Despite being largely closed to the outside world in recent decades, Myanmar offers many benefits for English teachers abroad, including a low cost of living, unique travel opportunities, and a distinct cultural melange that blends elements of Indian, Southeast Asia, Buddhist, and Islamic influences. It boasts some of the most fantastic Buddhist temples in the world, and unlike many nations around the globe, it has yet to be overrun by chain restaurants and brand-name shopping outlets.
If you are considering teaching English in Myanmar, you will need to ensure you meet the following qualifications:
What Qualifications Do You Need to Become an English Teacher in Myanmar?
To teach English in Myanmar, you will need a TEFL certification. A 4-year college degree is strongly preferred but is not required. Native English fluency with a native or neutral accent is also expected to find a TEFL job. The average salary for a first-time English teacher in Myanmar is about $700 - $1,000 USD per month.
How to Teach English in Myanmar
Now let's look at the following requirements to teach English in Myanmar in detail:
Hold a TEFL certification
Have a college degree (not required but preferred)
Native English speaker or full fluency
Possess a valid passport & visa
Be financially prepared for start-up costs
Let's expand on each of these Myanmar 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 Myanmar. Getting TEFL certified will provide you with the relevant training and qualifications you need to get hired by a reputable school in Myanmar and should give you confidence in your abilities to provide effective ESL lessons to your students.
Which TEFL Course is Right for Me?
A 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 Myanmar.
You may also consider taking a four-week TEFL course in Asia and then traveling to Myanmar to interview and begin teaching.
- Check out a Full Index of TEFL Courses. ITA offers intensive and part-time fully accredited TEFL courses online and four-week in-person TEFL courses in 20+ locations worldwide.
- All ITA students & graduates receive lifetime Job Search Guidance to teach English in Myanmar & 80 nations worldwide.
2. Have a College Degree (Not Required But Preferred)
Can I Teach English in Myanmar without a Degree?
A bachelor's degree is not required to teach English in Myanmar, 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 to hire teachers that do possess a degree, especially for jobs in more advanced institutions.
Prior Teaching Experience
While prior teaching experience can help you stand out on your resume and may qualify you for more advanced, higher-paying positions, you do not need it to teach English in Myanmar. Your TEFL certification training will provide you with the relevant qualifications you need to get hired by a school in Myanmar.
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 (Preferred)
If you are a qualified, non-native English speaker, you may be considered for English teaching jobs in Myanmar. Non-natives will be expected to be fluent in English and speak at a native level with a minimal accent. 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 Burmese (the most widely used language in Myanmar) to teach English in Myanmar.
4. Possess a Valid Passport and Visa
You will need a valid passport to enter and work as an English teacher in Myanmar. If your passport is scheduled to expire within six months of your planned arrival in Myanmar, it is recommended that you renew your passport before your departure.
What Type of Visa will I need to Teach English in Myanmar?
Most English teachers live and work in Myanmar on a Business Visa, allowing them to stay in the country for at least 10 weeks at a time while working. In recent years, most teachers have been required to exit the country and fly to Thailand to renew their visa and re-enter Myanmar. However, this regulation has loosened significantly recently.
Those from major English-speaking nations like USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, or NZ can typically apply for a business visa on arrival. If you are from another nation, you should check with the local Myanmarese embassy or consulate as to whether you can get a business visa on arrival or in advance.
As mentioned, it has been common practice in recent years for English teachers to make visa runs to neighboring countries every 10 weeks to get their visa renewed upon re-entry. However, a new longer-term business visa may be available from schools if participants sign a longer-term contract. English teachers should ask their employer about this option and getting the necessary paperwork to submit. Many teachers fly into Bangkok and back, or to another nearby country. They can go and come back the same day, or make it a weekend excursion. Your school may help pay for the visa trips to Bangkok, but not all schools will do this.
5. Be Financially Prepared for Start-up Costs
The cost of living in Myanmar is relatively low ($500 - $1000 a month) and salaries ($700 - $1000 a month) for first-time ESL teachers 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 arrive in the country 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 from your home country to Myanmar.
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 typically the case for Myanmar, 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 Myanmar. However, individual employers may have their own specific requirements on these matters.