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What is the Best Paid English Teaching Job?

Teaching is not a profession often associated with sky high wages, but there are places around the world you can do the profession you love and earn the salary it deserves! We take a look at the best paid English jobs in the world.

Hong Kong offers the best paid English teaching jobs as part of its government managed Native English Teacher Scheme. Salaries for primary teachers range from 3500 to 9000 USD, and secondary teachers can achieve over 12000 USD. Additional perks include flights, retention allowances, bonuses and health care.

1) Teaching Salary in Hong Kong

As we mentioned above Hong Kong is by far the best paid English teaching job we have discovered. It can vary quite dramatically depending if you are a Primary or Secondary teacher and what you level of experience is. Check out the table below to see how much it varies.

Teacher and Experience levelBasic Salary (Monthly) In USDRetention allowance (monthly) in USDSpecial allowance (Monthly) in USDEnd of contract Bonus (bi-annual) in USDTotal (average) per month (all in)
Primary Teacher (PNET) 1 year experience (point 16)$4,2750$2,650$15,400$7,500
Secondary Teacher (SNET) 1 year experience (Point16)$4,2750$2,650$15,400$7,500
Primary Teacher (PNET) 15 Year experience) (Point 29)$7880$788$2,650$28,350$12,500
Secondary Teacher (SNET) 15 years Experience (Point 33) $9,460$946$2,650$34,000$14,400

You can find the full scale for English teachers in Hong Kong here, and the outline of the fringe benefits here. They include free standard flights for the teacher and family to there home country and a small amount towards medical insurance. Hong Kong does have salaries tax though you will be paying about an average of just over 15% on your salary through out the year.

It is important to note that Hong Kong is a very, VERY expensive city to live in with apartments being eye wateringly expensive. Daily expense can be as cheap or as expensive as you make them however, and although the price are higher the salary more than makes up for it and it is possible to save a significant amount of the salary.

These jobs are not your average English teaching jobs abroad, it is expected that you will be fully qualified and experienced and be able to bring new innovations to the school. You are based in a school, and although the role can vary depending on school you will be looked on as the resident expert in all things English and should be knowledgeable enough to mange that responsibility. They often recruit for the following year from about November and it is generally, though not exclusively, easier to get a role if you are in Hong Kong and available for interviews. understandably these roles are highly sought after and competition is fierce.

If you wish to learn more about teaching in Hong Kong We have a more in depth article here on the site.

2) Teaching Salary in The United Arab Emirates

The Untied Arab Emirates often appears on many sites as the number one salary for English teachers. However, I can only assume this is because of both the tax free salaries often included and the greater number of jobs at this level that makes it more likely to be able to gain employment compared with the hyper competitive NET jobs in Hong Kong. That said the package for teachers is often very generous indeed, Salaries for English teaching in the UAE can range from $3,500 to 5,500 depending on subject, role and experience and this often comes with the huge bonus of being tax free and in many cases free accommodation. Flights and health care are usually included as standard as well.

Cost of living is comparable for many things with the price in the West, but you have the huge added bonus of a tax free salary and accommodation costs often included. If accommodation is not included in can become expensive, however even with modest budgeting the salary will more than stretch to save.

Requirements are as strict as Hong Kong and fully qualified and registered teachers with experience are the most likely to succeed here A 120 hour tefl certificate is going to be required by some employers as well.

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3) Teaching Salary in Japan

we are getting to the salary range now where there are a few that are very similar in their amounts. The benefits and local cost of living will make a difference. We but Japan in at number three equal with Kuwait. This has been done to break up the jobs in to a more diverse spread around the world as a lot of very well paid jobs are located in the Middle East.

If you have a background in TEFL or ESL you have likely heard of the JET scheme in Japan. This scheme is often where less experienced teachers find themselves although it still pays around 34000 USD a year. There are better paid options, competitive options, available in Japan though. The salaries for teaching English in Japan can range from $2000-5000 USD a month, but as you are also probably aware Japan is a country of variance. These positions are often found in international school spread around the country.

The prices in the capital Tokyo can be seriously expensive, and unsurprisingly the salaries here will be at the higher end to compensate for that. However outside of the large cities prices calm down and if you can get towards the mid to top of that salary scale you can live well and still save money.

As is to be expected the higher salaries also require the higher level qualifications and more experience. However a TEFL, CELTA, CERT TESOL etc. is recognized here although a degree is a requirement.

4) Teaching Salary in Kuwait

Kuwait in another that offers great salary and benefits for English teachers although it can vary with experience and qualification.  Teaching Jobs in Kuwait are usually Tax Free and Accommodation is often included. Similar to other teaching Jobs at this scale they come with flights for you and your family, although of course each job can be slightly different with its fringe benefits. English teaching Salaries in Kuwait can range from 2500 to 4000 USD depending on the school and the position. With accommodation included this means there is a lot left over each month.

You will need a bachelors degree, and for some roles a masters, and likely a TEFL Certificate as well. It goes without saying that the more experience you have the better your chances.

5) Teaching Salary in Saudi Arabia

Education is well regarded in Saudi Arabia and the salaries reflect that. The English teaching salary in Saudi Arabia can range from $3,000 -$4,500 and come with housing, flights  and are tax free. There are considerations when working in Saudi Arabia with a possibly vastly different culture than you are used to so further research would be advisable.

However, purely financially, there is an opportunity to save money here. for most positions a degree will be required and a Tefl Certificate The more qualified you are the more opportunities are open to you. 

6) Teaching Salary in Oman

Oman is a relative new comer on the International teaching scene but with its low cost of living it could be an enticing one. Similarly like in other countries in the Middle East your salary will be Tax Free and roles come with either accommodation or an allowance towards housing. The English teaching in Oman salaries can range between $2000 to $3500 USD a month and with cost of living being relatively low this can feel like much more.

To teach in Oman you are going to need to have Teaching Certification and potentially a TEFL Certificate on top. Most employers would like at least 2 years post qualification teaching experience on top of this as well. As its a fairly small country jobs are limited but it has been growing in recent years. You can check out vacancies here.

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8) Teaching Salary in Taiwan

To teach in Taiwan the better teaching jobs are going to need you to have a degree. The higher salary positions will look for teaching qualification like PGCEs and TEFL Certificates as well. Salaries are lower but cost of living is reasonable. The average English teaching salaries in Taiwan are between $2000 and 3000 dollars. Some positions also include end of contract bonuses.

It is a very popular location to teach, but also has a lot of vacancies from cram schools to universities.

9) Teaching Salary in South Korea

South Korea is an Evergreen destination for teachers. There are always vacancies all over the country. It is more expensive to live in the cities like Seoul and Busan, but salaries for teaching English in Korea are reasonable and can range between $1700 to 2500 USD a month. The cost of living is very reasonable if you don’t have too extravagant tastes. Accommodation is often included but check this, especially if you are in the cities where prices understandably are higher.

Although a TEFL Certificate is not essential, it will help. A bachelors degree however is a must. For working visas you will have to prepare proof of these, along with drug tests and criminal record checks before you can apply for a work permit. Some employers may have further requirements as well.

10) English Teaching Salary in China

The words most populous country unsurprisingly has the world most opportunities for teachers. While this is great as it means there are great chances to find work, and decently paid work, It also means there is a lot of variance between the terms and conditions of these jobs.

On paper the range in salary for teaching English in China is about $1200 to 2600 USD a month. It is difficult to say what fringe benefits are included as there are so many options. However, some offer flights, housing and end of contract bonuses.

As varied as the roles, the cost of living can also vary hugely in China Cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are expensive but places in central china are much more reasonably priced.

Jobs can include learning centers, a fast growing niche, public and international schools and universities. We would recommend doing a lot of research when considering China to make sure you land a position with a reputable company.

Honorable Mentions

English Teaching Salary in Kazakhstan

This was a surprise to me, but certain teaching jobs in this small central Asian country have a very attractive salary. No one we know has worked at these schools, (and being based in Hong Kong we know a lot of teachers) but for the reviews it seems to be a nice attractive position with nice students. We have learned that the salary for English Teachers in Kazakhstan comes with a salary of up to $5000 USD a year and accommodation appears to be included. However, there are also positions that salaries can be about 500-1800 USD as well, so more research is required here before packing your bags.

English Teaching Salary in Vietnam

Vietnam is a stunning country, with a low cost of living. Salaries are not in the range of the top end countries mentioned above but the money goes much further, even in the large cities like Hanoi and Saigon. The salary for English teachers in Vietnam ranges from 1000 to over 2000 USD a month, depending on your qualifications and experience, and on the role. International schools tend to pay more here.

You will also be in a South Asian Country with some of the most beautiful places in the world a short plane journey away. 

English Teaching Salary in Thailand


Outside of Bangkok and Phuket Thailand has a relatively low cost of living. Salaries are lower than the countries above, but you can live very well here on a teaching salary with all the lifestyle perks that come with living in Thailand. Teaching salaries in Thailand range from $1000 USD a month for new teachers, to $2000 or more for teachers with qualifications and experience. These better paying roles are often to be found at high reputation international schools and universities. Accommodation is reasonably priced (again outside of major cities) and the food and lifestyle is amazing. Although it pays less that other places, you will be able to save money here if you are not too crazy.

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Other Considerations.

Salary is important, how important depends on each persons individual circumstances. However it is not the only, and possibly not even the main consideration. Make sure you do through research about the country you want to move to and check the contracts and duties carefully. Be aware that both culture shock and homesickness are real and you may well experience one or both of them.

Picking a location just for the salary may not be the best choice, there are many things to consider including family, both those coming with you and those you are leaving behind, how far from your home country it is and how easy it is to get back if you need to.

Make sure you know the rules and laws in the country you are going to before you choose, you may find that they don’t suit your lifestyle or cultural values.

Also be very sure to make sure you check out the position you have been offered carefully to be sure it is all above board. Although most are totally legitimate there are bad actors in the industry and its better to find them out before you land in country than when you do!

Where ever you decide to go it is an adventure and a live changing experience!

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, mostly English but dabbled in outdoor pursuits and media. Thought is was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children. Feel free to take a look at our resources, email us on info@makingenglishfuncom.wpcomstaging.com, or jump on the Facebook group to ask questions. Happy learning, teaching or playing!

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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