Top 5 Most Lucrative Locations to Teach English Abroad

Top Articles on Studying Abroad from Students and Experts

story by John Bentley

Everybody is familiar with the saying “you don’t become a teacher for the money,” and while going abroad to teach English overseas will almost certainly be one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences you will ever undertake, you probably don’t want to count on it to buy that tropical island you fantasize about for your retirement.

That said, there are thousands of opportunities around the world for certified English teachers (particularly native speakers with four-year degrees) that do pay well and offer exceptional benefits.
1. South Korea
A prosperous economy and a deep-rooted commitment to education make Korea a top destination for certified English teachers, especially those looking to make money. Highlights of teaching English in Korea: 

  • English Teachers in Korea typically make enough to save around 50% of their salary each month, which can top $1,000 a month, or up to $15,000 a year. 
  • Furnished housing is provided to English teachers in Korea. 
  • English Teachers will be reimbursed for their airfare to Korea and provided with a stipend for a flight home at the end of their contract. 
  • English Teachers in Korea who complete their 12 month contract will typically receive an extra month’s salary as a bonus. 
  • You can get hired to teach English in Korea in advance from home. 
  • Cities are cosmopolitan and modern, offering world-class shopping, historical attractions, nightlife and recreational and sporting opportunities. 
  • Proximity to other Asian countries makes it a great base for exploring the world’s largest and most diverse continent. 

Click here to request a Country Chart that details salaries, hiring requirements, interview procedures and visa information for teaching English abroad in more than 50 countries around the world.

2. Japan
Offering an unparalleled combination of culture, cuisine, history and stunning natural beauty, Japan has long been a top market for qualified English teachers. Highlights of teaching English in Japan: 
  • Make enough to save $600-$800 a month after expenses.
  • Get hired to teach English in Japan in advance from home.
  • Step back in time while strolling through the historic streets of medieval Kyoto. 
  • Visit Tokyo’s legendary Tsukiji Market, largest fish and seafood market in the world. 

3. Taiwan
Located on an island off the southeast coast of China, Taiwan offers a unique opportunity to experience Chinese culture in a subtropical environment (think Florida or Jamaica). Highlights of teaching English in Taiwan: 
  • Make enough money to save $500-$700 a month after expenses. 
  • Live in a prosperous and democratic Asian society where living standards are high. 
  • Enjoy the vibrant street life, colorful markets, and world-class shopping of Taipei. 
  • Spend your weekends enjoying Taiwan’s gorgeous coastlines or exploring the country’s lush, mountainous interior, known for its innumerable hot springs and awe-inspiring views. 

4. Gulf Arab States in the Middle East
(Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain) – Tremendous oil wealth and a desire to become international players in the economic and political arenas have led the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region to invest billions of dollars into their education systems, particularly English language instruction. As a result, qualified English teachers are offered very attractive pay and benefits packages to come to teach. However, because the number of opportunities is only a fraction of what is found in Asia or Europe, the job market can be competitive (an MA and/or a professional background in education may be required for many positions). Highlights of teaching English in the Persian Gulf region: 
  • Salaries ranging from $2,000 - $5,000 per month (tax-free).
  • Benefits may include free health insurance, furnished housing/housing stipend, and flights to and from your home country. 
  • An opportunity to experience a region rich in culture and history.

5. Vietnam
Sloping from the border of China into the heart of Southeast Asia like the body of a mythical dragon, Vietnam represents a distinct blend of Chinese Confucianism-based traditions and the Buddhist Khmer cultures of Southeast Asia with a taste of French-colonial charm. Boasting thousands of miles of coastline, mountainous highlands, and a collection of colorful and bustling cities, Vietnam offers something for everyone. Highlights of teaching English in Vietnam: 
  • Low cost of living and good salaries enable English teachers in Vietnam to save up to $ 600 a month after expenses. 
  • Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling, dynamic Asian city that combines with modern conveniences and cosmopolitanism with traditional street markets and local color. 
  • Hanoi is a jewel of the old colonial Vietnam with the French windy streets and charming cafes around every corner. 
  • The beaches of Vietnam are said to be some of the most spectacular of all South East Asia. 

Wherever you decide to teach, unless you have a college degree in teaching English as a foreign language, you should strongly consider earning an internationally accredited 120-hour certification that will provide you with the skills you need to succeed as a teacher and the qualification you need to get hired by tens of thousands of schools and language institutes around the world.

John Bentley


John Bentley is a Senior Admissions Advisor at the International TEFL Academy, which trains and certifies nearly 1,200 people a year to teach English abroad and provides lifetime job search guidance to all students and graduates. John holds a BA from Harvard University in Middle Eastern studies and a Masters from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. While at Harvard, he was a primary author for the Egypt-Israel edition of the famous Let's Go! travel guidebook series and he has worked in the field of international travel, education, and journalism throughout his career. John also grew up in Egypt and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe.

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