Pursuing a career in TEFL can open doors to transformative experiences, personal development, cultural immersion, and community engagement. Nonetheless, a competitive salary is also part of the package, and many of our graduates secure substantial earnings. Do note, the highest salary isn't the only financial aspect to consider while assessing the earnings of TEFL teachers. You must also account for the local cost of living, added benefits, and potential savings.
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The pay scale for teaching English overseas varies considerably, but you can expect a decent income. Your salary will be influenced by your role, qualifications, and the country where you teach. In countries known for higher wages, teachers can earn between $2,000 and $5,000 USD monthly. In numerous Asian and Middle Eastern countries, even novice English teachers can save 30%-50% of their income after covering expenses, which equates to around $500 - $2,000 USD.
Also read: How much can I earn teaching English abroad?
Typically, TEFL salaries in Asia enable you to save approximately 30% to 50% of your income post-expenses. This figure can range from $200 to $300 USD per month in Thailand, up to $1,000 USD or more in South Korea, rendering Asia a profitable region for TEFL qualified teachers. Another region with high wages worth considering is the Middle East.
Salaries for English teachers in the United Arab Emirates and other Persian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain rank among the highest globally, with salaries ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 per month. Benefits often include free accommodation, paid leave, health insurance, and round-trip flights from the teacher's home country.
Your income may also vary depending on whether you are employed at a public or private language institute. Government-funded public schools in certain locations might offer higher salaries. In contrast, private language schools often provide superior salaries as they can impose higher enrolment fees on parents, resulting in a larger operational budget.
The level of teaching also influences your salary. You are likely to earn more teaching at a university compared to instructing young learners at an elementary school. Teaching business English at a major corporation could also be more lucrative than leading conversational classes at a local community center.
Countries with a high demand for English instruction often have a government-sponsored English teaching program in place. These initiatives place certified English teachers in schools across the country for a specified duration.
These long-established programs typically receive substantial government funding. Teachers working through these schemes often enjoy high salaries and additional perks like covered airfare, housing, orientation, and continuous support throughout their tenure.
Some of the most popular programs include: the EPIK program in South Korea, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET), the TAPIF Program in France, the Cultural Ambassadors Program in Spain and the Central European Teaching Program (CETP) in Hungary.
Most online teaching platforms pay instructors on an hourly basis. The average hourly wage for online English teachers fluctuates between $15 and $30. However, if you are operating through a platform, the agency will typically deduct a portion of this as a service fee.