> Asia

Teach English Worldwide strives to provide clear, comprehensive, and objective advice to anyone interested in teaching English overseas.

The man who can make hard things easy is the educator

R.W. Emerson (American poet and essayist)

Asia is another hot spot for aspiring TEFL-TESOL teachers. The regions high salaries and the West’s continuing fascination with Asian society and culture are two major factors in this trend.

The advanced economies of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and most recently China, all generate a big demand for English in their respective societies. This demand helps ensure decent (and sometimes fantastic) wages for thousands of English teachers in the region. You should find it quite easy to find a job in any of these four countries if you posses a college degree and a TEFL-TESOL certificate. The demand is so high in certain areas that you might be able to get a job even without these minimum requirements (although your pay and working conditions will likely suffer as a result). These countries are also some of the few in the world where English teachers can actually save considerable amounts of money (possibly as much as $500-$1,000/month). Many jobs can be arranged in advance via the internet, while arriving in person might be necessary in the most popular destinations.

Working conditions and job benefits are also very good. You should expect that your employer will pay for at least part of your airfare, and will provide you with comfortable housing or a rent subsidy. Health insurance, adequate vacation time, and other perks might also be included. However, attractive compensation packages like these will be somewhat offset by the high costs of living in many of Asia’s modern cities (see Teach English Worldwide’s “Wages & Salaries” section for a comparison of living costs).

English teachers in Asia normally teach in private language institutes and/or give lessons to private students. There are also some well-established programs (like Japan’s JET program - http://www.embjapan.org/.), which place teachers in public schools teaching children and adolescents.

Japan has the most established economy and English teaching industry in the region. The extremely high wages it can offer makes the English job market there very competitive. Because of this competitiveness, you need to pay attention to school hiring cycles - the best times to arrive are late March or August. The cost of living in Japan is also very high, which you should take into account when comparing salaries with other countries.

South Korea has a very developed TEFL-TESOL market and it is easier to find work here than in Japan. The pay is generally lower than in Japan, but still substantial. Teaching English to children and adolescents is the most common type of position in South Korea.

English jobs in Taiwan offer less pay than either Japan or South Korea, but you are virtually guaranteed a job - regardless of experience, training, or professional skills.

As China’s economic and political clout has grown, so has its TEFL-TESOL market. In the past, most English teaching jobs were part of the public school system. With free market reforms stimulating rapid economic growth in certain parts of China, there are now a huge number of private language schools – some of which are prepared to pay respectable wages to native English speakers. Nevertheless, salaries, working conditions, and living conditions are still quite variable throughout the country, so do your research before committing to a job or moving to an area to look for work.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, and Vietnam also have some jobs, but pay and availability are quite variable and relatively limited. Thailand and Indonesia are probably the best TEFL-TESOL markets in this group.

The poorest countries in the region – such as Nepal, Cambodia, and Laos – have few professional opportunities. You may be able to find willing students while in the country.