How much do TEFL teachers earn?
A teaching English abroad salary will really depend on the teacher’s position, qualifications, the country where you’re teaching, what you’re teaching, who you’re teaching and with whom you’re teaching abroad.
Factoring in the cost of living will also impact your overall teaching abroad salary. If you’re teaching in Western Europe, you won’t be making as much as if you were teaching in Southeast Asia— where the cost of living is relatively low, and demand for ESL teachers is higher.
English teacher salaries abroad, are usually, but not always, paid in local currency and should be considered in line with the local cost of living. This means that an English teacher earning US$1,000 a month in Ecuador will enjoy the same standard of living as a teacher in Barcelona earning €2,000 because while the teacher in Barcelona earns more in absolute terms, the cost of living is higher in Spain.
You can expect to always be making enough to cover your basic expenses – housing, food, and a night out here and there – but you might not always have enough left over to top-up your savings account. It really depends! The average teaching abroad salary in the UAE is anywhere between US$1,800 to US$5,000 a month, which means HUGE savings for you since housing is generally included in your program. Whereas in Spain you’ll be making anywhere between $US1,250 to US$1,650 a month, with cost of living being about the same, so it’s a break-even country.
In countries such as Central and South America salaries would be much lower than in the Middle East and Europe but this is weighed up by the relatively low cost of living.
Schools in some countries provide national health insurance and paid holidays. In other cases, employers provide free accommodation and utilities to help teachers with living expenses. Another perk could include the reimbursement of an airfare. Such benefits will vary from region to region and job to job.
For example, in China teaching salaries don't appear particularly impressive at first glance, but when your employers are providing you with subsidised rent, or even paying for your accommodation entirely, plus meals, then the rest of your wage is purely spending money!
In countries such as the United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Japan, TEFL teachers are paid extremely well and receive excellent bonuses such as free airfare, and even gym membership! For example, many TEFL teachers in South Korea save up to £580 per month.