The Best Paying TEFL Jobs In Asia

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Not everyone is motivated by money when choosing which country they'll go to to teach English, but it's still beneficial to know where each country fits on the scale.

Last week we blogged about the top countries to head to in Asia, and this week we'll be doing similar, but focusing more on the issue of money.

You should also consider that there is more to a job than just the salary. A lot of schools offer other incentives like a flight reimbursement, annual bonuses, or will have non-financial benefits (such as western management).

This article is here to give you information about salaries so that you can use it as part of an overall selection strategy. We definitely don't recommend that you focus solely on income. Learn more about the other things you should consider here.

How Asia Compares With The Rest Of The World

Asia is definitely the part of the world with the most jobs on offer and some of the highest salaries. To be more specific, The Middle East has the highest income, with reasonable benefits as well. 

However, South East Asia and Asia Pacific jobs generally offer a more fun lifestyle, lower living costs, and less intense schedules.

A lot of people who initially head to the Middle East because of the salaries soon end up transferring further east and working in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, or similar countries.

The Far East has the best "bang for buck" in terms of high salary, low cost of living, lifestyle, and fun.

Let's take a look at the top five countries for income, and discuss some other factors for you to consider as well.

Top Five Best Paying Jobs For TEFL Teachers In Asia

1.) Japan $3,000 a month

Not every job you find will pay you this high, but it's definitely not uncommon to earn up to $3,000 a month in Japan. You do have to consider that the Japanese Yen is quite low right now, and the cost of living is high, so this $3,000 needs further analysis than the surface value.

Still, given how popular Japan is as a country and how large the English teaching market is, you'll not go wrong selecting it as your destination of choice.

2.) South Korea  $2,000-$2,500

You can't quite earn as much as in Japan, but on average there's not a lot of difference between the pay-scale in South Korea and Japan. South Korea also has a slightly lower cost of living, and schools often give good benefits (annual flights home, accommodation), which means that S.Korea can be on a par with Japan once all is considered.

It's not always as easy to get a job in Korea as it is in Japan, but the market is still huge, and it's a great country with a rich culture, just like every other entry on this list.

3.) Taiwan $2,000

The average income in Taiwan is around $2,000 a month as well, but it boasts a much lower cost of living. Even in Taipei, where the cost of living is higher than the rest of the country, you'll still be able to save money on this income. If you were to live outside of Taipei, then the potential for saving would be even higher.

Taiwan is also a very popular county with a booming English teacher market, which makes it very accessible and a great place for first time teachers and veterans alike.

4.) Vietnam $1,000 - 2,000

Vietnam is to Taiwan what Taiwan is to South Korea. The salary is lower on average, but the cost of living is lower still. Vietnam is also a "hot market" right now with lots of opportunities and a growing industry.

When you combine it with the level of adventure and diversity that you can find, it definitely makes for a reasonable destination. Vietnam is also going to be more popular for somebody who loves getting out into nature.

5.) China $1,000 - 2,000

This is the average pay for a TEFL job, but there are a lot of higher level jobs in international schools or government schools that will pay $4,000 or higher, so China is still a place where you can earn a lot of money, depending on your qualifications. As this article is focusing on TEFL jobs, China is at the bottom of the list for pay.

Such a vast country as China still has a lot to offer though, and like the other 4 countries on the list, would make a great destination for teaching.


When taking into account salaries, it's impossible to avoid considering the cost of living. If this list had been written based on cost of living then Japan would be in 5th and Vietnam or parts of China would be top. 

You also, as mentioned, need to look at the bigger picture and see what else any potential job offers carry with them. 

Finally, the figures given in this article are averages only. You can find jobs that will pay you higher (depending on your experience), but you also might find jobs which will offer lower, so make sure you are looking carefully and doing your due diligence with every offer you receive.

Check out our homepage if you want to learn more about how we can help you (for free) to find a job in Asia.