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13 Best Countries for Teaching English Abroad in 2023
Where are English teachers in demand worldwide? Learn about the 13 best countries for teaching English abroad and where you can find great teaching English abroad jobs in 2023.
Written By: Jessie Smith | Updated: December 5, 2022
Written By: Jessie Smith
Updated: December 5, 2022
The field of teaching English abroad has experienced drastic shifts since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including massive school closures, a worldwide transition to online education, and most recently, a gradual return to in-person learning and the reopening of TEFL job markets worldwide. We closely monitor these changes at International TEFL Academy (ITA) so that we can provide the most current information about the market for English teaching jobs abroad. We've analyzed over 80 countries, gathered feedback from our actively teaching students, and looked at the market worldwide for TEFL jobs abroad.
Fortunately, in 2022, many major job markets for teaching English abroad have reopened for hiring and recruiting, providing more opportunities and choices for those possessing an accredited TEFL certification.
So, while the situation may change at any time, here are our current recommendations for the best countries to teach English abroad in 2023. Our criteria for choosing these nations include job availability, openness to international travel, and quality of life and experience. We've also included countries from different regions of the globe.
What are the Best Countries for English Teaching Jobs Abroad in 2023?
Teaching English abroad is a life-changing and rewarding experience. Choosing the right place to teach plays an important role in determining whether you will have a great experience. We always recommend that you be open-minded and flexible when looking at your options because there may be some great opportunities in places that you might not initially consider.
So where should you go? Let's dive right into it:
Where Can I Teach English Abroad?
English teaching jobs abroad are available in up to 100 countries worldwide and for teaching English online. Even without a college degree, if you get TEFL certified, there are more than 50 nations where you can realistically get hired to teach English as a foreign language.
What Countries Need English Teachers?
With the emergence of English as the world's primary language of international commerce and culture, an estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide are currently learning English. This translates into demand for trained English teachers in nearly every nation from China to Costa Rica.
Which Country is Best for Teaching English?
For 2023, 13 countries stand out as the best places to teach English abroad:
From the palm-lined beaches of tropical islands to the pulsating street life of Bangkok, the charms of Thailand are legendary and it has long been a favorite destination for language teachers. With a young, growing population combined with an economy increasingly dependent on international trade and tourism, Thailand has a fast-growing need for English teachers. During the first year of COVID, Thailand largely shut its borders, but in 2022, the country's reopening revived the job market for English teachers.
Why Thailand is one of the best TEFL countries in 2023:
- Good salaries and a low cost of living means that many English teachers can earn enough to save up to $250-$500 a month or more.
- Enjoy once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities in Thailand itself and throughout Asia.
- The local job market is recovering strongly since the country lifted most COVID-related travel restrictions.
A TEFL certification is required to get hired to teach English in Thailand, and there is a very strong preference for hiring teachers from official native English-speaking nations.
- Thailand TEFL Country Profile
- TEFL Course in Hua Hin, Thailand
- Thailand blog articles & alumni videos
- What Are the Basic Requirements to Teach English in Thailand?
"I teach about 30 hours per week between my Thai school and tutoring the Japanese students, and earn a salary of 40,000 Baht. I have 2 days off per week (Sunday & Monday) and also get 3 paid vacations during the year. My current situation allows me enough money to live comfortably, travel and save, as well as pay my bills back home (student loans, car payment, etc.)."
Boasting one of the fastest-growing economies and the second-largest population in South America, Colombia has a growing demand for English language instruction. Since the turn of the 21st century, the Colombian government has strongly encouraged English learning and has promoted bilingual education in public schools. This push for English language education has translated into a dynamic job market for those seeking to teach English in Latin America.
In addition to a healthy TEFL job market, Colombia offers a fantastic combination of dynamic cities, beautiful coastlines, lush highlands, and even rainforests. Top job markets include major cities like Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, and Cali.
Why Colombia is one of the best TEFL countries in 2023:
- It is typical for most English teachers to gain legal employment status with a work visa.
- Many teachers can make extra money teaching English online or giving private lessons.
- Learn Spanish! According to the Translation Company, "Colombian Spanish represents a superior form which is more refined [and] more classical."
A TEFL certification is typically required to get hired to teach English in Cambodia, and there is a very strong preference for hiring teachers from official native English-speaking nations.
"I LOVED it! I taught grades 8-11 officially and even picked up additional shifts. My school was in a rural neighborhood, and the students all lived around the area. So I saw them quite often, and ended up providing some small lessons to people in the community."
While not as large or as economically developed as some other Asian nations, Cambodia represents a fast-growing TEFL job market, where growth in sectors like tourism and increased Internet use is spurring demand for English language instruction. Many teachers are attracted by Cambodia's tropical beauty, rich history, and ancient culture. The nation's south coast is fringed with beautiful islands worth exploring, and the ancient temple city of Angkor Wat is considered one of the world's genuinely spectacular monuments.
Why Cambodia is one of the best TEFL countries in 2023:
- You will not need to have a four-year degree or be a native English speaker to get hired to teach English.
- It is also a job market that welcomes TEFL-certified teachers over the age of 40.
- Cambodia's low cost of living makes expenses like rent and travel less expensive than most other countries in the region.
- Opportunities of a lifetime to experience some of the top historical and cultural attractions in Asia like Angkor Wat.
A TEFL certification is typically required to get hired to teach English in Cambodia, and there is a very strong preference for hiring teachers from official native English-speaking nations.
- Cambodia TEFL Country Profile
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia 4-Week TEFL Course
- Cambodia-related blog articles & alumni videos
"I would certainly recommend living in Cambodia. I would just advise you do your own research."
10. Dominican Republic
It may not be the largest country, but the Dominican Republic still offers a ton as a job market for teaching English in the Caribbean region. With an economy increasingly dependent on trade with countries like the U.S. and tourism, demand for English language instruction is growing. English teachers will find most jobs in major cities like Santiago and Santo Domingo, which offer attractive combinations of history, culture, nightlife, and charming colonial architecture.
Why the Dominican Republic is one of the best TEFL countries in 2023:
- A bachelor's degree is preferred but typically not required - your bachelor's degree does not need to be in education, it may be in any field.
- The DR's low cost of living and proximity to the U.S. translate into low start-up costs, especially for Americans seeking a TEFL destination that is closer to home.
- Opportunities of a lifetime to learn Spanish and experience the history, culture, and natural beauty of the Caribbean.
A TEFL certification is typically required to get hired to teach English in the Dominican Republic, and there is a very strong preference for hiring teachers from official native English-speaking nations.
"I chose to teach English in the Dominican Republic in the city of Santa Domingo. This location is the capital, where everything happens. Lots of hustle and bustle. It's where the action is."
If you see to teach English in a modern Asian society with a subtropical climate, vibrant cities, and stunning natural beauty, Taiwan needs to be on your list of options. In addition, with the number of English language students in Taiwan at an all-time high, demand for TEFL-certified English teachers is strong, especially as the island nation has reopened following COVID-related border restrictions.
Why Taiwan is one of the best TEFL countries in 2023:
- With a low cost of living and strong salaries, most first-time English teachers make enough to save up to $500 a month or even more after expenses.
- As an island nation with a subtropical climate and loads of coastline, Taiwan offers excellent outdoor recreational opportunities in addition to a rich history and great cuisine.
A TEFL certification is typically required to get hired in Taiwan, and there is a very strong preference for hiring teachers from official native English-speaking nations.
- Taiwan TEFL Country Profile
- What are the Basic Requirements to Teach English in Taiwan?
- TEFL Taiwan blog articles, videos & alumni stories
"Never leaving my own country before, I mainly chose this teaching position because they helped me with everything such as setting up a taxi upon my arrival, helping me find an apartment, setting up a bank account etc. It made me feel much better about my experience knowing I would have help along the way."
For those seeking to experience the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, Kuwait offers high-paying opportunities and a job market that is less competitive than some other countries in the region, like the United Arab Emirates and Oman. In addition, Kuwait's location provides excellent travel opportunities to destinations like Dubai, the Eastern Mediterranean, and even India.
Why Kuwait is one of the best TEFL countries in 2023:
- While hiring requirements are more stringent, English teachers enjoy some of the highest salaries in the field, as pay can range from $2,500 - $6,000 a month, and benefits include free housing and flights to and from the teacher’s home country. To learn more about salaries, please read What Are Salaries for English Teachers in the Middle East?
- Large expatriate communities, where teachers can socialize with other English speakers, make the transition for newcomers to the region much more manageable.
A TEFL certification is required to be hired in Kuwait, and there is a strong preference for hiring teachers from official native English-speaking nations. In addition, many positions require previous experience and a degree in education, so a first-time teacher should expect to be flexible and patient with their job search.
"I would very much recommend teaching in Kuwait. I enjoy the occasional escape room, bowling session, karaoke, strolls through the park, hangouts by the pool, salon visits with friends, rooftop chill sessions, a new restaurant everyday? why not!"
With 24 million Mexicans learning English, Mexico represents one of the largest TEFL job markets in the Western Hemisphere. Throw in amazing natural beauty, thousands of years of history, dynamic cities, gorgeous coastlines, and globally-renowned cuisine, and it's easy to see why Mexico is a top job market for teaching English abroad.
Why Mexico is attractive for TEFL jobs abroad:
- English teachers in Mexico can get a work visa that not only provides a legal right to work, but also access to the national healthcare system.
- Hiring requirements in Mexico are less stringent than some other countries, making Mexico a viable option for those who do not possess a college degree, non-native English speakers, and those above the age of 40 (including retirees!).
A TEFL certification is required to become a foreign ESL teacher abroad in Mexico.
- Mexico TEFL Country Profile
- Guadalajara, Mexico TEFL Course Overview
- Blog articles, videos & alumni stories about teaching English in Mexico
"There are a lot of great things in Guadalajara, Mexico! Jalisco is the birth place of Tequila and Mariachi music, there are many historical places within driving distance, and the food it great!"
After implementing strict border closures with the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, Japan largely reopened to international travel and business in 2022, including ramping up the recruitment of TEFL-certified English teachers. One of the oldest and largest TEFL job markets in the world, Japan offers a wide variety of English teaching opportunities both in private language schools (known as eikawa) as well as in public schools through popular government initiatives like the Jet Program, which recruits up to 3,000 Americans annually to assistant English teachers in Japanese elementary, middle, and high schools.
Why Japan is one of the best TEFL countries in 2023:
- Huge demand: According to a 2022 report from market research firm Statista, there are more than 16 million active English learners in Japan, and more than 40% of school children are learning English annually.
- English teachers in Japan typically receive strong salaries & benefits. While pay and benefits will vary, many teachers in Japan receive benefits like a free apartment or a housing allowance, and many can save up to $500 - $800 a month after expenses.
A TEFL certification is typically required to get hired in Japan, and there is a very strong preference for hiring teachers from official native English-speaking nations. Prior teaching experience is also not required to find ESL jobs abroad in Japan.
- Japan TEFL Country Profile
- TEFL Certification Courses in Japan
- What are the Basic Requirements to Teach English in Japan?
- TEFL Japan blog articles, videos & alumni stories
"I travel a lot. More than I should. It's just easy here! Flying anywhere in the country is majorly cheap, and the extensive train system helps make even the harder to get to parts easily accessible.If you come to Japan, the country is at your finger tips."
Hungary is a fast-growing English teaching market in the heart of Europe for international ESL jobs. During COVID, TEFL-certified English teachers continued to get hired in Hungary via the Central European Teaching Program (CETP). While not as popular or well known as some other European countries, Hungary does offer an attractive combination of history, culture, architecture, and a location in the heart of Europe that makes a great base for traveling throughout the continent. In addition, the cost of living is lower than in most western European nations.
Why Hungary is attractive for TEFL jobs abroad:
- Teachers pay a placement fee for this program, but there are some fantastic benefits, even during COVID, for those who teach in Hungary through CETP, including a solid salary, accommodations, and paid vacation time.
- CETP hires teachers in advance from their home country.
A TEFL certification is required to become a foreign ESL teacher abroad in Hungary and a bachelor's degree is required.
"I'd definitely recommend teaching English in Hungary. It's a wonderful country full of history, good food, good people and amazing architecture!"
4. Costa Rica
Costa Rica has always been an attractive destination for teaching English overseas. Boasting a tropical climate with a low cost of living and proximity to the U.S., it's easy to understand why Costa Rica is a popular destination for teaching English, especially for those looking to work on their Spanish. In 2022, as the world reopened from COVID, we've seen an increasing number of TEFL-certified teachers enter the country to find ESL jobs. Costa Rica appears to become once again a top destination for finding TEFL jobs abroad.
Why Costa Rica is one of the best countries to teach in 2023:
- You can live a comfortable lifestyle as an English teacher in Costa Rica thanks to a solid hourly wage, a low cost of living, and affordable start-up costs when transitioning into the country.
- You can expect to work around 20-25 hours per week, leaving plenty of time to travel and explore the region.
A TEFL certification is required and a bachelor’s degree is also strongly preferred to become an ESL teacher abroad in Costa Rica.
- Costa Rica TEFL Country Profile
- TEFL Certification Course in Costa Rica
- What Are the Basic Requirements to Teach English in Costa Rica?
"My standard of living is pretty comfortable. I love my apartment; it's in a safe neighborhood, very cute, and literally a few steps from the beach.'
3. The Czech Republic
Known for its fantastic architecture and world-class beer, the Czech Republic has long been a top TEFL job market in Europe. Even when COVID slowed or closed many top TEFL job markets across Europe and the world, schools in the Czech Republic continued to recruit and hire English teachers with a TEFL certification.
Why the Czech Republic is an attractive destination for teaching English abroad jobs:
- You can live a comfortable lifestyle as an English teacher in the Czech Republic thanks to a solid hourly wage.
- You can expect to work around 20-25 hours per week, leaving plenty of time to travel and explore Europe.
- You can find summer job opportunities at English language camps.
- Its location in the heart of Europe makes it a great base for European travel.
A TEFL certification is required, and a bachelor’s degree is also typically (thought not always) required to get hired as an ESL teacher in the Czech Republic.
- Czech Republic TEFL Country Profile
- What Are the Basic Requirements to Teach English in the Czech Republic?
- Blog articles, videos & alumni stories for teaching English in Czech Republic
'My first year, I was hustling. Now, I would consider myself upper-middle class by Czech standards. I would say I am quite comfortable and satisfied.'
Despite a major slowdown during the first year of the pandemic, Spain has regained its status as one of the most popular destinations in Europe and worldwide for teaching English abroad. One great aspect of the TEFL job market in Spain is that there are many different types of teaching opportunities, from teaching business professionals in private language schools, to working as an assistant English teacher in a local high school or grade school. There is a huge market for private lessons and English teachers can make extra cash teaching English online as well.
As such, we've started to see more teachers move to Spain with teaching programs and enter the country on a student visa. The Spanish government programs are also now recruiting for the 2023-2024 academic year. Therefore Spain is a strong contestant on this list of best countries to teach English in 2023.
Why is Spain one of the best TEFL countries that need English teachers in 2023:
- ESL Job opportunities are abundant, from government and student visa programs to English summer camps and private tutoring in person or online.
- You can expect to work around 20-25 hours per week, leaving plenty of time to travel and explore Spain and the rest of Europe.
- According to the British Council there are more than 4,000 private language institutes in Spain providing English language instruction, creating a large demand for teachers.
A TEFL certification is required, and a bachelor’s degree is also strongly preferred to become an ESL teacher abroad in Spain.
- Spain TEFL Country Profile
- Visas for Teaching English in Spain
- What Are Requirements For Teaching English in Spain?
'Living and teaching in Spain has been, by far, the best experience of my life. I would highly recommend moving to another country to teach.'
1. South Korea
South Korea is no stranger to our top teaching markets list at ITA and is one of the world's largest and strongest English teaching markets. During COVID, we've continued to see qualified English teachers get hired in South Korea. Government programs, including the popular EPIK program, are now recruiting for the 2023-2024 academic year. As a result, South Korea is one of the top ESL countries for 2023.
Why South Korea is one of the best countries hiring English teachers in 2023:
- Cost of living & saving opportunities:
- Airfare and housing are typically paid for and provided by local English schools.
- Salary ranges from $1,600-$2,000 USD. You can expect to save up to 50% of your salary after expenses.
- A typical contract for a first-time English teacher in Korea includes a free return flight, paid vacation, and a 1-month salary bonus.
To qualify for international ESL jobs in South Korea, teachers must have a bachelor’s degree, hold citizenship from a recognized English-speaking nation, and pass a clean FBI background check.
- South Korea TEFL Country Profile
- TEFL Certification Courses in Korea
- What are the basic requirements to teach English in Korea?
- What is the EPIK Program for Teaching English in South Korea?
''Im able to save a lot of money while still paying off loans back home and traveling around Asia. There aren't many jobs that allow you to do that!'
BONUS: Teaching English Online
The industry of teaching English online was booming even before COVID, and demand for TEFL-certified English teachers increased substantially during the pandemic. It’s important to note that all online English schools operate differently and maintain different hiring requirements. It’s possible to teach English online without a bachelor’s degree and without prior teaching experience, though you may have a more competitive job search.
Teaching English online has proven to be a realistic side hustle or even a full-time job that you can safely do from home or while gallivanting your way across Europe, Southeast Asia, or Latin America. Pay for online English teachers varies depending on the school and your credentials, but the average rate is $10-$20 per hour. More experienced teachers, especially those who run their own private lessons, can earn higher hourly rates.
"I am able to set my own own hours, rates and lesson materials which provides me with a lifestyle that never feels like I’m working.'
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A journalism major at the University of Iowa, Jessie took the ITA Online TEFL Course and taught English in South Korea & Vietnam before joining the team. As one of ITA's most senior writers, Jessie is the author of numerous articles about teaching English abroad & TEFL certification, and she has spoken at various conferences about working & teaching abroad, including the Lessons from Abroad (LFA) symposiums in San Diego & Portland. Her articles have also appeared in such popular online publications as InternQueen.com.
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