How much can you earn teaching English abroad?

If you’re considering jetting off to teach English abroad then one of your top questions is likely this: how much can I earn? Salaries vary hugely from country to country, and even within countries there can be a reasonable difference in how much you can earn teaching in a big city compared to a more rural area.

Will you get rich teaching English abroad? It’s unlikely, unless you’re something of an entrepreneur with ambitions to open a string of successful language schools! Most people are drawn to TEFL primarily because of a love of teaching and travelling. EFL teachers live and work within a community, becoming so much more immersed in a different culture and way of life than a holiday could ever offer!

While you’re unlikely to get rich it’s still important to be aware of how much you can expect to earn. Some countries offer higher salaries than others, but keep in mind the cost of living! Countries like Japan and Hong Kong offer teachers attractively high salaries but the living costs are also high, whereas in Vietnam and South Korea teachers salaries can go a lot further due to lower living costs.

How are TEFL salaries determined?

Generally speaking, experience is what determines salaries in the TEFL industry. While factors such as your education, non-EFL teaching experience, and even nationality can make it easier for you to secure work, they’re unlikely to secure you a higher salary in your first TEFL job.

Will taking a specific TEFL course mean I can earn more?

It’s unlikely that a specific TEFL course will secure you a better paid job. While it’s certainly important to gain your qualification through a properly accredited and internationally recognised provider, one won’t earn you more over another. Studying with a reputable and established course provider will make it easier to secure work, however.

What about doing more TEFL hours?

Most TEFL jobs abroad require teachers to have a 120-hour TEFL qualification. So, if you’ve taken a 120-hour or above course you’ll be eligible for most entry-level positions.

But what about courses with 300, 400, even 500+ hours? Will more training mean you’re able to secure a better paid job? Unfortunately not, and it can even be a waste of time and money. If you’re taking a course over 120 hours then the additional hours should be tailored to your goals.

For example, if you’re aiming to teach English to young learners then you should consider taking a 120-hour or Level 5 TEFL course and then adding on advanced training, such as our Teaching Young Learners course. This is much more beneficial than doing hundreds of hours of general TEFL training.

A woman holding a Euro note


Europe

Europe is a great place to find work teaching English. While the salaries aren’t particularly high teachers can still enjoy a good standard of living. Countries like Spain, Italy, and Poland, where the demand for qualified EFL teachers is high have low living costs compared to the likes of the UK and USA.

EU citizens seriously benefit from freedom of movement, which makes it easy for them to find work across the continent. For non-EU citizens (and it remains to be seen what Brexit will mean for UK teachers) working in Europe can be a real challenge. But not an impossible one!

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Austria £700 - £2,600
($850 - 3,200)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Belgium £1,455 - £1,780
($1,800 - $2,200)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Czech Republic £500 – £1,285
$600 – $1,450)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Denmark £2,900 - £3,900
($3,600 - $4,800)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Estonia £720 - £900
($920 - $1,150)
Preferred September Preferred Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Finland £700 - £3,050
($900 - $3,850)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
France £926 – £1,852
($1,082 – $2,164)
Yes September Preferred No Yes None
Germany £1,1123 - £1,872
($1,297 - $2,162)
Preferred August No No Yes None
Greece £630 – £900
($790 – $1,100)
Yes September No No Yes None
Hungary £390 - £650
($500 - $830)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
Italy £1,054 – £1,229
($1,312 – $1,531)
Preferred September No No Yes None
Netherlands £1,300 - £2,600
($1,600 - $2,800)
Preferred September Yes No Yes None
Norway £2,100 - £2,500
($2,580 - $3,090)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
Poland £400 – £700
($480 – $850)
Yes September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Portugal £616 – £880
($756 – $1,080)
Yes September Preferred No Yes None
Romania £200 - £460
($260 - 580)
Preferred September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Russia £800 - £1,300
($1,000 - $1,600)
Preferred September Preferred Sometimes Yes None
Slovakia £330 - £900
($400 - $1,120)
Preferred September No No Yes None
Slovenia £550 - £950
($700 - $1,200)
Preferred October Preferred No Yes None
Spain £614 - £1,317
($758 - $1,623)
Preferred September No No Yes None
Sweden £1,100 - £2,400
($1,400 - $3,000)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Switzerland £1,850 - £2,475
($2,260 - $3,015)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
Turkey £170 - £575
($220 - $730)
Yes September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Ukraine £215 - £920
($260 - $1,125)
Preferred September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None

Asia

If you’re looking to make the most money in your first TEFL job then Asia is where you want to go. The demand for English teachers across this vast continent is off the scale in some parts, with China in particular really driving demand. But you’ll find plenty of jobs elsewhere, in countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, South Korea and many more.

Jobs in a number of these countries typically come with great perks as well. Some will include accommodation and flight reimbursement in your contract. We’ve heard of some teachers who’ve been able to save £10,000+ in a year!

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Cambodia £650 - £950
($800 - $1,200)
No September No No Yes Under 65
China £1,200 - £1,600
($1,500 - $2,000)
Yes September No Yes Yes, if degree obtained from an English-speaking country Under 55
Hong Kong £1,600 - £2,800
($2,000 - $3,500)
Yes August No Not usually Yes Under 60
Indonesia £700 - £1,100
($850 - $1,350)
Yes July No Not usually No Under 60
Japan £1,600 - £2,200
($2,000 - $2,700)
Yes April No Sometimes Yes Under 65
Malaysia £900 - £1,850
($1,100 - $2,300)
Yes January Preferred Sometimes Yes Under 60
Myanmar £1,000 - £1,800
($1,250 - $2,200)
Yes June Preferred Sometimes No None
South Korea £1,300 - £2,000
($1,600 - $2,500)
Yes March No Yes No Under 60
Thailand £800 - £1,050
($1,000 - $1,300)
Yes May No Sometimes Yes None
Vietnam £950 - £1,300
($1,200 - $1,500)
Yes August No No Yes Under 60

Middle East & Africa

First things first, the Middle East isn’t typically for newbie EFL teachers. Those high (often tax-free) salaries attract more competition, which means employers can be selective in their hiring. Unless you have at least two years’ experience teaching English then it’s unlikely you’ll find work in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE. Some employers will even advertise a preference for teachers who have an MA.

For those teachers who do fit the criteria it’s possible to earn more teaching in Middle East than anywhere else in the world. If this is your aim then gain your initial experience elsewhere in the world and then apply for jobs in the region.

In Africa many positions are on a voluntary basis, and in those countries where it’s possible to find paid work don’t expect to earn much.

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Algeria £550 - £900
($700 - $1,100)
Yes March No No No None
Bahrain £1,200 - £2,500
($1,500 - $3,000)
Yes January Yes Yes No Under 60
Egypt £400 - £700
($500 - $900)
Yes September Preferred No No None
Jordan £500 - £950
($600 - $1,100)
Preferred August No No Yes None
Kuwait £1,200 - £2,000
($1,500 - $2,500)
Yes September Yes Yes Yes Under 60
Lebanon £650 - £1,200
($800 - $1,500)
Preferred August No No Yes None
Morocco £400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
Yes September No No Yes None
Qatar £1,200 - £2,800
($1,500 - $3,500)
Yes September Yes Yes No None
Saudi Arabia £1,600 - £3,200
($2,000 - $4,000)
Yes August Yes Yes No Under 60
UAE £1,600 - £4,000
($2,000 - $5,000)
Yes August Yes Yes No Under 65

South & Central America

It’s a part of the world popular with backpackers and EFL teachers alike. You can find TEFL jobs across South and Central America, with strong markets in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador.

Salaries aren’t very high, but with low living costs you won’t have to worry about making ends meet as an EFL teacher. And for teachers who don’t have a degree the good news is that you can find work in most countries in the region without one!

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Argentina £500 - £950
($600 - $1,200)
No March Preferred No Yes None
Bolivia £400 - £550
($500 - $700)
No February Preferred No Yes None
Brazil £650 - £900
($800 - $1,100)
No February No No Yes None
Chile £550 - £800
($700 - $1,000)
No March No No Yes None
Colombia £400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
No January/February No No Yes Under 62
Ecuador £400 - £650
($500 - $800)
Preferred May Preferred No Yes None
Guatemala £400 - £550
($500 - $700)
Preferred January No No Yes None
Mexico £400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
Preferred August No Sometimes Yes None
Peru £325 - £650
($400 - $800)
Yes March Preferred Sometimes Yes Under 70
Uruguay £325 - £800
($400 - $1000)
Preferred March Preferred No Yes None

Find out more about teaching English abroad with our Definitive Guide

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5 thoughts on “How much can you earn teaching English abroad?

  1. Hello

    ANd where can i apply after finishing the 120 hours course? =)

    Thank you in advance

    Best regards

    Ana Carvalho

  2. It this for teaching on site? What about teaching online? How many jobs can one reasonably take on if teaching online? I’m moving to Italy, so I am seeking out teaching online.

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