How much do TEFL teachers earn?

[All figures are US Dollars and per month]


Because TEFL teachers work all round the world, and in a range of countries and study situations from kindergartens to private tuition, international schools and universities, their earnings also range considerably. Remember, too, that earnings may vary considerably within a given country, usually with the highest earnings (and cost of living) in the capital.

Bear in mind that the higher-paid positions tend to go to teachers with higher qualifications: no TEFL, TEFL Certificate, TEFL Diploma + bachelors, masters etc

Possible extremes are from US$500/month to US$5000/month.

But a more realistic average range is $1250/month to $2000/month.

Also to bear in mind is that TEFL teachers sometimes choose to work self-employed on an hourly basis, and may choose to work just a few hours per month or as many as they can squeeze in. Hourly earnings can easily range, on average, from $12.50 to $25.00 or more. Again you will see a big range in earnings.

Another wrinkle is teaching online, where hours and rates vary enormously. Online agencies in some countries offer just $5.00/hour while others as much as $22.00/hour or more.

Cost of living

It should be no surprise that the countries that pay more generally have a higher cost of living, though this can sometimes be skewed because some countries also offer free or subsidized accommodation and some employers may offer other perks such as return airfares.

Example earnings and cost of living

The chart below offers guide figures for the more popular destinations, showing ranges for earnings and cost of living.

Region Country Avg Salary/month Avg Cost of Living/month Housing typically subsidized?
from to from to
Asia China $850 $2,500 $600 $1,100 yes
Japan $1,850 $2,800 $1,000 $2,200 yes
Thailand $950 $1,500 $500 $900 no
Europe Poland $750 $1,250 $750 $1,000 no
Russia $800 $1,500 $700 $1,000 yes/no
Spain $1,250 $1,750 $750 $1,250 no
Latin America Brazil $750 $1,500 $750 $1,250 no
Costa Rica $750 $1,500 $750 $1,250 no
Mexico $400 $1,000 $500 $750 no
Middle East Kuwait $1,750 $4,000 $750 $1,250 yes
Saudi Arabia $2,500 $4,750 $750 $1,000 yes
UAE $1,500 $3,500 $750 $1,500 yes