From tropical islands in the Gulf of Thailand to the vibrant markets of Phnom Penh and the legendary temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia is renowned for its beauty, history, and culture. It’s also a fast-growing market for teaching English abroad in Asia. With 60% of its population under 30 and an economy increasingly dependent on international tourism and trade, Cambodia’s need for English language instruction is growing daily.
Cambodia offers many benefits for English teachers, including a low cost of living, great travel opportunities, and fewer hiring restrictions than many other Asian nations.
If you are considering teaching English in Cambodia, you will need to ensure you meet the following qualifications:
What Qualifications Do You Need to Become an English Teacher in Cambodia?
To teach English in Cambodia, you will need a TEFL certification. A 4-year college degree is not required but is strongly preferred. Native English proficiency is also expected to find a TEFL job. The average salary for an English teacher in Cambodia is about $700 - $1,000 USD per month.
How to Teach English in Cambodia
Now let's look at the following requirements to teach English in Cambodia in detail:
Hold a TEFL certification
Have a college degree (not required but preferred)
Be a native-English speaker from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa (preferred)
Have a valid passport & visa
Be financially prepared for start-up costs
Let's expand on each of these Cambodia ESL teaching requirements and qualifications below:
1. Hold a TEFL Certification
A TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification is required to teach English in Cambodia. Getting TEFL certified will provide you with the relevant training and qualifications you need to get hired by a reputable school in Cambodia and should give you confidence in your abilities to provide effective ESL lessons to your students.
Which TEFL Course is Right for Me?
Most schools and language institutes in Cambodia recruit and interview on the ground, in person. Therefore it is common for many aspiring English teachers to take ITA's four-week TEFL Course in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Taking the course in Cambodia means you can begin interviewing for TEFL jobs in Cambodia immediately at course completion.
The course staff will assist you with finding local teaching opportunities and will provide guidance for the interview process. This means that virtually every student who takes the course can gain employment teaching in Cambodia if they wish to do so and meet the requirements outlined in this article.
Another popular option is ITA's 170-Hour Online TEFL Course which you can take online from home. This award-winning course is part-time, so you can take it while going to school or working full-time, so you can work and save some extra money in anticipation of your departure to Cambodia.
2. Have a College Degree (Not Required But Preferred)
Can I Teach English in Cambodia without a Degree?
A bachelor's degree is not required to teach English in Cambodia, and your TEFL certification should be enough to successfully gain employment as an ESL teacher. Please note while a bachelor's degree is not a requirement, some employers may still prefer that you have one.
Prior Teaching Experience
While prior teaching experience can help you stand out on your resume, you do not need it to teach English in Cambodia. Your TEFL certification training will provide you with the relevant qualifications you need to get hired by a school in Cambodia.
Any reputable TEFL certification course should include a mandatory practicum component to help gain firsthand experience practice teaching with real non-native English speakers. This will prepare you for the classroom and leave you feeling confident in your ability to deliver well-structured ESL lessons to your students. This practice teaching can count as teaching experience and should be highlighted on your resume.
3. Be a native-English Speaker from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa (Preferred)
If you are a qualified, non-native English speaker, you may be considered for Eenglish teaching jobs in Cambodia. Non-natives will be expected to be fluent in English and speak at a native level. Although not required, native English speakers with citizenship from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa may still be preferred by some employers.
Also, please note that you do not need to speak Khmer (the most widely used language in Cambodia) to teach English in Cambodia.
4. Have a Valid Passport and Visa
You will need a valid passport to enter and work as an English teacher in Cambodia. If your passport is scheduled to expire within six months of your planned arrival in Cambodia, it is recommended that you renew your passport prior to your departure.
What Type of Visa will I need to Teach English in Cambodia?
The type of visa you will have while teaching English in Cambodia will vary depending on your own personal circumstances.
Most English teachers live and work in Cambodia on a Business Visa (Type E). A business visa allows English teachers to work legally in Cambodia and is valid for up to one year. This type of visa can only be obtained at the airport in Cambodia or through the Cambodian Embassy before departure to Cambodia. The cost of this visa is $35 for your first month, and then you can extend the visa for 6 or 12 months for a fee between $100- $300.
For more details, please read What Type of Visa Can I Use to Teach English in Cambodia?
5. Be Financially Prepared for Start-up Costs
The cost of living in Cambodia is relatively low ($500 - $1000 a month) and salaries ($700 - $1000 a month) are modest compared to various other Asian nations. English teachers typically live comfortably on what they earn, but financial planning is still imperative to prepare you for success.
Remember, nobody will hand you a paycheck the moment you step off the plane and given that most English teachers will interview and apply for jobs upon arrival, you will need to cover 1-2 months of living expenses ($1000 - $1500 on the safe side) until you start working and getting paid. You will also need to cover your airfare to Cambodia from your home country.
Read more about Start-up Costs for Teaching English Abroad.
No Age Requirements
In some countries, a teacher's age can play a factor in the hiring process, but this is not the case for Cambodia, which makes it a great option for teachers 40+ (or even nearing retirement age) looking to teach English abroad.
No Physical Requirements
A health screening and/or drug test are not required to teach English in Cambodia. However, individual employers may have their own specific requirements on these matters.
Go Further: What are the basic requirements for teaching English abroad?