If you are looking for the widest choice of English language teaching jobs, look no further than Asia. Across the continent you will find countless opportunities in a wide range of fascinating countries, although the requirements do vary from one to the next. Some countries are only open to native English speakers and others will require a university degree, however, there are still plenty of jobs out there for anyone with a TEFL certification.
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Teaching English in South Korea has become increasingly popular over the last decade and it is no secret that the country offers some of the best salaries for foreign teachers to be found anywhere in the world. English teachers in Korea can expect to earn between $1,500 and $3,000 per month and it is certainly possible to save up to half of this depending on your lifestyle. On top of the basic salary, you can also expect other benefits such as paid airfares, free housing and an end of contract bonus.
Unsurprisingly, the high salaries and good benefits on offer have led to a high level of competition for the best positions. If you have any teaching qualifications and experience in the classroom, you will find you have the pick of the available jobs. However, thanks to a continually high demand even those without experience will have little difficulty finding work as long as they meet certain criteria. Only native English speakers and passport holders of certain English speaking countries are eligible, namely the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and South Africa. Applicants also need to hold a degree in any subject, as well as a TEFL certificate for those looking to work in a government school.
In order to recruit enough teachers for its many schools across the country, the Korean government runs the EPIK Program. This option can be an excellent way to find a guaranteed teaching position in a stable school before you leave your own country. Alternatively, you can find work in private language institutes, universities and even international schools. Whichever kind of school you choose, you will need to provide the following documents in order to gain a work visa: a criminal background check, an apostilled copy of your degree, sealed university transcripts, a copy of your signed contract and a personal health statement. It is worth noting that it can take some time to get the paperwork in order so you are advised to start the process several months ahead.
Although many people find jobs by simply applying to online adverts from within their own country or by travelling to Korea and applying to schools in person, another popular way to find a job is to register with a recruitment company. There are countless agencies and organizations that specialize in finding foreign teachers to fill positions in schools all over the country, all at no charge to the teacher! You also don't need to stick to just one agent, contact several recruiters to ensure you get a wide selection of positions to choose from.
The popularity of China as a destination for English language teachers has steadily increased in recent years, and it is now right at the top of the list with an estimated 100,000 foreign teachers working in the country each year. As a result of an extraordinary economic boom, Chinese parents are more willing than ever to spend thousands of dollars on their children's English education to give them the best chance of success in the future. With over 300 million people learning English across the country, China's insatiable demand for English language teachers looks set to continue.
As there are often more job opportunities than there are teachers to fill them, schools are willing to offer very good salaries and other benefits to attract teachers. Salaries vary depending on the type of school and its location, but you can expect to earn between $1000 and $2500 per month. You may also be offered some attractive extras such as free accommodation, paid airfares and an end of contract bonus. As the cost of living is relatively low, you should be able to live comfortably and also save a considerable amount during your stay.
The largest job market is a network of private language schools that can be found in every part of the country. There are also plenty of opportunities to be found in public schools, kindergartens, boarding schools, universities and international schools. However, in order to qualify for a visa that allows you to work legally you will need to meet certain criteria. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and two years teaching experience, plus a TEFL certificate of at least 120 hours if you plan to work in a private school. It is worth remembering that each province has its own set of rules and these can change regularly so we recommend you check the latest regulations before you book your plane tickets.
As China is so vast you also need to decide which areas you would prefer to work in. The cities of Beijing and Shanghai have long been popular with foreigners as they offer the best salaries and a high level of facilities. However, the cost of living has risen sharply in recent years and rapid expansion means that navigating your way through these mega-cities can often be a daunting task. The good news is there are plenty of smaller cities with thriving job markets and lower levels of development where you can live comfortably and enjoy a more authentic Chinese experience.
The majority of teachers have a job organized in China before they leave their home country. A quick online search will reveal dozens of recruitment agencies offering to make all the necessary arrangements for you. Whilst many of these are genuine there are inevitably some that are less than reputable so it is vital that you do as much research as possible before signing a contract. One solution to avoid potential problems is to apply direct to individual schools. An online search for language schools will reveal a large number of potential employers that you can email with a cover letter and your CV/resume. If you are already in the country, you will have a distinct advantage as you can visit schools and speak to current teachers before you agree to anything. Whatever approach you take, with plenty of research and a little hard work you are sure to enjoy a fantastic adventure teaching English in China.
Japan has been a popular destination amongst English language teachers for many years due to its widespread job opportunities, good salaries and fascinating culture. Whilst there are other countries in the region where the cost of living may be lower and the wages a little higher, nowhere provides such an incredible mix of modern development and ancient traditions as you will find in this extraordinary country. If you are looking for excitement and adventure, look no further than Japan.
In order to work legally you will need to be eligible for a work visa. The good news is that the criteria is not as tough as many other countries as you simply need to possess a degree in any subject. The only other qualifications you need are fluency in the English language, a professional approach and a strong desire to pass on your language knowledge to your students. As Japan is a popular destination you will find that competition for the best jobs is quite fierce so it is also advisable to complete a TEFL certification course before you leave home. TEFL certification will not only increase your chances of landing a good position at a reputable school, but will also ensure you have the skills and knowledge to confidently step into the classroom on your first day.
English teaching jobs in Japan generally fall into two main categories, assistant language teacher (ALT) in a public school or English conversation teacher in a private language academy. The role of an ALT in a public school is to work alongside a Japanese teacher to deliver English lessons to students at either junior or senior high school level. Teachers generally work normal school hours from Monday to Friday and enjoy plenty of public holidays. In contrast, private language academies generally operate as night-schools where children and adults attend to improve their language skills in their own time. Private school jobs usually involve evening and weekend work but unlike public schools you get to run your own classroom. Salaries are similar for both types of work and you can expect to earn between $2000 and $3000 per month depending on location, position and current exchange rate.
One popular way to find work in Japan is via the government sponsored JET Program that is designed to place several thousand native English speakers each year into public schools as assistant language teachers. Applications are required in November for start dates around August the following year, and although participants have no say over where in the country they will be placed, competition for places is very strong. There are also several independent recruitment companies that offer an alternative route into the Japanese teaching market, in both the public and private sector. If you are lucky enough to be in the country when you are looking for work you will find yourself in a very strong position as face-to-face contact is highly thought of in Japanese culture, whilst those with extra qualifications and teaching experience will also be able to apply for higher positions in international schools and universities.
Thailand is firmly established as one of Asia's must-see destinations and is a favorite stop for many on the traditional backpacker trail. For those who want to stay on for an extended visit the good news is that there is a healthy demand for English language teachers in many parts of the country. Although wages may not match those found in some of the region's teaching hotspots, you can still earn enough to live a comfortable lifestyle and to enjoy all that this beautiful country has to offer.
In the past it was almost the norm for teachers to work under the table without a proper work permit, however, those days are largely gone and you now need to have the necessary paperwork in place if you want to earn a good salary. To be granted a work permit you need to possess a degree in any subject and we also recommend that you complete a TEFL training course before applying for jobs. Although it is not a legal requirement to teach in Thailand, schools increasingly expect their teachers to hold TEFL certification and many insist upon it. As well as opening up a wider jobs market with a higher earning potential, TEFL training will also give you the specific skills and knowledge you need to feel confident when you enter your own classroom for the first time.
The majority of teaching positions are found in government schools or in private language academies. Government schools offer a fixed routine that usually runs from Monday to Friday with plenty of public holidays spread throughout the year. Private schools generally pay slightly more but working hours often include evenings and weekends as students are normally attending in their own free time. Teachers with additional qualifications and significant experience will also have access to international schools and universities which offer higher salaries and greater responsibility. If you find that your salary is not going as far as you would like, private tutoring is widely available and offers a great way to earn additional income in your spare time.
Although it is entirely possible to organize a teaching job in Thailand from the comfort of your home country, either via a recruitment company or by replying to individual job posts, it may not be the best approach. Only a small number of employers advertise their positions online as the majority prefer to hire people who are already in the country. Appearance is highly important in Thai culture and a local hiring policy is the simplest way for employers to find out if you are suitable for the job. This policy is also good for the teacher as you can go from school to school to meet the staff and check out the facilities before you sign a contract.
As demand for qualified teachers is strong throughout the year there is no specific best time to look for work in Thailand, although December and January are probably the quietest months. Generally you can arrive at any time of year and start knocking on doors and arranging interviews straight away. The largest number of job openings can be found in the bustling capital Bangkok, whilst Chiang Mai in the north and Phuket in the south are also popular teaching spots.
Vietnam is one of several booming destinations for teaching English in Southeast Asia. In recent years the demand for teachers has grown enormously and the salaries on offer have also improved due to increased competition among schools looking to employ the best teachers. Teachers who have spent time in Vietnam overwhelming say it is a great place to live and work.
In order to get a work permit to teach English legally in Vietnam you will need to be a native English speaker with a bachelor?s degree. Many employers will also insist on a TEFL certificate of at least 120-hours duration. Some jobs at the top end of the pay scale will also require some level of classroom experience, although these are relatively small in number. Even if a job is advertised as experience required, it is not always necessary if you are able to sell yourself well on your CV/resume and/or in an interview.
The majority of teachers in Vietnam are employed by private language schools. There are hundreds of these all over the country, with the largest number in the two biggest cities, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Some provide general English classes for adults or young learners, while some also offer English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses, such as test preparation, Business English, and English for Tourism. There are a smaller number of jobs in English-medium universities and public schools, although previous experience is usually required for these positions. Private tutoring is also common. Some teachers are able to amass enough students to make it a full-time job, but in most cases teachers private tutor a small number of students to top up the salary earned from their main job.
Some schools in Vietnam will tell you that it is fine to work for them with only a tourist visa in your passport; however, this is completely illegal and should be avoided as you run the risk of a fine and deportation from the country. To work legally in any school you require a business visa and a work permit, both of which are normally arranged with the help of your employer. If you are able to arrange a job before leaving home, most of the paperwork can be sorted before you arrive. However, the majority of jobs in Vietnam are not advertised in advance so most teachers arrive on a tourist visa and then apply for the necessary visa and work permit once they have found a suitable job.
Heading to Vietnam on a tourist visa and then looking for work is generally the best approach as it allows you to get a feel for the country before committing to a job. It is advisable to travel around to find the city or town that suits you best and to meet potential employers before signing on the dotted line. Just remember, if you choose this approach it is vital that you bring all the necessary documents with you, such as your TEFL certificate, university diploma and criminal background check. It is also a good idea to check with an embassy or consulate before leaving home to make sure you have the most up to date information on visa requirements.
Private language schools have no fixed semesters as such so they tend to hire at any time of the year. You can do some research before you leave home and you might even be able to arrange a Skype interview, although most employers generally prefer a face-to-face interview. If you plan to work in a public school or university, the school year begins in August or September. For these positions you should start applying around three months before this, although vacant positions can come up at any time so it is always worth keeping an eye on job boards, forums, and individual university websites etc.
As it is a modern, vibrant city where English is a common language and most luxuries and comforts are available, Hong Kong is naturally a popular destination among TEFL qualified teachers. The city is a cultural melting pot where almost every language on Earth can be heard and there is an impressive number of major skyscrapers dominating the skyline, two reasons why it is sometimes referred to as the New York of the East. Due to its popularity, Hong Kong has strong competition for the best teaching jobs, so to have a good chance of landing one there are a few things you need to know.
There have been government guidelines for employing foreign teachers in Hong Kong for some time; however, these have not been rigorously enforced until recently. These days it is very difficult, and ill-advised, to find a job in the territory unless you have a university degree and two years teaching experience or a TEFL qualification. Your degree can be in any subject, while the TEFL certificate needs to be at least 120-hours in length. Other than these basic requirements, each individual employer is free to set their own prerequisites for teaching applicants.
There are a small number of job options in universities, but these will require a high level of qualifications and experience. A master?s degree in English, TESOL or linguistics will probably be expected, as well as a teaching certificate and a minimum of two years teaching experience. If you meet the required standard, the pay and benefits should be very good.
For the majority of teachers, a private language center is the most likely employer. There are plenty to choose from that cater to children of various ages, as well as some aimed at adults. The majority of students use these schools in preparation for external exams. The prerequisites for these jobs are generally in line with the basic government requirements of a bachelor?s degree in any subject, and a TEFL certificate or two years of teaching experience. Although it is not a necessity, native English speakers without strong accents are often preferred.
A third major option is to teach in state run schools via the Native English Speakers Scheme (NET). These jobs are open to native English speakers or fluent speakers who have a degree and a TEFL certificate or teaching qualification. This is a very popular scheme so those with previous teaching experience or a teaching related degree may well have a distinct advantage when applying for a position. You will also earn more as salaries are based on qualifications and experience. If you prefer to teach young children, it is worth noting that these positions almost always go to female teachers in Hong Kong.
The standard work visa required to teach legally in Hong Kong is known as the Z visa. The school should be able to sort this out on your behalf, but if they say they can?t or make excuses then you should think twice as it is probably a sign that they are not an officially registered school. The requirements for the Z visa are basically the same as most teaching positions i.e. a degree in any subject and either two years teaching experience or a TEFL certificate.
Your employer will act as your sponsor for the visa and should take care of most of the paperwork for you. To start the process you will need to supply scans of your passport, evidence of your degree, and a copy of your teaching certificate or evidence of your previous teaching experience. Using these documents the employer will be able to obtain an invitation letter and a Foreign Expert Certificate which will be sent to you in your home country.
Once you have these documents, you need to visit a Chinese embassy or consulate and make a visa application. You can also pay an agency to take care of this part of the process for you. As long as all the paperwork is in order, you should receive your Z visa within a week. The Z visa is essentially to allow you to enter Hong Kong and it must then be converted to a residency permit within 30 days of your arrival. Please note that a basic background check will be required. As long as you have a reasonably clean criminal record there should be no problem. Also, teachers over the official retirement age in China might find it difficult. This is 60 for men and 55 for women.
The government of Taiwan recently announced an ambitious plan to make the country bilingual Chinese ? English by 2030, something that offers a big increase in opportunities for English language teachers in the coming years. Along with the buoyant job market, other great attractions for teachers are the high salaries and extra benefits, a low cost of living, the warm and tropical climate, and a well earned reputation as one of the friendliest nations in the world.
You have to be over 20 years old and be a native English speaker with a passport from the USA, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia. A university degree in any subject is also necessary. Although a TEFL certification is not a legal requirement for jobs or work visas in Taiwan, most employers prefer their applicants to possess one, particularly if they have little or no previous classroom experience.
Private language schools are one of the biggest employers of foreign teachers in Taiwan. Jobs are available at anytime of the year and most contracts are for a 12 month period. These schools often run kindergarten classes in the mornings and then classes for older children in the afternoon and evenings. As demand for teachers is generally very high, no previous experience is typically required for these positions.
There are also positions available in government run schools, but these are far less common than private schools and prior teaching experience is generally required. However, if you can land a public school job you will be rewarded with a better salary and benefit package than those offered by private schools. Unlike private schools, public schools operate a typical school day from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Cram schools, also known as Buxibans, are private schools that specialize in enhancing student?s English skills that will help their admission into the best universities. These schools offer additional classes outside of normal school hours and are known to be highly competitive and to offer a very high standard of education. To reflect this, the hiring requirements are particularly tough and generally include prior teaching experience, some knowledge of Chinese and a two to three year commitment to the school. Teachers are given in-house training once employed and will receive generous salaries and bonuses.
Other options include universities and private tutoring. University jobs are small in number but they offer less working hours and a higher salary for those who are lucky enough to secure them. A high level of qualifications and previous experience are a must for these positions. Private tutoring is not easy to do full time in Taiwan as you are only allowed to work for the employer who secured the employment letter for your visa. However, many teachers are able to top up their main salary by offering private tutoring with students from the school where they work. This needs to be discussed with the employer first to avoid any problems.
In order to apply for a work visa you will need to secure a job first. Once you have been offered a job you will receive an Employment Letter that allows you to apply for a visa to initially enter the country. Once in Taiwan, you have to apply for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) within 15 days. Your employer should provide all the help you need with this process.
In order to get the ARC you will need a basic health check that allows you to then apply for a work permit. Once again, your employer should take care of the paperwork for you. The work permit should arrive within 7 to 10 days. Once you have your work permit, you then need to apply for a resident?s visa. Once that is completed you can then take the final step of applying for the ARC which acts as your Taiwanese ID. Although this whole process sounds complicated, your employer should take care of most of the paperwork on your behalf.
Taipei, the capital city, is the number one destination in terms of job numbers and salaries. The city also has a large expat community that can be a real help to teachers who are new to foreign travel. Taichung is the country?s second biggest city and also home to a good job market for teachers. The city is known for its high quality schools, natural scenery and cooler climate. Other cities such as Kaohsiung, Taoyuan, and Tainan are also popular places to live and teach.