Best countries for making money teaching English abroad

List of the best countries for making money teaching English abroad

This page shows you an unbiased list of the best countries for making money teaching English abroad. All the amounts are shown in US Dollars.

The information on this page is a combination of data taken from:

  1. OECD data for teachers’ earnings
  2. Economic data published by Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS)
  3. Various internet job portals with advertised salaries in different countries
  4. Expatistan, a site that provides an impartial cost of living comparison between two chosen cities

There are many countries that do not send figures to the OECD and were not investigated by UBS, so if you cannot find a country on the list, this is the reason why.

Top 10 best countries for making money teaching English abroad graphics

These graphs show the top 10 best countries for making money teaching English abroad from the list shown below. All the amounts are adjusted to show their respective buying power against a benchmark city – New York City in the USA. In addition, they are alll calculated assuming a standard 30 hour week.

For example: what you get paid in Tokyo for working 30 hours a week has more buying power than what you would earn in Milan also working 30 hours a week,.

By monthly earning power adjusted

Best countries for making money teaching English abroad

By hourly earning power adjusted

Best countries for making money teaching English abroad

Explanation of the list of the best countries for making money teaching English abroad

All money fields are in US Dollars. All money figures shown are take-home amounts.The table is split into seven columns,

  1. City and country
  2. Average expected weekly teaching hours
  3. Average monthly earnings
  4. Average real earnings per hour
  5. A Cost Of Living (COL) equaliser percentage rate so that all financial figures can be compared as equals
  6. Adjusted earnings per hour so we can compare apples with apples
  7. The NYC equivalent monthly buying power of each city’s earnings for a teacher who works 30 hours a week

The equaliser percentage rate is taken from Expatistan by comparing the cost of living in each city to New York City.

By doing this, the figures in the far right column shows the buying power of all earnings as equals.

Explanation of the calculations of the best countries for making money teaching English abroad

The first line explained. In Luxembourg, on average a teacher works 26 hours and earns 4,529.20 USD a month. 4,529.20 / 26 / 4 weeks = 43.55 an hour, Expatistan shows that the cost of living in Luxembourg is 16% lower than in NYC so the equaliser percentage is 116% so we calculate 43.55 * 116% = 50.52 USD per hour giving 50.52 * 30 hours a week * 4 weeks = 6,016.16 USD.

This means that your monthly earnings working 30 hours a week in Luxembourg would buy the equivalent of 6,062.16 USD in NYC.

This may appear a little complicated but it is the only way to compare apples with apples.

Table of the best countries for making money teaching English abroad

From highest paid to lowest paid. The “Hourly” column shows what you will actually earn and the last column on the right shows you its monthly buying power in NYC.

CityHoursMonthlyHourlyCOL equaliserAdjustedNYC buying power
Luxembourg (Luxembourg)264,529.2043.55116%50.526,062.16
Nicosia (Cyprus)333,400.0025.76142%36.584,389.09
Tokyo (Japan)444,983.3328.31114%32.283,873.41
Copenhagen (Denmark)384,350.0028.62108%30.913,708.95
Frankfurt (Germany)393,841.6724.63125%30.783,693.91
Madrid (Spain)282,470.0022.05135%29.773,572.68
Seoul (South Korea)433,691.6721.46131%28.123,374.01
Berlin (Germany)403,316.6720.73135%27.983,358.13
Dubai (United Arab Emirates)372,991.6720.21131%26.483,177.64
Milan (Italy)231,816.6719.75128%25.283,033.04
Munich (Germany)403,208.3320.05123%24.662,959.69
Hong Kong (China)443,983.3322.63106%23.992,878.86
Rome (Italy)251,841.6718.42129%23.762,850.90
Barcelona (Spain)382,608.3317.16135%23.172,779.93
Lisbon (Portugal)311,925.0015.52145%22.512,701.21
Vienna (Austria)392,658.3317.04131%22.322,678.78
Helsinki (Finland)372,816.6719.03114%21.702,603.51
Paris (France)312,458.3319.83107%21.212,545.56
Lyon (France)352,225.0015.89131%20.822,498.36
Geneva (Switzerland)363,382.6323.4986%20.202,424.21
Stockholm (Sweden)402,900.0018.13109%19.762,370.75
Amsterdam (Netherlands)392,716.6717.41113%19.682,361.41
Oslo (Norway)363,291.6722.8684%19.202,304.17
Athens (Greece)301,616.6713.47142%19.132,295.67
Brussels (Belgium)382,225.0014.64128%18.742,248.42
Taipei (Taiwan)421,925.0011.46151%17.302,076.25
Zurich (Switzerland)423,382.6320.1383%16.712,005.41
Ljubljana (Slovenia)401,708.3310.68144%15.381,845.00
Manama (Bahrain)401,633.3310.21146%14.901,788.50
Doha (Qatar)471,858.339.88131%12.951,553.88
Phuket (Thailand)301,000.008.33152%12.671,520.00
Cairo (Egypt)361,083.337.52167%12.561,507.64
Kiev (Ukraine)32916.677.16171%12.251,469.53
Chania (Greece)301,000.008.33145%12.081,450.00
Johannesburg (South Africa)401,200.007.50154%11.551,386.00
Tel Aviv (Israel)401,475.009.22124%11.431,371.75
Jakarta (Indonesia)431,250.007.27155%11.261,351.74
Warsaw (Poland)25708.337.08151%10.701,283.50
Santiago de Chile (Chile)381,025.006.74151%10.181,221.91
Buenos Aires (Argentina)4012,0006.25161%10.061,207.50
Nairobi (Kenya)451,166.676.48155%10.051,205.56
Bucharest (Romania)401,000.006.25160%10.001,200.00
Budapest (Hungary)401,000.006.25158%9.881,185.00
Sofia (Bulgaria)34750.005.51163%8.991,078.68
Manila (Philippines)40916.675.73155%8.881,065.63
Prague (Czech Republic)40891.675.57159%8.861,063.31
Istanbul (Turkey)40916.675.73147%8.421,010.63
Tallinn (Estonia)35766.675.48151%8.27992.29
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)401,016.676.35130%8.26991.25
São Paulo (Brazil)33791.676.00133%7.98957.20
Mumbai (India)36666.674.63171%7.92950.00
Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)35725.005.18151%7.82938.36
Shanghai (China)40841.675.26139%7.31877.44
Moscow (Russia)40875.005.47132%7.22866.25
Bogota (Colombia)43850.004.94146%7.22865.81
Bratislava (Slovakia)41741.674.52155%7.01841.16
Delhi (India)41666.674.07173%7.03843.90
Beijing (China)40758.334.74147%6.97836.06
Vilnius (Lithuania)38666.674.39155%6.80815.79
Bangkok (Thailand)43666.673.88156%6.05725.58
Mexico City (Mexico)40616.673.85154%5.94712.25
Riga (Latvia)40500.003.13153%4.78573.75
Lima (Peru)44441.672.51156%3.91469.77
Caracas (Venezuela)36816.675.6769%3.91469.58

Cities like Oslo or Caracas are more expensive to live in than NYC so their COL equaliser is less than 100%.

For common sense reasons, we have not included English speaking countries on the list of the best countries for making money teaching English abroad, If you are going to teach English abroad, it will not be in an English speaking country.

We have to say that we were surprised at what we found when we researched the best countries for making money teaching English abroad. The results are quite unexpected.

Disclaimer: EBC tries to keep the information contained on our best countries for making money teaching English abroad page is as up-to-date and accurate as possible. EBC assumes no responsibility for the accuracy the information as it changes daily around the world. The information is provided as a guide. This information is not a guarantee of earnings, it is a way of comparing earning power by country. EBC accepts no liability for any actions taken based on the information on this page.

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English teaching jobs recruiter game

Are you ready to play the English teaching jobs recruiter game?

  • Want to know how marketable you are as an English teacher?
  • Fed up of English teaching job rejections and you do not know why you are rejected?
  • Still deciding what TEFL qualification you need to get the best jobs?

Play our English teaching jobs recruiter game and find out what a recruiter looks for in an English teaching job candidate.

Forget that you are an English teacher or someone who is planning to train and look for English teaching jobs abroad.

You will swap roles and see yourself through the eyes of a recruiter.

You will enjoy this because it will help you choose the best path to English teaching jobs abroad.

Our English teaching jobs recruiter game also goes a long way to explain why there are so many disgruntled English teachers around the world complaining about bad pay and conditions.

What is described here is the process that our sister language school EBC y Asociados Idiomas does and many other schools do as well.

Your part in the English teaching jobs recruiter game

You will be the English teaching jobs recruiter and you will decide whom to select for an English teaching job.

The English teaching job description

We will keep this generic.

Your school (respected locally for the good quality of its teachers) is looking for an entry-level teacher, who is certified, is willing to work in the country where your school is located and will teach general English in a classroom to all learner levels. The pay and conditions are good by local standards.

You post the job on multiple job boards.

The English teaching job applicants

You receive 100 applications from applicants from many countries including the country where your school is located. The candidates have every type of TEFL certificate imaginable and some have no certificate at all.

English teaching jobs filter number one

Are you going to hire someone who has never received any TEFL training?

  • Yes?
  • No?

Your school is respected for the good quality of its teachers so why will you entertain applications from people with no English teacher training.

The result after applying English teaching jobs filter number one is to throw out all applications from unqualified candidates.

English teaching jobs filter number two

You are going to hire a teacher so what would you prefer?

  • Meet the candidate in person?
  • Skype the candidate in the country where they currently reside?

Based on experience and available information on the internet, most schools will want to meet the candidate in person before making a final hiring decision.

The result after applying English teaching jobs filter number two is to throw out all applications from candidates who are not in your school’s country.

English teaching jobs filter number three

Do you want to risk your job as an English teacher recruiter and your school’s good local reputation for quality, by hiring a teacher who has never taught in a classroom?

  • Yes, I am willing to risk my job?
  • No, I am not willing to risk my job?

If you are willing to risk your job, hats off to you!

Most people with a job prefer to keep it. If you are not willing to risk your job, throw out all CVs from people who have taken an online course.

The result after applying English teaching jobs filter number three is to throw out all applications from online certificate holding candidates.

English teaching jobs filter number four

What type of certificate do you prefer?

  • Do you prefer an examination board or university issued certificate?
  • Do you not care about the quality of the certificate?

After applying filter number three you have a much smaller pile of CVs from candidates living locally who have a certificate that included teaching practice. This is an entry-level position so previous English teaching experience is not a requirement.

Your school cares about quality so the first choice is the logical choice.

The result after applying English teaching jobs filter number four is to keep applications from examination board or university issued certificate holders and throw the rest out.

English teaching jobs filter number five

The final filter is your personal choice. You have to look through your short-list and identify potential candidates. The final choice is usually based on previous work experience, does the candidate have a degree, if he/she does have a degree then what was the major subject, etc. This is one reason why EBC has entry requirements that are higher than other TEFL courses.

Your final choice is the best candidate for the job.

If you have selected a candidate who has the same type of qualifications that you have right now or are planning to have, congratulations, you will have success in finding English teaching jobs abroad with quality schools.

If your TEFL qualification or planned TEFL qualification does not pass through to this stage, you will have limited or no success in finding English teaching jobs abroad. Your may get job offers from schools that are not bothered about teacher quality so you know what to expect regarding pay and conditions.

English teaching jobs PLAN B

There is always a possibility that these filters give you a list of candidates that you do not find interesting.

If this is the case, you will backtrack and start contacting examination board or university certified teachers who are not in the school’s country. Alternatively you could modify and re-publish the job advertisement.

Test yourself

  1. Did you learn anything by playing the role of a recruiter?
  2. What did you learn from the English teaching jobs recruiter game?
  3. What are the main reasons why it is difficult to find English teaching jobs abroad?
  4. What can you do to make it easier to find English teaching jobs abroad?
  5. Why do you think there are many English teachers abroad who complain that their jobs are bad?

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Best countries to teach English in Europe

What are the best countries to teach English in Europe?

We often are asked what are the best countries to teach English in Europe. The answer is quite simple. The best countries to teach English in Europe are those where the current level of English is very low and there is a strong need to learn English.

A map of European countries by ability to converse in English

best countries to teach English in Europe

Low numbers mean that English knowledge is poor. High numbers mean that the level of English knowledge is good. The UK and Ireland score the highest so no surprises there.

A graph of English skill levels by European country

Graphic best countries to teach English in Europe

Four countries stand out as having the worst level of English.

  1. Slovakia – 26% competence in English
  2. Bulgaria - 25% competence in English
  3. Spain - 22% competence in English
  4. Hungary - 20% competence in English

Two of these countries, according to the European top destination guide 2014, are in the top 10 favourites.

They are Budapest in Hungary ranked number 5 and Madrid in Spain ranked number 8.

According to the European top destination guide:

Madrid is an open-minded city where culture and entertainment share a thriving space. The Spanish capital makes everyone feel right at home while providing them with some of the world’s most interesting tourist attractions.

Budapest is a city of full of surprises and wonder, with its lively centre, pretty parks, majestic river, tall church spires and lavish spas. One of the most exciting cities in the world.

We’d add that the weather in Madrid is probably a bit better than Budapest. As for things like wine and life-style, Madrid almost certain is the unchallenged winner.

What sets Spain apart as the TEFL hotspot in Europe?

According to a study by EF English First and comments from The Economist, there are two explanations. The first explains why English knowledge is poor in Spain and the second explains why Spain’s attitude towards English is changing.

The Economist states that:

Several factors correlate with English ability. The larger the number of speakers of a country’s main language, the worse that country tends to be at English … This may also explain why Spain was the worst performer in western Europe, and why Latin America was the worst-performing region: Spanish’s role as an international language in a big region dampens incentives to learn English.

EF English First states that:

Crisis is driving change. Spain’s ongoing economic crisis is also having a major impact on the importance of English in the country. There are signs that the progress Spain has made in English will continue in years to come. A growing acceptance of English as an essential tool and a pro-English government are all driving more people to study English with greater intensity than ever before. There is still a great deal to do, but Spain appears to be well on its way to embracing English as a necessary skill in a globalized world.

One of the best countries to teach English in Europe is Spain

If you want to teach English in Europe, put Spain at the top of your list.

EFL/ESL teachers’ s salaries in Madrid are usually between 1,500 and 2,300 Euros a month. The average Spaniard lives on a around 1,000 a month. A one bedroom apartment is around 450€ a month and a reasonable 3 course fixed menu lunch with a bottle of wine costs about 10€. Basics: milk – 0.60€ a litre, bread – 0.40€ for a “baguette” style, fruits and vegetables are very cheap, wine – decent bottle for about 4.00€, rice – 0.70€ a kilo meat and fish are reasonably priced.

If you are not from the European Union and would like to learn or improve your Spanish and teach as well, we can organise classes with a Cervantes Institute school that includes a one year student visa.

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Real Madrid problems – news for English teacher fans in Spain

Real Madrid Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

The price of success for Real Madrid

Just over a month ago, Real Madrid won its tenth Champions League European Cup. This was history in the making because no other club has won the competition ten times.

The down side is that Real Madrid’s success has unleashed a bucket-load of problems. “Everyone loves a winner” has turned into many players taking credit for the wins leading to “let’s renegotiate my contract.”

These renegotiation requests are threatening to undermine the club’s squad stability. They will almost certainly be the cause for a few players to look for a job elsewhere.

Five of Real’s star players who want to renegotiate their contracts:

  1. Sergio Ramos,
  2. Fabio Coentrao,
  3. Karim Benzema,
  4. Angel di María,
  5. and Sami Khedira.

Ramos and Coentrao

Insider news shows that Ramos and Coentrao will get a pay rise but the rest present problems.

Di Maria “el fideo” (the noodle)

I think di Maria is a great player and before he was injured was one of the key players for the Argentina team in this year’s World Cup tournament. His work rate, footwork and determination certainly made him stand out from many of the other mid-field and forward players.

You would have thought that Real Madrid would have been keen to keep him, but it appears to be quite the opposite.

In 2012 he forced a renegotiation of a contract that was not due to not expire until 2016. Management gave in and gave him what he asked for.

Now he is back again asking for more. He thinks, and you have to give him some credit, that his performance this year at Real Madrid was instrumental in winning Champions League number ten.

Whilst Real Madrid’s management respects di Maria’s work, it is getting tired of him and his agent knocking on the door when the club is successful.

Di Maria might have shot himself in the foot but only time will tell. Due to his contributions to Real Madrid and Argentina, his value has certainly gone up. The estimate is to around 50 million Euros.

Louis Van Gaal, the new manager of Manchester United wants him as so do Paris San Germain but Real Madrid are still debating whether or not to sell him.

Benzema and Khedira

Benzema has put a “take it or leave” 9 million a year after taxes demand on the table. Management have said no so he’s probably on his way out.

Khedira had a so so World Cup and Real Madrid are signing his German team-mate Toni Kroos so Khedira will probably soon be out as well.

The changes?

I am happy that Ramos and Coentrao are staying as they are solid players but I will not be that sad to see Khedira leave as he has never looked that strong.

I seriously hope they keep di Maria even if he is a pain in management’s backside. He needs keeping in line but he is a very skilful player and contributes a lot at team level..

I have mixed feelings about Benzema. As the Americans would say, “he’s either on or he’s gone”. He has great games and games when he becomes the invisible man.

Primary sources

el Economista


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