad.
ESL teachers in Vietnam can expect to make up to $1,700 a month. That number looks much more impressive in VND, we know, but that’s still a decent chunk of change! And, that salary will go a long way, even in the bigger cities. Even with a lower salary than your counterparts in the Middle East, you should be able to save more than $600 a month. You’ll be able to kiss your student debt goodbye sooner rather than later!
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Vietnam will have you feeling less like a “starving English teacher” and more like royalty — with a belly full of spring rolls! Though a fair chunk of your salary will go towards rent and groceries, you’ll have plenty leftover to play with! Hello beach vacay!
To make big bucks, you need to meet all the basic ESL teacher requirements. (Broken record, much?) So, yes, that means you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, be a native English speaker, and have a TEFL certificate.
Although your housing and flights will not be included in your teaching salary, you will get two weeks of vacation between January and February, in addition to a few bank holidays here and there. Which means you’ll get to take advantage of doing more traveling throughout the region. (Because we KNOW you want some real pad thai in Thailand.)
But, I want to teach abroad in Europe, the South Pacific, Latin America...?
That’s cool. You just won’t be able to save much money and make big bucks teaching in these other world regions. For instance, most countries across western Europe are break-even destinations. Meaning, you’ll still make money teaching English and it will be enough to live on, but you won’t earn enough to sock away in savings.
However, teaching abroad isn’t all about the G’s. You will garner a wealth of experience, which is why we suggest you go to a destination that excites you. You can make money teaching English abroad in a zillion places, but it ultimately comes down to what your goals are — if it isn’t to get rich, then your possibilities just got a whooooole lot wider.
Make money teaching English now
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Whoever told you that you can’t get rich teaching abroad is downright wrong, and clearly hasn’t seen this breakdown of teaching abroad salary by country. That’s why it’s one of the best jobs for recent college grads — or for anyone with an appetite for adventure. So grab your TEFL, start applying to a couple of paid English teaching jobs, and head abroad. We’ll see you there.