Teaching abroad


You may be interested in teaching abroad, it can be an effective way to immerse yourself in a different culture, broaden your teaching practice and to travel the world.

You will of course have to check the latest coronavirus restrictions before deciding to teach abroad.

As a qualified teacher from the UK you will be bringing many skills and experiences which international schools will value. In this article, we look at how much you are likely to be paid, how to search for teaching roles and what you can expect when teaching in a different country.

Teaching abroad: how much will I get paid?

It depends on the country you teach in and the role you accept. There is lots of contradictory information online and some job offers and benefits sound too good to be true! You will want to double check your contract before you accept any position.

Generally, if you are a qualified classroom teacher or senior leader you can expect to earn more, especially in countries in the middle east and far east, than in the UK. In addition, some companies and schools will provide on-site accommodation, a furniture allowance, health insurance and airfare for yourself and any dependants.

It should also be noted that in some countries you will be paying significantly less income tax. If you are teaching English as a second language you will be paid less than a full time teacher at an international school.

Below, we look at some of the most popular destinations and their pay and benefits. Some of those included are salaries for teaching English as an additional language so might not be reflective for full-time teachers’ pay.

Teaching abroad: destinations

Abu Dhabi

Monthly salary: 12,300 – 20,400 AED, depending on experience. (£2589 – £4295)

Working hours: 35-40 hours/week, 5 days a week (Sunday -Thursday)

School holidays: Roughly mid-July to September, plus all national holidays

Source: Teachaway


Monthly salary: 10,000 – 13,000 RMB, depending on experience. (£1121 – £1457)

Working hours: 40 hours a week, 5 days a week, 21-24 classroom hours a week

School holidays: 10 vacation days, all national holidays

Source: Teachaway

Saudi Arabia

Monthly salary: 10,000 – 15,000 SAR, depending on experience. (£2062 – £3093)

Working hours: 7am to 3pm

Contract: 1-2 years

Source: Go Overseas

South Korea

Monthly salary: 2.1 – 3.0 million KRW, depending on experience. (£1429 – £2042)

Working hours: 30 hours a week

School holidays: 7-10 days as well as 13-15 national holidays

Source: Teachaway


Monthly salary: $1,700 (£1315)

Working hours: 25 hours a week guaranteed, overtime available

School holidays: 4 weeks per year

Source: Teachaway

What types of school will I be teaching abroad in?

As wide and diverse as the UK school system is, there are lots of different types of schools abroad. It will be important for you to find the right type of school to teach in and understand the expectations they will have of international teachers. We look at a number of these below:

Language schools

Language schools will cater to all different ages and you will most likely be teaching adult learners. You will need a TEFL, CELTA or DELTA qualification to teach in a language school.

If you are a qualified teacher from the UK you might not find teaching in a language school similar to classroom teaching. You are likely to have smaller classes and your teaching will primarily be focussed on teaching the fundamentals of English grammar, spelling and speech.

Visit the TEFL website for an overview of what it is like teaching English as a second language.

International independent schools

A number of high profile British independent schools have international settings abroad. Brighton College, for example, has a school in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. These schools will mostly cater for the children of expat workers seeking a UK-style education and curriculum.

Pupils will typically sit GCSEs and A-levels in English, Arabic, maths, biology, chemistry, history, geography, computing, art, drama, music, PE and foreign languages. The timetables at these schools typically reflect their English counterparts with five or six periods of one hour lessons a day. You can take a look at the curriculum offers at the international independent schools below:

State and public schools

Teaching in a state or public school abroad you will have to adapt to a different curriculum and qualification system. If you taught in the USA, for example, you will be teaching the state’s curriculum which will differ from district to district. You may be the only international teacher in the school and your working conditions and pay may differ from the rest of the staff.

How is teaching abroad different to teaching in the UK?

Expat teachers go through different experiences when teaching abroad. Many say that they are able to concentrate more on teaching than on the admin side of the role and are able to achieve a healthier work/life balance. Expat teachers generally say that behaviour is much better and there is less data entry and lesson planning to complete.

You will have to acclimatise to whichever country you will be based in and it is worth considering how much you will miss family and friends back in the UK. You will also have to consider setting up an international bank account, health insurance and making sure you are paying the correct amount in taxes.

Which qualifications do I need to teach abroad?

International teaching jobs and the required qualifications can vary considerably based on a number of factors including the type of school, the country, the curriculum and the education rules and regulation in the region.

For example, nearly all schools in Abu Dhabi require evidence of at least two years teaching experience or equivalent as part of their recruitment process.

British School Overseas (BSO) accredited schools and many other international schools recognise and accept QTS. If there is no BSO school in the location you are hoping to move to or the school doesn’t recognise QTS, gaining an additional qualification, like an International Postgraduate Certification in Education (iPGCE), could be useful.

Where can I find international teaching jobs?

Below, we feature a list of different websites and organisations that feature international teaching jobs. This list is not exhaustive and the ones featured below should not be taken as recommendations from Edapt:

It will be worthwhile researching the school and country you are thinking of teaching in. Try and get in contact with teachers who are already at the school or even arrange a visit so you can get a good feel of the school and culture.

What happens to my Teachers’ Pension when teaching abroad?

According to the Teachers’ Pensions website, if you decide to move abroad you will no longer be an active member in the scheme (unless you are going to teach in a school which is a member of the Council of British International Schools).

We have also published another article which provides an overview on the Teachers’ Pensions scheme.

Where can I find out more information?

There are a number of websites which provide more information on teaching abroad. These include:

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While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.