​​10 BEST Countries to Teach English Abroad (2023)

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It’s no a secret anymore that teaching English abroad can be a highly lucrative and rewarding experience. You get to see the world, gain valuable work experience, and save up some serious money while doing so.

But where will your new adventure lead you? Perhaps you fancy living the high life in the Middle East or maybe you want to immerse yourself in a futuristic Japanese city. There are English teaching jobs all over the world, so the sky’s the limit!

Not all salaries are equal, though. To help you narrow down your choices, here are the 10 best-paying countries for teaching English overseas.

Maybe you’ll be off on a new adventure sooner than you think!

ⓘ TIP: If teaching English as a second language is new to you, start by reading a book like this one. It will give you a good idea what’s involved.

Hand holding a paper that says Teach English Overseas

1. The UAE

Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates consistently rank highest on the list of countries to teach English in if you want to earn an attractive salary. To land one of these coveted jobs, however, you will need to be a fully qualified teacher in your home country and experience is usually a pre-requisite.

If you qualify, you can expect a salary between $3,500 and $5,000 per month … or even higher if you work at a university or in a specialized field. These salaries are also most likely tax-free, and teachers enjoy a range of benefits. Housing, flights, relocation bonuses, and health care are usually all part of the package, sweetening the offer so much more.

ⓘ TIP: Some English teaching jobs require prior teaching experience. An easy way to do that is to get certified with one of the online TEFL courses and teach English online for a year or two. (TEFL is short for Teaching English as a Foreign Language).

20 Things to Know Before Visiting the UAE

2. Hong Kong

Hong Kong has been ranked as one of the most expensive places to live in the world as the shortage of space and increasing population drives up the cost of living. Even so, the handsome salary ESL teachers stand to earn makes it possible to live here.

Offers are usually between $3,000 and $6,000, but getting a housing allowance will make this salary stretch a little further. It is a very competitive teaching environment though. If you want a job teaching English here, most employers will require more than two years of experience along with your degree and TEFL certificate.

Hong Kong from Victoria Peak

3. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is another giant economy in the Middle East. If you are open to the challenge of living in a completely different culture, the country offers attractive salaries and a high standard of living. Unlike many other high-paying teaching destinations, Saudi Arabia does not require a teaching qualification. Many teachers get hired with only a TEFL certification.

English teaching salaries range from $3,000 to $4,000 on average. This would allow you to enjoy a very comfortable standard of living and still add to your savings account. You can also expect benefits such as flights, contract bonuses, and housing which will allow you to save even more.

4. Japan

Life in Japan is highly desirable with a rich culture and stunning natural landscapes. But all of this comes at a steep price tag, so a job offering a housing subsidy in Japan is a golden opportunity to experience this diverse country. You can expect a salary from around $2,500 to as high as $5,000, with various benefits along with that.

The job market in Japan is notoriously competitive though, so a native English speaker with full teaching qualifications and experience will enjoy priority consideration.

Book for getting a TEFL certificate 

5. Kuwait

Do you fancy yourself living in a bustling city, earning a healthy tax-free salary? Kuwait City promises all that and more to English teachers. A salary of $2,500-$4,000 can be expected but teachers have to be qualified and experience is also preferred.

The expat community in Kuwait is thriving and teachers can make the most of the cosmopolitan environment as many costs like housing and health insurance are covered. There are plenty of international schools and language centers in Kuwait with loads of job opportunities.

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6. Oman

Oman is one of the fastest developing countries in the world and with that has come a boom in their education sector. The ESL sector is still growing but being a part of this exciting stage promises competitive salaries and benefits.

Salaries are in the $2,000-$3,500 range but the cost of living is comparably low to the USA. This gives you a perfect opportunity to build up your savings before embarking on more adventures.

Woman teaching English as a second language to children standing around her. She has a tesol certificate.

7. Taiwan

The island of Taiwan has favorable living conditions, mild weather, and bustling metropolitan cities. That, along with a handsome salary of $2,000-$3,000 makes this an increasingly popular English teaching destination.

Teachers can apply for jobs with just a bachelor’s degree, but a TEFL certificate is preferred. The job market in Taiwan is very broad with jobs for kindergarten teachers up to even university level.

8. South Korea

South Korea has long been one of the most popular English teaching destinations in the world. The pop culture boom the country has experienced as of late makes everyone want to experience a part of South Korea and teaching English is the perfect opportunity to do so.

The salary in South Korea is around $1,500-$2,700 with benefits like housing and flight reimbursements too. They also employ teachers with only a TEFL qualification and experience is not a prerequisite.

ESOL teacher standing at a white board. 

9. China 

China is by far the largest ESL employer in the world and many teachers choose this destination to gain valuable experience before moving on to a higher-paying country. China employs first-time teachers for TEFL qualifications and there is an abundance of jobs across the country.

The salary is lower than other countries on the list, only $1,500 to $2,500, but the benefits ESL teachers enjoy are pretty attractive. TEFL.org has a great section on their site explaining what you can expect from a contract in China including flights, housing, and various bonuses.

11 Things You Should Know Before You Visit China

10. Vietnam

Although Southeast Asia is not usually ranked among the highest paying countries for teaching, Vietnam has made great strides in recent years. Many international schools and language centers have opened up, giving first-time teachers a chance to earn a great salary. The very low cost of living in the country makes this even more attractive.

Recent visa changes have made the application process a little bit more strict but if you are successful, you can expect a salary of $1,500 to $2,000 and even higher if you can teach business English at a university.

hand holding a small globe. Another hand holds a small piece of paper that says English on it. Illustrating teaching English overseas

Final thoughts about teaching English abroad

When it comes to teaching English abroad, Asia and the Middle East rank as the highest paying areas across the board. They offer attractive benefits and high standards of living. These countries allow teachers to embark on an exciting journey in the world of ESL. If you have a sense of adventure, teaching overseas jobs offer a great opportunity to save, discover, and grow.

Have you taught English overseas or do you have a TEFL or TESOL certificate? Drop a comment below. We’d love to hear about it!

Woman in a canoe overseas. Text overlay says "Where to Teach English for the most pay"

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Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages inspired her to create As We Saw It, where she documents her trips, shares practical itineraries, and offers insider tips. She’s passionate about helping fellow travelers save time, money, and hassle, and loves to discover new places to explore.

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