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How to Make Money Teaching Overseas: A Practical Guide

Teaching overseas can be an enriching experience, both personally and professionally. The opportunity to explore new cultures, meet people from around the world, and acquire valuable life experience goes hand in hand with earning a living.

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While salaries can vary greatly depending on the country and school, with the right approach, teaching abroad can be a financially rewarding career path.

One popular option is to teach English as a foreign language. In countries like South Korea, competitive salaries and benefits attract thousands of international teachers each year. Alternatively, Hong Kong’s international schools offer attractive compensation packages for educators with teaching licenses and experience. Careful research and planning, as well as investing in relevant certifications such as TEFL, can boost your earning potential while teaching abroad.

Of course, teaching overseas involves more than just earning a salary. Embrace the unique challenges and enjoy the personal growth that comes from living and working abroad. With the right mindset and preparation, a successful teaching career overseas could be not only financially rewarding, but also a life-changing experience.

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Choosing a Destination

When planning to teach overseas, selecting the right destination is crucial for a successful and enjoyable experience. Let’s explore some popular regions and countries where you can make money teaching English abroad.


Asia is home to some lucrative opportunities for teaching English. Countries like South Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are known for their high demand for English teachers and relatively competitive salaries. Additionally, countries like Vietnam offer a lower cost of living, making it easier to save while teaching.

Middle East

The Middle East offers some of the highest salaries for teaching abroad. Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Saudi Arabia often provide generous benefits packages, including housing allowances and airfare reimbursement.


Europe is a popular destination for teaching English due to its cultural diversity and rich history. Spain is a top destination for teaching abroad, offering various programs for language assistants and qualified teachers. However, keep in mind that salaries in Europe can be lower compared to Asia and the Middle East, as the demand for English teachers may not be as high.

Latin America

Latin America offers a vibrant and colorful experience for those seeking to teach English abroad. Countries like Mexico, Ecuador, and Costa Rica are known for their high demand for English teachers. While these countries usually offer a lower salary, they can provide a unique cultural experience and the chance to learn or improve your Spanish language skills. Consider Latin America if you are looking for an adventure and seek to immerse yourself in a different culture.

Choose your destination wisely by considering your goals, desired lifestyle, and the opportunities available in various regions. Each region offers unique experiences, challenges, and rewards.

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Requirements and Qualifications

When considering a career teaching English overseas, it’s important to be aware of the qualifications and requirements that are commonly sought by schools and language institutions. This section will discuss three key elements: TEFL Certificate, Native English Speaker, and Teaching License.

TEFL Certificate

A Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate is often a fundamental requirement for English teaching positions abroad. This certificate demonstrates that you have the training and skills required to effectively teach English to non-native speakers. TEFL courses are available online and in-person, and prices can range from around $200 to over $2,000. Some countries and schools may have specific TEFL requirements, so it’s crucial to ensure that your chosen course will meet their standards.

Native English Speaker

Many international schools and language institutions prefer to hire native English speakers for their English teaching positions. This can be attributed to the belief that native speakers have a higher level of proficiency and a more in-depth understanding of the language. While this can be considered a preference rather than a strict requirement, it can significantly influence your chances of securing a teaching job overseas. However, non-native speakers with a high level of English proficiency can still find opportunities in various countries.

Teaching License

In addition to a TEFL certificate and native English-speaking skills, some schools may also require you to have a teaching license. A teaching license is usually obtained after completing a degree in education and successfully passing relevant exams or assessments. International schools in Hong Kong, for example, tend to prefer teachers with a bachelor’s degree, teaching license, and at least two years of teaching experience. Obtaining a teaching license increases your credibility and competitiveness in the job market.

In conclusion, to qualify for an English teaching position overseas, it’s essential to have a TEFL certificate, a high level of English proficiency (preferably as a native speaker), and possibly a teaching license. These qualifications can significantly improve your chances of securing a rewarding and well-paid teaching job abroad.

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Finding and Applying for Jobs

When looking for opportunities to make money teaching overseas, there are a few key options to consider. This section will break down the job search process and discuss three major pathways to teaching abroad: International Schools, Language Schools, and Online English Teaching.

International Schools

International schools can offer some of the highest-paying jobs for English teachers. These schools typically cater to expat families or local families seeking an international education for their children. They often follow the curriculum of a specific country, like the US or the UK, and provide a diverse teaching environment with students from different backgrounds.

To apply for a position in an international school, you’ll need to:

  • Have a Bachelor’s degree
  • Hold a teaching license in your home country
  • Have relevant teaching experience

During the hiring process, make sure your documents are prepared and be aware of the country’s hiring timeline. Each country might have different school year start dates – for example, Argentina begins in March, while Taiwan starts in September.

Language Schools

Language schools are another option for teaching English abroad. These institutions typically focus on teaching the local population English as a second language. Language schools often provide more flexible schedules and may be more open to hiring teachers with less experience or qualifications.

To get a job at a language school, you should:

  • Hold a TEFL or TESOL certificate
  • Research the requirements of the country you wish to teach in
  • Browse job boards and school websites for possible openings

Prepare for the interview process by familiarizing yourself with common teaching methods and demonstrating your adaptability to different language learning situations.

Online English Teaching

With advances in technology and the rise of remote work, online English teaching has become a popular choice for those looking to make money teaching overseas. You can teach English via platforms like Skype or through specialized online teaching companies.

To work as an online English teacher, you should:

  • Have a stable internet connection and a suitable device for teaching (e.g., laptop, tablet)
  • Obtain a TEFL or TESOL certificate
  • Research the job requirements and adapt your materials for online delivery

By exploring these three paths of teaching abroad, you can find the best opportunity to suit your skills and preferences. The world of international education offers numerous chances for English teachers to make money whilst experiencing new cultures and locations.

Earning Potential and Benefits

Teaching overseas can be a financially rewarding experience, especially in countries where English is in high demand. In this section, we will discuss the earning potential and benefits of teaching abroad, including salaries by region, benefits packages, and tax-free income opportunities.

Salaries by Region

When assessing the earning potential for teaching overseas, it’s essential to consider the regional differences in salary. Here are some examples of high-paying countries for teaching English:

  • South Korea: A popular choice for international English teachers, South Korea offers competitive salaries and benefits. TEFL certified teachers can expect to make a comfortable living in this country.
  • UAE: Home to a cosmopolitan, international scene, the United Arab Emirates is an excellent destination for teachers looking to make serious money teaching English.

Keep in mind that these are just a few examples. Your salary as an overseas teacher will depend on your qualifications, the type of school you work for, and the country where you are teaching.

Benefits Packages

In addition to a competitive salary, many international teaching positions also come with attractive benefits packages. Some common benefits you may encounter include:

  • Airfare: Employers may provide reimbursement or allowance for travel expenses to and from your home country.
  • Housing: Schools may offer accommodations either on campus or nearby, or contribute towards your housing expenses.
  • Health Insurance: Many international teaching contracts include comprehensive health insurance coverage for you and, in some cases, your dependents.
  • Relocation Allowance: Some teaching institutions provide a one-time relocation allowance to help cover the cost of moving abroad.

Make sure to carefully review the benefits package offered by your prospective employer, as these perks can often make up a significant portion of your overall compensation.

Tax-Free Income

One significant advantage of teaching overseas is the possibility of earning tax-free income. In some countries, like the UAE, foreign earners are exempt from income taxes, which can result in substantial savings and increased take-home pay. However, it’s crucial to research the specific tax situation in your destination country and consult a tax professional to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

In conclusion, teaching overseas can provide an excellent opportunity to earn a competitive salary and enjoy a range of attractive benefits. Each region and country offer different compensation packages, but with careful research and planning, you can find the right overseas teaching position that aligns with your financial goals and lifestyle preferences.

Teaching Strategies and Techniques

In this section, we’ll discuss different approaches to teaching English, including EFL vs ESL, efficient Lesson Planning and Preparation, and ensuring Student Engagement. These factors are all crucial to maximizing students’ learning potential and making your time teaching English overseas as effective and enjoyable as possible.


When teaching English abroad, it’s important to understand the distinction between English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English as a Second Language (ESL). EFL refers to teaching English in a non-English-speaking country, while ESL refers to teaching English in an English-speaking country to non-native speakers. The teaching strategies and techniques may vary depending on the context.

In EFL settings, students often need to learn English for travel, work, or academic purposes. In contrast, ESL learners may need English for daily life, cultural integration, and social communication. As a teacher, you should tailor your methods to suit the specific needs of your students in their respective environments.

Lesson Planning and Preparation

A well-organized lesson plan is key to successful language teaching. When planning your lessons, consider the following:

  • The four language skills: Speaking, writing, reading, and listening should be balanced and integrated within each lesson, providing students with comprehensive exposure to English.
  • Grammar and vocabulary: Incorporate relevant grammatical structures and vocabulary into your lessons to build a strong foundation for your students’ language development.
  • Test preparation: If your students are preparing for language exams, such as IELTS or TOEFL, include specific strategies and practice questions to help them succeed.
  • Adaptability: Due to the ongoing pandemic, be prepared to adjust your lesson plans and teaching strategies for online learning environments, if necessary.

Student Engagement

Keeping students motivated and engaged is crucial for their language learning success. Here are some tips for fostering engagement in the classroom:

  • Interactive activities: Encourage students to practice speaking, listening, reading, and writing through group work, games, and roleplays. These activities enable students to apply their new language skills in a fun and supportive environment.
  • Real-life scenarios: Help students connect their language learning to real-world situations by discussing topics such as traveling, job interviews, or socializing with native speakers.
  • Cultural exchange: Emphasize the importance of understanding different cultures and perspectives, as this can foster mutual respect and open-mindedness among students.
  • Progress tracking: Regularly assess students’ progress through quizzes, tests, and one-on-one interviews. Providing feedback on their improvement can keep them motivated and focused on their goals.

By employing effective teaching strategies and techniques, you can maximize your students’ potential and make your experience teaching overseas an enriching and fulfilling one.

Maximizing Your Income

Teaching overseas can be a great way to make money, but there are also various ways to maximize your income while abroad. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most effective methods to earn even more money through private tutoring, online teaching, and freelancing.

Private Tutoring

One of the most effective ways to supplement your income while teaching overseas is by offering private tutoring services. Depending on your skills and the demand in your location, you can charge a sizable hourly rate in addition to your full-time teaching salary. Some benefits of private tutoring include:

  • Increased earning potential: Experienced tutors can make a substantial hourly wage, and if you’re teaching a high-demand subject like the IELTS, you may be in even higher demand.
  • Flexibility: As a private tutor, you can choose your own schedule and only take on as many students as you can handle.
  • Networking opportunities: Building a network of students and clients can also lead to other opportunities within the education sector.

Online Teaching

Another great way to boost your income is through online teaching. This option allows you to work from anywhere, making it ideal for digital nomads and those who enjoy more flexibility in their work. Some benefits of online teaching include:

  • Expanded job opportunities: With numerous English teaching jobs abroad and TEFL jobs available online, you can teach a wide variety of subjects and cater to international students.
  • Flexible hours: Teach from the comfort of your home and tailor your schedule to fit your personal needs.
  • Lower overhead costs: As an online teacher, there’s often no need for a physical classroom, which means fewer expenses.


In addition to teaching, you could also explore freelancing opportunities in your area of expertise. Websites like Upwork offer a platform for you to showcase your skills in areas such as editing, writing, and even curriculum design. Some benefits of freelancing include:

  • Control over work: As a freelancer, you can select the projects that interest you most and set your own prices.
  • Flexible schedule: Work whenever you want and take breaks when needed, giving you more time to enjoy your life overseas.
  • Opportunity to develop new skills: Freelancing allows you to explore different areas of expertise, enhancing your credentials and making you more marketable in the long run.

In conclusion, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to maximize your income while teaching overseas. By exploring private tutoring, online teaching, and freelancing, you can boost your earnings and develop valuable skills that will benefit your career.