Are you thinking of an adventure via the ESL teaching path? While it’s true that teaching English overseas will never make you a billionaire, the salary is good, and with a little effort, you can even put money in your savings account. As an ESL teacher, you can earn from $2,000 to over $5,000 per month depending on the country and region. What’s ESL and how does one earn that certification?
ESL is a common abbreviation used in schools, and it stands for “English as a Second Language.” Schools will often use the term ESL when describing the programs that educate students who are not native English speakers and for describing the ‘ESL students’ themselves. ESL classes help all immigrants improve their English. ESL classes help students to cope with native speakers. ESL classes teach about the opportunities, rights, and responsibilities of living in the U.S.
If you are stung by the travel bug, you can take that road to be an ESL teacher. What qualifies you to be one? And where are the best countries to teach in? These are practical questions which you must tackle headlong as you plan for this adventure of traveling via the teaching path.
Top ESL Teacher Rates
When looking for a job abroad, you don’t only look at the salary you will receive for the position but the cost of living. Most Asians would wander into foreign countries lured by high-paying jobs only to find later that most of their salaries go to paying for their bed space (if it’s not enough to rent a small room), and they need to scrimp on food to make their salary last till the next pay date. So, it’s good to consider board and lodging or where to crash – a relative or a friend – if you can’t make it on your own on a meager salary.
In most foreign countries, ESL teachers can expect to earn approximately $1,500 – $2,000 USD, depending on qualifications and experience. After six months of employment, trainers are eligible for promotion and may be considered for senior positions. Top salary rates for ESL teachers are as follows:
United Arab Emirates (UAE) – up to $4,100 USD/month, tax free
Kuwait – up to $3,700 USD/month, tax-free
Kazakhstan – up to $5,000 USD/month
China – up to $2,500/month
Korea – up to $2,000/month
Japan – $1,700 – 5,000 USD/month
Generally speaking, the highest paid ESL jobs in the world are found in the United Arab Emirates. 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.
As an ESL teacher in Japan, you can expect to earn anywhere between 200,000 and 600,000 Yen ($1,700 – 5,000 USD) per month. Hourly tutoring rates hover around 3,000 Yen ($25 USD) per hour. Like in China and Korea, Japan often offers teachers flights, accommodation, and training included in their salary packages.
Are you Qualified to be an ESL Teacher?
Earning a bachelor’s degree, obtaining ESL training, getting licensed, and gaining teaching experience are all part of becoming an ESL teacher. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for a professional ESL teacher. Most workers earn degrees in education, English, writing, or teaching English as a foreign language.
Students may also earn education degrees that come with a bilingual concentration. Applicable coursework includes using technology to teach, motivating adult learners, working with learning disabilities, developing lesson plans, and teaching diverse cultures.
Upon completion of a bachelor’s degree, aspiring ESL teachers typically must complete an ESL training program. For example, a certificate program in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) can provide the basic skills needed to teach ESL and attain licensure. Individuals will learn how to assess students’ language skills, teach grammar lessons, and practice conversational skills. While many certificate programs do not require prior teaching experience, some ESL certificate programs are designed for working teachers who have already earned their teaching licenses.
It might also be worth looking into a master’s degree. Licensed ESL teachers who want to increase their employment opportunities might want to consider earning a graduate degree in ESL. Classes can include several research seminars and cover topics like linguistics, literacy development, and academic English. The program often ends with the completion of an original thesis. ESL teachers with prior experience are particularly sought after, especially for overseas jobs.
Evaluating Savings versus Earnings
Teaching English in Asia can also be good for saving money. Saving a $1000 a month is possible in Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan as salaries for English teachers are pretty good. A couple reported having saved a combined total of $21,000 USD teaching English in Yangzhou, China. They each worked 20 hours a week for a monthly salary of $1,300 USD. If you cut down on your traveling costs, you can easily save $10,000 USD in a year!
Here’s a tip: “If you want to make the bank and travel the world, teaching English in Korea is your best bet.” On average, if you have a bachelor’s degree in any subject, you can expect to earn $21,600 per year (or $1800 a month). Other salary perks can include subsidized or free accommodation, bonuses, travel allowances, and flights to and from your home country. These extra benefits allow you to save a fair amount.
But wait, there’s more!
Seoul’s Incheon Airport is one of the busiest in the world and often offers affordable international flights. Make the most of your Asian location and extra cash to explore the rest of the region during your time off. Japan? China? NORTH KOREA?
Because of the relatively low cost of living and solid exchange rate, many teachers save a lot of money during their time in Asian countries. This can help you pay off debts at home or invest in other ventures. Plus, the allure of new places, new culture, and friendly people amounts to a richness no amount of money can buy.