Teach English in Laos

a world of opportunities

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Kirsten Colquhoun
June 14, 2024

Contents

Why teach in Laos
Where to teach in Laos
Requirements
Jobs and programs
How to get a job
Salaries and benefits
Cost of living
Life and culture

The only landlocked country in South East Asia, the Republic of Laos is one of the more mysterious countries in the region. Officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, it’s more commonly known as Loas PDR – Please Don’t Rush. And that should tell you everything you need to know about teaching English in Laos!

Why teach English in Laos?

  • Laos is not a wealthy country. Teaching English is a way to give back to the community and open doors to more opportunities for the locals.
  • The low cost of living in Laos offers a very comfortable way of life for English teachers. 
  • Low working hours mean lots of time to go on adventures trekking and river rafting.
  • Laos is all about the chilled vibes. What’s not to love?

Where to teach English in Laos

If you want to teach English in Laos, you don’t have many cities to choose from. Luckily, they’re all great choices!

Vientiane

Big city energy, Laos-style

The majority of teaching jobs in Laos are available in the capital of Vientiane. International schools, language schools and private tutoring companies provide work for English teachers. Besides teachers, Vientiane is where you’ll find most expats living in Laos.

Pakse

Chilled city vibes

In the south of Laos, Pakse is the country’s second-largest city. A major centre for business, Pakse offers a few teaching options. Though it’s a big city it’s quiet even in high season so it will give you an authentic Laos experience.

Luang Prabang

Authentic Laos

Luang Prabang is a rural town in the north of the country. It’s a popular tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site. This has resulted in a need for English language education.

Requirements and qualifications

Laos is not as strict as nearby countries like Thailand or China, but a TEFL qualification is a must. 

Do you need a visa for teaching English in Laos?

A work visa is required to teach English in Laos. Your employer will help you arrange this. There are teachers who work on a tourist visa but this is not something we can condone as it is illegal.

Do I need teaching experience to teach in Laos?

No. Many inexperienced teachers are able to find teaching positions in Laos. In fact, the laid-back lifestyle and working conditions mean Laos is a great place to start as a TEFL teacher.

Which TEFL certificate do I need to teach  in Laos?

For volunteer positions, a Level 3 TEFL certificate is adequate. But if you want to apply for higher-paying jobs in Laos you should sign up for the Level 5 TEFL course.

A Level 5 TEFL course is internationally recognised and is comprehensive enough to provide you with all the knowledge you need to teach English effectively.

Can I teach English in Laos with no degree?

A Bachelor’s degree is not required to teach English in Laos but it is strongly preferred. If you want to teach English in an international school, a Bachelor’s degree is expected. Language schools don’t have this same requirement.

Can non-native speakers teach English in Laos?

Absolutely. You don’t need to be a native speaker to teach English in Laos, provided your English is at a native level.

How much start-up capital do I need?

Here are a few costs you need to consider when starting out in Laos:

  • Accommodation: First month’s rent and security deposit.
  • TEFL certification: A TEFL course can cost between $100 and $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider. 
  • Document fees: Any costs related to certifying and notarising your degree and TEFL certificate.
  • Flight ticket: Variable. 
  • Visa application: The cost of a visa is subject to your home country. You can expect to pay between $100 and $150.
  • Living expenses: You will need one month’s worth of start-up capital of about 14,000,000 ($650).

Jobs and programs in Laos

The TEFL market is still relatively undeveloped in Laos, but learning English is growing in popularity. Many teaching positions are volunteer but there are some international schools and a few private language centres in the big cities. 

International  schools

International schools offer an international curriculum and cater for students from a range of diverse backgrounds. International schools pay well and prefer candidates with tertiary education, TEFL certification and teaching experience.

Private language schools

Private language schools offer lessons to local students in the afternoons, evenings and weekends. 

Private lessons and online

Many teachers in Laos take on private students or online lessons to bump up their monthly income in their free time.

How to get a job teaching English in Laos

Because there aren’t as many TEFL jobs in Laso as other destinations, the usual websites might not offer the same options when it comes to job vacancies in Laos. A better idea is to look up international schools and language schools in Laos and apply to them directly.

Salaries and benefits in Laos

There are a variety of teaching opportunities in Laos for English teachers. Your salary will differ based on which teaching route you choose to follow. 

What is the average teaching English salary in Laos?

  • The average salary of a TEFL teacher in Laos ranges between 10,000,000 – 22,000,000 ($500 – $1,000) a month.
  • Private language schools pay monthly salaries of ₭ 15,000,000 – ₭30,000,000 ($800 – $1,500).
  • In international schools, teachers can earn 50,000,000 – 75,000,000 ($2,300 – $3,500).
  • Volunteer placements don’t offer a salary but provide accommodation or a host family.

What are the common benefits for teachers in Laos?

TEFL teachers in Laos can expect benefits if they are teaching in an international school. These include:

  • housing
  • flights, and
  • medical insurance.

Language schools should offer paid vacation and assistance with your work visa.

Cost of living in Laos

Here are some of the usual costs for living in Laos – but bear in mind, these vary quite a lot depending on which region or city you are in:

Accommodation

  • A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre: 10,000,000 ($450) a month
  • A one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre: 8,500,000 ($400) a month

Utilities

  • Electricity, water, and gas: ₭ 1,800,000 ($80) a month

Food and groceries

  • Monthly shop: 5,000,000 ($230)  
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: ₭ 40,000 ($1.80)

Transport

  • Monthly travel pass: ₭1,300,000 ($60) 
  • One-way ticket: ₭13,000 ($0.60)

Internet 

  • Unlimited: ₭240,000 ($11)

Entertainment

  • Gym, cinema, clubbing: ₭1,500,000 ($70) a month

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

Teachers in international schools can generally save a third of their salary. Teachers in language schools can save a little less but still live very well, and travel extensively in the region.

Living and working in Laos

  • Laos is an interesting mix of languages. There are 86 local languages, and the older generations speak French and the younger generation English.
  • The travel opportunities are vast. Bordering Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Myanmar and Thailand, it’s especially easy to travel over Laos’ borders to its many interesting neighbours.
  • For the most part, Laotian students are shy. They won’t look teachers in the eye, as this is a sign of disrespect. Don’t take it personally!

Laos is a friendly country with a relaxed atmosphere. In other words, the internet is not great and bureaucracy can be infuriating! It’s not the place to come if you enjoy fast-paced living, but if you’re looking for gorgeous natural scenery and a slower pace of life, come to Laos – and please don’t rush!

Start your teaching journey with a certified TEFL course provider!

Contents

The only landlocked country in South East Asia, the Republic of Laos is one of the more mysterious countries in the region. Officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, it’s more commonly known as Loas PDR – Please Don’t Rush. And that should tell you everything you need to know about teaching English in Laos!

Why teach English in Laos?

  • Laos is not a wealthy country. Teaching English is a way to give back to the community and open doors to more opportunities for the locals.
  • The low cost of living in Laos offers a very comfortable way of life for English teachers. 
  • Low working hours mean lots of time to go on adventures trekking and river rafting.
  • Laos is all about the chilled vibes. What’s not to love?

Where to teach English in Laos

If you want to teach English in Laos, you don’t have many cities to choose from. Luckily, they’re all great choices!

Vientiane

Big city energy, Laos-style

The majority of teaching jobs in Laos are available in the capital of Vientiane. International schools, language schools and private tutoring companies provide work for English teachers. Besides teachers, Vientiane is where you’ll find most expats living in Laos.

Pakse

Chilled city vibes

In the south of Laos, Pakse is the country’s second-largest city. A major centre for business, Pakse offers a few teaching options. Though it’s a big city it’s quiet even in high season so it will give you an authentic Laos experience.

Luang Prabang

Authentic Laos

Luang Prabang is a rural town in the north of the country. It’s a popular tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site. This has resulted in a need for English language education.

Requirements and qualifications

Laos is not as strict as nearby countries like Thailand or China, but a TEFL qualification is a must. 

Do you need a visa for teaching English in Laos?

A work visa is required to teach English in Laos. Your employer will help you arrange this. There are teachers who work on a tourist visa but this is not something we can condone as it is illegal.

Do I need teaching experience to teach in Laos?

No. Many inexperienced teachers are able to find teaching positions in Laos. In fact, the laid-back lifestyle and working conditions mean Laos is a great place to start as a TEFL teacher.

Which TEFL certificate do I need to teach  in Laos?

For volunteer positions, a Level 3 TEFL certificate is adequate. But if you want to apply for higher-paying jobs in Laos you should sign up for the Level 5 TEFL course.

A Level 5 TEFL course is internationally recognised and is comprehensive enough to provide you with all the knowledge you need to teach English effectively.

Can I teach English in Laos with no degree?

A Bachelor’s degree is not required to teach English in Laos but it is strongly preferred. If you want to teach English in an international school, a Bachelor’s degree is expected. Language schools don’t have this same requirement.

Can non-native speakers teach English in Laos?

Absolutely. You don’t need to be a native speaker to teach English in Laos, provided your English is at a native level.

How much start-up capital do I need?

Here are a few costs you need to consider when starting out in Laos:

  • Accommodation: First month’s rent and security deposit.
  • TEFL certification: A TEFL course can cost between $100 and $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider. 
  • Document fees: Any costs related to certifying and notarising your degree and TEFL certificate.
  • Flight ticket: Variable. 
  • Visa application: The cost of a visa is subject to your home country. You can expect to pay between $100 and $150.
  • Living expenses: You will need one month’s worth of start-up capital of about 14,000,000 ($650).

Jobs and programs in Laos

The TEFL market is still relatively undeveloped in Laos, but learning English is growing in popularity. Many teaching positions are volunteer but there are some international schools and a few private language centres in the big cities. 

International  schools

International schools offer an international curriculum and cater for students from a range of diverse backgrounds. International schools pay well and prefer candidates with tertiary education, TEFL certification and teaching experience.

Private language schools

Private language schools offer lessons to local students in the afternoons, evenings and weekends. 

Private lessons and online

Many teachers in Laos take on private students or online lessons to bump up their monthly income in their free time.

How to get a job teaching English in Laos

Because there aren’t as many TEFL jobs in Laso as other destinations, the usual websites might not offer the same options when it comes to job vacancies in Laos. A better idea is to look up international schools and language schools in Laos and apply to them directly.

Salaries and benefits in Laos

There are a variety of teaching opportunities in Laos for English teachers. Your salary will differ based on which teaching route you choose to follow. 

What is the average teaching English salary in Laos?

  • The average salary of a TEFL teacher in Laos ranges between 10,000,000 – 22,000,000 ($500 – $1,000) a month.
  • Private language schools pay monthly salaries of ₭ 15,000,000 – ₭30,000,000 ($800 – $1,500).
  • In international schools, teachers can earn 50,000,000 – 75,000,000 ($2,300 – $3,500).
  • Volunteer placements don’t offer a salary but provide accommodation or a host family.

What are the common benefits for teachers in Laos?

TEFL teachers in Laos can expect benefits if they are teaching in an international school. These include:

  • housing
  • flights, and
  • medical insurance.

Language schools should offer paid vacation and assistance with your work visa.

Cost of living in Laos

Here are some of the usual costs for living in Laos – but bear in mind, these vary quite a lot depending on which region or city you are in:

Accommodation

  • A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre: 10,000,000 ($450) a month
  • A one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre: 8,500,000 ($400) a month

Utilities

  • Electricity, water, and gas: ₭ 1,800,000 ($80) a month

Food and groceries

  • Monthly shop: 5,000,000 ($230)  
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: ₭ 40,000 ($1.80)

Transport

  • Monthly travel pass: ₭1,300,000 ($60) 
  • One-way ticket: ₭13,000 ($0.60)

Internet 

  • Unlimited: ₭240,000 ($11)

Entertainment

  • Gym, cinema, clubbing: ₭1,500,000 ($70) a month

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

Teachers in international schools can generally save a third of their salary. Teachers in language schools can save a little less but still live very well, and travel extensively in the region.

Living and working in Laos

  • Laos is an interesting mix of languages. There are 86 local languages, and the older generations speak French and the younger generation English.
  • The travel opportunities are vast. Bordering Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Myanmar and Thailand, it’s especially easy to travel over Laos’ borders to its many interesting neighbours.
  • For the most part, Laotian students are shy. They won’t look teachers in the eye, as this is a sign of disrespect. Don’t take it personally!

Laos is a friendly country with a relaxed atmosphere. In other words, the internet is not great and bureaucracy can be infuriating! It’s not the place to come if you enjoy fast-paced living, but if you’re looking for gorgeous natural scenery and a slower pace of life, come to Laos – and please don’t rush!

Start your teaching journey with a certified TEFL course provider!

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