These Countries Pay The Most To Teach Abroad

It might be a good idea to get your TEFL Certification.

If you’re thinking about what kind of job to get this summer, whether you’re graduating or heading back to school in the fall, teaching English might have jumped to the top of your list. Aside from providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live abroad for a season, certain countries pay major salaries for their English teachers.

Your first step is to get Your TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certification, which involves 120 hours of study. There are some programs that don’t require a certification, but those generally don’t pay as well. So if you’re serious about teaching abroad (or already have your TEFL Certification), these are the countries where you’ll make the most money.

The Gulf Arab Emirates

Average salary: $2,008-$5,020 per month

The Gulf Arab Emirates consists of seven different countries: Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman. And while Iraq and Saudi Arabia are both at level four and three travel advisories, respectively, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, and Oman are all safe to visit.

The Middle East has the most demand for English teachers right now. If your top priority is the biggest paycheck, you’ll want to teach in one of these countries.


Average salary: $2,009-$3,763 per month

Asia in general also has a high demand for English teachers, and plenty of countries are willing to pay well. Taiwan offers a great salary for English teachers. Paired with their low cost of living, it’s easy to have a lucrative career in teaching, all while saving money.

The four major cities where most English teachers go are Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Tainan. Most first-time teachers end up in private schools, which don’t have as strict teaching standards as Taiwanese public schools.


Average salary: $1,253-$2,510 per month

While traveling to mainland China is not the safest option right now since it currently has a level three travel advisory, there are still plenty of opportunities to teach English there. China is also relatively affordable, making it a lucrative option.

The most popular cities for English teachers to live in are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. Larger cities are generally more expensive but offer plenty of perks to teachers living abroad. You’ll still be able to save money and live a comfortable lifestyle.

South Korea

Average salary: $1,882-$2,635 per month

There are tons of different programs available for English teachers in South Korea:

  • Government-sponsored programs
  • Recruitment companies
  • Universities
  • Private schools

South Korea also hires teachers year-round. The most popular cities to teach in are Seoul and Busan due to their stunning nightlife and culture. However, if you want to slow down a bit, Gyeongju is your best bet since it’s quieter and smaller.


Average salary: $1,758-$2,509 per month

Sitting as the ninth safest country in the world, Japan is always in need of English teachers. They also offer a multitude of programs for teachers:

  • The JET Program
  • Private language academies & schools
  • Public schools
  • Private lessons

Of course, Tokyo is the most popular city to teach in. But cities like Osaka and Kyoto also offer a rich cultural history and have plenty to do. Smaller towns and villages also have more demand for teachers, so if you don’t mind being out in the countryside, you’ll easily be able to lock down a teaching job there.