International Schools: Pay and Benefits
The main benefits to teaching overseas are the enjoyment of teaching in an international school, the friends you’ll make, the adventure of living life abroad, and the travel opportunities living overseas brings you. Money should not be your main motivation for teaching abroad and you should know that you won’t get rich doing so. However, we know money is necessary no matter where you are in the world, so below is a brief overview of the pay and benefits you can expect with a teaching job abroad.
Salaries for international school teachers vary widely from country to country depending on the cost of living in each country and the desirability of the location. As such, when considering a teaching job abroad, the best way to compare salaries is to look at how much income is left after expenses.
For example, if you want to teach overseas in a large and touristy city like Hong Kong, or even Jeddah, Saudi Arabia your saving power will be much lower because, 1) the cost of living in those cities is high and 2) teaching jobs in those types of cities are in high demand, so salaries and benefits are lower. Consequently, your after-expenses disposable income might not be more than a few hundred dollars.
In smaller, off the beaten path cities (Educators Overseas’ specialty!) like Surabaya, Indonesia or Lome, Togo you can expect to earn more and be able to save more because the cost of living is lower and because teaching jobs aren’t in as much demand, so benefits are more. In cities like these, your disposable income after expenses will likely be significantly higher.
In addition to a teacher’s regular salary, most schools we recruit for offer the following benefits to their hired teachers:
- Airfare to and from the host city for the teacher
- Health insurance*
- Housing or a housing allowance
- Summer vacation
- Assistance learning the country’s language
- Procurement of all appropriate visas and country permits
- Local taxes paid (but double check with the school when you sign the contract!)
In addition to the above, many schools offer some or all of the following benefits to teachers hired from abroad:
- Career development opportunities
- Retirement plan
- Life insurance
- Sick leave
*While it may sound like a given, some schools don’t provide
health insurance for teachers. Fortunately travel health insurance can provide overseas residents and travelers extremely generous coverage for minimal amounts of money.