Teach English in Sri Lanka

a world of opportunities

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

Kirsten Colquhoun
August 23, 2023

Contents

Introduction
Why teach in Sri Lanka
Places to teach
Visa requirements
Experience requirements
TEFL certification
Degree requirements
Age requirements
Non-native speakers
Local language
Start-up capital
Types of jobs
How to get a job
Cost of living
Cheapest places
Saving opportunities
Life and culture

Introduction

Have you ever wondered what it would be like living and working in the Land of Serendipity? Nestled in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a tropical paradise that boasts stunning scenery, ancient ruins, and an array of stunning wildlife. As a TEFL teacher in Sri Lanka, you’ll have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of your students while immersing yourself in a fascinating new culture. So if you’re ready for an adventure, come join us in Sri Lanka and discover the joy of teaching English abroad! 

From the types of jobs, the salaries and benefits on offer, to the cost of living in the country, in this complete TEFL guide we’ll share with you everything you need to kickstart your teaching career in Sri Lanka.

Why start teaching English In Sri Lanka?

There are plenty of reasons why teaching English in Sri Lanka is a fantastic opportunity. 

You can experience the beauty and charm of India’s teardrop first-hand. From pristine beaches and lush rainforests to ancient temples and bustling cities, there’s no shortage of fascinating sights and sounds to explore. 

Teaching English in Sri Lanka allows you to make a real difference in the lives of your students by helping them develop their language skills and opening up new opportunities for their futures 

And let’s not forget about the people – Sri Lankans are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature, so you’re sure to feel right at home in no time. 

If you’re looking for a meaningful, life-changing experience, why not start teaching English in Sri Lanka today?

Best places for English teaching jobs in Sri Lanka

If you’re looking for English teaching jobs in Sri Lanka, these are some of the best destinations for TEFL teachers.

Colombo
A bustling, picturesque capital city
Colombo is the bustling capital city of Sri Lanka, known for its windy canals, white sand beaches and impressive harbourfront. Home to the majority of the country’s population, teaching jobs in Colombo are plentiful. 

Kandy
A place for serenity and spirituality
Located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for being the pilgrimage destination for the Temple of the Tooth Relic (a sacred tooth of the Buddha). 

Galle
A must-see for sports fans
This historic coastal city in southern Sri Lanka is known for its charming colonial architecture and laid-back vibe. Sri Lanka’s biggest cricket ground is also located here, with the Galle Fort overlooking the ground. 

Negombo
A historical commerce hub
Just north of Colombo, Negombo is a major port in Sri Lanka known for its wide beaches and cinnamon cultivation. It is now a busy beach town, but still an absolute heaven for nature lovers.

These are just a few of the best places to find English teaching jobs in Sri Lanka. Each location has its own unique charm and opportunities, so take some time to research and find the perfect fit for you!

Do you need a visa to teach English in Sri Lanka?

To teach English abroad in Sri Lanka, you need a work visa. Thankfully, for most people getting a Sri Lanka visa is a straightforward process with the possibility of applying online (Electronic Travel Authorization) or upon your arrival at the airport. 

In order to teach English in Sri Lanka, TEFL teachers will need to either apply for a Sri Lanka Residence Visa either via a work visa or a Digital Nomad visa. You will not be allowed to work on a Sri Lanka visit visa. 

Valid for one year, a Residence Visa costs $200 USD.

A TEFL certificate or degree is not required for a Sri Lanka work visa, but it is highly recommended you have one when it comes to applying for TEFL jobs in Sri Lanka. The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 168-hour Combined TEFL course is a great way of making sure your CV is as strong as it can be. 

Do I need teaching experience to teach in Sri Lanka?

Prior teaching experience is not essential for teaching English jobs in Sri Lanka. But teachers with more experience are likely to find themselves with higher-paying salaries. 

Inexperienced teachers will be placed in the Grade III bracket (the lowest bracket) of salaries, making roughly Rs 32,000 ($100). You can work your way up to bigger and better earnings as you build up experience, with most Sri Lankan employers encouraging high performances with incentives and rewards. 

Which TEFL certification is best for teaching in Sri Lanka?

To begin teaching English in Sri Lanka, most employers offering a salary will look for teachers with at least 120 hours’ worth of TEFL accreditation. Our accredited Level 3 – Online 120-hour TEFL course will give you that, and conveniently can be completed entirely online. 

Volunteering is a popular option in Sri Lanka, in which case your TEFL certificate is not necessary for your position but more for your own skills development.

Can I teach English in Sri Lanka with no degree?

Teaching English in Sri Lanka on a voluntary basis does not usually require a degree. However, job postings at higher education institutions such as universities will often ask candidates to have a Bachelor’s degree, though the subject does not have to be English or education-related. 

Is there an age limit for teaching English in Sri Lanka?

There is no age limit for teaching English in Sri Lanka. Voluntary positions start at 17 as a minimum, with 18 being the minimum for paid positions.

Can non-native speakers teach English in Sri Lanka?

You do not have to be a native speaker (hailing from the UK, US, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland or South Africa) to teach English in Sri Lanka. Providing you have a high English proficiency and an accredited TEFL qualification, you will be considered for a teaching position. 

Do you need to speak Sinhala and Tamil to teach English in Sri Lanka?

Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages of Sri Lanka. English is used for business and commercial purposes in Sri Lanka, though this is mainly reserved for urban areas. Roughly a quarter of the Sri Lankan population speaks English. So it is worth learning some basic phrases depending on where it is you are staying, and what language is in use. 

In the TEFL classroom, a knowledge of the first language of your students is not necessary. TEFL teachers prefer to utilise immersion learning as a way of teaching English. Translation is used at a minimum, if at all.

How much start-up capital do I need to teach in Sri Lanka?

  • TEFL certification: An accredited TEFL course will cost between $100 – $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider. 
  • Document fees: Costs related to certifying and legalising your qualifications and TEFL certificate can vary. 
  • Flight ticket: Variable.
  • Visa application: A Residence Visa will cost $200 USD (Rs65,000).
  • Living expenses: It is recommended to have at least one month’s start-up capital with you to last before your first paycheque. Without rent, the average cost of living for one month in Sri Lanka is roughly Rs 133,000 ($410).

By meeting these requirements and qualifications, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and rewarding career as a TEFL teacher in Sri Lanka!

Types of English teaching jobs in Sri Lanka

Here are a few of the most common teaching jobs in Sri Lanka:

Public schools

English teachers in Sri Lankan public schools typically work with students of all ages and skill levels. Government teacher salaries in Sri Lanka range from around Rs 30,000 – Rs 60,000 a month ($150 – $300), with benefits such as healthcare and retirement plans.

Private language institutes

Private language institutes in Sri Lanka are often focused on providing EFL instruction to adults, although some may offer classes for children. Salaries for private language institute teachers in Sri Lanka typically range from Rs 40,000 – Rs 80,000 a month ($200 – $400), with benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation time.

International schools

International schools in Sri Lanka offer instruction in English and follow a Western-style curriculum. English teachers in international schools generally earn higher salaries, ranging from Rs 80,000 – Rs 250,000 a month ($400 – $1,250), along with benefits such as housing allowances, health insurance, and paid holidays.

Volunteer

As a volunteer TEFL teacher, you would have the opportunity to work with students of all ages and backgrounds, helping them to improve their English language skills and empowering them to pursue their academic and professional goals. Volunteering positions usually come with accommodation provided

Overall, salaries for English teachers in Sri Lanka are generally lower than in some other countries, but the cost of living is also lower, making it an affordable place to live and work.

How to get a teaching job in Sri Lanka?

Now you have a better idea of what teaching in Sri Lanka involves, there are several steps you can take to land the position of a lifetime. 

  1. Get a TEFL certification. Completing an accredited TEFL certificate (for those who haven’t taught in a classroom before) is the first step. 
  2. Meet the minimum requirements. Hone your job search to the positions you are actually able to get. 
  3. Prepare your documents. This includes legalising your TEFL diploma and ensuring all your documentation is up-to-date. 
  4. Prepare your CV. Fine-comb your CV and cover letter to make sure each and every one is personalised for the position you are applying for. 
  5. Start your job search. Check out our TEFL jobs board for teaching positions.
  6. Consider using recruitment companies. Recruiters will work with you and your employer to help make the moving abroad process so much smoother. 
  7. Apply for a visa. With your job offer, applying for a visa should be a piece of cake.

What is the cost of living in Sri Lanka?

But can you live your best life in Sri Lanka on a teacher’s salary? Let’s find out.

Accommodation

  • One-bedroom apartment in city centre: Rs 62,000 ($190)  
  • One-bedroom apartment outside city centre Rs 35,000 ($110)

Utilities

  • Gas, electricity, water, garbage disposal: Rs 11,000 ($35) 

Food and groceries

  • Monthly shop: Rs 15,000 ($45)
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: Rs 550 ($1.70)

Transport

  • Monthly pass: Rs 1,800 ($6)
  • Single bus or subway trip: Rs 500 ($0.16)

Internet

  • Unlimited: Rs 3,500 ($11)

Entertainment

  • Gym, cinema, shopping: Rs 6,500 ($20)

Where in Sri Lanka is the cheapest to live?

Sri Lanka is one of the cheapest TEFL destinations in the world! Even the built-up urban areas of Colombo and Galle have a much lower cost of living compared to the Western world, meaning almost anywhere in the country is affordable to live in. 

Naturally, there is a difference in price between being in the immediate centre of the city and on the outskirts, and areas that are densely populated with expats and travellers tend to be noticeably more expensive.

Is it possible to save as an English teacher in Sri Lanka?

As an English teacher in Sri Lanka, it’s possible to save money, although the amount you’re able to save will depend on your salary and your lifestyle

Salaries for English teachers in Sri Lanka are generally lower than in some other countries, but the cost of living is lower, making it possible to live comfortably on a modest salary. You can consider tutoring jobs on a part-time basis in Sri Lanka to make additional income and supplement your savings.

Many people who come to Sri Lanka to teach English do so on a volunteer basis, which makes saving more challenging. These positions may not come with a salary but can provide valuable experience, certain job benefits and the opportunity to make a positive impact in local communities.

What's it like to live and work in Sri Lanka?

Living and teaching English in Sri Lanka is a rewarding and enriching experience. Sri Lanka has emerged from a tumultuous recent past with a rich cultural heritage, and there are now many opportunities to explore ancient temples, vibrant markets, and stunning natural landscapes. 

The people of Sri Lanka are generally friendly and hospitable, and as a foreigner, you may find that you’re often greeted with warmth and curiosity. It’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions, such as dress codes and religious practices. 

Sri Lankans place a high value on family and community, and you may find that socialising with colleagues, neighbours, and students is an important part of your experience.

Living and teaching English in Sri Lanka is a unique and fulfilling experience that offers a chance to learn about a new culture and make a positive impact in the lives of others

Begin your teaching journey by signing up with the world’s most accredited TEFL course provider today! 

Contents

Introduction

Have you ever wondered what it would be like living and working in the Land of Serendipity? Nestled in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a tropical paradise that boasts stunning scenery, ancient ruins, and an array of stunning wildlife. As a TEFL teacher in Sri Lanka, you’ll have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of your students while immersing yourself in a fascinating new culture. So if you’re ready for an adventure, come join us in Sri Lanka and discover the joy of teaching English abroad! 

From the types of jobs, the salaries and benefits on offer, to the cost of living in the country, in this complete TEFL guide we’ll share with you everything you need to kickstart your teaching career in Sri Lanka.

Why start teaching English In Sri Lanka?

There are plenty of reasons why teaching English in Sri Lanka is a fantastic opportunity. 

You can experience the beauty and charm of India’s teardrop first-hand. From pristine beaches and lush rainforests to ancient temples and bustling cities, there’s no shortage of fascinating sights and sounds to explore. 

Teaching English in Sri Lanka allows you to make a real difference in the lives of your students by helping them develop their language skills and opening up new opportunities for their futures 

And let’s not forget about the people – Sri Lankans are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature, so you’re sure to feel right at home in no time. 

If you’re looking for a meaningful, life-changing experience, why not start teaching English in Sri Lanka today?

Best places for English teaching jobs in Sri Lanka

If you’re looking for English teaching jobs in Sri Lanka, these are some of the best destinations for TEFL teachers.

Colombo
A bustling, picturesque capital city
Colombo is the bustling capital city of Sri Lanka, known for its windy canals, white sand beaches and impressive harbourfront. Home to the majority of the country’s population, teaching jobs in Colombo are plentiful. 

Kandy
A place for serenity and spirituality
Located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for being the pilgrimage destination for the Temple of the Tooth Relic (a sacred tooth of the Buddha). 

Galle
A must-see for sports fans
This historic coastal city in southern Sri Lanka is known for its charming colonial architecture and laid-back vibe. Sri Lanka’s biggest cricket ground is also located here, with the Galle Fort overlooking the ground. 

Negombo
A historical commerce hub
Just north of Colombo, Negombo is a major port in Sri Lanka known for its wide beaches and cinnamon cultivation. It is now a busy beach town, but still an absolute heaven for nature lovers.

These are just a few of the best places to find English teaching jobs in Sri Lanka. Each location has its own unique charm and opportunities, so take some time to research and find the perfect fit for you!

Do you need a visa to teach English in Sri Lanka?

To teach English abroad in Sri Lanka, you need a work visa. Thankfully, for most people getting a Sri Lanka visa is a straightforward process with the possibility of applying online (Electronic Travel Authorization) or upon your arrival at the airport. 

In order to teach English in Sri Lanka, TEFL teachers will need to either apply for a Sri Lanka Residence Visa either via a work visa or a Digital Nomad visa. You will not be allowed to work on a Sri Lanka visit visa. 

Valid for one year, a Residence Visa costs $200 USD.

A TEFL certificate or degree is not required for a Sri Lanka work visa, but it is highly recommended you have one when it comes to applying for TEFL jobs in Sri Lanka. The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 168-hour Combined TEFL course is a great way of making sure your CV is as strong as it can be. 

Do I need teaching experience to teach in Sri Lanka?

Prior teaching experience is not essential for teaching English jobs in Sri Lanka. But teachers with more experience are likely to find themselves with higher-paying salaries. 

Inexperienced teachers will be placed in the Grade III bracket (the lowest bracket) of salaries, making roughly Rs 32,000 ($100). You can work your way up to bigger and better earnings as you build up experience, with most Sri Lankan employers encouraging high performances with incentives and rewards. 

Which TEFL certification is best for teaching in Sri Lanka?

To begin teaching English in Sri Lanka, most employers offering a salary will look for teachers with at least 120 hours’ worth of TEFL accreditation. Our accredited Level 3 – Online 120-hour TEFL course will give you that, and conveniently can be completed entirely online. 

Volunteering is a popular option in Sri Lanka, in which case your TEFL certificate is not necessary for your position but more for your own skills development.

Can I teach English in Sri Lanka with no degree?

Teaching English in Sri Lanka on a voluntary basis does not usually require a degree. However, job postings at higher education institutions such as universities will often ask candidates to have a Bachelor’s degree, though the subject does not have to be English or education-related. 

Is there an age limit for teaching English in Sri Lanka?

There is no age limit for teaching English in Sri Lanka. Voluntary positions start at 17 as a minimum, with 18 being the minimum for paid positions.

Can non-native speakers teach English in Sri Lanka?

You do not have to be a native speaker (hailing from the UK, US, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland or South Africa) to teach English in Sri Lanka. Providing you have a high English proficiency and an accredited TEFL qualification, you will be considered for a teaching position. 

Do you need to speak Sinhala and Tamil to teach English in Sri Lanka?

Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages of Sri Lanka. English is used for business and commercial purposes in Sri Lanka, though this is mainly reserved for urban areas. Roughly a quarter of the Sri Lankan population speaks English. So it is worth learning some basic phrases depending on where it is you are staying, and what language is in use. 

In the TEFL classroom, a knowledge of the first language of your students is not necessary. TEFL teachers prefer to utilise immersion learning as a way of teaching English. Translation is used at a minimum, if at all.

How much start-up capital do I need to teach in Sri Lanka?

  • TEFL certification: An accredited TEFL course will cost between $100 – $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider. 
  • Document fees: Costs related to certifying and legalising your qualifications and TEFL certificate can vary. 
  • Flight ticket: Variable.
  • Visa application: A Residence Visa will cost $200 USD (Rs65,000).
  • Living expenses: It is recommended to have at least one month’s start-up capital with you to last before your first paycheque. Without rent, the average cost of living for one month in Sri Lanka is roughly Rs 133,000 ($410).

By meeting these requirements and qualifications, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and rewarding career as a TEFL teacher in Sri Lanka!

Types of English teaching jobs in Sri Lanka

Here are a few of the most common teaching jobs in Sri Lanka:

Public schools

English teachers in Sri Lankan public schools typically work with students of all ages and skill levels. Government teacher salaries in Sri Lanka range from around Rs 30,000 – Rs 60,000 a month ($150 – $300), with benefits such as healthcare and retirement plans.

Private language institutes

Private language institutes in Sri Lanka are often focused on providing EFL instruction to adults, although some may offer classes for children. Salaries for private language institute teachers in Sri Lanka typically range from Rs 40,000 – Rs 80,000 a month ($200 – $400), with benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation time.

International schools

International schools in Sri Lanka offer instruction in English and follow a Western-style curriculum. English teachers in international schools generally earn higher salaries, ranging from Rs 80,000 – Rs 250,000 a month ($400 – $1,250), along with benefits such as housing allowances, health insurance, and paid holidays.

Volunteer

As a volunteer TEFL teacher, you would have the opportunity to work with students of all ages and backgrounds, helping them to improve their English language skills and empowering them to pursue their academic and professional goals. Volunteering positions usually come with accommodation provided

Overall, salaries for English teachers in Sri Lanka are generally lower than in some other countries, but the cost of living is also lower, making it an affordable place to live and work.

How to get a teaching job in Sri Lanka?

Now you have a better idea of what teaching in Sri Lanka involves, there are several steps you can take to land the position of a lifetime. 

  1. Get a TEFL certification. Completing an accredited TEFL certificate (for those who haven’t taught in a classroom before) is the first step. 
  2. Meet the minimum requirements. Hone your job search to the positions you are actually able to get. 
  3. Prepare your documents. This includes legalising your TEFL diploma and ensuring all your documentation is up-to-date. 
  4. Prepare your CV. Fine-comb your CV and cover letter to make sure each and every one is personalised for the position you are applying for. 
  5. Start your job search. Check out our TEFL jobs board for teaching positions.
  6. Consider using recruitment companies. Recruiters will work with you and your employer to help make the moving abroad process so much smoother. 
  7. Apply for a visa. With your job offer, applying for a visa should be a piece of cake.

What is the cost of living in Sri Lanka?

But can you live your best life in Sri Lanka on a teacher’s salary? Let’s find out.

Accommodation

  • One-bedroom apartment in city centre: Rs 62,000 ($190)  
  • One-bedroom apartment outside city centre Rs 35,000 ($110)

Utilities

  • Gas, electricity, water, garbage disposal: Rs 11,000 ($35) 

Food and groceries

  • Monthly shop: Rs 15,000 ($45)
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: Rs 550 ($1.70)

Transport

  • Monthly pass: Rs 1,800 ($6)
  • Single bus or subway trip: Rs 500 ($0.16)

Internet

  • Unlimited: Rs 3,500 ($11)

Entertainment

  • Gym, cinema, shopping: Rs 6,500 ($20)

Where in Sri Lanka is the cheapest to live?

Sri Lanka is one of the cheapest TEFL destinations in the world! Even the built-up urban areas of Colombo and Galle have a much lower cost of living compared to the Western world, meaning almost anywhere in the country is affordable to live in. 

Naturally, there is a difference in price between being in the immediate centre of the city and on the outskirts, and areas that are densely populated with expats and travellers tend to be noticeably more expensive.

Is it possible to save as an English teacher in Sri Lanka?

As an English teacher in Sri Lanka, it’s possible to save money, although the amount you’re able to save will depend on your salary and your lifestyle

Salaries for English teachers in Sri Lanka are generally lower than in some other countries, but the cost of living is lower, making it possible to live comfortably on a modest salary. You can consider tutoring jobs on a part-time basis in Sri Lanka to make additional income and supplement your savings.

Many people who come to Sri Lanka to teach English do so on a volunteer basis, which makes saving more challenging. These positions may not come with a salary but can provide valuable experience, certain job benefits and the opportunity to make a positive impact in local communities.

What's it like to live and work in Sri Lanka?

Living and teaching English in Sri Lanka is a rewarding and enriching experience. Sri Lanka has emerged from a tumultuous recent past with a rich cultural heritage, and there are now many opportunities to explore ancient temples, vibrant markets, and stunning natural landscapes. 

The people of Sri Lanka are generally friendly and hospitable, and as a foreigner, you may find that you’re often greeted with warmth and curiosity. It’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions, such as dress codes and religious practices. 

Sri Lankans place a high value on family and community, and you may find that socialising with colleagues, neighbours, and students is an important part of your experience.

Living and teaching English in Sri Lanka is a unique and fulfilling experience that offers a chance to learn about a new culture and make a positive impact in the lives of others

Begin your teaching journey by signing up with the world’s most accredited TEFL course provider today! 

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