WorldWide TEFL Salaries and Cost of Living

How your teaching salary weighs up against the local cost of living.

How Well Can I Live?

 Here’s one important decision factor made easy: How much will I be paid and how much will it cost me to live? 

Of course actual salaries depend on a number of factors such as individual schools, your teaching experience and qualifications. Similarly, your cost of living depends on personal lifestyle, habits, wants, and needs.

Having said that, it is possible to gain a ball park idea of the average salary and cost of living for individual countries.


Comparing salaries with cost of living is important because a high salary does not mean you will have more money at your disposal.

Remember the 'per country' figures are averages. Special situations exist everywhere that pay much better.

Special Situations Exist—for the Qualified

Remember the 'per country' figures are averages. Special situations exist everywhere that can pay much better than normal salaries. 


In our TEFL Silk Road program in China, for example, Vantage graduates start teaching at a monthly wage over US$2,500 per month.  Yet China as a whole pays around US$1,900 of reported salaries 


Keep in mind too that the higher salaries typically will go to teachers who hold a bachelor's degree and who are TEFL certified. Indeed the extra hundred dollars+ in monthly earnings for TEFL certified teachers means that their TEFL tuition is typically covered within the first year of teaching.

Whether you are looking to start a new career as an English teacher or are looking for a way to make money while traveling the world, researching your potential earnings and potential cost of living is an important step in preparing yourself for the rewarding adventure that is teaching English as a Foreign Language.


Which Countries Pay the Most?

Here’s a quick short list of the top countries to teach English only in terms of salary from Some very good commentary on the cost of living as well. Their data pretty much complements our research.


  1. The United Arab Emirates

  2. Japan

  3. Saudi Arabia

  4. Kuwait

  5. Oman

  6. Taiwan

  7. South Korea

  8. China

  9. Vietnam.

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