Prospects Country by Country Guide - Asia


The Asian continent offers a remarkably diverse range of experiences and opportunities to a qualified EFL teacher. In many Asian countries there is a huge demand for English native speakers and some of the highest paying employment in the industry.

Anybody with a university degree and a TEFL certificate should find a wide range of opportunities. Industrialized nations such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan have western-style economies and a high standard of living, while developing nations like China, Vietnam and Thailand offer lower salaries but perhaps a greater variety of cultural experience. Asia certainly has something for everyone and your time there is likely to be unforgettable. Students in most Asian countries are very respectful to teachers, further enhancing your experience.

In some of the poorer countries of the region (particularly the Indian subcontinent) paid employment is very difficult to find and most teachers in those locations are there on voluntary placements (a local wage may be available).

Details of major EFL destinations are given below:


China 
Capital CityBeijing
LanguageCantonese/Mandarin
CurrencyRenminbi
Typical TEFL teacher salary8,000 RMB per month
major TEFL locationNationwide

China TEFL job prospects

The demand in China for TEFL teachers is huge. There seems to be far more jobs than teachers and teachers are needed in all parts of the country, from Beijing to Hong Kong to Mongolia. Any qualified EFL teacher should be able to pick and choose from a wide variety of opportunities throughout the country in both state and private sectors. Salaries (and costs) can vary tremendously between regions.


Indonesia 
Capital CityJakarta
LanguageIndonesian
CurrencyRupiah
Typical TEFL teacher salary10 milion Rupiah per month
major TEFL locationJakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Yogyakarta +++

Indonesia TEFL job prospects

Indonesia is the fifth most populous nation on earth and at times is can seem as if all of them are learning English! As a result there is a great demand for English language teachers throughout the nation.

Opportunities can range from state to private sector. Most teachers are employed on the island of Java, though there are many possibilities on other islands too.


Japan 
Capital CityTokyo
LanguageJapanese
Currencyyen
Typical TEFL teacher salary250,000 yen per month
major TEFL locationTokyo, Osaka +++

Japan TEFL job prospects

There are countless job opportunities in Japan for TEFL qualified teachers. In Tokyo and Osaka there can be more jobs than teachers, while in other parts of the country the prospects are still good. Teachers are usually highly respected by Japanese students, and they are generally highly motivated and willing to learn. Salaries don't seemed to have changed much in recent years and so it is not as attractive a location as it once was but most teachers are still able to save considerable amounts without having to live too frugal a lifestyle. A university degree is essential for obtaining a work permit.


South Korea 
Capital CitySeoul
LanguageKorean
CurrencyWon
Typical TEFL teacher salary2,2 milion won per month
major TEFL locationSeoul, Pusan +++

South Korea TEFL job prospects

South Korea has a huge demand for EFL teachers and offers some of the highest paid EFL employment.

Opportunities exist in the state sector but most teachers find themselves working in one of the thousands of hogwons (private language institutes) throughout the country. A large percentage of teachers are employed in Seoul or Pusan but there are employment possibilities in smaller cities and towns also. Many teachers complain of the working conditions but others feel that the high salaries counterbalance this. Teachers willing to work overtime can be earning up to $US 6,000 per month. Any qualified teacher who has a university degree and a TEFL certificate should have no problem whatsoever in finding employment.


Taiwan 
Capital CityTaipei
LanguageChinese
CurrencyNT Dollar
Typical TEFL teacher salary$2000 per month
major TEFL locationTaipei

Taiwan TEFL job prospects

The EFL industry in Taiwan is booming and job opportunities for native speakers with a degree and TEFL qualification abound. Salaries are quite high and working conditions are reasonable. Teaching positions are normally found in the hundreds of bushibans (private schools) throughout the country. There does seem to be a preference for American English but other native speakers will encounter little difficulty in finding work.


Thailand 
Capital CityBangkok
LanguageThai
CurrencyBaht
Typical TEFL teacher salary35,000 bath per month
major TEFL locationBangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, +++

Thailand TEFL job prospects

The current job opportunities in Thailand for TEFL teachers are numerous. In Bangkok there are far more jobs than teachers, while in other parts of the country the prospects are still good. In virtually every city in Thailand, if a qualified TEFL teacher decides they want to live there, they will be able to find a teaching position. Teachers are highly respected by Thai students, and they are generally highly motivated and willing to learn. They are also great fun! As Thailand is such an attractive country in which to work, there many unqualified teachers looking for a job. A TEFL qualified teacher will find work very easily.


Singapore 
Capital CitySingapore
LanguageMandarin CHinese, Malay, Tamil, English
CurrencySingapore Dollar
Typical TEFL teacher salaryS$3000 per month
major TEFL locationThroughout the state

Singapore TEFL job prospects

Singapore is a very wealthy and westernized city-state in which there is a considerable demand for qualified EFL teachers. While salaries are reasonably high, Singapore certainly isn't the cheapest place to live and work.

Work is not quite so easy to find as elsewhere in Asia but a qualified teacher with a university degree should be able to find a few openings.


Malaysia 
Capital CityKuala Lumpur
LanguageBahasa Malaysia
CurrencyRinggit
Typical TEFL teacher salary$12000 per month
major TEFL locationKuala Lumpur

Malaysia TEFL job prospects

The current situation for English language teachers in Malaysia is similar to that in Singapore. There is a reasonable demand and qualified teachers should (with a little patience) be able to find a suitable position.

Salaries are about $1,000 per month and while this is lower than Singapore the cost of living is much lower.


Vietnam 
Capital CityHanoi
LanguageVietnamese
CurrencyDong
Typical TEFL teacher salary$20 per hour
major TEFL locationHo chi minh City, Hanoi

Vietnam TEFL job prospects

Following a fairly turbulent recent past, Vietnam has now stabilized and as a result the demand for English has exploded. Well-paid employment is quite easy to find in the major cities and qualified teachers shouldn't have any problems. Compared to the cost of living salaries are high. Outside the two largest cities (Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi) work is mainly on a voluntary basis and there are numerous organizations who can help arrange this.


Laos 
Capital CityVientiane
LanguageLaotian
CurrencyKip
Typical TEFL teacher salary$1500 per month
major TEFL locationVientiane

Laos TEFL job prospects

The situation in Laos is very similar to that in Vietnam. Quite well-paid (in comparison to the low cost of living) work is available in the capital and mainly voluntary work elsewhere. The demand for native speaker teachers of English is very high.


Cambodia 
Capital CityPhnom Penh
LanguageKhmer
CurrencyRiel
Typical TEFL teacher salary$1800 per month
major TEFL locationPhnom Penh

Cambodia TEFL job prospects

See Laos and Vietnam.


Indian Subcontinent 
CountriesIndia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
LanguageVarious
CurrencyVarious
Typical TEFL teacher salaryVarious
Major TEFL locationsMainly voluntary teaching positions in this region

Indian Subcontinent TEFL job prospects

Job opportunities in this region are almost always on a voluntary basis. There are various voluntary placement agencies who can arrange unpaid (or sometimes local salary) employment for qualified EFL teachers.