ESL Teacher Pay

You must realize that you will not be able to save much money while you are working as an ESL teacher abroad. Pay for teaching ESL isn’t bad though.

For the most part, all of your expenses will be paid by you. This is true for most jobs in Europe. However, if you care to venture a bit further past the western hemisphere and into the Middle East or Asia, the low supply of ESL teachers in these slightly more challenging cultures allows most programs and schools to offer qualified teachers full round trip airfare, accommodation, and living stipend. Current hot spots for such perk-filled work include the UAE, the Philippines, China, South Korea and Thailand. Learn much about teaching English in Japan and these other countries in our Teaching English Abroad section.

If you decide to stay within European boundaries for the time being, places like the Czech Republic and Romania might allow you more spending freedom since much of central and eastern Europe is not yet on the euro.

In most cases, your payment will be per lesson. An ESL lesson can be anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes long, and you must decide if you want to teach part time or full time. However, there are definitely benefits to teaching full time, such as visa assistance, insurance, meal vouchers, or even free language courses. Some schools, especially those with the airfare and housing perks, offer only full time. Unless you are already in the country of your choice, it can be difficult to get hired for part time work. However, if you can find a respected online expat community for the country of your choice and search the classified ads there, you might be able to establish contact with schools in this way and secure an ESL job before you even leave home. Just make sure that you verify the authenticity of the school from different sources before you sign any contracts or make any promises.

Ask for emails of current or former teachers if possible, or post on ESL website forums asking if anyone has worked in that school before.

In the U.S., working privately as a home school teacher or nanny will probably offer you higher wages per hour than a school or community college teacher. Expect the latter positions to be similar in pay to that of any other kind of schoolteacher in your community, which will come close to the national average for a teacher’s salary of $38,000, give or take. However, more years of relevant experience and higher education and/or certification will often lead to better salary offer.

Your schedule and holiday vacation will be tied to the school’s schedule. In the U.S., teachers often have a contract for 10 to 11 months of the school year, so even when the academic year is over, you will still have work to do.

If teaching working adults, be prepared for very early or very late (before and after the workday) classes at the community college or onsite at a company.

Private lessons offer the most flexible hours, as you and your student can both agree on a mutually convenient time. ESL teacher pay and overall compensation is tough to quantify or generalize. Keep in mind that ESL tutoring as a side job can be quite satisfying — personally and for the bank account.


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