Research by the British Council suggests that the number of English learners around the world is set to exceed 1.9bn by 2020, which means the demand for English teachers is only going to keep growing. This is great news for anyone from first-time teachers looking for exciting gap-year opportunities to experienced EFL teachers. Whether you’re planning your first TEFL adventure or you’re looking for next teaching job, our list of the top 10 places to TEFL in 2018 is full of ideas for you!
Can you really write a list of the best places to TEFL and not place China right at the top? We don’t think so! The sheer number and range of TEFL opportunities in China continues to be unparalleled and it doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon. China offers so much to those who decide to spend time there; it’s a country steeped in fascinating history, offering some of the most incredible cultural and geographical experiences around. And with its rapidly growing economy looking to the future is just as exciting as looking at the past!
Spain continues to be one of the most popular TEFL destinations amongst our students, offering sun and great culture, all a short plane ride away from the UK. Spain has the second highest level of unemployment in the EU behind Greece, with youth unemployment particularly high, currently standing at 38.7% (which is a significant improvement from 56% back in 2013!). For EFL teachers, however, there is no shortage of work. Earlier this year we interviewed TEFL Org UK graduate Megan, who taught in Madrid and she told us there was such a demand for English lessons that it didn’t take long at all for her to find herself in a position where she had to start turning down work!
It might not be a geographical location, but we felt it’d be amiss to not mention the ever-increasing demand for online English lessons. Whether you want to work from home or take up life as a digital nomad and explore the world, online teaching is a great option for anyone who likes the idea of being more in charge of their own work schedule. One of our Advanced TEFL courses focuses on teaching English online, which covers how to set yourself up and start finding work.
South Korea’s rapid economic growth over the last five decades has resulted in it being one of the most high-tech and innovative countries on earth. It boasts one of the strongest markets for EFL teachers around, with an abundance of jobs available in private language schools (hagwons) and with the government-run EPIK scheme. Good salaries, accommodation, airfare reimbursement, and other benefits can be expected from teaching positions in South Korea, making it a very attractive destination for first-time EFL teachers.
A diverse landscape and culture, incredible food, and a strong English market all make Mexico a very attractive destination for EFL teachers. You won’t get rich teaching in Mexico, but a teacher’s salary (which many often supplement with income from private lessons) will allow you to live comfortably and able to enjoy what this great country has to offer. Plus, Mexico also has the advantage of being a country where it’s possible to legally teach without a degree!
If money is your priority then the UAE tops the list, where you can be looking at salaries of up to $4,000 USD (tax free) with great benefits. The UAE is a shopper’s paradise, with the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi full of incredible shopping malls stocked full of the latest designer gear. There’s a lot on offer to those who can afford it and teachers can save large sums. The offer of such high salaries, however, does mean the market is a competitive one and positions are generally out of reach for first-time teachers. If you have a few years of teaching experience under your belt and a desire to make some serious coin, then the UAE is a great option.
Which TEFL countries offer the highest salaries?
There are so many adventures to be had in Vietnam and with its low cost of living, great jobs market for EFL teachers, and breathtaking scenery it’s an understandably popular destination. It’s also an ideal hub for visiting other countries in South East Asia, and China! If the idea of going to a country on your own and sorting out a job and accommodation all feels a bit overwhelming then it might be worth considering an internship to ease you into TEFL. Our internship in Vietnam includes full training, living allowance, accommodation, and in-country support, allowing you to get some invaluable teaching experience under your belt without the stress that comes with moving to a foreign country by yourself. Whether you find work yourself or do an internship you’re sure to have an incredible adventure in Vietnam!
TEFL Internships in Vietnam
There’s a strong and growing demand for EFL teachers in Poland, which makes it one of the best places in Europe to look for work in 2018. The best paid positions are to be found in the major cities such as Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Krakow, with TEFL salaries high compared to the low cost of living in the country, so you’ll be able to live comfortably.
Teaching English in Poland
Thailand has been popular with EFL teachers for a long time and with plenty of jobs out there and a low (although slowly rising) cost of living that continues to be the case. The hospitality and warmness of Thailand’s citizens is well known – it’s referred to as ‘the land of smiles’ for a good reason! In Thailand you could find yourself teaching a range of learners, from young children to business professionals, in cities such as Bangkok or in rural areas across the country – there’s a wide variety of work to suit everyone. From Thailand you can easily travel to nearby countries such as Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and more, so if you dream of exploring South East Asia then a TEFL job in Thailand provides you with the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Russia boasts an internationally renowned literary tradition, fascinating history, and the biggest landmass of any country in the world (it makes up 11% of the world’s entire landmass!). English teachers are highly sought after in Russia, with most jobs to be found in private language schools and in major cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg. During the 90s and much of the 00s, language schools in Russia built a reputation for not paying teachers, but the situation has improved greatly since then with many legitimate and honest schools eager to take on TEFL qualified teachers. As with any job, regardless of location, make sure to be vigilant and keep your wits about you – see our post about avoiding scams for more information.
Where are you planning to TEFL in 2018? Is it somewhere listed in our top 10 or are you jetting off elsewhere? Let us know in the comments below!