Top Paying Countries for TEFL Teaching

It’s unlikely that English teachers abroad chose TEFL work for financial reasons alone. For the majority, the advantages and opportunities for personal development that come with being an ESL teacher much outweigh the pay, but while looking for English teaching jobs overseas, it’s equally crucial to discover a financially stable and fulfilling experience. So here we will be looking at countries that are top paying for TEFL

Even though it won’t put you on a list of world billionaires, teaching English abroad can provide a decent wage that can even go into your savings account. In top-paying locations, this might range from $2,000 to over $6,000 per month! As a teacher overseas, it’s totally fair and doable to make a respectable living, depending on the country, region, experience, and qualifications.

Additionally, It’s important to keep in mind that high salaries are not the only variable for a financially rewarding job teaching abroad.  To estimate how much you’ll be able to save while teaching ESL, you should always take into account the local cost of living and benefit options. Many employers will provide benefits above and beyond what you might anticipate, such as lodging and travel costs.

Do you want to know which countries offer the best pay for English teaching abroad? These top TEFL markets provide ESL teachers with the biggest financial perks, from competitive pay to attractive savings opportunities. 


Teaching in Japan is popular because of the culture, food, snow-capped mountains, cherry blossom season, warm bowls of noodles, and friendly people. Additionally, it helps that earnings in Japan range from $2,200 to $5,000 (or ¥220,000 to ¥540,000) per month, depending on your credentials and professional experience. Even better, some positions come with added benefits like free housing and airfare for the appropriate applicant.

Although prior teaching experience is not required, it can be challenging to acquire a job without it given the fierce competition in the Japanese employment market. The JET Program is where most inexperienced teachers choose to enrol, but be sure to weigh your options. JET programme participants’ average monthly pay for ESL teachers is USD 2550. (280,000 JPY).

When assessing potential locations to teach English abroad, one thing to keep in mind is that Japan has a high cost of living in comparison to the United States. The cost of living in Japan is estimated to be at least USD 1,500 per month, making housing assistance programmes very appealing.

  • Average Salary: $2,200-$5,000 USD/month (based on job type, experience & credentials)
  • Cost of Living: $1,000 per month
  • Rent: $500-$700 (rent is usually included)
  • Food: $100 (depends on how much you cook or eat out)
  • Transportation (bus): $80
South Korea

South Korea, Japan’s western neighbour, offers comparable pay and benefits to Japan but is a somewhat less well-liked tourist destination. But that is altering. In Korea, where ESL teachers earn between $1,700 and $2,650 (2.0 and 3.2 million KRW) a month and frequently receive lodging and full or partial flight reimbursement, English teachers are in high demand.

Furthermore, one of the greatest places to teach overseas is South Korea, which offers more potential for overtime and bonuses and a reduced cost of living. For the EPIK, GEPIK, or SMOE programmes, a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree are often prerequisites for teaching English in Korea.

TEFL South Korea

  • Average Salary: $1,700-$2,650 USD/month (based on job type, experience & credentials)
  • Cost of Living: $900-$1000 per month
  • Rent: $400-$600 (housing is typically included)
  • Food: $150-$200
  • Transportation (bus): $30-$50

Despite having earnings that aren’t quite as high as those in other countries on our list. China is by far the largest employer of ESL teachers worldwide. Paying between $1,400 and $2,200 (10,000–15,000 RMB) each month. Because there are so many positions available and the cost of living is low, the relatively modest wage is balanced out. Especially when considering prospective benefits packages.

You can choose between working for a private business. Or locating a position at a public school if you choose to teach in China. Your donations will have an impact on the lives of your students. Many students who want to pursue higher education in China need to have proficiency in English.

TEFL China

ESL teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certification in China. A TEFL certification course is frequently included in employment packages in China, which increases the advantages of picking that country as your location for a TEFL certification course.

  • Average Salary: $1,400-$2,200 USD/month (based on experience & credentials)
  • Cost of Living: $1,000 per month
  • Rent: $200-$700 (housing is typically included
  • Food: $100
  • Transportation (bus): $30 – $50

Vietnam has a substantially lower cost of living than most, despite the fact that ESL teachers’ earnings aren’t as high as in some of the other nations on the list. If you don’t spend a lot on opulent lodging, you can save anywhere from $1,200 to $2,100 each month (27,000,000 to 48,000,000 VND).

Although Vietnam isn’t the most well-liked destination in Asia for ESL teachers, it is a stunning country with a lot to offer. Both Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City provide a wealth of contemporary amenities and vibrant international neighbourhoods. Making low-cost Vietnam your home base is a terrific option for teachers interested in experiencing Asia because regional travel is reasonably priced

TEFL Vietnam

  • Average Salary: $1,200-$2,100 USD/month (based on experience & credentials)
  • Cost of Living: $700 per month
  • Rent: $200-$400
  • Food: $100-$200 (depending on how much you cook/go out)
  • Transportation (bus): $10

ESL earnings in Taiwan are comparable to those in Korea. With monthly salaries between $2,000 and $3,000 (60,000 to 90,000 TWD). A lower cost of living, milder winters, and nearly tropical summers. ESL teaching positions are widely available in public, private, and academic institutions from kindergarten to universities. Making it very simple to save money. It is possible for many ESL teachers in Taiwan to save at least $1,000 each month!

Although it is not legally required in Taiwan for ESL instructors to hold a TEFL certification. Most institutions of higher learning do. To qualify for a teaching position in Taiwan, applicants must also possess a bachelor’s degree. 

  • Average Salary: $2,000-$3,000 USD/month (based on hourly wage, experience & credentials)
  • Cost of Living: $1,000 per month
  • Rent: $200-$500
  • Food: $100(depends on how much you cook or eat out)
  • Transportation: $30 – $50

Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the two largest cities in the UAE, offer the highest ESL teaching wages in the world. Depending on expertise, the monthly pay for instructors in the United Arab Emirates can range from $3,500 to $5,500 (12,300 to 22,000 AED). However, the standards are strict, and the majority of jobs need teachers to be certified to teach in their native countries or at least have several years of teaching experience. This is typical of most Middle Eastern countries. Furthermore, while highly qualified instructors may earn up to or even more than USD 6,000 per month, the average teacher earns much closer to AED 16,000 per month (USD 4,350).


ESL teachers working in the United Arab Emirates can anticipate a generous benefits package that includes a high income as well as things like housing assistance, relocation aid, return flights, and government health insurance. Additionally, your salary will likely be tax-free! When all of this is taken into account, it is very possible to reduce a teacher’s wage in this area. 

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two of the most popular destinations in the UAE. These world-class cities embody cosmopolitanism in their truest form. You can choose from a wide variety of great restaurants, beaches, nightlife, and cultural events if you call this place home. Additionally, the cost of living in the United Arab Emirates is lower than in the USA.

  • Average Salary: $3,500-$5,500 USD/month (based on experience & credentials)
  • Cost of Living: $1,200-$1,900 per month
  • Rent: $700-$1200 (typically included)
  • Food: $100-$300 (depends on how much you cook or eat out)
  • Transportation: $60 per month

In general, you don’t need a degree to teach English abroad or online. Our certification stands alone and you can get employment without pairing it with a degree. However, some TEFL employers do prefer their teachers to have a degree. More importantly, for some countries, it’s a visa requirement. This means you can’t obtain a work permit without a bachelor’s degree or higher. Some of these countries include China, Japan, UAE and Vietnam. 

Our advice is if you have your sights set on a certain country, look into the visa requirements first before putting time and effort into finding a job there. This will save you time and disappointment. If it’s a school preferability, and not a visa requirement, there’s sometimes some leeway. 

You do not need any prior teaching degrees or experience to teach abroad. Once you have your TEFL certificate, you can secure work as a TEFL teacher. A BA in Education would enhance your CV, but it’s not a necessity. Completing a TEFL course that includes teaching practice, like our Hybrid TEFL Courses, will also help your CV.

If you want to experience different cultures and see the world, teaching English abroad is for you. Not only will you get to explore new places, you’ll also meet new people and get the chance to make a difference to the lives of language learners. A TEFL certification lasts a lifetime. So, you can dip in and out of teaching abroad whenever you feel like it. 

It is not necessary to speak any other languages. You’ll be able to find a job and work comfortably without knowing the language spoken in your chosen country. Of course, it is always an advantage, even if it’s just the basics. We recommend learning a few phrases before you move abroad like hi, thank you, goodbye and sorry.

You’re never too old to gain new qualifications! Some TEFL employers do have age restrictions, but there are ample opportunities for more mature teachers. There are also the options to teach English from home as a private tutor or online tutor.

The accredited courses are the quickest way to get TEFL certified, and are accepted by schools and institutes worldwide. Choose from a 120, 180 or 240 hour accredited TEFL course depending on the level of training you require. 

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