With surreal scenery, breathtaking mountains, friendly people, and a fascinating history that dates back to the beginning of human life, Pakistan has countless opportunities for English teachers inside and outside the classroom. In a country where English is already somewhat-widely spoken, you can have the unique opportunity to give your students the language skills they need to enter the global workforce.
Whether you prefer a weekend out in the desert, a night out in the big city, or a late afternoon hiking picturesque trails, Pakistan has it all. From the delicious food to the tight-knit communities at the school you’ll be working at, you’ll feel like you’re right at home soon after your arrival.
Photo credit: Ahmed Sajjad Zaidi.
Although Pakistan doesn't have the wide availability of jobs as, say, South Korea or China, it still has a growing demand for ESL teachers and a variety of opportunities for those interested in teaching overseas in Pakistan.
There are several big international schools in Pakistan that frequently look for high quality teachers. These job openings usually come with great support and benefits, but to teach at these schools you usually have to have teaching credentials (not just a TEFL) in your home country.
Additionally, the demand within international schools isn’t always for English teachers. Since they teach a mixture of foreign and international schools, they’re often hiring for teachers of a variety of different subjects. Also note that most of these schools follow an American or British curriculum, which makes for an easier transition for qualified teaching professionals.
For qualified teachers who are looking for an off-the-beaten-track adventure, definitely consider coming to work at a school like this. These schools have fantastic benefits for their teachers and you’ll be immersed in a culture few get to experience first hand.
Most of these positions are located in major cities like Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore.
Private Language Schools & Private Tutoring
You’ll have the most luck finding a job teaching English at a private language school -- usually located in a more urban center -- or through private tutoring. Do note, however, that cities like Karachi tend to have more competition among tutors, but you should have no problems outside of Karachi or in the hinterlands.
Though English is an official language in Pakistan, there’s a growing demand for ESL classes among adults in Pakistan who want to improve their English skills to use it successfully in business, hence the growing demand for English teachers for business professionals.
As mentioned earlier, English is widely spoken in Pakistan, so unlike other major ESL / EFL industries, students are more likely to be interested in improving pronunciation and practicing conversation than straight up grammar lessons.
Several universities in Pakistan offer teaching positions to foreign ESL teachers. Again, the language of instruction is English, so if you land a position here, expect to teaching students who already have a strong command of English. There are some opportunities to teach English here, but not many.
When and Where to Look for Jobs
Pakistan hires teachers all year round, so if you decide that you want to come here, you can inquire about a job at anytime. The most popular areas for teachers are Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore. Karachi especially is a lively and cosmopolitan city with a small, but tight-knit, expat community.
In order to get a working visa, or a ‘Business Visa’ in Pakistan, your employer needs to sponsor it and get a few documents from the Pakistani government. Your school will most likely help you with their side of the process, while you fill out the forms on your side.
Visa First has more details on what specific documents you’ll need to apply for a Pakistani work visa.
The qualifications you’ll need to teach in Pakistan largely depend on the type of job you’re after. If, for example, you want to teach at an international school, you’ll have to be a certified teacher in your home country. However, to tutor or teach at a private language school, prior experience and a TEFL certification is often the minimum requirement.
Work and Classroom Culture
Pakistan is a Muslim country, and therefore Islamic customs are followed in and out of the workplace. While Pakistanis can be informal and enjoy each others company, they also take work very seriously and care about fostering relationships with co-workers by spending time to get to know one another. Kiwi essentials has an excellent, and more detailed, guide to customs and etiquette in Pakistan.
They are known not to give direct statements, which can be frustrating for people who come from cultures where instructions are clear and concise.
It is not too different for the children, who know to respect their teachers and take school seriously. Students even stand up when their teachers walk into the room, and there is an appropriate amount of distance between the teacher and student.
Salary and Cost of Living
The starting salary at international schools in Pakistan is at around $30,000. There are great benefits and your money will go quite a long way here. A nice meal costs around $10, and an apartment won’t cost you more than $250. Do note, however, that many schools provide housing in addition to salary.
Relatively speaking, Pakistan is an affordable country, and though $30,000 per year may not sound like much, it’s plenty to live more than comfortably abroad in Pakistan.