Teach English in Asia

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Teach English in Asia

Guide to teaching English in Asia

Countries throughout Asia regularly top the list of destinations for teachers choosing where to move abroad. Whether you want to teach English in high tech east Asia or the topics of its southeastern region, there is a vast range of cultures, topography, and opportunities to choose from.

Interested in teaching English in Asia? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about the types of teaching jobs, average salaries and benefits, and how to get a teaching job in Asia!

Types of teaching jobs in Asia

There are many options when it comes to teaching English in Asia jobs, and they will vary in their competitiveness, requirements, responsibilities, and salary.

  • Government / public school: The governments of many Asian countries emphasize English education in their public schools, making English teachers in Asia in very high demand. At a public school, teachers will work typical school schedules and will receive a good salary as well as benefits for their job.
  • Private schools and language academies: In almost every major city in Asia, there are numerous companies offering after school, evening, and weekend courses for learning English as a Second Language (ESL). Pay is typically lower, however, the schedule is usually more flexible for English teachers working here. Private schools are especially rife in countries such as Taiwan and South Korea.
  • International schools: Metropolises across Asia are becoming global cities due to the growing interconnectivity of worldwide commerce. Many expats now call Asia home, bringing their families with them and sending their children to international schools. These schools typically follow a British or American curriculum, and English teachers may teach a range of subjects. Work responsibilities are typically higher, but teachers are compensated well for these competitive roles.
  • Private tutoring: The academic environment is a competitive one in many Asian countries, and this means that parents hire private tutors to improve their children’s English acquisition outside of school. Many teachers in Asia choose to tutor in addition to their school jobs to increase their monthly salary. However, private tutoring is not always legal (and may breach your contract), with China being a prominent example.
  • Volunteer teaching: In Asia, there are many who don't have access to English education needed to increase the long-term opportunities. Volunteering can be a highly rewarding experience, and teachers are in demand to teach English to Burmese refugees, North Korean defectors, Nepalese children, and more. Volunteer opportunities are ideal for those who lack the qualifications required to teach English at schools in Asia.

Average salary and benefits for teaching English in Asia

The spectrum for English teaching in Asia salaries is wide ranging. Teachers can earn anywhere from $800 - $5,500 USD per month depending on their qualifications, location, job type, and so on.

  • Government / public schools: English teachers working at a public school in Asia can earn from around $800 to $2,500 USD per month depending on the country and their unique qualifications and experience.
  • Private schools and language academies: Similar to public schools, private schools in Asia can vary significantly in the salaries that are offered to English teachers. Depending on their schedule and the reputation of the private school or language academy, English teachers in Asia can earn from around $800 to $2,500 USD per month working at private schools.
  • International schools: Teaching English at an international school is typically the highest paying when it comes to teaching in Asia. English teachers at international schools can expect to earn from around $1,500 to $5,000 USD per month depending on the country and your qualifications.
  • Private tutoring: Private tutoring rates will vary according to the country you are teaching in and also who you are teaching. Corporate students in Korea who desire Business English skills, for example, will pay more than younger students who require general English training.

Common teacher benefits

There are many benefits to be had teaching English in Asia, but they will vary according to the school and country. Typically, schools in countries such as China, Japan, and Korea offer airfare reimbursement, accommodation, health insurance, and so on. Some schools in Thailand and Vietnam also offer accommodation, health insurance, paid sick leave, vacation days, and so on.

Read more: How Much Money Can You Save Teaching Abroad?

Cost of living in Asia

Generally speaking, the cost of living in most Asian nations is more affordable than in Western countries. Typically, teaching at schools in Thailand or Cambodia will pay less than teaching in China, Japan, or Korea.

However, the cost of living will generally correlate with your salary, meaning you’ll have a comfortable lifestyle wherever you go. Also, because many teaching positions in Asia will include housing, you won’t have to factor the cost of rent into your budget.

Where to teach English in Asia

To find the right country to fit your teaching goals, it's important to do your research first. Start by exploring these popular countries for ESL teachers in Asia:


With a population north of 1.4 billion people, there is no shortage of people looking to learn English in China . With megacities in abundance such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, there are a myriad of opportunities for English teachers in China.

Chinese schools have started to teach English in primary school, with students as young as kindergarteners learning basic language skills. As a business and geopolitical goliath, there is a strong demand for Chinese students to develop strong English literacy. Thus, as schools adapt to the growing impact of requiring an English curriculum, there is an increasing need for English teachers all across the country.

South Korea

South Korea is one of the most popular TEFL destinations due to its tech savvy cities, cherry blossoms, and a thriving K-pop scene. Teachers can find plenty of opportunities in public schools, private schools (hagwons), or international schools, and will not only benefit from a high salary but also benefits such as airfare, free accommodation, and so on.


Whether you want to work in temple-dressed Kyoto or under the illuminated skyscrapers of Tokyo, there is a vast range of options when it comes to teaching English in Japan. Despite Japan’s economic growth, its rate of English speakers is still low, creating a demand for English teachers. Jobs are more competitive here, however, teachers will earn a high salary and benefits for helping their students with English language acquisition.


Thailand is a far bigger country than one might initially think, offering a vast range of cultures from its southern islands to the mountainous north, or from bustling Bangkok to its ‘authentic’ and understated northeast. Due to its ever growing tourist sector, Thailand's demand for English speakers is always increasing, leaving a huge demand for English teachers. English teachers in Thailand can benefit from a good salary and a laid back lifestyle through working at public, private, or international schools.


Having only opened to foreigners since 1997, the demand for English teachers in Vietnam is high, especially considering the rapid influx of tourists and established expat communities. Out of the southeast Asian countries, Vietnam arguably offers the best benefits when it comes to teaching English. Teachers will benefit from a high salary in a country where food, rent, and transport is very inexpensive, and their work schedule will offer a flexible work life balance.

How to get a job teaching English in Asia

The process of applying for ESL jobs in Asia will vary based on the country’s unique requirements and also type of employer. Typically, you will need to apply for a job before you arrive in Asia, and your employer will sponsor your work permit and visa.

In order to teach English in Asia, you will typically need a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL certificate, and a criminal background check. In countries such as China, South Korea, and Vietnam, having a bachelor’s degree is a legal requirement to teach English at public schools. Previous experience and a CELTA will increase a teacher’s employability and salary potential.

  1. Search for available jobs: There are many government sponsored programs (such as EPIK in Korea, JET program in Japan etc.) as well as TEFL providers who can assist you in finding a job teaching English in Asia. These programmes and providers will assist you in your application and help you not only become TEFL certified but find employment.
  2. Submit your application: You will need to submit the relevant documents such as your resume, TEFL certificate, degree certification, and other necessary documents to your potential employer.
  3. Prepare for the interview: When you are invited to take part in an interview, be sure to research relevant questions and answers associated with TEFL positions. Not only should you emphasize why you would be a valuable asset to the classroom, you should also prepare questions about the job opportunity. Be sure to stress why you want to immerse yourself culturally, not only hit the beach!
  4. Apply for a visa! Congratulations! Once your application is successful, you will need to apply for your visa. Typically, schools and employers in Asia will sponsor your work permit and visa, making the process assisted and easy. You may need to legalize and authenticate documents such as your degree, TEFL, criminal background check, and so on. Visas can be extended in-country.

Read more: What are the Requirements to Teach English Abroad?
How to Get a Work Visa for Teaching English Abroad

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which country in Asia is best for English teachers?

    Each country has its own perks. Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand offer a livable wage and a laid back lifestyle, whereas China, South Korea, and Japan offer high salaries and a high standard of living.

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  • What qualifications do I need to teach English in Asia?

    The qualifications required to teach English in Asia will vary according to the country. A TEFL certificate is usually required, as is native English proficiency. China, South Korea, Japan, and Vietnam require degrees, whereas Cambodia doesn’t.

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  • Which country in Asia pays the highest salary to teachers?

    In Asia, some of the highest paying countries include China, Japan, and South Korea. These countries offer above average salaries, great benefits, and a high standard of living for English teachers in Asia.

  • Is there a demand for English teachers in Asia?

    Yes, there is a huge demand for English teachers in Asia. With China being an economic powerhouse and southeast Asian countries attracting millions of tourists each year, the demand for English language skills is high.

  • How much do you get paid teaching English in Asia?

    English teachers in Asia can receive a high salary for their work. Even in countries where the pay is low by Western standards, the low cost of living means your salary will go far.

  • How can I become an English teacher in Asia?

    In order to teach English in Asia, you will need a TEFL certificate. Most (but not all) Asian countries will also require a bachelor’s degree and native English proficiency.

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