Cambodia country guide

Teaching English in Cambodia

For several years now, the TEFL market in Cambodia has been one of the fastest growing in Asia and as the country’s economy continues to improve so do the opportunities for EFL teachers.  Plenty of teaching work, a low cost of living, wonderfully friendly people and delicious food draws teachers to this incredible country.

There’s work to be found year-round and there’s good news for teachers who don’t have a degree – you don’t need one for a work visa in Cambodia! In recent years the Cambodian government has been cracking down on foreigners working illegally in the country, so while it used to be straightforward to extend an ordinary/business (EB) visa you now need to have a work permit, which your employer will apply for. The rules for working in the country aren’t as lax as they once were so you need to ensure everything is in order and you’re on the correct visa to avoid the risk of being fined, deported, or even jailed for working illegally.

A photo of Angkor Wat at sunset


Key Facts

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs in Cambodia: The vast majority of jobs are found in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
  • Average salary for EFL teachers in Cambodia: Around $1,000 (most teachers paid an hourly rate)
  • TEFL qualification requirements: At least a 120-hour TEFL qualification from an accredited provider.
  • Prerequisite university degree: No degree required for a visa, but can be specified by employers
  • Hiring months: Year-round
  • Currency: Cambodian Riel (KHR) and US dollars
  • Language: Khmer
  • Age restrictions: None
  • Previous teaching experience: Not essential, there are many opportunities to TEFL in Cambodia for newly-qualified EFL teachers.

Traditional Cambodian food with rice


Living Costs

  • Accommodation: £280-£400 per month
  • Utilities: £37 – £50 per month
  • Health insurance: You will need to arrange travel insurance
  • Basic dinner out for two: £11
  • Cappuccino in expat area: £2.50
  • A beer in a pub: £0.82
  • 1 litre of milk: £1.58
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.24

English teachers in Cambodia earn a decent wage in relation to the low cost of living in the country. You can get a meal at a market for as little as $1 and a sit-down meal in a restaurant is still very cheap. As is the case anywhere, living and eating like a local is significantly cheaper than eating Western food, frequenting tourist bars, and indulging in home comforts, but the options are there in the capital and Siem Reap.

Most teachers are on an hourly rate rather than a salary, so benefits such as paid holidays, accommodation, and health insurance are not typically included with the job.

Almost everything can be paid for either in US dollars of Cambodian Riel, with most ATMs dispensing dollars and your salary will also be paid in dollars. When paying in dollars it’s typical to receive small change back in Riel.

Statues in a Cambodian temple


Finding a Job

Finding a job in Cambodia is best done after arriving in the country. You won’t see a huge amount of positions listed on online jobs boards, which isn’t a reflection of the demand for EFL teachers in the country – it’s simply the case that most schools don’t advertise online. Once in the country start handing out your CV to language schools and you should be able to secure work easily.

A degree isn’t required to teach English in Cambodia, but you will find that the vast majority of jobs advertised online will ask for one. If you don’t have a degree then by far your best bet for securing work is to apply for jobs after you arrive in the country. See our post about where you can TEFL without a degree for more information.

Most jobs are found in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, but there are opportunities to teach in rural parts of the country where you’d likely be the only Westerner for miles around. The most common types of work available in Cambodia involve teaching young learners, positions with private language schools, and teaching business English.

You can find TEFL jobs in Cambodia over on our TEFL Jobs Centre, which TEFL Org students get lifetime access to, as well as other online jobs boards such as TEFL.com, Jobs in Japan, Dave’s ESL Café, and ESL base.

A woman walking through ruins in Cambodia


Student Stories from Cambodia

Kat wasn’t having much success pursuing a career in the media industry when she signed up for our 120-hour TEFL course and started a journey that would take her to Cambodia. She told us all about her first few months in the job and the challenges and rewards of teaching English!

Nearing the end of my first term in Phnom Penh, I can say I am tired, I am sweaty but most importantly, I am so fulfilled. They say that those that can’t do, teach but I say those that can do, teach. Seeing improvements lesson by lesson in your students gives you a feeling that’s hard to describe. The sense of pride you can have for each and every child when they learn a new spelling, count to a higher number or read you a story is incredible.

Daniel worked as a Labour party councillor in Manchester but decided in 2015 that he needed a change of pace. He went on a trip through South East Asia where he fell in love with Cambodia and soon after he returned to find work teaching English.

Training to be a TEFL teacher has changed my life massively. I never ever imagined I’d be the kind of person to end up living in South East Asia, but here I am. And the experiences I’ve had out here are enough to fill a book – one which I will get round to writing soon! Life here is intense. Every day is an experience. It can be scary sometimes – we’re a long way from Kansas, Toto… so to speak. But if you keep your wits about you, a smile on your face and are willing to be led into a weird and wild world, you can do a lot worse than Cambodia, aka The Kingdom of Wonder. It’s like no other place on the good earth, and in comparison to the United Kingdom, it couldn’t be more different if it tried. And therein lies its true charm.

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