Stop me if youve heard this before: nobody teaches English abroad for the money, right? Actually wrong.


Although teaching English overseas will never get you on a list of world billionaires, it can come with a reasonable salary -- one that even puts money in your savings account. As a teacher abroad, it's perfectly reasonable to earn a decent salary -- in top-paying countries, this can be from $2,000 to over $5,000 per month! -- depending on the country and region. 


Keep in mind that high salaries are not always everything: you have to also weigh the local cost of living and benefit packages to determine how much youll be able to save during your teaching stint.


Although some countries and regions still pay very little (like teaching gigs in Thailand or Central America), other countries, particularly teaching jobs in the Middle East and Asia, are compensating English teachers with surprisingly decent wages. The highest paid ESL jobs can often be found in these parts of the world.


Keep in mind that high salaries are not always everything: you have to also weigh the local cost of living and benefit packages to determine how much youll be able to save during your teaching stint. But before you make any decisions, read on for the countries where ESL teacher salaries are the highest.



1. The U.A.E. - $3,500-$5,500 per Month


Generally speaking, the highest paid ESL jobs in the world are found in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the two biggest cities in the UAE. Salary packages for teachers in the United Arab Emirates can range between $3,500-$5,500 (12,300-20,400 AED) per month, depending on experience. However, like most Middle Eastern countries, the requirements are stringent and most jobs require teachers to be certified to teach in their home countries or at least have several years of teaching experience.


Aside from the high salary, you can also expect to receive extensive benefits in the UAE, including a housing allowance, relocation allowance, flights home, and government health care. Plus, your salary will most likely be tax free! When all of this is combined, it's very easy to save lots of money while teaching here.


Two of the most popular destinations in the UAE are Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These world-class cities are the definition of cosmopolitanism. If you live here, you'll have your choice of top restaurants, beaches, nightlife, and cultural activities.



2. Japan - $2,200-$5,000 per Month


The food, snow-capped mountains, springtime cherry blossoms, steaming bowls of noodles, and welcoming people have given teaching in Japan a wide appeal. And it doesnt hurt either that salaries in Japan have a wide range of $2,200-$5,000 (220,000-540,000) per month, depending on your certifications and experience as a teacher. Some jobs even offer additional bonuses like housing assistance and free flights to the right candidate.


Previous teaching experience is not necessary, though it can be tough to find a position without it since the job market in Japan is extremely competitive. Most less experienced teachers opt to participate in the JET Programme, but be sure to consider the alternatives.




3. Saudi Arabia - $3,000-$4,000 per Month


If camels, desert, and a little bit of culture shock sound like a fair trade-off for a high ESL teaching salary, Saudi Arabia might be a destination for you to consider. Saudi Arabia has an edge on some of the other countries in the Middle East, because many job openings do not require teacher certification.

Experience is always beneficial, and TEFL certificates are usually necessary, but salaries in Saudi Arabia are typically in the range of $3,000-$4,000 (11,000-15,000 SAR) per month. Benefits again are generally extensive, and you can expect housing, flights, and health care to be covered.



4. Kuwait - $2,600-$4,000 per Month


Due to a high number of international schools, the job opportunities are plentiful for English teachers. Kuwait City may be surrounded by desert, but the city itself is buzzing. It's clean and modern, with skyscrapers, green parks, clubs, shopping, and a vibrant expat community.


ESL teacher salaries in Kuwait range from $2,600-$4,000 (785-1,200 KWD) per month, tax-free. Most employers require teacher certification and experience especially for higher salaries in this range.



5. Oman - $2,000-$3,500 per Month


Oman is one of the most developed countries in the Arab world, and it has seen rapid advancements in its education system in recent years.


Although opportunities to teach English in the country are rather limited right now, it is a great opportunity to act as a pioneer in a burgeoning field. If you do choose to teach in Oman, you'll be rewarded well.


Teacher salaries in Oman can range from $2,000-$3,500 (750-1,350 OMR) per month, and with a very low cost of living (around $700 per month) you'll have plenty of opportunities to expand your savings.



6. South Korea - $1,600-$2,650 per Month


Japans neighbor to the west, South Korea, has a similar salary and benefits package to Japan but is somewhat less trafficked as a tourist destination. However, that is changing. English teachers are flocking to Korea, where the salary for ESL teachers is $1,600-$2,650 (1.8-3.2 million KRW) per month, and often includes housing and full or partial flight reimbursement.


Factor in overtime and bonus opportunities and a lower cost of living, South Korea is one of the best destinations for teaching abroad. A minimum of a TEFL certificate and bachelors degree is usually required to teach English in Korea, especially for the EPIK, GEPIK, or SMOE programs.




7. Hong Kong - $3,000-$6,500 per Month


You might be looking at the salary range above and be wondering why Hong Kong is all the way down at the bottom of our list! While salaries tend to be quite high for ESL teachers in Hong Kong, ranging from $3,000-$6,500 per month (23,000-50,000 HKD), you have to keep in mind that the cost of living in this region is incredibly high. 


In fact, Hong Kong was recently named the most expensive city in the world, so if you choose to teach here keep in mind that a significant portion of your salary will be going to rent and incidentals. But that being said, it should still be possible to put money away, especially if you budget a bit.


Commensurate with the pay, the qualifications to teach in Hong Kong are high. 


You'll need to have a degree, 2+ years of teaching experience, and most likely a TEFL certificate.


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Which Countries Pay the Highest Salaries for Teaching Abroad?


Stop me if youve heard this before: nobody teaches English abroad for the money, right? Actually wrong.


Although teaching English overseas will never get you on a list of world billionaires, it can come with a reasonable salary -- one that even puts money in your savings account. As a teacher abroad, it's perfectly reasonable to earn a decent salary -- in top-paying countries, this can be from $2,000 to over $5,000 per month! -- depending on the country and region. 


Keep in mind that high salaries are not always everything: you have to also weigh the local cost of living and benefit packages to determine how much youll be able to save during your teaching stint.


Although some countries and regions still pay very little (like teaching gigs in Thailand or Central America), other countries, particularly teaching jobs in the Middle East and Asia, are compensating English teachers with surprisingly decent wages. The highest paid ESL jobs can often be found in these parts of the world.


Keep in mind that high salaries are not always everything: you have to also weigh the local cost of living and benefit packages to determine how much youll be able to save during your teaching stint. But before you make any decisions, read on for the countries where ESL teacher salaries are the highest.



1. The U.A.E. - $3,500-$5,500 per Month


Generally speaking, the highest paid ESL jobs in the world are found in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the two biggest cities in the UAE. Salary packages for teachers in the United Arab Emirates can range between $3,500-$5,500 (12,300-20,400 AED) per month, depending on experience. However, like most Middle Eastern countries, the requirements are stringent and most jobs require teachers to be certified to teach in their home countries or at least have several years of teaching experience.


Aside from the high salary, you can also expect to receive extensive benefits in the UAE, including a housing allowance, relocation allowance, flights home, and government health care. Plus, your salary will most likely be tax free! When all of this is combined, it's very easy to save lots of money while teaching here.


Two of the most popular destinations in the UAE are Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These world-class cities are the definition of cosmopolitanism. If you live here, you'll have your choice of top restaurants, beaches, nightlife, and cultural activities.



2. Japan - $2,200-$5,000 per Month


The food, snow-capped mountains, springtime cherry blossoms, steaming bowls of noodles, and welcoming people have given teaching in Japan a wide appeal. And it doesnt hurt either that salaries in Japan have a wide range of $2,200-$5,000 (220,000-540,000) per month, depending on your certifications and experience as a teacher. Some jobs even offer additional bonuses like housing assistance and free flights to the right candidate.


Previous teaching experience is not necessary, though it can be tough to find a position without it since the job market in Japan is extremely competitive. Most less experienced teachers opt to participate in the JET Programme, but be sure to consider the alternatives.




3. Saudi Arabia - $3,000-$4,000 per Month


If camels, desert, and a little bit of culture shock sound like a fair trade-off for a high ESL teaching salary, Saudi Arabia might be a destination for you to consider. Saudi Arabia has an edge on some of the other countries in the Middle East, because many job openings do not require teacher certification.

Experience is always beneficial, and TEFL certificates are usually necessary, but salaries in Saudi Arabia are typically in the range of $3,000-$4,000 (11,000-15,000 SAR) per month. Benefits again are generally extensive, and you can expect housing, flights, and health care to be covered.



4. Kuwait - $2,600-$4,000 per Month


Due to a high number of international schools, the job opportunities are plentiful for English teachers. Kuwait City may be surrounded by desert, but the city itself is buzzing. It's clean and modern, with skyscrapers, green parks, clubs, shopping, and a vibrant expat community.


ESL teacher salaries in Kuwait range from $2,600-$4,000 (785-1,200 KWD) per month, tax-free. Most employers require teacher certification and experience especially for higher salaries in this range.



5. Oman - $2,000-$3,500 per Month


Oman is one of the most developed countries in the Arab world, and it has seen rapid advancements in its education system in recent years.


Although opportunities to teach English in the country are rather limited right now, it is a great opportunity to act as a pioneer in a burgeoning field. If you do choose to teach in Oman, you'll be rewarded well.


Teacher salaries in Oman can range from $2,000-$3,500 (750-1,350 OMR) per month, and with a very low cost of living (around $700 per month) you'll have plenty of opportunities to expand your savings.



6. South Korea - $1,600-$2,650 per Month


Japans neighbor to the west, South Korea, has a similar salary and benefits package to Japan but is somewhat less trafficked as a tourist destination. However, that is changing. English teachers are flocking to Korea, where the salary for ESL teachers is $1,600-$2,650 (1.8-3.2 million KRW) per month, and often includes housing and full or partial flight reimbursement.


Factor in overtime and bonus opportunities and a lower cost of living, South Korea is one of the best destinations for teaching abroad. A minimum of a TEFL certificate and bachelors degree is usually required to teach English in Korea, especially for the EPIK, GEPIK, or SMOE programs.




7. Hong Kong - $3,000-$6,500 per Month


You might be looking at the salary range above and be wondering why Hong Kong is all the way down at the bottom of our list! While salaries tend to be quite high for ESL teachers in Hong Kong, ranging from $3,000-$6,500 per month (23,000-50,000 HKD), you have to keep in mind that the cost of living in this region is incredibly high. 


In fact, Hong Kong was recently named the most expensive city in the world, so if you choose to teach here keep in mind that a significant portion of your salary will be going to rent and incidentals. But that being said, it should still be possible to put money away, especially if you budget a bit.


Commensurate with the pay, the qualifications to teach in Hong Kong are high. 


You'll need to have a degree, 2+ years of teaching experience, and most likely a TEFL certificate.


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