How much do TEFL Teachers Make?

This is the big question! We’ve heard so much about how TEFL teaching is your passport around the world and all the hype about the unforgettable experiences you will be sure to have. But now, we ask the sometimes taboo question about TEFL teacher salaries. These days, people are opening up about employers and employees being upfront about the salary expectations, and TEFL is no different! We’re here to give you all the gory details of what you can expect and answer the question of how much can a TEFL teacher make?

Like any career path you take, a TEFL salary can differ hugely, the most prominent one being the country that hires you. Before getting into demographics, let’s discuss a little about other factors that will influence your paycheck! 

What Makes a Good TEFL Salary

TEFL salaries fluctuate from job post to job post more than a lot of other careers. This is because the world of TEFL and its niches within are vast. If you are looking for the highest-paid jobs out there, there are a few things to take into consideration. 

  1. Qualifications

You look at job postings and see that there’s a range for the salary being offered. If you want to hit those higher salary ranges, your qualifications are the first thing that they’ll look at. The rule of thumb is that the higher your qualifications, the more money you’ll make. This counts for both your third-level education and your ESL qualifications. A bachelor’s degree or higher and a level 5 TEFL Course or CELTA will put you into a higher salary bracket. Make sure to state ALL the qualifications you have on your CV/resume. 

thinking about teacher salary

  1. Experience

This one is a give-in! Experience as an ESL teacher will be sure to give you a bargaining chip when it comes to your salary. Once you have experience and proven results in your teaching methods, you will be offered a lot more than a basic salary. Don’t forget that any teaching in your work history can count towards experience, be it in the classroom, online, in a different school subject, teaching adults or children, or even coaching experience. 

  1. Your Teacher Role

There are TEFL roles out there that will pay more than others. Most teachers start with beginners English and in a school / young learners setting. This is a popular job and there are lots of roles out there. Employers also accept those who have no experience too, since the jobs are so high in demand. However, statistically speaking, they are the least paid jobs. You’ll get a nice salary, but you’ll have full-time hours and the pay per hour can be significantly less than niche TEFL jobs. Once you get the experience and have specialist training completed, business English jobs and exam preparation teaching will pay a lot more. This is because they are specialists and you’ll have a lot more correcting and admin work on your hands. 

Another thing to consider in your role is whether to go private or public. For the most part, you won’t see a huge jump in pay, but as you climb up the ladder in a private setting, you’ll see a lot more opportunities to grow. 

  1. Confidence

We say this a lot: confidence is key when it comes to teaching English. However, we don’t just mean in the classroom! You need confidence in your demo lessons, in yourself, and when negotiating with employers. Being an all-around confident person will stand to your career as an ESL teacher. 

man jumping with confidence

Countries: How much do TEFL Teachers make? 

There are many reasons why some countries pay more than others. It may be down to supply and demand, their currency worth, their minimum wage and cost of living, or how close geographically they are to native English speakers (how hard it is for them to recruit TEFL teachers. All these factors add up, and a basic and competitive wage base is evolutionized over time. 

You will see a lot of benefits added to your contracts, such as housing, English materials, CPD training, and excursions. Employers want the job to be an amazing experience for you, even if their minimum wage is lower than the western world. So, don’t forget that when you’re looking at a job offer these perks will save you a lot of money and time when you are there and they should be considered in your decision. 

Now, for the important part, how much do TEFL teachers make in certain countries? Let’s start with the fun one! Here are the highest-paid countries for TEFL teachers in the world:  

  1. United Arab Emirates (tax-free) 
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Oman 
  4. Saudi Arabia
  5. Japan 
  6. Kuwait (tax-free) 
  7. South Korea
  8. Vietnam
  9. Taiwan 
  10. China

These range from $2,000 per month all the way to $4,000! And, as a bonus, check out the site Numbeo to see the cost of living. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll save per month! 

After Asia being the obvious front runner, we head to modern, first-world countries, such as Italy and Germany. Their main focus here is business English and exam preparation. However, you can find young learner teacher positions too. Also, with EU laws making it quite hard to get working visas and Brexit, school average wages for teachers are getting higher as they try to attract those teachers who can work legally in these countries. You can expect monthly salaries from €900 to €2000, depending on the job type and country. 

In places in South America and Africa, they offer the lower end of the spectrum. However. It’s still not that bad! You will never earn too little not to support yourself. The cost of living is seriously low. You normally don’t need a Bachelor’s degree to work. And, the most important thing? The experience in South American and African countries is once-in-a-lifetime! You’ll normally see accommodation included and benefit to help with the lower wages. 

teaching in classroom

The Range for Teaching English Abroad Salary

To finish off, we wanted to give you a couple of ideas of the types of TEFL jobs and salaries that you’ll be able to apply for as an ESL teacher around the world. 

Disclaimer: There are made-up jobs by us to only show you the range. 

ESL Coordinator in Dubai 

Monthly Salary: €3,500 (tax-free), free accommodation.

Must-Have: BA degree, Level 5 ESL Qualification, and 5 years experience in a classroom setting

Responsibilities: 20 hours of classroom hours. Teaching to Business English professionals, coordinating timetables for other teachers, organizing end-of-term exams, and being available to fill in when a teacher is sick or on leave. 

Language Assistant in Spain

Monthly Salary: €900

Must-Have: at least 120-hour Course Certificate from renowned TEFL Provider, experience with children preferred, enthusiasm. 

Responsibilities: 15 hours per week. Teaching to young learners through games and music in a fun setting. You will be an English assistant for the local teacher in the school.

Without a doubt, the number one country right now to make the most money is the UAE. They are also a tax-free country! Be warned, you’ll need a good few credentials to get accepted and complete quite a bit of paperwork. You can see our full list in the blog above.

The salary for TEFL teachers can range anywhere from $700 monthly up to $4500 monthly. Yes, it’s a massive range, we know! But this counts from language assistant positions all the way up to Business English and Coordinators.

Most beginner TEFL teachers will start by teaching young learners and beginners English. You can expect anywhere from $700 to $1,700 monthly, depending on the country you-re in and the benefits that come with the job.

Getting a TEFL job is actually pretty straightforward, and the job is high in demand. You’ll find it easier than most industry to get your foot in the door because there is so much country-specific training that happens when you arrive that experience isn’t always necessary.

There is a huge demand for TEFL teachers, and now more than ever! As we come to the end of the pandemic and the world has opened its door again, schools need their positions filled. During the pandemic, a lot of teachers went home and have decided not to go back, which means their jobs are up for grabs with ASAP start dates.

Most TEFL contracts around the world will be a lot higher than the minimum wage and these jobs are looked at as premium positions. No matter your role, you will live comfortably all around the world. And once you start reaching the higher paid jobs, there’ll be no stopping you! Actually, a lot of people will save for mortgages abroad, come back to their home country after a year or two, and buy a house.

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