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Top 5 TEFL Teaching Destinations

In select countries a TEFL teacher can expect to earn a handsome wage, some of which will come with fantastic teaching packages including free accommodation

Posted on 08-11-2012 by Kim Loe - 20 Comments.

You may hear a snigger when someone mentions they work as an English language teacher, with TEFL teaching often seen as gap year activity, or simply a way to subsidize foreign travel. And while there are a vast number of voluntary and low paying teaching roles out there, you may be surprised to know that there are also extremely high paying TEFL teaching positions to be discovered.

In certain select countries a TEFL teacher can expect to earn a handsome wage, some of which will come with fantastic teaching packages including free accommodation, travel and bonuses. With the correct knowledge, TEFL teaching can not only be seen as a genuine career job, but a way of creating significant savings and having a well respected role in a community.. Oh, not to mention the chance to travel around the world, collect lots of great memories and meet amazing people.

Here’s our list of top earning TEFL teaching destinations:


Vietnam has recently replaced Thailand as the country offering the top TEFL teaching wages in Southeast Asia. English language teachers in the Vietnamese cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi can expect to earn wages in the region of US$2000 to US$3000 per month. While you are unlikely to receive much in the way of a teaching package, with typically little financial help towards accommodation, travel or insurance, the cost of living is so cheap covering these necessities yourself shouldn’t make much of a dent in your earnings.

You’ll be looking at around US$400 to US$500 for a nice apartment and another $5– to $600 per month for food, drink and entertainment. Most TEFL teaching contracts of one year or longer are also likely to pay a bonus of around one month’s salary on completion of your contract.


Japan has long been one of the top TEFL teaching destinations, not just in Asia but the world, and despite not quite offering the rewards of years gone by, TEFL teachers in Japan can still expect to earn around US$2000+ per month, while experienced and business English teachers can expect to earn even more.

Although this isn’t a wage that will blow you away, most Japanese TEFL teaching positions come with a very attractive employment package, which typically includes free return air fare,  free fully furnished accommodation, and health insurance.


Just like Japan, Korea has long been one of the biggest TEFL teacher payers of the world and has always offered attractive packages. Nothing much has changed, Korea still remains one of the best and most rewarding destination for new and experienced English language teachers.

The average TEFL teaching salary in South Korea is between US$2000 to US$3000 a month, and teaching employment packages typically include free health insurance, return airfare, and free or subsidized accommodation. TEFL teaching jobs in Korea usually offer teaching bonuses of around one month’s salary on contract completion.


Taiwan has now passed Japan and Korea as the best paying English language teaching destination outside of the Middle East. TEFL teachers in Taiwan can earn as much as US$3000 to US$4000 per month. Despite few teaching jobs in Taiwan offering much in the way of teaching packages, the higher wages are made to look all that more impressive when you consider the low cost of living in Taiwan, much cheaper than Seoul and Tokyo.

Private and state school teaching jobs both pay well and there are no shortage of TEFL jobs available.  While you may have to arrange your own health insurance, accommodation and travel, the high wages and low cost of living guarantee TEFL teachers in Taiwan will live a comfortable life, with lots of time and opportunity to travel around and build up some decent savings.


Dubai has made a huge impact in the world of TEF teaching and has swiftly made its way to become the highest paying TEFL employers in the world, surpassing the wages and teaching packages of west Asia.

TEFL teachers in Dubai can earn huge tax free wages around US$3,000 to US$5,000 per month. While the cost of living in Dubai is somewhat expensive, most schools will supply their TEFL teachers with free, fully furnished accommodation and a return flight home, giving teachers every opportunity to live a comfortable life and leave with significant savings in the bank.

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20 thoughts on “Top 5 TEFL Teaching Destinations

  1. miss b says:

    i want to become tefl qualified to work in dubai. I currently live in the united kingdom in birmingham, i am unsure how to go about doing this is there any advice or places you would know of?

  2. samhudson says:

    Dubai is a very competitive market, they tend to require CELTA trained teachers with some years’ experience within a TEFL classroom. The reason for this is usually because teaching positions are very well paid for, which causes a rush of applications when these positions open up. We don’t send our teachers to Dubai but we had a similar reaction when we opened up spaces for Saudi Arabia. Have you ever considered working in any of the Asian provinces?

  3. Alexa says:

    Hi im currently taking courses so i can teach in sicily,italy. Not sure about the living accomodation.. considering i have a family. Can anyone give me some advice on the living situation they offer ?

  4. Fiona says:

    My boyfriend and I are looking to travel and work together, are there any opportunities to travel together?

  5. samhudson says:

    Yes there are plenty of opportunities to travel and teach together. Thailand is a much easier country to do this through LoveTEFL based on the size of the country and where our schools are placed. The best thing to do would be to call up and speak to one of our advisers about this and they will be able to give you some advice.

  6. Tars says:

    Is there any internships/TEFL Job positions available that are short term such as 4 weeks?

  7. Teacher JJ says:

    I teach in south Thailand, right next to a white sand beach. The salary didn’t seem high, but I am saving a lot of money in my second year. It is so easy to live here. I love the freedom and the lifestyle is way better than Korea or China. We have a great school EP AMC, in Nakhon Srithammarat. I would suggest it to anyone.

  8. Anezka says:

    Is there Tefl jobs in south Africa?

  9. kate says:

    Hi there, I’m seriously looking at completing a tefl course and teaching in Thailand. Just wondering if you get support after completion with finding a placement? And how easy is it to find accommodation? Thanks

  10. Kerry says:

    Hi Kate,
    Yes, here at LoveTEFL we offer full support before, during and after your study! Once you’re qualified we offer a number of shorter trips, longer internships and even paid jobs in Thailand.
    Have a peek here:

  11. Claire says:

    Hi I am a fit woman in my early 60’s. I have been boarding foreign students in my house for 11 years. Two years ago I did a short practical TEFL course and a 40 hour online course. This summer I taught young teenage italian/turkish teenagers in a language school in my hometown and enjoyed it a lot. As my son has married and moved on I would like to go abroad for short contracts. Can you advise me what countries would accept teachers of my age. Thank you

  12. Kerry says:

    Hi there Claire,
    Thanks for your message. You will often find that paid jobs will require teachers of less than 60 years of age, however placements do exist.
    We’d be pleased to give you some advice personally – please email your query to our TEFL team at if you’d like a detailed chat.

  13. LT says:

    My girlfriend and I are both UK uni graduates and saving to do CELTA and go teach abroad. Would any one know of there being any issues in places such as Dubai, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan etc for a non-native speaker but fluent, as my girlfriend is Romanian. Maybe a list of easier or harder places :) Thanks!

  14. Kerry says:

    Hi there,
    Thanks for your post.
    Many TEFL locations do require that their teachers have English as their native language – however it does vary .
    My best advice would be to ask around and see if you can find somewhere that accepts non-native speakers.
    The best of luck!

  15. ENNIS says:

    thanks for this

  16. Aaron Seekings says:

    Hello, I’m a 27 year old male currently working in the hospitality industry, I’m looking to start a new career path and like the idea of teaching english abroad.

    A few questions though do you feel that such a job is able to truly sustain a person financially?

    Also if travelling abroad do I need to know a foreign language?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  17. Kerry says:

    Hi Aaron,
    Thanks for getting in touch. It’s great to hear about your TEFL aspirations – whereabouts would you like to teach?
    TEFL is certainly a good way to make a living; this depends on experience, your education level and the location. Many TEFL locations that may not pay as much as other countries have an extremely low cost of living, so your cash goes much further.
    You don’t need to know a foreign language, but it’s always a great added bonus!

  18. Aaron Seekings says:

    Thankyou for the reply much appreciated :)

    I haven’t mucn looked into where I would like to teach however as a new starter I really want to gain the experience needed through different posistions to achieve the best in this role.

    Could you advise me to the best possible route of gaining my qualification and starting in a TEFL job.

    And do you have any recommendations as to sources of information for me to reference to.

    Kind Regards

  19. Kerry says:

    Hi there,
    The best place to start would be gaining a TEFL qualification; ours is currently just £99 and can be completed entirely online:
    Many paid job positions will require a degree and/or additional teaching experience, but this depends on the company and the role, which I’d recommend researching yourself.
    In order to gain some teaching experience and get yourself to a dream location overseas, an internship might be just right for you. Have a look at ours here – currently £150 off:
    I hope this helps.

  20. Donna says:

    I am 47 with a 4 yr old child.i am a qualified lecturer in hair and beauty but want to work and live abroad .i am looking at the Teflon course.
    Do you think this will be feasible with a child and where would be my best option .
    Thanks Donna

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