Many of these positions include a very attractive benefits package such as free return airfare to your home country, the cost of accommodation included for you and your family and, in some cases, a tax-free salary. Most of the positions with high salaries are in the Middle East and Asia.
If you can handle living in a small, alcohol-free zone of the island of Borneo then Brunei might be the country for you. The salaries are great (often $3000 a month) but you’ll need to be experienced and preferably possess a DELTA or MA TESOL. It is possible to save around $1000 per month if you are careful with your money. Unfortunately, Brunei is in the process of making Sharia Law the national law for all who live there – whether you are Muslim or not. This is very troubling news indeed. At this rate, they may need to increase the salaries still further in order to attract people to go there to teach.
Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait have a similar cultural backdrop to contend with, and despite the high salaries you may find yourself feeling very isolated in your little well-furnished compound. However, if you can handle it, the salaries are tax free and you will make significant savings each month. If you are trying to pay off debt or save to buy a house then it may be worth considering looking at teaching positions here. It appears that Saudi Arabia still offers the very highest salaries, up to around $5000 US Dollars per month tax-free.
In contrast to the nations above, Hong Kong is a very liberal-minded place with a nice ‘melting pot’ of cultures and ethnicities. Living costs are high, but if you are accepted on the NET scheme then you can make around $5000 US Dollars a month which more than makes up for it. Bear in mind that you need to apply by January for an August start date and typically need at least two years of teaching experience. You should be able so save in excess of $1000 per month if you are on the NET scheme.
Similar to the NET scheme, Japan has the JET programme. Once again, you need to apply early for this, usually by December for a September start date. The salary can be as high as around $4200 US Dollars a month. Living costs are high in Japan but if you are on the JET Scheme you will certainly be able to save approximately $1000 per month.
South Korea remains a popular destination with TEFL teachers because of the decent salaries and insatiable local demand for English tuition from native speakers. Even if you don’t have experience, you can earn over $2000 per month and save almost $1000 of this. The application procedure generally takes a long time so you are advised to begin applying from overseas about 5 months before you hope to begin teaching there.
Taiwan is another good option although you will face more competition for jobs and have a much better chance if you have significant experience. Once again you can earn about $2000 per month and save almost $700 of this if you are careful with your outgoings.
You can also earn up to $2000 a month in Vietnam, where living costs are low. Most teachers can save about $700 a month, depending on the number of hours worked. A lot of paperwork is required here, including health checks and criminal records checks. However, Vietnam is one of the best destination for first-time TEFL teachers because you do not need previous teaching experience.