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Home / What to expect? TEFL Teacher Salaries.
Make money abroad

What to expect, TEFL Teacher Salaries. It is common to hear teachers express that their desire to teach was born for their love of the job and not for the pay. Unfortunately, that is the truth. Working as an English teacher abroad is not going to make you a millionaire, BUT you can make a very comfortable salary if you go to the right place. Having a livable wage as a teacher depends on many factors, which we will explore in this article. To discover what could impact the salary you receive while teaching abroad, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

  1. What is your motivation behind teaching? 
  2. Where are you going to teach?
  3. How does the cost of living compare to the salary?
  4. Do you have any teaching experience?
  5. Do you have a degree?
  6. What are your other qualifications?
  7. Is your TEFL course accredited?
What is your motivation to teach?

People become TEFL teachers for various reasons. It may be you want to make money while traveling, to gain a new skillset or, to save money. 

If your main motivation is to travel then a lower wage may not bother you. For instance, in Thailand, you might only make 850 a month. Although, this seems relatively low, due to the low cost of living that salary can go a long way. If you spend your money wisely, you can live comfortably and still afford to travel around the country. Now, this is perfect for a new TEFL teacher whose main motivation to teach was to delve into a new culture, become part of a local community, and travel around. 

However, if your goal as an English teacher was to return to your home country with a lot of money in the bank, Thailand may not be the place for you. You need to look for job opportunities in countries where teachers salaries are receiving a higher rate of pay such as Vietnam or the Middle East. Of course, to earn these higher salaries means you must have more qualifications to warrant receiving these wages, but we will get into that later.

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Where are you teaching? How does the cost of living compare to your salary?

TEFL teaching salaries vary across the globe. There is no standard for an English teacher. But generally, the teaching wage you receive will be relative to the cost of living in your country. For instance, in Hong Kong you can make between 1,700 – €7500 per month as a teacher depending on your qualifications, however, once you take into account the high cost of living in Hong Kong, that paycheck will not go as far as you imagined. 

The cost of living is something one needs to bear in mind when choosing where to live. A seemingly handsome salary may not go as far as you think once you factor in costs for accommodation, transport, and food, etc. Make sure to do your research before you are blinded by the hefty wage being offered to you. For example, many teaching positions in big cities, offer higher wages than the neighbouring smaller towns because day-to-day life is more expensive in the cities, not because they value you more as a teacher. 

However, sometimes that is not always the case, in Vietnam, you could be offered higher wages and bonuses if you choose to work in their rural villages. This is because it is difficult for employers to get teachers to work in the countryside as the cities have much more amenities to offer. This is why it is so difficult to pinpoint what a teacher should expect to earn because it varies on a case-to-case basis. 

Tips to ensure a higher monthly income. 

If saving money is important to you then there are some ways to ensure this. In many countries, it is common for schools to cover the costs of their teachers’ accommodation, flights, and/or, transport. If you find a school that will do this for you, then you will remove a large financial cost on yourself. It will allow you to have a lot more freedom with your money so you can live comfortably and save at the same time.

You should also try to find a teaching position in an International school. International schools tend to have deeper pockets than local or government schools because they are private institutions. As a result, they can afford to provide their teachers with higher salaries, as their students’ parents are paying expensive fees for their children to receive the best education out there. Cities in the Middle East such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi are renowned for their generous teaching salaries and benefits. 

Do you have any teaching experience?

Experience pays:

Like any job, the experience you have in the role will colorate with the salary you receive. Therefore, an ESL teacher whose been working for 5 years will earn more than a newly qualified TEFL teacher. But as you gain experience working as an ESL teacher, your salary will begin to increase, as will the opportunities to apply for higher-paying and higher-ranking teaching positions. 

Do you have a degree?

Having a degree as a TEFL teacher is important. Although, it isn’t mandatory to have a 3rd level education to teach English, for many countries, it is a visa requirement and is necessary if you want to teach in their schools. Having a degree, in general, will automatically make you more valuable in the eyes of your employers as it shows you have achieved a high level of education.

As a result, you will be able to secure a job easier and receive a higher teacher salaery than your counterparts who do not have a degree. 

If you are lucky enough to have a degree in Education or the chosen subject you are teaching in such as English, you are more likely to receive an even higher salary. This is because you are trained in that particular field, and therefore are more qualified and better trained. 


Do you have other qualifications?

Now, we all know to become a TEFL teacher, one must have completed the 120 hour TEFL course. It is the minimum requirement to teach. But the TEFL industry is extremely competitive. To secure a higher wage, you need more than one qualification. As we say at The TEFL Institute of Ireland, every day is an opportunity to learn. We understand the importance of furthering your education as a TEFL teacher to become the best that you can be.

If you are trained to prepare students to sit their IELTS or TOEIC exams or in Business English, you can receive a higher wage if these are skillsets your employer requires for their students. Make sure to check out our extra courses to help bounce up your salary.

Is your TEFL Cert certified? 

Although you may be tempted to buy the cheapest TEFL course you can find on Groupon, we do not recommend it. Firstly, it will make it harder to secure a job because the course may not be accredited by a respected governing body. If it isn’t, there is no way to prove that you received a high standard of teacher training. Therefore, because your qualification is neither verified nor standardise you will not receive a good wage (if you are lucky enough to get a job). Although you may think otherwise, in your potential employer’s eyes, you are neither qualified nor trained to teach their students. 

To avoid this, it is worth investing your money in a TEFL or CELTA course that is accredited and globally recognised. Here at The TEFL Institute of Ireland, we offer ACDL and Level 5 Ofqual UK government-regulated courses. This ensures that you will be gaining skills and qualifications that are recognised internationally.


TEFL salaries in Europe

The salaries around Europe vary greatly. While in the North and West of the continent, higher wages can be found in comparison to the East and South, the cost of living needs to be kept in mind for these regions. 

It is common for teachers to work in multiple companies and schools at an hourly rate. After-school tutoring programs are popular, so you may find yourself working mainly in the evening. If you are from a country that is part of the European Union, it will be easy to find work. However, if you are a non-EU citizen, securing a visa may be difficult, so make sure to do your research. 


TEFL salaries in Asia

A firm favourite amongst the TEFL teaching community, Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, China, Korea and, Cambodia offer countless opportunities to both newly qualified and veteran English Language teachers. Although you will need a degree to teach in most Asian countries, excluding Cambodia, Asia offers up the best entry-level salaries out there. 

It is common in some countries, such as South Korea and Thailand, for employers’ to supply their teaching staff with accommodation, which means you get to keep more money in your pocket. 

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TEFL salaries in the Middle East & Africa

If you want to find the highest TEFL salaries in the world, then the Middle East is the place for you. The high salaries are tax-free and many schools provide free accommodation and flight reimbursements in their contracts. However, due to the sheer popularity of jobs there, these schools can afford to be picky. To secure a job in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, you will need to have a couple of years of teaching experience under your belt and a degree in teaching, or in the subject you are teaching to be eligible for these positions. 

In Africa, the majority of teaching positions work on a voluntary basis. To avoid this, and secure paid teaching positions, you should focus your energy on the North of the continent. Look for teaching opportunities in Algeria, Morocco and, Egypt. 

TEFL salaries in Central & South America

If saving is your main motivation for teaching, then you better look somewhere else. Travelling, rich cultures and, the desire for new experiences are what draw people to teach across Central and South America. 

Although living costs are generally very low, you will not be able to save much after accommodation and food etc.


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