In Asia, the highest monthly salaries are to be found in Brunei (over $3000), Hong Kong (over $4000 on the NET Scheme), Japan (around $4000 on the JET Program), South Korea (often around $2500), and any ESL teaching positions with the British Council (over $3000) such as in Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar (Burma). Wages can be in excess of $2000 per month in Vietnam and Taiwan too.
In Europe, it is rare to earn more than the equivalent of $2000 per month unless you are a successful freelance teacher or Director of Studies.
In the Middle East, compensation packages vary widely from country to country. The highest salaries are to be found in Saudi Arabia (up to $5000) and the United Arab Emirates (up to $4500), with Oman and Bahrain not too far behind. Much lower are the salaries in less developed countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.
In Latin America, typically monthly salaries are generally under $1000 per month.
There are two really important issues to bear in mind in addition to the actual figures. The first issue is the cost of living in the country that you will be teaching in. Living costs vary from nation to nation. For example, if you earned $1000 per month your standard of living in Costa Rica would be far higher than your standard of living in France.
The second issue is the difference between the salary and the local cost of living. This figure is the amount that you could potentially save each month. Let’s look at why this second issue is so important. A country with a high salary and a high cost of living may look to be a good choice initially. But the amount that you could save each month may only be $300. In an country with a medium salary but a low cost of living you may be able to save up to $1000 per month.
A final issue which is relevant in some cases is that of extra benefits which sometimes come as part of your employment agreement. In more affluent Gulf states, your salary is tax-free and you will have the cost of return airfare paid for by your employer. You will probably also get free accommodation for both you and your family plus health insurance.
Many of these are standard perks in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. However, in other countries these benefits will vary from one nation to another and from one employer to another. For those with prior teaching experience, the British Council is a recommended employer and offers a very attractive ‘settling in allowance’.