Let’s face it—if you’re going to put up with snot faced, bouncing-off-the-walls kids, you should probably get paid for it, right? Truth be told, not all TEFL classrooms are a remake of the opening scene from Mrs. Doubtfire. But even so, it doesn’t hurt to make enough money teaching abroad to pay not only for your everyday expenses, but also for some hardcore adventure (and some savings to boot).
If you’re anything like us, you want to teach abroad not only to brighten future young minds with new and exciting possibilities, but also to come out in the green. That’s why we’ve put together this awesome list of the highest paid TEFL jobs this year—read ‘em, compare ‘em, and choose the one that feels right for you.
TEFL jobs in the Middle East
All that oil money needs to go somewhere—and we reckon your bank account is as good a location as any. Arrive hungry… not only for hummous and freshly baked pita bread, but also for opportunity and challenges within the classroom. In this atmosphere of excellence, you too will be pushed to improve and be the best version of yourself.
- Teach abroad here if… You can cope with a more conservative culture, including modifying your dress to be more modest. Your weekends will be Friday and Saturday (as Friday is the Islamic holy day), and you might have to get accustomed to students taking regular prayer breaks during and in between classes. In short: if you’re game for a 180 in terms of culture, the Middle East will pay you handsomely.
- Don’t teach abroad here if… You struggle to acclimatize in radically different environments, or you can’t part with your yoga pants.
- Popular types of TEFL jobs in the Middle East: Public schools, International schools, Universities (like the American University of Beirut or King Saud University), and intensive language schools
- Popular countries: The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain
- Average TEFL earnings: $5000+ monthly
TEFL jobs in South Korea
Bibambap your way to the Korean peninsula to make a sizeable income as a TEFL teacher abroad—just be sure to get your hagwons and wons and hags all in order first. Korean youth are world renowned for their respect towards teachers, and the government-backed support for English language development means you’ll basically have the hook up for the entire duration of your paid TEFL internship in Korea.
- Teach abroad here if… You are willing to have Kpop stuck in your head for the entire length of your program. Ha! All jokes aside, only teachers who are willing to take their jobs very seriously should consider teaching abroad here. The students are incredibly hard working and studious, and families expect that their English language teacher is top-notch and not still feeling the Soju bombs from last night.
- Don’t teach abroad here if… You can’t handle the cold—you are near the 38th parallel, after all!
- Popular types of TEFL jobs in South Korea: Private English schools (hagwons), public schools (EPIK & GEPIK), universities, private tutoring gigs
- Popular cities: Jeju, Busan, Seoul
- Average TEFL earnings: Up to $2000 monthly, with perks like housing and flights included
TEFL jobs in Hong Kong
Hong Kong might be a tiny island, but it packs a serious punch when it comes to… well, just about everything. Great food, great people, a relaxing mix of East and West, and impressive students. Mickey Mouse even speaks Cantonese. See what else you’ll discover when you teach abroad in Hong Kong!
- Teach abroad here if… You are keen to explore modern China with a twist. Hong Kong is “Asia lite”—you’ll have tons of access to expats and more westernized cultures, but not without its special local touch. There’s more money here than in other popular teach abroad destinations, which can create interesting dynamics between you and your students. Don’t be surprised if your classes have both Chinese and expat kiddos.
- Don’t teach abroad here if… You prefer bubbles in your milk tea, or you don’t perform optimally in hot weather.
- Popular types of TEFL jobs in Hong Kong: Private language schools, public schools, private schools, international schools, universities
- Popular neighborhoods: Central, Wan Chai, Yau Mae Tei
- Average TEFL earnings: Up to $1500 monthly
TEFL jobs in Vietnam
Ding DONG! It’s time to earn some Dong and make it rain bills like a rap music video (it’s honestly easier to do here than you think, thanks to the high denominations of the local currency). Jobs teaching English in Vietnam are increasingly popular and competitive—don’t you dare try to snag one without a TEFL certificate—and can be a healthy financial choice for teachers wanting to cushion their wallet with extra cash.
- Teach abroad here if… You want to be in Asia, but prefer a more off-the-beaten-path location to teach English abroad. Though the job market here is stable, Vietnam is a relative newcomer to the stage of highest paid TEFL gigs compared to its peers on this list. Don’t expect every detail of your job abroad to be smoothly coordinated, but do expect your overall teaching experience to be a fun ride from start to finish.
- Don’t teach abroad here if… You can’t handle communist-style buildings or prefer countries that are less oblong and more square shaped.
- Popular types of TEFL jobs in Vietnam: Public schools, private schools, language centers, private tutoring
- Popular cities: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City
- Average TEFL earnings: Up to $1700 monthly
TEFL jobs in Japan
World class skiing, tasty apples, monkey spas. There’s more to Japan than meets the eye, and TEFL teachers lucky enough to work here are first in line to uncover its hidden wonders. Japan’s national support of English language acquisition among children make for a healthy job market, and teachers are rewarded for their good work with enough pay to cover sushi trains, savings, and more.
- Teach abroad here if… You want to work with an internationally recognized government program (JET—an incredibly popular option for TEFL jobs in Japan). While it will make your resume more sparkly, don’t be discouraged by other TEFL destinations with less formal arrangements.
- Don’t teach abroad here if… You are looking for a more laid back, party-vibe once you clock off. Japan is seriously serious and prides itself on its orderliness.
- Popular types of TEFL jobs in Japan: Kindergarten, ALT, private language school (eikaiwa), universities, private tutoring
- Popular cities: Kyoto, Tokyo
- Average TEFL earnings: Up to $1700 monthly
TEFL jobs in Thailand
Thailand has been the “it girl” of budget travel for the past decade, and now it is resurfacing with a new facade: that as an ideal destination to work abroad. Just ask one of the thousands of expats and digital nomads who call Thailand home what makes it great. We’re pretty sure their top five answers will likely be “incredibly kind locals,” “low cost of living,” “fascinating culture,” “to-die-for street food,” and “elephants.”
- Teach abroad here if… You don’t mind working in a classroom that has more limited resources than some of the other TEFL gig options listed here. Keep in mind that the lack of markers or crayons doesn’t have to mean the lack of impact. You’re here to inspire learning and spark an interest in English—keep the bigger picture in mind!
- Don’t teach abroad here if… You expect modernity around every corner. While Bangkok holds it’s own, that’s only one small bit of the country. The rest will stretch your comfort zone in new and exciting ways!
- Popular types of TEFL jobs in Thailand: Kindergarten, ALT, private language school (eikaiwa), universities, private tutoring
- Popular cities: Bangkok, Chiang Mai
- Average TEFL earnings: Up to $1000 monthly
Which destination is calling you?
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