In recent decades, the Indonesian island of Bali has become one of the must-see places on Earth. It’s not puzzling why Balinese culture is so popular, with tropical weather, religious freedom and valuable trade routes making Indonesia – and its constituent islands – a popular destination for tourists from across the world.
Bali, perhaps the jewel of Indonesia, is an island with a population of roughly 4 million and is a fascinating region in itself. Its status within the Coral Triangle means that visitors and locals alike can enjoy the rarest and most protected marine life, while the Subak system is one of the earliest modes of irrigation in the world – a UNESCO Heritage Site no less – and is still used in paddy fields to this day.
So, it’s not just an aesthetically pleasing place – although there’s absolutely no doubt it’s that – it’s a fascinating landscape of enormous historical and cultural interest. Depending on when you’re there, you’ll hear the sounds of gamelan, or the silence of Nyepi, the Hindu New Year. In a country so diverse, both in terms of culture and climate, you’ll always find something truly unique to do.
So, you’ve got to imagine that intrepid TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers have been trying to find opportunities for a teaching experience in Bali. You’d be right. The TEFL industry in Bali, and Indonesia more widely, is ever-growing, and the time is right to get involved.
So, becoming an ESL teacher in Bali – let’s get into it!
Bali: An overview
Before you pack your bags and dive into Balinese culture with a job teaching English, it’d be a good idea to understand what the TEFL scene in Bali is like.
Indonesia has a robust education system, and TEFL teachers are hired throughout the year in state, private and international schools. International schools aren’t a rare sight either – with plenty of ex-pats from across the world making Bali and Indonesia more widely their home, jobs teaching English in Bali international schools aren’t scarce.
Teaching contracts tend to be 20-25 hours a week, whether we’re talking about teaching jobs in an elementary school or a high school, which gives teachers loads of time to explore the brilliant Bali landscape. It also means there are freelance opportunities through private tutoring work; beware though, you’ll need permission from your employer if you’ve already got a job teaching English in a school, college or university.
English is a big focus in the Indonesian curriculum. Although Indonesia has an extremely highly-ranked economy, it’s held back by a lack of English ability in the business sphere, according to experts. Out of 24 Asian countries, Indonesia ranks 18th in terms of English proficiency, which is quite strange considering the sheer heft of its touristic competitiveness.
Therefore, kids are learning English very early on. Kindergarten jobs are becoming more commonplace for TEFL teachers, so knowledge about teaching young learners can be a real advantage.
To teach English in Bali, you will usually need a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree as a minimum. The average salary for teaching in Bali is 11,000,000 – 20,000,000 IDR (£565 – £1,030 / $745 – $1,355) per month. Take a look below at some of the key facts.
Requirements for teaching English in Bali
The entry requirements for teaching English in Bali are extremely strict. You’re going to need a few qualifications, including a TEFL certification, to be considered – we’ll get to that – and as ever, having some experience on your CV can make a real difference.
It’s somewhat surprising, given the demand for TEFL teachers in Bali and Indonesia more widely, but with tough immigration requirements, the nation of islands knows what it wants in terms of incoming talent.
So let’s discuss in more detail what’s required to teach English in Bali.
Now, obviously, you’ll need a TEFL certificate to be considered to work as an English teacher in Bali. There are plenty of great TEFL courses to choose from, but you’re probably wondering which TEFL course is the right one to pick? As a minimum, we’d recommend an 120 Hour TEFL Course.
120 hours is the industry standard worldwide. From the perspective of employers across the globe, it’s the benchmark – a course that can take anywhere between a few weeks and six months to complete, an 120 hour course should give any prospective teacher the theoretical and practical grounding to teach English as a foreign language at a high level.
Of course, there are longer courses, such as the Level 5, which offer a deeper look into the theory of English teaching. There are also Advanced TEFL courses, which provide a real boost to any CV. Advanced TEFL courses that focus on areas such as teaching young learners or business English would be extremely attractive to employers, given the educational and economic incentives geared around the learning of English.
Degree or No Degree?
Having passed a TEFL course is one thing. Indonesian immigration authorities, however, require a degree from any applicant hoping to teach English in Bali.
A bachelor’s degree in any discipline is required, but some employers may ask for a degree in the fields of English or Education. Full-time teaching jobs in Bali and Indonesia more widely aren’t just handed out – as you can see, there are very strict requirements for the kinds of applicants that want to set up there.
If you’ve completed a TEFL course, have a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree, you might think you’re ready to dive head-first into the rich Balinese culture and teaching English abroad. Technically, you are, but depending on the employer, experience may be a prerequisite.
Some positions ask for 3 or more years of teaching experience, or have specifics about the type of experience you have as a teacher. For example, have you taught young children? Adult learners? Have you helped people pass the IELTS exam?
These specifications vary, of course, from public schools to international schools and beyond. This is the case anywhere – Indonesian schools, like any, want to know what kind of experience you have with students of different ages.
Here’s where it can get really tricky. To get a working visa to teach English to students in Bali, you need a passport from one of the following countries: UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.
You don’t necessarily need to have been born there, nor be a “native speaker” of English, but a passport from any of those countries is a must if you’re to be allowed in to teach English in Indonesia.
In terms of the practicalities of visas, specifically being granted one, it’s advantageous to secure full-time work in Bali before you actually head over there. A reference from a school or relevant employer will help to no end, and it’s far trickier to secure freelance work as a proviso to get past visa requirements.
Helpfully, many full-time positions offer reimbursement of visa costs. Not only that, some will help out with airfares at the end of your contract. If you’re particularly lucky, medical insurance and free housing could be offered.
It’s the visa costs we’re most concerned with here, though. It can be an expensive process, so our advice is to sound out employers based in Bali before you finish your visa application. Getting work secured and providing the relevant documentation will expedite the whole process to no end.
Salary and cost of living in Bali
Although one can expect a respectable pay when teaching English in Indonesia, it’s important to bear in mind that living expenses in Bali can also be rather high, so it’s essential to budget appropriately.
So, let’s say you’ve got your visa, and you’ve settled into life in Indonesia, and a school in Bali is ready to keep you in honest work. What can you expect to earn, and what are wages like in relation to the cost of living?
The basic monthly salary for full-time positions in Indonesia is likely to be in the region of 11,000,000 – 20,000,000 IDR (£590 – £1,073 / $701 – US$1,275) per month. Most positions pay around 14,000,000 IDR, which (at the time of writing) is equivalent to £751 or US$892 per month.
Obviously, higher salaries are on offer, depending very much on the type of school you work at. A prestigious international school is far more inclined to pay the upper end of that wage scale than, say, a state school. Additionally, income can be supplanted by tutoring opportunities for students around Indonesia, but it’s imperative to make sure your school in Bali is A-OK with that.
What do you get for your money in Bali? A great amount, as it turns out. The Indonesian cost of living is comparatively low. So, for an example, a meal at McDonald’s or a fast-food equivalent would cost around 60,000 IDR – equivalent to just £3.22. A 0.3L bottle of water, at around 26,612.55 Indonesian Rupiah, works out at £1.43 at the current exchange rate.
If you’re thinking of bringing your children over with you to Bali, you may encounter the need for childcare. If that’s the case, you can secure private childcare on a monthly rolling basis, working out at about £77 per month. A three-bedroom city centre apartment in Bali costs, per month, around £1,046, going by the current averages. If you’re on a solo mission, or just need one room, expect to pay just under £400 a month in the city centre, and just £208 a month if you’re living further out.
The average salary in Bali works out at the equivalent of £254 a month. English teachers, as noted, typically earn at least twice that, showing how highly TEFL teachers are valued by students and schools alike.
English teaching jobs in Bali
The range of English teaching jobs in Bali is quite typical for the continent of Asia. English proficiency is encouraged from an early age, and so you’ll find work from kindergarten level right up to higher education, with colleges and universities keen on providing extra English classes where appropriate.
Equally, the corporate arena is a good venue for English teaching jobs. Businesses in Bali, specifically those geared towards tourism, are increasingly demanding lessons to be more competitive in the marketplace.
In schools, expect large class sizes (up to forty students), but generally, students are well-behaved. Some schools are academic and professional, with a focus on grammar and teaching specific areas that will prepare students for important exams.
More holistically-minded schools will prioritise the students having a fun time and being engaged in the lesson, with methodologies (mainly games and exercises) that aren’t necessarily right for other schools.
Teach English abroad and explore the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia by taking on an English teaching job and gain valuable experience while immersing yourself in the local culture.
Employee Programmes in Bali
One of the best ways to secure employment in Bali is through the various teaching job schemes that are available. Here are just a sample of the opportunities!
- Berlitz need teachers aged 25+ with over 3 years of experience, an English degree, and TEFL certificate. 12-month contracts teaching afternoons and evenings.
- EF is a major employer of TEFL teachers in Indonesia, with schools in 34 cities, including Bali. You need a degree and a TEFL certificate. 12-month contracts, teaching afternoons and evenings. Airfare reimbursed, shared housing/housing allowance.
- IELC requires a BA degree, an entry-level qualification and required experience levels vary depending on the position. 12-month contracts, teaching afternoons and evenings.
- Kelt hires predominantly British teachers with a degree and TEFL qualification. 1-year contracts, 20 contact hours a week, teaching afternoons and evenings. Students range from 4-year-olds to adults and exam classes. Salary starts at 13.5 million rupiah, plus accommodation. Limited recruitment periods throughout the year.
- Prime One Schools seeks American, Australian, or British teachers with a degree in English Language, English Literature, Linguistics or Education, and at least 1 year of previous teaching experience. To get in, you’ll have to complete a writing test and psychology test as well as an interview.
For more of the latest jobs in Bali and Indonesia more widely, keep up to date with our TEFL Org Jobs Centre.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much do English teachers make in Bali?
Teacher wages in Indonesia, including Bali, are competitive with other popular TEFL hotspots. Typically, teachers who teach abroad in Bali can earn between 11,000,000 – 20,000,000 IDR (£565 – £1,030 / $745 – $1,355) per month. The majority of teaching positions pay around 14,000,000 IDR (£720 / $950) per month.
Q. Does Bali need English teachers?
Yes, Bali – and Indonesia more widely – are keen to recruit English teachers, because the need is there.
Of 24 Asian countries, Indonesia ranks 18th in terms of English proficiency. That’s not great, considering its enormous popularity with tourists, and its natural resources. Indonesia has a competitive economy, but educational authorities believe that English proficiency is a real imperative for the country’s industry to grow.
Q. Is English widely spoken in Bali?
Although it’s not the primary language, English is considered to be the third language of Balinese residents. That’s owed largely to the number of tourists and ex-pats who are discovering Bali every year.
Q. What qualifications are required for teachers in Bali?
To become an English teacher in Bali, you need 120 hours of TEFL certification, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, English Language, Linguistics or Education.
Q. How can I become a teacher in Indonesia?
With a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, English Language, Linguistics or Education, as well as 120 Hours of TEFL Certification, you can become a teacher in Indonesia. There are a number of teaching programmes available, and many employers will help to cover Visa fees and transport should you meet the strict working visa conditions.
Teach English in Bali: FAQs
Of course, with so much to consider before committing to life teaching English in Bali, it’s natural to have some questions. What is the teaching abroad experience like in Bali? How much previous teaching experience do I need? What’s the demand for English in Indonesia more broadly?
Well, we’ve scoured the web and found the most frequently asked questions about teaching in Bali. Not only that, we’ve answered them!