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How Much Can A TESOL Teacher Earn?

TESOL refers to Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Many factors play into how much money a TESOL certified teacher earns in a year. The type of institution and program for which he teaches, where he teaches, his years of experience and the type of TESOL certification he has will in large part determine how much money he makes.

Types of Certification

Independent certification programs that offer at least 100 hours of training and a supervised teaching component are the best types of independent TESOL certification. These certificates are mainly appropriate for teachers who plan to teach overseas. If you want to teach in the U.S., it is better to earn a post-graduate certificate in a college that takes about a year to complete, or to earn a master’s degree in linguistics or TESOL. If you are teaching in public schools, you will have a bachelor’s degree, a teacher's license and a TESOL endorsement, and you will earn about the same salary as other public school teachers in your district. Most TESOL teachers teach overseas, however.

In the United States

The range of salary for ESL and TESOL related teaching careers is between $25,000 and $75,000, according to the website Guide to Career Education. The median salary is about $44,000. Again, the location in which a teacher works, her education and experience are important in determining her salary.


How much you make if you work overseas will be depend on which country you decide to teach in. Some Asian countries are known to provide a much higher salary than other countries. However, wherever you decide to teach, it is important to compare the salary you are being offered with the local cost of living. You can live pretty cheaply in some countries, making your salary go further than it would if you lived in the U.S. Use the “Cost of Living” table on the Teach English Worldwide website to get an idea of costs of living in over a hundred cities around the world.


You can work in private English schools for children or adults overseas. Preschools that offer English classes are another option. You may also teach in regular public schools in the country you decide to teach in. Private schools that offer English training to their students regularly hire TESOL teachers as well. In the U.S., you can teach in colleges with a master’s degree, in adult education programs and in private schools.


Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.