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Top 5 Countries to Make the Most Money Teaching English Abroad in 2024

Wondering which countries pay the highest salaries for teaching English abroad? These 5 top-paying TEFL markets offer the best financial benefits for ESL teachers, from competitive wages to attractive savings opportunities.

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The Best Countries to Teach English Abroad for Money in 2024

The best places to teach English abroad to make money are South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Gulf Arab States, and Vietnam. Being an English teacher in these countries will have you earning enough money to save anywhere from $500 - $1,500 USD per month.

Which Country Pays the Highest Salary to English Teachers?

Check out the table of contents below to learn more about the top 5 most lucrative countries to teach English abroad in 2024.

Teach English Abroad for a Year

There are thousands of opportunities around the world for TEFL-certified English teachers who want to find a job abroad that pays well and offers exceptional benefits. In most cases, you will be expected to make a one-year commitment to receive contracts in the most lucrative countries for teaching English abroad.

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Now that you know where the best places to make money with TEFL are, let's take a look at the teaching abroad salary by country:

1. South Korea ($1,850-$2,650 USD a month)

A prosperous economy and a deep-rooted commitment to education make South Korea a top destination for teaching English abroad, especially for those looking to make money. Offering a fantastic combination of high-tech, modern cities with thousands of years of history and culture, Korea offers a great international experience in addition to fantastic travel opportunities throughout Asia. In addition, South Korea has been one of the first countries to hire foreign English teachers since COVID-19.

On top of that, South Korea is one of the best countries to teach English and save money. Therefore it is a strong contestant on our 2024 list of countries that pay English teachers the most.

Highlights of teaching English in Korea:

  • English teachers in Korea typically make enough to save around 50% of their salary each month. Savings can top $1,000 a month, or up to $15,000 a year.
  • Free furnished housing is provided to English teachers in Korea.
  • English Teachers will be reimbursed for their airfare and provided with a stipend for a flight home at the end of their contract.
  • English Teachers in Korea who complete their 12-month contract will typically receive an extra month’s salary as a bonus.
  • Kick off your international teaching career by earning your TEFL certification in Incheon, Korea.
  • Learn about ITA's Guaranteed Job Placement Program for Teaching English in South Korea.

Read More to learn more about teaching ESL abroad in South Korea: Salary & Benefits for English Teachers in South Korea.

2. China ($1,200-$2,600 USD a month)

From the spectacular skylines of Shanghai and 250-mile-per-hour bullet trains to the imperial grandeur of the Forbidden City in Beijing and the ancient treasures of Xi'an, China offers a wealth of contrasts between ancient and modern and East and West. With 300 million Chinese taking English classes every year, it's also the largest TEFL job market in the world, with some of the highest-paying ESL jobs for English teachers abroad.

Highlights of Teaching English in China:

  • Make enough money to save $500-$1,500 a month or more after expenses.
  • Most English teachers in China receive free housing and free or reimbursed airfare.
  • Discover the treasures of one of the oldest civilizations.
  • Live in modern, fast-paced cities like Shanghai or Shenzhen offering world-class shopping, fantastic cuisine, exciting nightlife, and state-of-the-art modern public transportation.

Read More: Salary & Benefits for English Teachers in China

3. Japan ($1,700-$2,600 USD a month)

Offering an unparalleled combination of culture, cuisine, history, and stunning natural beauty, Japan has long been a top market for qualified English teachers to teach ESL abroad. According to global research firm Statista, 12.8% of the Japanese population (more than 16 million people) are learning English, and the subject is compulsory in junior high schools and high schools, creating increased demand for qualified English teachers.

Highlights of teaching English in Japan:

Read More: Salary & Benefits for English Teachers in Japan

4. Taiwan ($2,000-$3,000 USD a month)

Another great destination for teaching ESL overseas, Taiwan is located on an island off the southeast coast of China. It offers a unique opportunity to experience Chinese culture in a subtropical environment (think Florida or Jamaica).

With a population of 23 million, Taiwan is not as large as some other major Asian nations, but the government recently announced its new Bilingual 2030 Policy to "strengthen English communication skills of the citizens, especially among young people, and to help bolster their global competitiveness." This new effort to promote English language proficiency throughout Taiwanese society should only increase the demand for high-quality English language instruction.  

Highlights of teaching English in Taiwan:

  • Make enough money to save $500-$700 a month after expenses.
  • Live in a prosperous and democratic Asian society where living standards are high.
  • Enjoy the vibrant street life, colorful markets, and world-class shopping of Taipei.
  • Spend your weekends enjoying Taiwan’s gorgeous coastlines or exploring the country’s lush, mountainous interior, known for its innumerable hot springs and awe-inspiring views.
  • Learn Mandarin and discover Chinese & Taiwanese culture.

Read More: Salary & Benefits for English Teachers in Taiwan

5. Gulf Arab States ($2,000-$5,000 USD a month)

Where does it pay the most to teach English abroad?

The highest-paid ESL teaching jobs abroad tend to be paid by countries in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). English teaching jobs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai pay particularly well, and teachers can expect to earn between $2,000 - $5,000 USD per month, tax-free.

(Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain) – Tremendous oil wealth and a desire to become international players in the economic and political arenas have led the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region to invest billions of dollars into their educational systems, particularly English language instruction. As a result, qualified English teachers are offered very attractive pay and benefits packages to come to teach. However, because the number of opportunities is only a fraction of what is found in Asia or Europe, the job market can be competitive (an MA and/or professional background in education is often required for many positions). 

Highlights of teaching English in the Persian Gulf region:

  • Salaries range from $2,000 - $5,000 per month (tax-free).
  • Benefits may include free health insurance, furnished housing/housing stipend, and flights to and from your home country.
  • An opportunity to experience a region rich in culture and history.
  • Enjoy fantastic regional travel opportunities, with access to Europe, Africa & South Asia.

Read More: Salary & Benefits for English Teachers in the Middle East

Honorable Mention: Vietnam ($1,500-$2,000 USD a month)

One of the up-and-coming nations of Asia, Vietnam represents a distinct blend of Chinese Confucianism and the Buddhist Khmer cultures of Southeast Asia with a taste of French colonial charm. Boasting thousands of miles of coastline, mountainous highlands, and a collection of colorful and bustling cities, Vietnam offers something for everyone, including a great job market for teaching English.

Highlights of teaching English in Vietnam:

  • The low cost of living and good salaries enable English teachers in Vietnam to save up to $600 a month after expenses.
  • Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is a bustling, dynamic Asian city that combines modern conveniences and cosmopolitanism with traditional street markets and local color.
  • An ancient center of Vietnamese culture with a touch of French colonial charm, Hanoi offers an alluring combination of historic monuments, serene lakes and bustling streets lined with colorful shops and food stalls.
  • The beaches of Vietnam are said to be some of the most spectacular of all Southeast Asia.

Read More: Salary & Benefits for English Teachers in Vietnam


Where Can I Teach English Abroad with All Expenses Paid?

Compensation packages for English teachers abroad will vary by school and by country.  Countries where schools are mostly likely to provide housing, airfare, paid vacation, and other top benefits include South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and sometimes China.

Helpful Tips For Making Your TEFL Experience a Financial Success

Here are some key tips to help you make the most of your experience teaching English abroad, both financially and otherwise.

Take an Accredited TEFL Certification

You don't need prior teaching experience or even a college degree to teach English abroad, but taking an accredited TEFL certification course (TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language) will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need to get hired and to provide your students with a quality educational experience.  

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Teach English Online

With demand for online English language instruction skyrocketing worldwide, teaching English online provides TEFL-certified teachers with opportunities to earn extra pay at virtually any time from anywhere in the world, including your own home.  Most starting teachers can make at least $10-$20 (USD) an hour and hours are very flexible. Typically, your earning potential will go up as you gain more experience. 

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ITA Student Teaching English Online

Teach English to Private Students

Tutoring private students in English as a second language is a multi-billion dollar global industry with opportunities in virtually every nation. Many English teachers abroad or in their home country will offer private English lessons to supplement their income, while others may make it a full-time career. In addition to earning more income, taking on private students provides a great way to meet folks in your community while you teach abroad.

To really ramp up your income, consider teaching Test Preparation for Standardized English Proficiency Exams. Each year, tens of millions worldwide take special classes to prepare for English proficiency tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, and TOEIC. Passing these tests is critical for those who want to attend English language universities or seek to qualify for jobs that require English proficiency. Many of those planning to take such tests will pay high fees to receive special training or tutoring from qualified English teachers to help them pass and so as an English teacher, you can expect to earn $35-$55 an hour, compared to $10-$25 an hour for most private tutoring gigs. 

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Thoroughly Research Your Options for TEFL Certification & Teaching English Abroad

Understanding your options and how the process of teaching English abroad works in different countries is essential if you are going to have a successful experience teaching English overseas.  Every country is different and while there are thousands and thousands of job opportunities that you will likely qualify for, understanding the requirements and the hiring process, including matters like visas, in each one is important.  Here are some top resources to learn more about the process of getting TEFL certified and teaching English abroad.

Build Your Skill Set & Marketability with Advanced TEFL Training

As in any field, building up your experience and skills in TEFL can lead to increased opportunities like promotions, salary raises, and possibly qualifying for positions teaching at universities and elite international schools that often offer top-level salaries and benefits. 

In addition to building up your experience, taking advanced, specialized training can help you become a better teacher and advance your career.  Schools and students (and their parents) want to employ teachers with more and better training, so getting advanced training will not only enhance your teaching skills in the classroom but will also make you marketable to employers, giving you a leg up when applying for the best jobs at the best school. 

Here are six advanced TEFL training courses to help you build your ESL teaching skills and boost your resume:

Many folks who get TEFL certified are looking to only teach English abroad for a year or two. Should you decide that you want to make teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) your primary career, you may want to invest in a degree in a field like TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), which is often required to teach English in public schools in the U.S.

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Want to Learn More About Teaching English Abroad & Online?

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