Here’s our roundup of THE hottest paid TEFL gigs you can score in 2018. Bookmark and book flights, baby! Then enjoy the exotic, grammar-filled-life of being an expat English teacher abroad. You’re gonna love it.


Much like its spicy noodles bowls, English teaching jobs are HOT in Thailand. In fact, the market for TEFL jobs in Thailand has been increasing exponentially in recent years — and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. And why would it? ESL teachers from all over the world are drawn to Thailand for its heaven-on-earth beaches, fresh fruit shakes, and adorable elephants. It also doesn’t hurt that Thai people are some of the friendliest and hardest working people in the world. The “Land of Smiles” makes sure English teachers in Thailand feel immediately at home.

English teaching jobs in Thailand span the gamut, ranging from universities, to private schools, to public schools. A TEFL certification is all but required; not only will it prepare you to do the job well, it’ll increase your chances of landing an even better job. Most English teachers in Thailand earn between $800-$1,000 USD per month. Your salary varies depending on your previous experience (2 years+ puts you in a new income bracket) and your certification level (hint hint, get that TEFL!).

Pros: Life in Thailand is pretty affordable for ESL teachers, meaning you can stretch your salary to cover not only your daily expenses, but a few adventures too. Be sure to save extra to visit other regions of Thailand or neighboring countries (Angkor Wat at sunrise = AWESOME).

Cons: For us four-seasoned folks, Thailand’s warm weather and monsoons might prove difficult to adjust to. But hey, we didn’t call it a “hot” TEFL gig for nothing.

More info on paid TEFL internships in Thailand


From the peak of Mt. Fuji to the depths of your new favorite zen garden, the opportunities for teaching English in Japan are well-established. Despite not being a newcomer to the TEFL-game, Japan continues to attract and enchant qualified ESL teachers from all corners of the globe. Blame it on their high standard of living, the incredible work ethic of their students, the timely trains, and/or the prevalence of fresh sushi — whatever is drawing you the far East, follow that calling and apply for teaching jobs in Japan today!

Tokyo frequently welcomes ESL teachers from the US, Canada, the UK, and other English-speaking nations. You can opt to work with school children, university students, or businessmen/women. How much can you make teaching English in Japan? Starting salaries range from $1,500-2,500 monthly (cha-ching!), allowing you to save a few hundred dollars a month without sacrificing your preferred home comforts. Expect vacations and benefits, too!

Pros: Japan is a regular place-holder on lists for the “World’s Safest Places,” meaning ESL teachers can leave any fears of violent and petty crime at customs.

Cons: While your paycheck and standard of living will feel more like your home, don’t expect your work day to. You can anticipate working long hours, especially if you are working at private language schools that teach students after school hours. If you’re teaching in a rural area, do yourself a favor and learn a bit of Japanese, otherwise you might find yourself feeling a bit lonely between all those verb conjugation lessons.

More info on teaching English in Japan

South Korea

Public school teaching jobs in South Korea can be the creme de la creme of ESL teaching placements around the world. Why? Most teaching placements are for a year or more, the South Korean education system has longstanding commitment to foreign English teachers (and thus makes the overall process pretty smooth), and you can pig out on bibambap after a long day’s work.

Did we mention the pay can exceed $2,000 monthly — beyond paid flights and housing coverage? Yup, life as an English teacher here is pretty sweet, especially when you consider how much money you can make while teaching in South Korea.

Pros: Lucky for you, most TEFL and teaching placements in Korea end by 1pm every day. That’s plenty of time for lesson and adventure planning! You get regular vacation time (two weeks twice annually) and you have job security through the length of your contract. Most placements are at public schools, which will add some serious sparkle to your resume.

Cons: Unfortunately, even if you’re done with class early, you do have to sit at the school and complete your 40 hour work week (even with nothing to do!). The other hurdle is legalities, as you’re not technically allowed to accept any jobs beyond your contract — this can be tough if you love a side hustle.

More info on teaching English in South Korea

Hong Kong

The Hong Kongese way of life sounds almost too good to be true: Sunday brunch turned dim sum, fruit shakes on a balmy terrace, nightly rides on historic junks across Victoria Harbor, and a population with a never-ending enthusiasm for life. Teaching English in Hong Kong is the opportunity of a lifetime — and not only for the endless supply of twice-cooked pork. Whether you’re a TEFL-certified teacher with years of experience or a novice who’s curious about south China’s culture, teaching here is the perfect way to experience East meets West.

How much can you make getting a TEFL and teaching English in Hong Kong? Private and international schools will tend to pay better than public schools, but any of the above will pay you heartily — to the tune of $3,000+ dollars per month on top of a generous housing stipend.

Pros: You know those horror stories of teachers left to work with simply a chalkboard and a box of half used markers? Well, that won’t be your life in Hong Kong. In fact, classrooms in Hong Kong are well equipped with the school supplies of dreams — aircon, tons of books, pens, computers, internet, etc. Also, you’ll get paid $$ handsomely as an ESL teacher in Hong Kong.

Cons: Even if you’ll be raking in the big bucks, you have to remember that the cost of living in Hong Kong is quite high. Further, it’s illegal to arrive in-country as a tourist and seek work — this means you’ll have to secure your English teaching job in Hong Kong well in advance.


Whoa, whoa, whoa — slow down partner and stop drinking so much of that highly-caffeinated Vietnamese coffee! Now, we know you love the syrupy condensed milk that takes your coffee-hit up a notch, but you need to come down from the stars and learn more about what it’s like to teach English in Vietnam. 🙂

From language centers, to English schools, to private tutoring, there’s no stopping what you can do as an ESL teacher in Vietnam. Classes range in length from 45 minutes to two hours. As a foreign teacher, you can make up to $1,000 monthly — plenty to sock away in the bank without foregoing that extra helping of spring rolls.

Pros: There are plenty of expats in Vietnam, meaning you can have a taste of life back home whenever you need it (but let’s be honest, what more could you want than phở?).

Cons: The different job types vary considerably in their pluses and minuses, ranging from a more corporate style gig with guaranteed housing, vacation, and other benefits.

More info on paid TEFL internships in Vietnam

Middle East

Arabian school nights and Arabian school days. If you’re curious about life as a TEFL teacher in the Middle East, you’re in luck: Jobs are plenty, pay is sky-scraper high, and the destinations are truly divine and exotic. All we can say is — pack your fat pants, because no one wants to say no to doner kebab.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, and Bahrain have some of the highest paid TEFL jobs in the world, making your English teacher salary abroad something to shout from the roof tops about! You can earn up to $4,000 monthly on top of free housing, paid holiday time, and flights.

Beyond teaching English, there are also opportunities to teach other subjects, like Mathematics. Note that the Middle East has some of the highest requirements for its foreign teachers, including full-on degrees and TEFL training. ← (YEAH, GET IT!)

Pros: To foray into one of the world’s most ancient regions and cultures, to combat one-sided media (we all know there’s more to the story!), and to be situated in the crux of modern humanity. Huh, sounds pretty cool to us. Did we mention the expat scene is booming and your pay is substantial?

Cons: Getting mom and dad (and friends and family) on board with your decision to relocate to this hotly contested region might prove a challenge. And let’s be honest, that desert sun is NO joke. But once you’re there, wandering souks and sipping on mint lemonade, you’ll know it was all worth it.

Get after it — the hottest paid TEFL gigs of 2018 are waiting!

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