Are you a young professional who wants to see what the world has to offer before embarking on a career path in your home country? Have you worked for a while and started wondering what else is out there? Are you interested in making a move abroad, but unsure about what your work and life will be like? For anyone who wants to move to Southeast Asia, teaching is a stable profession which can help you pay the bills while you set up your new life. For some, it becomes a career which they are passionate about, and they pursure further training and advance within the industry. For others, it’s a stepping-stone to other kinds of work abroad. In any case, this site is meant to show you what you can expect to earn and save and where and how easily you can expect to find work if you come to Southeast Asia.
How Much Teachers Earn
Teachers in Southeast Asia are generally well-paid by local standards, though it might not seem a lot compared to your salary back at home. If you’re earning $1,300 per month in Thailand, you’re pulling in 2-3x the average local salary. If you’re making $1,500 per month in Vietnam, you’re earning more like 5-6x the average. Check out the pages for each country to learn more about teacher salaries.
How Much Teachers Spend
This part is up to you, but the cost of living is much lower in each country in Southeast Asia, with the exception of Singapore, than it is in a western country. If you want to save, you can find a modest studio apartment even in cities like Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh for $150-200 per month. If you want to enjoy yourself a bit more, you can find an apartment in a condo with a pool and fitness center for $400-500. In some countries, such as Brunei, it’s common for teachers to get free housing along with their teaching job.
Food can be quite cheap as well. Whether you’re in Indonesia, Laos or Vietnam, you can find fried rice or noodles from small sidewalk shops or small restaurants for around $1-2. Buy fresh fruit by the kilo for $1-2 as well. Have a coffee in a small shop in Ho Chi Minh City for $0.75. If you’re frugal, you can get by on $6-8 per day for food in most places in the region. Small cities in lower-income countries like Vietnam or Laos are of course cheaper, while bigger cities in better-off countries, like Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, are more expensive. However, on your teacher’s salary you should be able to eat out at modest restaurants for every meal without worrying about the bill.
Learn more about the cost of living in each country’s page.
One of the best things about teaching in Southeast Asia is that you can become a viable candidate for most teaching jobs after taking a mere one-month teaching course. (You’ll of course have plenty of room to improve, but it’s enough for a start.) There are a number of different ways to study for your certificate, such as in-person or online. There are many types of certifications, including TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, TEFL-YL, CELTA-YL, MA-TESOL, DELTA, and more. Click here to find out more about teaching qualifications, and which ones are the best for your career.
You’ll also find tips for finding a job in Southeast Asia. You’ll learn whether it’s best to look online or go to the country and search in-person. You’ll get advice on the way to make contact with schools your interested in. You’ll also find out how to craft your CV to catch the attention of employers.
In addition, don’t forget the often-overlooked but fast-growing field of online tutoring, where you can access students in higher-income markets like Japan or the Middle East and teach to supplement your income.
Many people move abroad to teach with little knowledge about the paths through which they can advance in the teaching industry. They may also know little about which further qualifications are most helpful, and what the rewards to earning them may be. This site gives you better information about how you can advance to better-paid positions within the teaching profession.
Others, however, will move on to work in other fields after getting a start as a teacher. You can go to graduate school abroad for a fraction of the price of studying back home, and then look into working in businesses or NGOs around Southeast Asia. You can use your time as a teacher to start making the connections which will help you get into the fields you’re most interested in.