An important question for anyone considering teaching English overseas is how well does it pay? Whilst for most teachers financial reward is rarely the main motivating factor, it is of course still a major consideration. There are many variables, from country teaching rates to your experience and even the university you attended or nationality. TFA, as usual, are here to give you a summary of what to expect in various countries helping you make your decision.
Before we do, though, it is important to say that all countries pay more than well enough to ensure you can live comfortably. There are no teachers living on the poverty line in any of the featured countries. How money is spent depends entirely on the individual but for those hoping to save, additional considerations like the cost of living will need to be thought about.
Whilst Korea may not be the highest paying country, it is perhaps the best place to save money. Most schools in Korea will offer a monthly salary with benefits ranging from 1.8-2.3 million KRW (roughly equivalent to $1,400 or €1,800) – it can be higher depending on the school and the qualifications and experience of the teacher. Along with the low cost of living, there are a lot of benefits such as return airfare, housing and a contract completion bonus, which is typically one month’s salary. This is, of course, attractive to those looking to pay off student debt. Another major draw to Korea is that you can do all the saving whilst enjoying life, eating out, taking trips and not being a hermit in a desperate attempt to get that debt paid off.
An ESL Teacher can expect to earn around $1,900 (€1,500) a month in China. This is a very comfortable salary given the cost of living in China is very low with many employers including accommodation (or an allowance for this) in teaching contracts. This figure, along with the cost of living, will vary, especially if you are living in a Tier 1 city like Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou. For a brief overview of some Tier 2 cities in China, where teaching jobs are plentiful, check out our article on coastal cities: https://www.teachersforasia.com/teaching-in-coastal-china-cities-to-explore/. In China, like Korea, the scope for saving is high, which is a big attraction for teachers. End-of-contract bonuses are also the norm.
There is a lot of choice when it comes to the type of teaching you can do if you choose to live and teach in Vietnam. Anything from kindergartens, state schools, language schools, business English or even university level is open to ESL teachers. On average, teachers make $1,200 (€1,000) a month, which may not sound like a lot but if you consider it in terms of the Vietnamese currency, you’ll be a millionaire. Many teachers have more than one job ensuring they are both saving and living very comfortably. Once again, you won’t be surprised to hear that the cost of living is low and ex-pat accommodation is plentiful.
Thailand isn’t always high on the list of preferred countries to teach in, but it is growing in popularity and that isn’t surprising. With monthly salaries of approximately $1,200 (€ 1,000), your money will go a long way locally. The cost of living is quite low and for some, the call of the beautiful beaches more than compensates. Perhaps this would not be the first choice for those looking primarily to save but it will certainly be the first choice for those who want to live in paradise.
Finally the Lion City. A beautiful, clean, safe haven nestled at the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula. Salaries here are some of the highest in South East Asia, with teachers earning approximately $3,340 (€2,800) a month plus contract completion bonuses. The cost of living here is a little higher but accommodation prices have taken quite a dip in recent years making it the perfect time to live and work in Singapore. You will, however, have to find your own accommodation but condos are plentiful and usually come with a swimming pool! That’s right – A SWIMMING POOL!
So there you have it; as with all things, there are pros and cons to every country. Our advice is to decide just how important the financial factor is to you and go from there.
If you’re ready to apply, please complete our application form by clicking on any of the jobs on our jobs page: https://www.teachersforasia.com/jobs/. Our recruitment team will advise you on the variety of positions and locations on offer and what might best suit you.
Remember that there are some excellent opportunities for subject teachers as well as for ESL – check out our website article: https://www.teachersforasia.com/highly-paid-teaching-opportunities-far-east-qualified-teachers/ and click on our subject teaching jobs for details of the roles currently available: https://www.teachersforasia.com/subject-teaching-jobs/.