Teach English in Indonesia

TEFL jobs in Indonesia

It is actually a collection of around 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia, which makes this an amazing location which is ecologically diverse and brings together a myriad of cultures. Lombok island is a real surfer paradise if you enjoy watersports or if you prefer to stay on dry land, you can explore the home of the legendary Komodo dragon and discover they are very real and magnificent creatures. History buffs will also love visiting the Buddhist temple in Borobudur, which dates to the ninth century and carries a lot of architectural significance. There are so many more amazing things to see that it is no wonder this is a popular destination for people from all walks of life. It is a bustling country with a population of 238 million, all of who are very welcoming and embrace new visitors to the area. There are a lot of opportunities open to those looking to teach English in Indonesia, and the average earnings will be around €590-€1000/$600-$1,1000 depending on the location and type of role you have been offered.

Children in Indonesia tend to be keen to improve their English skills and love to do this by hearing about pop culture from your country, so creative teaching is embraced. Depending on where you choose to base yourself, you may find busy city life or something a little quieter. Unsurprisingly Jakarta is a lively city that never sleeps and is famous for the amount of traffic. Bali offers a much more chilled experience and has the most fantastic seafood freshly caught and served. If you love getting back to nature, then check out Sumatra, where your neighbours are likely to be orangutans. Once you have picked your dream destination as an English teacher in Indonesia, you will find there are plenty of excellent jobs on offer.

Everything you need to know regarding securing work as an English teacher in Indonesia. You can learn about the different opportunities, the salary, what qualifications are required and how to source vacancies. There is also valuable information about the culture and customs of life in Indonesia and living costs.

Job types

Until 1945 Indonesia was a colony and belonged to Holland. Upon gaining independence, the government decided that Dutch would no longer be taught in schools, and they switched to English. English is now compulsory at all levels starting in primary school. This is because English tends to be the second language of most people, and they realise the importance on a global scale. Unfortunately, there is not much money for state education; therefore, they can’t afford native English teachers in Indonesia. So in most schools, English is taught by a local teacher. Because of this, you are unlikely to find work in a state school as an English teacher in Indonesia.

Private schools

You are most likely to source work as an English teacher in Indonesia in the private school system. Private schools are known for offering good wages and other benefits for their teachers. Private schools teach English all the way through from kindergarten to year 12. Many of the jobs teaching English and Indonesia in private schools are found with the younger children located in kindergartens and preschools. This is excellent news for those who enjoy working with little children.

Language schools/extra-curricular programs

There are also plenty of language schools offering both standard school hours and extracurricular programs located in the main cities around Indonesia. These venues mainly cater to children; however, there are evening schools for adults looking to improve their English. So if you want to have an alternative working pattern as an English teacher in Indonesia, you will find work on evenings and weekends as well as during the standard 9-to-5 working week.

Finding a job

Jobs teaching English in Indonesia are advertised in many different places. There are teaching programs set up specifically to help you obtain your TEFL qualification, and they also have access to some of the vacancies usually displayed on their website. Of course, there is nothing to stop you from approaching a school directly if they are particularly appealing to you. Working with a teaching program means that they will do some of the paperwork for you, which eases the process if you are a newly qualified teacher. It also helps if there are local language barrier issues, as these can be overcome on your behalf by working with a teaching program to secure a job teaching English in Indonesia.

When to apply

Vacancies for English teachers in Indonesia are generally advertised all year round. They have an extended school year that starts in mid-July and lasts right through until mid-June, but it is broken up by two other holidays. Muslim Eid which is a different time every year, creates a shutdown, as does Christmas in December. So there is no best time to reply; it’s just a case of finding a vacancy that appeals to you for an English teacher in Indonesia.


You will find that in order to teach English in Indonesia, a bachelor’s degree is required. It is also customary for the school to request a TEFL 120 hours certification. Most schools offer vacancies on a 12-month contract, but if you get on well, they are likely to renew that contract, and you can stay. Experience in teaching is not always required, provided you have the pre-requisite qualifications.

Visa Requirements for English Teachers in Indonesia

Unless you are a citizen a work visa is required to teach English in Indonesia. The country currently only issues work permits to specific English-speaking countries. This includes the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, South Africa and Ireland. Your visa will automatically decline if you do not come from one of these countries and hold a valid passport; your visa will be automatically rejected. These applications are a little bit complicated, but most employers are more than happy to assist with the process. You will also get help applying for your Visa if you are part of a teaching program. Be aware that a work Visa in Indonesia is also referred to as a KITAS, which is a form of identity card for someone who is not a citizen.

Need to know

You will find that most full-time positions offer a good salary of around $600-$1100 a month. Generally, international schools pay the best, but the rates offered by private kindergartners and preschools are still very reasonable compared to the cost of living as an English teacher in Indonesia.

Common benefits for teachers

Jobs teaching English in Indonesia generally have no housing provision included, so you will have to find a private rental. However monthly rents are very reasonable and easily affordable on the salary you will be given. In addition, a contract will include paid holidays and sick leave. Of course, keeping an eye out for jobs with good benefits is a good idea, but there will be a lot of competition for these roles.

The best way to find a decent property to rent is to speak to a realtor in the area you are hoping to live in, and they will do the legwork for you. Property listings are also found in classified adverts and on Internet sites if you prefer to have a look for yourself.

Where to teach English In Indonesia

There are lots of great destinations for English teachers in Indonesia, each offering something unique. So before you decide, research the main areas and see where you think you will be most comfortable living. The most common locations are listed here.

English teaching jobs in Jakarta

Most of the opportunities for teaching English in Indonesia are found on the island of Java. Jakarta is the capital city, and there are plenty of job vacancies here. As mentioned above, it is a bustling city so if you do not like that kind of lifestyle this is probably not the place for you. However, it could be the perfect location for those who like to shop and eat out to teach English in Indonesia.

English teaching jobs in Surabaya

Surabaya, the second largest city in the area, is located in the east of Java. Architecturally Surabaya is fascinating as it has an eclectic mix of mosques combined with remnants of Dutch colonisation. Many religious buildings are ornately designed, so those interested in architecture may want to consider a job teaching English in Indonesia in Surabaya. It is also historically significant as the battle of independence for Indonesia took place here, causing it to become known as the city of heroes.

English teaching jobs in Bali

A slower pace of life can be found in Bali, where you also have fantastic crystal clear waters and sandy beaches. The whole culture of Bali is more laid-back than the rest of Indonesia, which is why it appeals to many people hoping to teach English abroad.

Classroom culture

To integrate into a new community, it’s important to learn about their culture and etiquette as it can be quite different from anything you have seen before. Watching and copying what your colleagues do is the best way to learn. Islam is the primary religion of Indonesia, with over 86% of people practising. This gives the whole area a very conservative view, and they expect you to dress modestly, avoiding things like tank tops or shorts. This is why Bali appeals to many people, as it is more western in its culture and embraces the tourist culture, so a more relaxed dress code would be acceptable.

Culture & etiquette tips

There are certain cultural practices you must abide by no matter where you are in Indonesia. For example, if you enter a room with carpet or go into a mosque or place of worship, you must remove your shoes. Most people do not indulge in pork products or alcohol because of the Islamic religion, so if you buy a gift, stay away from these as you do not know other people’s beliefs. It is customary to take a gift if you are invited to someone’s house, and there is a strange pattern of refusing it once or twice before they finally accept it. If you sit down for a meal, you may only pass food at the table using your right hand. Leaving a glass or plate empty is not a sign that you have finished, but a sign that you are looking for more and your drink and plate will be refilled.


Living costs

The cost of living as an English teacher in Indonesia is very reasonable. It is much cheaper than you will be used to in the US or UK. This means that although the salary may not seem that generous, it goes a lot further than you will be used to, and everything is easily affordable.

To obtain the most up-to-date cost of living figures, we use the world’s biggest cost of living comparison website, Numbio.com.

  • Food: USD $120-$180 per month
  • Transportation: USD $10-$20 per month
  • Entertainment: USD $50-$100 per month
  • Housing: USD $150-$450 for a room in shared accommodation, depending on the city
  • Utilities: USD $10-$40 per month

TEFL jobs in Indonesia: KEY POINTS



USD $700 - $1,000



BA degree preferred



Private schools, public schools, private tutoring, volunteering projects



120 hour TEFL Training


  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Jakarta, Bali, Bandung and Surabaya
  • On average, an English teacher's salary in Indonesia is between: USD $600-$1,100 a month.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: At least a 120-hour TEFL qualification
  • Prerequisite university degree: Most jobs require a degree
  • Currency: Indonesian rupiah (Rp)
  • Term times: The school year starts in mid-July and ends in mid-June. Students get holidays in December and for the Muslim Eid Holiday, which changes yearly. Most programs hire teachers year-round.
  • Language: Indonesian (locally referred to as Bahasa Indonesia)/Javanese (Jawa)
  • Teaching programmes: International schools, Private schools, Language Centres, Private tutors, Volunteering
  • Age restrictions: Maximum 65
  • Previous teaching experience: is required for the higher-paid roles.

Facts about Indonesia






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TEFL jobs in Indonesia: FAQS


How much can I earn as an English teacher in Indonesia?

The average salary for English teachers in Indonesia is around USD $600-$1,100 per month.

The cost of living as an English teacher in Indonesia is very reasonable. It is much cheaper than you will be used to in the US or UK.

To teach English in Indonesia, you must have a degree and a 120-hour TEFL certificate.

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