Teach English in Asia

a world of opportunities

Join a global community of over 200,000 TEFL teachers working throughout the world! Enrol me!

Kirsten Colquhoun
August 10, 2023

Contents

Why teach in Asia
Best places to teach
How do I become a teacher
Visa requirements
Teaching experience
Degree requirements
Non-native English speakers
Start-up capital
Types of jobs
Types of programs
How to get teaching jobs
Teach English online
Average teaching salary
Common benefits
Healthcare and travel insurance
Saving in Asia
Life and culture

Looking to start your career in teaching? Want to travel and make money simultaneously?Fascinated by ancient cultures, exquisite natural scenery, and interesting food? Teaching English in Asia may be your next adventure!

Why start teaching English in Asia?

From sipping coconuts on the beaches of Vietnam to doing muay Thai in Thailand to walking the bustling streets of Hong Kong, Asia has a lot to offer tourists – and even more for TEFL teachers. 

  • East Asia is the biggest importer of English teachers worldwide. There are teaching jobs for days all across Asia! Thailand, Vietnam, China, South Korea and Japan are consistently the most popular destinations for TEFL teachers. 
  • The pay is good. Some countries offer better salaries and packages than others (hello, South Korea and Japan!) but no matter where you are, your lifestyle will be comfortable.
  • The work is rewarding. In general, Asian students are motivated and a pleasure to teach. 

The travel experience is immeasurable. Travelling around Asia is simple, so you’re sure to get a good taste of Asia in your free time.

Best places to teach English in Asia

Whether you’re looking for cherry blossoms, tropical thunderstorms, winter skiing or sunning yourself on gorgeous beaches all year round, Asia caters for all different tastes. 

Here are our top picks for places to teach English in Asia: 

China

  • Largest demand for TEFL teachers
  • Very competitive pay ranging from $1,500 -$3,000 a month
  • Flexible teacher requirements
  • Rich culture and sights

Hong Kong

  • Average salaries are between  $3,000 to $7,400 a month
  • High cost of living
  • Good for experienced teachers
  • Fascinating blend of east meets west

Japan

  • Competition for teaching positions are high
  • English teaching salaries are competitive ($2,000 – $4,000 a month)
  • Employers are strict when it comes to professionalism
  • Rich culture and sights
  • High cost of living

South Korea

  • Competitive teaching salaries of $1,700-$2,300 a month
  • Teaching positions are not hard to find
  • Generous packages
  • Rich culture and sights

Taiwan

  • Third safest country in the world
  • Hires experienced and inexperienced teachers
  • Competitive salary of $2,000-$3,000 on average a month
  • Low cost of living

Vietnam

  • Many available positions
  • Lower salaries from $1,700 – $2,400 a month 
  • Low cost of living
  • High quality of life
  • Scenic landscapes

How do I become a teacher in Asia?

Each Asian country has its own set of requirements. However it is standard to expect the better positions and higher salaries come with having a degree, a TEFL certificate and teaching experience.

First things first, make sure you have the basic requirements for applying to be a TEFL teacher:

While there are opportunities for non-native speakers and those without a degree, the better paying job postings do require the above as a bare minimum. For newer and more inexperienced teachers, consider countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

Do you need a visa for a TEFL job in Asia?

You will need a visa to legally teach in all Asian countries. You can secure a visa in your home country before relocating – this is the smart way. However, a number of TEFL teachers have found that getting a student or tourist visa helped them look for job postings on the ground in the respective country they wanted to teach in, but this is becoming more difficult in some countries. Once you have secured a job, you can then apply to convert your visa to a work permit.

Can I get an English teaching job in Asia with no experience?

You can get an English teaching job in East Asia with no experience. Most East Asian countries have government programs or school programs that hire new teachers. Private language schools are also known to hire new teachers. It is best to look on jobs boards to see what positions and salaries are offered.

Can I teach English in Asia with no degree?

South Korea, China and Hong Kong require that you have a degree. 

Vietnam and Cambodia are great places to teach if you don’t have a degree. There are some opportunities to teach English in Japan without a degree, granted that you have many years of teaching experience and a TEFL certificate.

Can non-native speakers teach English in Asia?

Teaching in China as a non-native English speaker is possible if you have a teaching qualification in your home country, hold a TEFL certification and have two years’ teaching experience. 

In Japan and South Korea, preference will be given to TEFL teachers who are native English speakers. However if you can prove your education was conducted in English and that you have a Bachelor’s degree to go with it, this should be acceptable! 

For the most part, non-native speakers will have to provide proof of your language proficiency. This can be shown by a result of C1 or higher in an accredited proficiency test, such as IELTS.

How much start-up capital do I need?

Start-up capital varies depending on each country as well as the city in which you are placed. Depending on your benefits, you may be reimbursed for your travel, visa and accommodation costs.

You will need to factor in the following costs:

  • Airfare
  • Visa costs
  • TEFL course
  • Document authentication
  • Travel insurance
  • Accommodation 
  • Food, travel and entertainment until your first paycheque.

Types of English teaching jobs in Asia

Each country in East Asia offers job placements in their private and public schools, language centres and universities. Here are some top TEFL jobs and programs for each Asian country.

Government-sponsored programs

In most Asian countries, government programs are secure jobs that have lucrative salaries and benefits for native English-speaking teachers. The requirements are usually having a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate, making them a great option for inexperienced teachers.

Language schools and academies

Language schools can be open at odd hours, after school and work, sometimes into the evening and on weekends. TEFL teachers will find many advertised positions in language schools and academies. The requirements are not as strict when applying, so it’s a great way to get experience. Student ages will range from Young Learners to adults in the workforce.

International schools

International schools usually hire teachers to teach both English and other subjects such as Maths, Science, Art and History. These positions will usually require an experienced teacher with a Master’s degree.

Volunteer teaching

If you have a philanthropic leaning, or are looking to gain teaching experience, volunteering programs are spread all over Asia. The pay is not as great, but the experience is unlike any other.

Types of programs in Asia

South Korea has well-known government public school programs – EPIK, GEPIK and SMOE. In these programs you can teach in elementary, middle or high schools around the country. It comes with paid housing, reimbursed airfare, a settlement allowance and a contract completion bonus.

Japan’s JET program is competitive to get into. It offers similar benefits as the EPIK program. 

Hong Kong’s NET program is another option with very high salaries. 

China’s public school programs include:

  • English Program Sichuan: Salary ranging from $1,000 – $2,584.
  • ISAC National Teaching Program (NTP): Salary ranging from $1,722 – $2,297. 

Taiwan has three main programs:

  • Fulbright Taiwan English Teaching Assistantship: exclusive to U.S. citizens only: Salary at $3,332 per month. 

Teach Taiwan: Government program for native English speakers to teach English in public schools across the country.

How to get teaching jobs in Asia

A great way to get assistance in securing a job posting in a government school program is through a recruiter. They will help you with your application and job placement, as well as your arrival in your chosen country.

Online jobs boards are a common way to find teaching jobs in Asia directly with a school. The TEFL Academy’s jobs board has hundreds of jobs for you to choose from.

Teach English online in Asia

Asia has a high number of EFL students, so there are bountiful online teaching companies to apply to teach English online to students in Asia. In Asia, there is a big emphasis on education, so many parents look for online tutors for their children to supplement their English lessons in school. 

The demand for Business English is steadily growing due to the importance of English in international business, so Business English teachers are likely to find online jobs quite easily.

And don’t forget about the digital nomad visas! Certain countries allow you to live there and work remotely for a certain period of time. Malaysia offers a Professional Visit Pass which allows you to work in Malaysia for up to 12 months. Indonesia offers a 5-year visa for remote workers working for companies outside of Indonesia. Thailand offers a digital nomad visa but it has very strict requirements so is not very easy to get.

What is the average teaching salary in Asia?

Here is an estimate of salary expectations for the most popular Asian countries:

  • South Korea: $1,600 -$1,900
  • Japan:  $2,100 – $2,583
  • Vietnam:  $760 – $1,248 
  • Hong Kong: $3,820 – $8,915 
  • China: $1,000 – $2,584 
  • Taiwan: $200 – $2,400

What are the common benefits for teachers in Asia?

In Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China, the benefits are pretty much standard: paid housing, reimbursed airfare, reimbursed work visa costs and healthcare. Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and other countries typically don’t cover flights or visas or offer accommodation.

What about healthcare and travel insurance?

South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Taiwan and Vietnam have a thriving English teaching expat community. Many employers in these locations offer healthcare benefits to their teachers. Travel insurance is not a benefit that employers offer, so this will have to come out of your pocket. It’s always a good investment to secure your health and safety when moving to a new country.

Is it possible to save as a TEFL teacher in Asia?

The best destinations to save money as a TEFL teacher in Asia are Hong Kong, Japan, China and South Korea. In other Asian countries you aren’t likely to save much but your way of life will more than make up for it. There are other ways to make and save money – teaching private lessons or teaching English online to Asian students.

What's it like to live and work in Asia?

Being an English teacher in Asia assumes a role of respect, so you will best adjust to your new position if you are willing to forge relationships at work, joining in cultural activities, being respectful to those who are your seniors and dressing professionally.

Be mindful of the cultural norms and practices in whichever country you choose to live in, to make sure you don’t unintentionally offend anyone or make a social faux pas. 

While money is an important factor, the quality of life you will receive in Asia is worth the move. Asia is rich with cultural heritage, and beautiful sights to behold. 

Culture shock is a reality for some TEFL teachers. But if you have a sense of adventure and are willing to take the plunge, you will be stronger and wiser at the end of the day. 

Ready to live the life you’ve always wanted in Asia? Start your teaching journey with our certified TEFL courses. Choose from a Level 3 120-hour certificate or a Level 5 168-hour certificate – whichever suits your needs best. We’ve seen over 200,000 graduates walk through our virtual doors and they’re now happily teaching all across the globe. 

Tempted to join them? Contact us to find out more.

Contents

Looking to start your career in teaching? Want to travel and make money simultaneously?Fascinated by ancient cultures, exquisite natural scenery, and interesting food? Teaching English in Asia may be your next adventure!

Why start teaching English in Asia?

From sipping coconuts on the beaches of Vietnam to doing muay Thai in Thailand to walking the bustling streets of Hong Kong, Asia has a lot to offer tourists – and even more for TEFL teachers. 

  • East Asia is the biggest importer of English teachers worldwide. There are teaching jobs for days all across Asia! Thailand, Vietnam, China, South Korea and Japan are consistently the most popular destinations for TEFL teachers. 
  • The pay is good. Some countries offer better salaries and packages than others (hello, South Korea and Japan!) but no matter where you are, your lifestyle will be comfortable.
  • The work is rewarding. In general, Asian students are motivated and a pleasure to teach. 

The travel experience is immeasurable. Travelling around Asia is simple, so you’re sure to get a good taste of Asia in your free time.

Best places to teach English in Asia

Whether you’re looking for cherry blossoms, tropical thunderstorms, winter skiing or sunning yourself on gorgeous beaches all year round, Asia caters for all different tastes. 

Here are our top picks for places to teach English in Asia: 

China

  • Largest demand for TEFL teachers
  • Very competitive pay ranging from $1,500 -$3,000 a month
  • Flexible teacher requirements
  • Rich culture and sights

Hong Kong

  • Average salaries are between  $3,000 to $7,400 a month
  • High cost of living
  • Good for experienced teachers
  • Fascinating blend of east meets west

Japan

  • Competition for teaching positions are high
  • English teaching salaries are competitive ($2,000 – $4,000 a month)
  • Employers are strict when it comes to professionalism
  • Rich culture and sights
  • High cost of living

South Korea

  • Competitive teaching salaries of $1,700-$2,300 a month
  • Teaching positions are not hard to find
  • Generous packages
  • Rich culture and sights

Taiwan

  • Third safest country in the world
  • Hires experienced and inexperienced teachers
  • Competitive salary of $2,000-$3,000 on average a month
  • Low cost of living

Vietnam

  • Many available positions
  • Lower salaries from $1,700 – $2,400 a month 
  • Low cost of living
  • High quality of life
  • Scenic landscapes

How do I become a teacher in Asia?

Each Asian country has its own set of requirements. However it is standard to expect the better positions and higher salaries come with having a degree, a TEFL certificate and teaching experience.

First things first, make sure you have the basic requirements for applying to be a TEFL teacher:

While there are opportunities for non-native speakers and those without a degree, the better paying job postings do require the above as a bare minimum. For newer and more inexperienced teachers, consider countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

Do you need a visa for a TEFL job in Asia?

You will need a visa to legally teach in all Asian countries. You can secure a visa in your home country before relocating – this is the smart way. However, a number of TEFL teachers have found that getting a student or tourist visa helped them look for job postings on the ground in the respective country they wanted to teach in, but this is becoming more difficult in some countries. Once you have secured a job, you can then apply to convert your visa to a work permit.

Can I get an English teaching job in Asia with no experience?

You can get an English teaching job in East Asia with no experience. Most East Asian countries have government programs or school programs that hire new teachers. Private language schools are also known to hire new teachers. It is best to look on jobs boards to see what positions and salaries are offered.

Can I teach English in Asia with no degree?

South Korea, China and Hong Kong require that you have a degree. 

Vietnam and Cambodia are great places to teach if you don’t have a degree. There are some opportunities to teach English in Japan without a degree, granted that you have many years of teaching experience and a TEFL certificate.

Can non-native speakers teach English in Asia?

Teaching in China as a non-native English speaker is possible if you have a teaching qualification in your home country, hold a TEFL certification and have two years’ teaching experience. 

In Japan and South Korea, preference will be given to TEFL teachers who are native English speakers. However if you can prove your education was conducted in English and that you have a Bachelor’s degree to go with it, this should be acceptable! 

For the most part, non-native speakers will have to provide proof of your language proficiency. This can be shown by a result of C1 or higher in an accredited proficiency test, such as IELTS.

How much start-up capital do I need?

Start-up capital varies depending on each country as well as the city in which you are placed. Depending on your benefits, you may be reimbursed for your travel, visa and accommodation costs.

You will need to factor in the following costs:

  • Airfare
  • Visa costs
  • TEFL course
  • Document authentication
  • Travel insurance
  • Accommodation 
  • Food, travel and entertainment until your first paycheque.

Types of English teaching jobs in Asia

Each country in East Asia offers job placements in their private and public schools, language centres and universities. Here are some top TEFL jobs and programs for each Asian country.

Government-sponsored programs

In most Asian countries, government programs are secure jobs that have lucrative salaries and benefits for native English-speaking teachers. The requirements are usually having a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate, making them a great option for inexperienced teachers.

Language schools and academies

Language schools can be open at odd hours, after school and work, sometimes into the evening and on weekends. TEFL teachers will find many advertised positions in language schools and academies. The requirements are not as strict when applying, so it’s a great way to get experience. Student ages will range from Young Learners to adults in the workforce.

International schools

International schools usually hire teachers to teach both English and other subjects such as Maths, Science, Art and History. These positions will usually require an experienced teacher with a Master’s degree.

Volunteer teaching

If you have a philanthropic leaning, or are looking to gain teaching experience, volunteering programs are spread all over Asia. The pay is not as great, but the experience is unlike any other.

Types of programs in Asia

South Korea has well-known government public school programs – EPIK, GEPIK and SMOE. In these programs you can teach in elementary, middle or high schools around the country. It comes with paid housing, reimbursed airfare, a settlement allowance and a contract completion bonus.

Japan’s JET program is competitive to get into. It offers similar benefits as the EPIK program. 

Hong Kong’s NET program is another option with very high salaries. 

China’s public school programs include:

  • English Program Sichuan: Salary ranging from $1,000 – $2,584.
  • ISAC National Teaching Program (NTP): Salary ranging from $1,722 – $2,297. 

Taiwan has three main programs:

  • Fulbright Taiwan English Teaching Assistantship: exclusive to U.S. citizens only: Salary at $3,332 per month. 

Teach Taiwan: Government program for native English speakers to teach English in public schools across the country.

How to get teaching jobs in Asia

A great way to get assistance in securing a job posting in a government school program is through a recruiter. They will help you with your application and job placement, as well as your arrival in your chosen country.

Online jobs boards are a common way to find teaching jobs in Asia directly with a school. The TEFL Academy’s jobs board has hundreds of jobs for you to choose from.

Teach English online in Asia

Asia has a high number of EFL students, so there are bountiful online teaching companies to apply to teach English online to students in Asia. In Asia, there is a big emphasis on education, so many parents look for online tutors for their children to supplement their English lessons in school. 

The demand for Business English is steadily growing due to the importance of English in international business, so Business English teachers are likely to find online jobs quite easily.

And don’t forget about the digital nomad visas! Certain countries allow you to live there and work remotely for a certain period of time. Malaysia offers a Professional Visit Pass which allows you to work in Malaysia for up to 12 months. Indonesia offers a 5-year visa for remote workers working for companies outside of Indonesia. Thailand offers a digital nomad visa but it has very strict requirements so is not very easy to get.

What is the average teaching salary in Asia?

Here is an estimate of salary expectations for the most popular Asian countries:

  • South Korea: $1,600 -$1,900
  • Japan:  $2,100 – $2,583
  • Vietnam:  $760 – $1,248 
  • Hong Kong: $3,820 – $8,915 
  • China: $1,000 – $2,584 
  • Taiwan: $200 – $2,400

What are the common benefits for teachers in Asia?

In Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China, the benefits are pretty much standard: paid housing, reimbursed airfare, reimbursed work visa costs and healthcare. Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and other countries typically don’t cover flights or visas or offer accommodation.

What about healthcare and travel insurance?

South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Taiwan and Vietnam have a thriving English teaching expat community. Many employers in these locations offer healthcare benefits to their teachers. Travel insurance is not a benefit that employers offer, so this will have to come out of your pocket. It’s always a good investment to secure your health and safety when moving to a new country.

Is it possible to save as a TEFL teacher in Asia?

The best destinations to save money as a TEFL teacher in Asia are Hong Kong, Japan, China and South Korea. In other Asian countries you aren’t likely to save much but your way of life will more than make up for it. There are other ways to make and save money – teaching private lessons or teaching English online to Asian students.

What's it like to live and work in Asia?

Being an English teacher in Asia assumes a role of respect, so you will best adjust to your new position if you are willing to forge relationships at work, joining in cultural activities, being respectful to those who are your seniors and dressing professionally.

Be mindful of the cultural norms and practices in whichever country you choose to live in, to make sure you don’t unintentionally offend anyone or make a social faux pas. 

While money is an important factor, the quality of life you will receive in Asia is worth the move. Asia is rich with cultural heritage, and beautiful sights to behold. 

Culture shock is a reality for some TEFL teachers. But if you have a sense of adventure and are willing to take the plunge, you will be stronger and wiser at the end of the day. 

Ready to live the life you’ve always wanted in Asia? Start your teaching journey with our certified TEFL courses. Choose from a Level 3 120-hour certificate or a Level 5 168-hour certificate – whichever suits your needs best. We’ve seen over 200,000 graduates walk through our virtual doors and they’re now happily teaching all across the globe. 

Tempted to join them? Contact us to find out more.

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