Teach Abroad

How Much Can You Make Teaching Abroad?

Photo of Caitlin McCollum-Martinez
Caitlin McCollum-Martinez

Caitlin is a travel writer and polyglot from sunny Southern California. She has traveled to over 15 countries, lived in Spain, the Czech Republic, and Scotland. She currently resides in South Korea where she is an English teacher.

How Much Can You Earn Teaching Abroad - Joanie, TEFL Heaven Peru
Photo credit: Joanie, TEFL Heaven Peru Alum

Deciding where to teach English abroad can be a difficult decision since there are an overwhelming amount of options. Each region of the world offers different pay scales and benefits for English teachers.

Your earning potential depends greatly on where you decide to go, but also on your experience and qualifications. Without a teaching certification like a TEFL, it can be difficult to secure a well-paying job in most countries. However, many places accept teachers with little to no experience! Wherever you decide to you, you are sure to have the experience of a lifetime teaching overseas.

If you're curious how much you can make teaching abroad – but aren't super picky on where exactly that is, read on. We've broken down the monthly salary by region across the globe, then dive into the specific country and potential benefits per country or type of school.

Editor's Note: All salaries listed are per month, unless otherwise noted.

Teaching Salaries in Asia: $900-$6,500

Teaching Salaries - Asia Header

By far Asia attracts the most ESL teachers out of any region. There are thousands of expats dotted throughout East and Southeast Asia, so you are likely to fund a decent expat community wherever you end up.

Typically, salaries are lower in Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, or Taiwan, but the cost of living is cheaper than any other location on this list. There also tends to be fewer benefits for jobs in this region. In Japan, China, and South Korea, teaching salaries are more competitive and include more benefits.

Teaching Salaries in Japan: $1,600-$5,000

Teaching Salaries - Japan Header

In Japan, there are several different teaching routes that offer a range of benefits and salaries. You can become an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) at a public school through the government-run JET Program, or through applying directly.

With private schools (Eikaiwas) or international schools, you can typically make much more per month, with similar benefits as public schools. There are also English teaching jobs available at universities, though these are harder to obtain. Here's a quick breakdown:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

Public Schools

$1,600-$2,000

  • Housing usually provided
  • 10 to 20 days off each year, national holiday

JET Program

$2,500-$3,000

  • Housing
  • airfare
  • Prearranged visas and health insurance
  • Four weeks holiday

Eikaiwas

$2,000

  • Airfare
  • Housing
  • Training
  • Cost of health insurance and visas covered

International Schools

$2,000-$5,000

  • Housing allowances are possible
  • Relocation bonus

Universities

$2,500-$5,000

  • Full three months of vacation
  • Only 10 to 15 working hours per week

Read the full guide for teaching salaries in Japan.

Teaching Salaries in Cambodia - $1,000–$1,200

Teaching Salaries - Cambodia Header

Like most South-East Asian destinations, you will make a bit less money teaching in Cambodia compared to the rest of Asia. However, the low cost of living makes the lower salaries go a lot farther. English teachers can typically find jobs and private schools or private ESL academies.

Benefits for both options are about the same; they tend to be nonexistent for first-time teachers, but as you gain more experience you can enjoy more benefits. Here are your various options:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

Private Schools

$1,000-$1,200

  • Public holidays
  • Health insurance
  • Paid vacation

Private ESL Academies

$1,000-$1,200

  • Public holidays
  • Paid vacation
  • Health insurance

Read the full guide for teaching salaries in Cambodia.

Teaching Salaries in South Korea - $1,400-$2,800

Teaching Salaries - South Korea

South Korea tends to offer higher salaries and more comprehensive benefits than other Asian countries, making it one of the best options for teaching English in Asia. Salaries vary between the different types of schools, but generally public schools will pay the least, followed by international schools and private academies (hagwons).

University positions are the most coveted with the highest salaries and most vacation time. International schools have the potential to offer some of the best benefits, but it varies from school to school. Here are your options:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

Public Schools

$1,400–$2,200

  • Housing
  • Flights
  • Severance pay
  • Pension rebate
  • Health insurance
  • Paid public holidays

Hagwons

$1,500-$2,300

  • Housing
  • Flights
  • Severance pay
  • ½ pension and ½ Insurance paid
  • Pension rebate
  • Paid public holidays

Universities

$1,800–$2,800

  • Flights (varies)
  • Paid public holidays
  • Several months paid vacation time (varies)

International Schools

$1,400-$2,300

  • Health insurance
  • Airfare reimbursement
  • Housing
  • Tuition reimbursement for dependents (varies)
  • Gym memberships (varies)
  • Paid sick/personal/maternity leave
  • Three months paid vacation

Read the full guide for teaching salaries in South Korea.

Teaching Salaries in Taiwan - $1,300-$6,500

Teaching Salaries - Taiwan

Taiwan has a relatively low cost of living, so teaching salaries can go a long way allowing foreigners to live a comfortable life. Most teaching options will include severance pay, housing, and flights. Though this varies between the different types of schools.

International schools are the most profitable option for teaching in Taiwan, but this means they are also the most competitive. Most first-time English teachers find positions at chain schools, also known as cram schools or buxibans, where the pay is usually lower. Here's a breakdown of different options:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

Buxibans & Chain Schools

$1,300–$2,000

  • 20 days off per school year
  • Airfare reimbursed
  • Assistance finding housing
  • Housing allowance

Public Schools

$1,900-$2,200

  • Housing allowance
  • Assistance finding housing
  • Return airfare
  • National health insurance
  • 10 days of vacation time

American Schools

up to $6,500

  • Health insurance
  • Housing assistance
  • Airfare (varies)
  • Contract completion bonus

Read the full guide for teaching salaries in Taiwan.

Teaching Salaries in China - $900-$4,300

Teaching Salaries - China

Teaching English in China likely won’t provide you with a salary as generous as what you could make at home, but because of the low cost of living in most parts of China, teaching English is a great way to earn and save money.

Many teaching jobs in China include some type of benefits, but they vary based on the type of school you will teach at. With or without benefits it's possible to live comfortably and have enough money to travel (or pay off loans) while working in China. Learn about your different options here:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

Public Schools

$900-$2,200

  • One or more months paid vacation and holidays
  • Housing (varies)

Private Language Academies

$900-$2,300

  • Housing
  • Flights (paid or reimbursement)
  • Health insurance
  • Paid vacation time

Universities

$1,000-$1,400

  • More free time
  • Airfare
  • Housing
  • Paid vacation time

International Schools

$1,700-$4,300

  • Few benefits

Read the full guide forteaching salaries in China.

Teaching Salaries in Vietnam - $900-$2,200

Teaching Salaries - Vietnam

Much like Cambodia, Vietnam doesn’t offer high-paying teaching salaries or many extra benefits. However, the extremely low cost of living allows teachers to live comfortably. You will likely have enough to travel throughout the country, but you won’t be saving too much of your paycheck each month.

Most teachers find themselves working at private language academies or public schools, but university positions can be the most high-paying jobs available. Here are the options to choose from:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

Private Language Centers

$1,200-$1,800

  • Public holidays
  • Housing stipend and assistance
  • Remote location bonuses
  • Contract completion bonuses

Public schools

$1,500-$2,100

  • Public holidays

Universities

$900-$2,200

  • More time off
  • Public holidays

Read the full guide for teaching salaries in Vietnam.

Teaching Salaries in the Middle East - $2,000-$5,000

Teaching Salaries - Middle East

In general, teaching English in the Middle East is reserved for those with serious teaching qualifications. Often schools throughout the region require a master’s degree in a field related to education, though there are some instances where only a bachelor’s degree is necessary.

To attract teachers to the region, salaries in the Middle East tend to be the highest and are often accompanied with comprehensive benefits. Many jobs provide benefits for teachers bringing their dependents or families with them. Job contracts tend to be quite lengthy, typically around two-three years and are possible to renew. The salaries vary a bit depending on the country.

Teaching Salaries in Saudi Arabia - $2,600-$4,000

Teaching Salaries - Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a great place to teach English abroad if you are looking for an experience much different from the norm. While the cultural differences can be a challenge for some, this fascinating country has a lot to offer for English teachers, especially in terms of generous salaries and comprehensive benefits.

Most teachers work at language schools, international schools, and the lucky few can hold positions at Saudi universities. Compare your different job options here:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

Language Schools

$3,200-$4,000

  • Housing or housing allowance
  • Airfare reimbursement
  • Health insurance
  • Contract completion bonuses

International Schools

$2,600-$4,000

  • Housing or housing allowance
  • Airfare reimbursement
  • Health insurance
  • Contract completion bonuses

Universities

over $4,000

  • Housing or housing allowance
  • Airfare reimbursement
  • Health insurance
  • Contract completion bonuses

Read the full guide for teaching salaries in Saudi Arabia.

Teaching Salaries in the UAE - $3,300-$5,500

Teaching Salaries - UAE

The United Arab Emirates has become one of the most desirable ESL teaching destinations in the world, and for good reason. With some of the highest salaries available for English teachers, amazing benefits, and the opportunity for unique travel experiences it’s no wonder thousands of expats flock to the U.A.E.

It may be incredibly hot, but you won’t be sweating over your finances teaching here. Jobs are available in public and international schools, as well as vocational schools throughout the U.A.E. Here's a breakdown of your options:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

Vocational Schools and Colleges

$3,000-$4,000

  • Airfare
  • Health insurance
  • Housing allowance
  • Education and visa support for dependents
  • Flights to your home country during the summer holiday
  • Contract completion bonuses

International Schools

$2,400-$4,000

  • Shared accommodation
  • Airfare
  • Health insurance
  • Visa assistance

Public Schools

$3,300-$5,500

  • Housing (for up to families of 4)
  • Flights for up to 4 family members
  • Health insurance for teacher and family
  • Contract completion bonuses

Read the full guide for teaching salaries in the U.A.E.

Teaching Salaries in Oman - $2,000-$3,500

Teaching Salaries - Oman

As one of the fastest-growing countries in the Middle East, Oman has an ever-increasing demand for English teachers. Teaching jobs are available in private international schools, language schools, and universities.

In Oman, you can explore a captivating and unique culture while earning a great salary and enjoying a wide range of benefits. You’ll find more detailed information on our teaching in Oman guide.

Typical Benefits:

  • Housing allowance
  • 60 days paid vacation time
  • Annual airfare to home country
  • Health insurance
  • Allowances for transportation
  • Tuition for dependents

Teaching Salaries in Kuwait - $2,600-$4,000

Teaching Salaries - Kuwait

Kuwait is another wealthy and fast-growing Middle Eastern country in need of English teachers. The country boasts a high number of international schools, bilingual preschools, and universities, providing plentiful job opportunities for ESL teachers. Since Kuwait is a small country, you’ll never be far from the modern metropolis of Kuwait City, where there is a vibrant and thriving expat community.

To be competitive with other Middle Eastern countries, Kuwaiti schools often offer comprehensive benefits to their English teachers.

Typical Benefits:

  • Airfare for teacher and dependents
  • Housing allowance
  • Eight weeks of vacation time
  • Health insurance for teacher and dependents

Teaching Salaries in Europe - $800-$5,400

Teaching Salaries - Europe

Europe is a popular region for ESL teachers, tourists, and expats alike for its rich history and cultural diversity. From modern cities to eclectic villages, Europe is a great place to teach English as well as travel. Many ESL teachers find work throughout Europe, but it can be a bit more difficult for non-EU citizens.

It is always best to have a TEFL, or similar, qualification so that you have a better chance of being employed. Most jobs in Europe provide little benefits, but you can enjoy socialized medical care in most countries, as well as generous holiday time.

Teaching Salaries in Germany – $2,300-$5,400

Teaching Salaries - Germany

Germany is often named one of the best places to live and work abroad because of its ideal work-life balance and way of life. It can be more difficult to get teaching jobs in Germany since it is such a desirable place to live. Oftentimes ESL jobs will require higher qualification in education which makes the job market here quite competitive.

Teachers can find work in private and public schools, as well as universities. More and more EU companies are based in Germany, increasing the demand for English speakers, so it is also possible to find work teaching business English. Working in Germany, in general, has many benefits, like parental leave, several weeks holiday, national health care, and more.

The specific benefits for ESL teachers are limited, but companies will open assist with housing or relocation. Here's a quick breakdown of your options:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

Public Schools

$3,100-$4,400

  • Few benefits

International Schools

$2,900-$4,900

  • Relocation allowance (varies)

International Corporations

$3,300-$5,400

  • Visa assistance

Universities

$3,300-$5,000

  • Only 18 working hours

Read the full guide for teaching salaries in Germany.

Teaching Salaries in Spain - $800-$2,000

Teaching Salaries - Spain

Spain is one of the most popular destinations to teach English in Europe. Teaching here you can experience the unique and indescribable charm of Spain, with its rich culture, history, and cuisine. Not many people speak English in Spain, but there is a growing demand for learning English. The Spanish government encourages ESL teachers to live and work in Spain through their Cultural Assistants program, which is a great way to get a job if you are from North America.

Others may find it difficult to look for work outside of placement programs, but there are jobs out there! Teacher's benefits, like in the rest of Europe, are few, but your salary can go a long way in most Spanish cities. Compare your two options here:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

North American Language and Cultural Assistants Program

$800 - $1,200

  • Basic health insurance

Private Language Schools and Institutes

$1,800-$2,300

  • Few benefits

Read the full guide for teaching salaries in Spain.

Teaching Salaries in Finland - $1,100-$3,300

Teaching Salaries - Finland

Finland is known for its high-class education system, making it one of the more competitive places to teach English in Europe. Higher qualifications and EU citizenship are preferred for most jobs. If you have enough luck to land a teaching job in Finland, you’ll never run out of adventures surrounded by such stunning natural landscapes.

There are few extra benefits for English teachers in Finland, but some schools may provide airfare or temporary accommodations. Here's a quick breakdown of job options:

School Type Estimated Salary Other Benefits

Public Schools

$2,900-$4,800

  • Few benefits

Private or International Schools

$2,800-$3,800

  • Airfare (varies)
  • Initial housing (varies)

Universities

$3,300-$4,800

  • Private medical insurance

Read the full guide for teaching salaries in Finland.

Teaching Salaries in the Czech Republic - $1,000-$1,300

Teaching Salaries - Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a mesmerizingly beautiful country, with excellent transportation, an easy-going way of life, and tons of beer. ESL teachers will usually find work at foreign language schools or international schools in the capital, Prague. Both types of school offer similar benefits to English teachers.

The salaries here are on the lower end for Europe, but the cost of living in the Czech Republic is quite low compared to other countries. To compensate for a lower salary, many schools offer more benefits than other destinations in the region.

Typical Benefits:

  • Housing or assistance finding housing
  • Visa assistance

Teaching Salaries in Italy - $1,000-$1,800

Teaching Salaries - Italy

As one of the most popular destinations in Europe for tourism, Italy has a lot to offer expats in the way of experiences, culture, and of course cuisine. Unfortunately, Italy’s ESL job market has declined over the years, and as a result, grown more competitive. Despite this, there are still great opportunities for English teachers in major cities.

Salaries and the cost of living vary a bit between cities, but the pay is rather consistent through the country. You won’t make bank in Italy, but you can live comfortably as well as enjoy the amazing ancient and modern sites throughout the country.

Like the rest of Europe, you likely won’t find a job with many extra benefits, like housing and airfare. You’ll find more detailed information on our full teaching in Italy salary guide.

Typical Benefits:

  • little to none

Where will you go? There are obviously many destinations for teaching abroad that are not listed above, but hopefully, this guide has helped you to learn more about the range of salaries and benefits available to English teachers overseas. All you need to do next is decide where to go!