Teaching Jobs in the Far East

Teaching standards in the Far East are extremely high and international schools are looking for the best talent around to further enhance their reputation. Countries such as China, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea are exciting places to work and live, while also offering the perfect base to travel and discover more about the continent. In addition to generous salary packages, many schools will also offer health insurance, travel and accommodation benefits, making your transition from West to East as smooth as possible.

One of the main considerations given to teaching in the Far East is the salary that will be attainable. In general you can expect to earn the following:

  Average Salary p/m Top end earners p/m
China £3,900 £7,000
Hong Kong £2,500 £3,500
Japan £2,300 £3,900
South Korea £1,500 £2,100
Singapore £3,900 £4,700
Vietnam £1,200 £1,500

Other countries in the region such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Philippines and Thailand could also offer good earning opportunities, but the countries above tend to be the most popular choices and general offer the best salaries.

Career requirements

Given the range of countries situated in the Far East, each country will have their own individual criteria to meet the expectations of their education system.
For example, anyone wishing to teach English in South Korea is likely to require a degree and PHD/B.Ed, along with a TEFL certificate and some hands-on teaching experience. For teaching English anywhere in the Far East the TEFL certificate will be a basic requirement and it is also needed in countries like China and Japan. Experience may be flexible depending on whether it’s an entry role or something more senior, which will also mean the type of degree you need to have may vary too.

Legal requirements

Visas will be required to work in any country in the Far East. Many schools will take care of this on your behalf by sponsoring your application. Some can be harder to gain than others, however, as countries like Japan can require you to have a bachelor’s degree in order to secure one.
Teaching in South Korea means you have to apply for an E-2 (teaching) visa from your local Korean embassy or consulate (you will also have to own a bachelor’s degree/accredited diploma). Be sure to fully check the visa and documentation requirements of any country before you apply and/or commit to a job role.

School expectations

Education is a primary focus for societies in the Far Eastern countries, with places like China, Japan and Singapore offering high school standards. China, in particular, have expanded their investment into education as the country becomes more accessible to other economies around the world. This has created a very healthy job marketing and better educational standards as a result.
In the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results, China and Singapore were ranked first and second respectively across maths, reading and science. Other Far East countries that feature prominently in the top 10 included Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

Living and lifestyle

Heading to the Far East to work opens up a range of travel possibilities within the region. This is especially true for teachers working on a contracted basis who can use it as a chance to try out different cultures and gain new experiences right across the continent. Southeast Asia is also easily within reach, with countries like Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia also offer numerous teaching opportunities.
In general terms, the cost of living in the Far East is lower than the UK. However, when you travel to major cities such as Tokyo, Beijing or Java Island in Indonesia you may find prices are higher for rent, food and travel. South Korea and Japan in particular have comparable standards and costs of living to the West. The further you travel out of the main city areas, the lower the cost will become, although living standards may also not be as high.