With English quickly dominating the world’s language stage, more and more countries are introducing it as an option in school lectures or as a language of instruction. This has opened up many new jobs in various countries where modernization has made English a primary language in the past decades.
If you speak English fluently and are looking to expand your boundaries while earning some bucks – consider becoming an English teacher in a foreign country and teaching English abroad. Not only can this be a rewarding experience (you contribute to society by educating the younger generation) but it can also introduce you to new cultures.
But beware, it’s not as easy as it sounds! Apart from conversing freely in English – you will need to be adept in the rules of grammar, and have literary exposure, with some qualifications regarding the same. Here’s what various schools usually look for in English teachers.
Qualifications needed for Teaching English Abroad in 2023
Generally speaking, you will need to satisfy the basic work requirements of the country, which may vary from providing a work permit visa to proving your financial independence through bank statements. A clean criminal record and no convictions are of course, mandatory.
Foreign teachers are usually employed in international schools, where the curriculum is standardized across most countries. International institutions look for TESOL or TEFL-certified English teachers.
Some countries may require a Bachelor’s degree (specifically in English or any subject – this will depend on the institute). Others may ask you to take up additional minor courses (such as diplomas on their culture, or a minimal understanding of the local language) before beginning work.
Salary range: 3,500 – 5,000 USD per month
UAE is one of the most popular destinations for English language teachers. Dubai and Abu Dhabi have emerged as top contenders both in terms of pay and comfort.
In fact, most schools will also take care of the teacher’s stay and travel and offer other benefits such as medical insurance. Because of this, the schools subject teachers to rigorous interviews and tests.
Some top schools may also require a Masters’s degree! The salary provided is tax-free and though less than some other countries on the list, the non-monetary benefits more than make up for it.
2. Hong Kong
Salary range: 3,000 – 6,500 USD per month
Hong Kong has one of the highest salaries offered to English teaching faculty. English is quickly gaining prominence and most schools have introduced it as a mandatory part of the course. There has been a huge increase in the number of language teacher listings in the past few years and most schools only require a TEFL certification!
The high expat population only drives this demand. Despite the higher salary, do keep in mind that renting places in Hong Kong can be quite expensive.
Salary range: 2,000 – 4,000 USD per month
Japan has long been a popular destination for English teachers due to the scenic beauty and cultural indulgence it offers. Along with the salary, Japanese schools often provide lodging and flight fares.
The only con would be that the Japanese work long hours. Academic institutions also foster close connections between students and teachers which often means you might spend many hours in the classroom trying to up-skill weaker students and taking part in extra-curricular as a chaperone. This can be quite rewarding though, if educating children is your passion. Many institutes pay as much as 5000 USD for skilled English teachers.
Salary range: 2,600 – 4,000 USD per month
Similar to Hong Kong, Kuwait has a high ex-pat population and this creates job openings from the many international schools located there. Culture-wise, Kuwait City is a veritable potpourri of people from across the world with thriving social spaces to match its pace.
You can also enjoy your after-work hours amidst the city which boasts huge skyscrapers and state-of-the-art museums, clubs, malls, and gathering spaces.
5. South Korea
Salary range: 1,700 – 3,000 USD per month
Quantity-wise, South Korea has the highest number of openings for English language teachers with 2000 to 3000 jobs opening up every month. These usually come with various perks such as free flights and accommodation (only residents of some countries may qualify for this).
Apart from that, Korea is the land of year-long festivals and night-long parties. You can visit mountains, beaches, rural plains, and even volcanoes! While the pay is on the lower end, teachers only have a fixed number of working hours in a week and can generally enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. The tax rate is also low at 5%.
Salary range: 2,000 – 3,000 USD per month
Work-life in Taiwan is similar to that of Korea – except that the country offers a much lower cost of living. You can easily save up a good amount of money and travel to lots of nearby places at cheap rates.
Westerners might find it a bit difficult to adjust to the work culture and social rules of the state. However, with a flexible mindset and respect for every culture, you can easily adapt to local life.
Salary range: 1,000 – 2,000 USD per month
Income-wise, Vietnam has quite less to offer. However, if you’re an entry-level teacher looking to break into this world, it can be a great starting point. And despite the lower pay, Vietnam has a much lower cost of living than the other countries on the list.
Acceptance criteria are also more relaxed and you can easily travel within the country at low rates.
8. Czech Republic
Salary range: 935 – 1,650 USD per month
Teaching English in the Czech Republic can provide a financially stable career option. The salary range, although varying, allows teachers to live comfortably and cover their expenses. Additionally, many institutions offer extra benefits such as paid holidays, health insurance, and assistance with finding accommodation.
Czech Republic’s cost of living is lower compared to some Western European countries, providing teachers the opportunity to save money. The country’s central location in Europe also offers easy access to nearby countries, allowing for affordable travel opportunities.
Salary range: 500 – 1,000 USD per month
Mexico offers a diverse and vibrant environment for teaching English. While the salary range may be lower compared to some other countries, the lower cost of living in Mexico allows teachers to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
With its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine, Mexico offers a unique and rewarding experience for English teachers. The country’s warm and welcoming nature makes it easier for teachers to adapt to the local culture and lifestyle.
Salary range: 540 – 1,350 USD per month
Teaching English in Colombia can be a rewarding experience both professionally and personally. The salary range varies depending on factors such as qualifications and experience, but it allows for a decent standard of living in the country.
Colombia’s affordable cost of living and vibrant culture make it an attractive destination for English teachers. From its stunning landscapes and bustling cities to its rich history and friendly locals, Colombia offers a unique and diverse experience for those looking to teach English abroad.
Apart from teaching, you can also add to your income by offering private or group lessons both online and offline (provided your work permit allows it. Once you secure a position with an international chain, you can also work your way toward promotions or transfers to other locations.
Many use teaching jobs as an opportunity to discover new cultures and travel easily. It can also be a gateway for other jobs such as language translation as you pick up newer tongues. The number of job listings has only been increasing since, so if you fit the profile – don’t miss the chance!