What is the highest salary for ESL teachers?

What is the highest salary for ESL teachers?

Obviously, money isn't the only thing that English teachers are after when it comes to choosing a profession. It is a highly rewarding and respectful occupation, which allows to be in demand everywhere. Needless to say that professional development and practice play the most important role in setting price. That is why average salaries foe ESL teachers vary from country to country.

There are many factors that impact tutors' income:

  • type of institution or a workplace;
  • teaching experience;
  • level of English;
  • learning approaches;
  • education.

When it comes to teaching abroad, even these options aren't enough to predict an average salary. Cosmopolitan metropolises such as New York or California provide impressive amount of money. However, taking into account their costs of living, it doesn't seem huge anymore.

So, whether you want to settle down and put money by, or travel a lot and discover new places, we have something to reflect on. There are some countries you can consider. We will explain what skills you should have and what salary per hour you may expect.


Which countries pay the highest salary for English teaching?

Being a perfect candidate for an English teaching position doesn't equal to being a millionaire. Definitely your qualification and years of practice put you on the top. However, it is highly unlikely to earn much money in a country with a low minimum wage. Some top-paying countries not only pay well but also provide other significant benefits. Some employers can offer you such valuable things as accommodation, medical insurance, and even food reimbursement. It is hard to deny that saving money on essentials like that will help you a lot.

Working abroad let an ESL teacher make $2,000-$6,000 a month. But as we mentioned, there are many things to consider before making a choice.

Table "Average salary for ESL teachers"
Country Average salary, $ Wage an hour, $ Cost of living, $ ESL teacher requirements
UAE 3,500-5,500 20-35 1,200-2,000 Qualification to teach people and several years of teaching experience
Japan 2,000-5,000 20-30 1,000 International certification.
Germany 2,400-4,700 24-32 1,500 Higher education and certification such as TEFL/TESOL.
Qatar 2,400-4,400 19-29 1,000 Valid teaching license, TEFL certificate, bachelor's degree.
USA 3,000-4,000 30-35 1,800 Several years of experience and international qualification.
Kuwait 2,500-4,000 19-30 1,500 Experience and TEFL certification.
Oman 2,000-3,500 18-26 800 There are no strict requirements. Certification is an advantage.
Taiwan 2,000-3,000 19-25 900 Higher education.
South Korea 1,600-2,600 16-19 900 TEFL certificate and bachelor's degree.
China 1,500-2,300 14-20 1,000 Bachelor's degree, TEFL certification.
Vietnam 1,200-2,200 12-18 700 TEFL certification, bachelor's degree.
France 800-2,000 8-18 1,500 Experience, international certification.
Thailand 1,000-1,200 10-14 700 Degree and TEFL.
Spain 800-1,900 8-18 900 Education, certificates, previous experience.
Italy 900-1,600 9-16 800 Qualification and relevant experience.

You can read more information about each country in our article.

Course for English teachers

The United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the most sough-after countries in the world. There are decent conditions that include different benefits such as flight reimbursement, medical insurance, and a housing allowance. When it comes to living, such cities are extremely expensive. However, saving money on accommodation, medicine, and even flights can make you a fortune in the end of the year.uae.jpg

Fortunately, there aren't some special strict requirements for ESL specialists. However, the rule we all know works everywhere. Let your professional achievements be your advantages.

In comparison with the United States, cost of living in UAE is way less. Such a cosmopolitan country offers many opportunities to have fun.

ESL specialist salary is $3,500-5,500, whereas expenses are about $1,800.

Such monthly costs include:

  • appartment $1,200-1,400 (if it isn't included in a contract);
  • food $100-300;
  • transport $60.



Delicious cuisine, blossoming trees, and friendly people attract ESL instructors to Japan. The labor market here is quite competitive, so you need to prove your designation. And, an assertive candidate may count on not only high salary per hour but also benefits. As usually, your experience and knowledge play the most important role in making decisions. Honestly, such conditions don't simplify getting a job without experience. However, newcomers may turn to different international programs, the one of them is the JET program.

The cost of living is really high, but lucky candidates don't pay for housing:

  • You may expect to get paid $2,000-5,000 a month.
  • If a flat isn't included in benefits, so an average rent is about $500-700.
  • Depending on how much you eat you may spend about $100 on food.
  • Transport takes about $80.



There is a calm and peaceful spot for those, who value historical places over modern ones. There are so many educational and language institutions for adults. Also, it is possible to start you own practice. There aren't such requirements you can't fit. However, be ready to spend some time applying for a job personally. ESL tutor salary may vary from institution to institution and depend on many familiar factors.

When it comes to getting work visa, there are some points for you to check and be prepared. Some schools have additional questions for non-EU citizens. As it's a European city, it is highly unlikely to find a cheap apartment or have a paid one.

Having a salary about $2,400-4,700, you may spend about $1,500 on necessary things:

  • $1,000 on housing;
  • $250-350 on food;
  • $100 on transport.



If a dry climate doesn't scary you on a way to a decent salary for teaching English, so Qatar will seem attractive. Thanks to diverse cultures and nationalities of the population, you won't feel alone there. There aren't some extraordinary requirement to ESL teachers. And, it is likely that benefits package will assure you to settle down. Fortunately, the cost of living is low in comparison with other countries, so there is a good chance to put money buy and indulge yourself.

But, even if you have to spend some money on essentials, it won't cost so much:

  • ESL instructor salary is $2,400-4,400.
  • A small but cozy flat in the centre is about $700-800.
  • If you aren't good at cooking be ready to eat out and spend about $200-250.
  • Transport takes about $40.



You can follow your American dream and visit so many places. It is hard to deny that the United States of America has one of the highest cost of living in our list. There are fat chances to get flight reimbursement or food substitute. Also, it is highly unlikely to get help from institutions in getting work visa. Don't get upset, all nations are eligible to do that. You just need to take into account all things that impact on it.

It is an incredible opportunity to get international experience working with people of different cultures and nationalities. Language and public schools are everywhere, and some of them even provide professional trainings for teachers.

Despite you have a good decent salary, you will unlikely save much, as a half of it will be spent on necessities:

  • $3,000-4,000 is an average salary for ESL teachers.
  • A bedroom may cost $800-$1,500.
  • Food is about $250-350 a month.
  • USA doesn't boast about convenient transport system, but taking subway will cost $80.



The huge amount of language schools makes Kuwait a favorable spot for ESL teachers. If you are looking for new emotions and experience, give it a shot there. It is a hustling and bustling place with many opportunities to earn tax-free money. A vibrant nightlife and impressive tall buildings will catch your attention. There is a reasonable cost of living, which allows to rent a flat and put money by.

Getting a job isn't complicated process as long as requirements for ESL teachers are so clear. TEFL/TESOL certification and several years of experience will prove your competence and ability to teach people abroad.

Most of ESL teachers make $2,500-4,000 a month, whereas:

  • a flat takes $900-1,000;
  • food costs $200-250;
  • transport is about $80.



The Arab world is famous for Oman, which is one of the most developed country. Constant advance develops not only economy but also education system. That's why Oman is getting more appealing and competitive for ESL teachers. Thanks to such changes, there are plenty of places to get a job. A very low cost of living will increase your saving and let you live your best life.

Earning $2,500-3,000 a month, you spend about $600 on an apartment and $300 on food and transport. Also, it is good to know that there aren't some special or strict requirements for a teaching position. All professional achievements and certificates will become your advantages.



A huge variety of workplaces is waiting for you in Taiwan. Mild winters, hot summers, and low cost of living won't leave you indifferent. A minimum salary is $1,000 a month depending on an institution. Kindergartens, public and private schools are always in need of high-qualified English teachers. In addition, there aren't complicated regulations in terms of getting visa or applying for a job.

Thanks to rational price for housing and food, you can save some money in the end of the month. Usually ESL teachers earn $2,000-3,000 a month spending just $400-500 on accommodation and about $150 on food.

South Korea

South Korea

As a neighbour of Japan South Korea has similar work conditions to offer to English teachers. That is why, it's so strange that this place is less popular in comparison with Japan. Fortunately, there is no cut-throat competition market, but anyway you are responsible for the good first impression. Having $1,600-2,600 each month you can count on free rent apartment and flight reimbursement.

There are so many programs that you can start teaching in South Korea having only a bachelor's degree and a TEFL certification.

Necessary costs are pretty affordable:

  • if you have to pay for housing, it will cost about $400-600;
  • you spend about $200 on food;
  • public transport is quite available, you spend about $60 a month.



China is one of the most popular and attractive destination for intrepid travelers. As ESL teachers can often move and settle down wherever they want, China is getting more appealing. Needless to mention historical sights and wonderful nature you can enjoy here. The population is so big, so it seems that there is always lack of ESL tutors. Whether you have teaching experience or not, you have a chance to realize your potential and get international practice.

Work with kids in kindergartens is the most preferred. Depending on a public or private school you may expect to earn $1,500-2,300 a month. In addition, it is likely to get free rent housing and other useful benefits from an employer. And, there is a bunch of vacancies to apply for.

When it comes to the law, getting Z visa isn't the easiest process. Usually, candidates turn to recruiters or agencies to get some help with that. As you are provided with accommodation, you can save about $650 a month. That's a good start. If you want to know more about China, check our article.



Money and developing career aren't such things that attract ESL teacher to Vietnam. This Asian country is famous for its exotic cuisine, welcoming people, and tropic climate. That is why there are no strict requirements for teaching. As a bachelor's degree seems to be an essential, TEFL/TESOL certification isn't only necessary but quite impressive part of a resume.

An average salary isn't high as well as cost of living. A monthly salary may vary from $1,200 to $2,200. There aren't many employers who are ready to cover your housing expenses. But fortunately, accommodation in Vietnam is quite affordable. You can find a flat for $400 and spend about $200 on food.

Anyway, such a warm and beautiful place is supposed to get you familiar with Asian culture.



Paris is so tempting, so many people just leave everything to watch Eiffel Tower. In reality, it isn't so easy as it seems to be. EU citizens and people from English-speaking countries are more are given preference in terms of visa regulations. In comparison with other countries that we have already discussed, there isn't need in English teachers in schools or kindergartens. However, if you are a qualified and educated professional you can teach adult in an international company. That's a chance to get experience in teaching Business English or English for specific purposes.

It's incredibly hard to put money by and not to make ends meet at the same time. France is one of the most expensive places in the world. So, if you want to visit museums or just eat out from time to time, probably there will be no money to save. An average salary for ESL teachers is $800-2,000 a month, whereas an apartment rent may eat a half of it.



Thailand allows you to enjoy perpetual summer, exotic fruits, and smiling people. There are so many children, who are keen on to learning English, so you can easily get a job. There are two necessary things such as a bachelor's degree and a TEFL/TESOL certificate. Thanks to location, you have a chance to visit neighbour-countries or just travel around on islands. As Thailand isn't such an expensive country, you may not only have a decent salary but also buy something special.

Teacher salary is about $1,300 a month, whereas they spend about $300 on a flat and about $200 on food. Truth be told, there are some regulations in terms of visa. Usually, teachers opt for online teaching to avoid some problems.



As long as ESL teachers are in demand in Spain, there are always places to work. Needless to say that the Spanish are as interested in learning English as the Chinese. Another good news is there are some programs to provide non-native speakers with work and support them. Whether you want to teach kids or adults, you have to prove your ability to do it. As usually TEFL certification and a bachelor's degree are obligatory, as well as relevant experience.

Cost of living depends on a city, however anyway it's quite challenging to cave money here. For example, an average salary is $800-1,900, whereas essential costs are about $1000.



Teaching English in Italy is a dream till you start thinking on how to realize it. There aren't many public or private schools, which are in need of ESL teachers, but you can start teaching teenagers in Summer Camps, which are quite popular ways of immersing in English-speaking environment.

It isn't necessary to apply for a job personally, there are so many vacancies online. As for non-EU citizens, obtaining visa seems way more complicated. It is highly unlikely that employers or school will help you to handle this process. So, be ready to make it on your own.

Similar to France, it's quite challenging to save money and live there. You can earn from $900 to $1,600 and spend a half of this sum on a bedroom.


There are so many opportunities to expand your professional horizons being an English teacher. Obviously, there isn't the only formula to become a professional overnight. As we discussed, all institutions may have they own requirements. However, there is one you should definitely fit.

Experience can help a lot, and there are many ways how to get it quickly. But it doesn't make any sense if you don't know how to teach people. Fluent English is a brilliant skill but it isn't enough to make people speak like you. TEFL/TESOL certification will make a huge difference in your teaching process. During a course, you will get significant knowledge about learning approaches, teaching grammar, and working with learners' goals.

You may become a qualified specialist, who is ready to work with different needs in a couple of months. Enroll in online TEFL/TESOL course and purchase it at a 50% discount. You can get a course program and other details here.

We hope that this article made you think of teaching English abroad. If you have some relevant questions, leave them in the comment section below.

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