Published 18th February 2020
Yes, teaching is a passion. Yes, teaching English abroad gives you the opportunity to live in amazing destinations. Yes, it’s one of the few jobs where you can really have fun every day. But that doesn’t mean you have to teach English abroad for peanuts. When you think about it, though there are people who decide to teach English as a Foreign Language as a gap year, in-between jobs, or as a way to spend time away from home for a while, there are many other teachers who decide to be a TEFL teacher as a career. So while some people may be happy to take a pay cut to be able to live their dreams, many of us don’t have that luxury. Add to that the fact that teaching is not a walk in the park and it is a job that brings with it many responsibilities, and it makes sense that we earn a decent wage while doing what we do best (teaching English, in case you were wondering). Of course there are countries where it is not possible to earn a salary comparable to that which we could earn at home simply because of foreign exchange or hours worked, but there are also those countries where TEFL teachers can earn well enough to be able to live well, pay off that student loan and have spare change left to go on nice holidays too. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? So what are the top 5 Countries to make the most money teaching abroad in 2020.
The United Arab Emirates
Working in Dubai or Abu Dhabi you can expect to earn from USD $3 000 to $4 000 a month, plus you’ll be given flights and accommodation. Though the cost of living here can be quite high (if you want to enjoy the kind of lifestyle you live back home), the accommodation will give you a massive saving. It’s also possible to live more frugally and so save a bit more.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait offer similar packages and are also worth a consideration if you’re up for a cultural adventure.
South Korea has been on this list for quite a while now and it’s not going anywhere. Living and teaching in South Korea is a cultural adventure and while many people come here for the experience alone, the salary is another huge attraction. You will work hard but you will be compensated well – to the tune of $2 000 to $3 000 a month, with flights, accommodation and health insurance included. As an added bonus, if you complete a 12-month contract you are usually given a 13th cheque!
Taiwan is still the quieter cousin to China, South Korea and Japan, but it’s right up there in terms of earning power. Teaching in Taiwan can earn you $3 000 to $4 000 a month but this won’t include accommodation though it may include a reimbursement for flights. But, because the cost of living in Taiwan is so low, your earning power is much higher than is reflected in your salary amount.
Vietnam has been a popular choice for TEFL teachers for the last few years, but it has never been one of the top-earning destinations. You can earn between $1 500 to $2 000 a month but again the cost of living is very low. Also, in order to get a salary at this level, you need to have a TEFL certificate and a degree.
Another favourite with TEFL teachers, Japan is a gorgeous combination of history, culture and just plain oddness. You can find a job in Japan as a teaching assistant through the JET programme or you can work in a university if you have a post-graduate degree. Salaries range from $2 000 to $2 500 a month.
So those are the top five countries you can earn the most money teaching English abroad, but we can’t go without mentioning the powerhouse that is China. There have been a few visa- and health-related situations lately which may put people off teaching here but it can’t be written off just yet. Not only is the demand for TEFL teachers huge but living in China is an experience like no other. Plus, it pays about $2 000 to $2 500 a month and accommodation is often included.
Of course, please bear in mind that these might not be the highest salaries in terms of what is written on the pay check. Rather, these are the countries where you can make the most money teaching English abroad when salary, contract benefits and cost of living have all been considered.
If you’re already lucky enough to be teaching in one of these countries, we’d love to hear from you!