Cambodia has become a popular destination for native English speakers looking to teach English as a foreign language. With its low cost of living, fascinating culture, and growing economy, Cambodia offers expats the chance to earn a living while experiencing life in an exotic location. This guide provides an overview of teaching English in Cambodia, including job prospects, pay rates, qualifications, and what to expect in the classroom.
Job Prospects for English Teachers
Jobs teaching English are readily available across Cambodia, especially in the major cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. There is high demand for native English speakers due to the increasing emphasis on learning English for business and tourism. Schools, language centers, universities, private tutoring services, and even some government programs regularly hire foreign English teachers.
While finding a job is relatively easy, competition has increased in recent years as more teachers arrive from English-speaking countries. Applicants with teaching credentials and experience are more likely to land the highest paying jobs at international schools and universities. Those without qualifications may be limited to language centers, tutoring services, or rural schools with lower pay.
Typical Salaries for English Teachers
Salaries for English teaching positions in Cambodia vary depending on your qualifications and school. The average rate for foreign English teachers in Phnom Penh hovers around $10 to $14 per hour. The rate is slightly less in Siem Reap and less still in Sihanoukville.
Major factors affecting pay rates include:
- Location: Jobs in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap pay more than rural areas.
- School type: International schools pay the most, followed by universities, language centers, and public schools.
- Qualifications: Teaching credentials and advanced degrees lead to higher pay.
- Experience: Schools pay higher rates for more years of experience.
- Hours: Full-time schedules pay more than part-time.
Taxes are typically 10-15% depending on the school. Even with lower hourly wages, the low cost of living allows teachers to live comfortably.
Qualifications to Teach English
At a minimum, English teaching jobs in Cambodia require applicants to be native English speakers with a bachelor’s degree. However, better qualifications will increase your chances of getting hired and expand your job options.
Many schools prefer or require a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) certification. These 120-hour courses teach essential methods and principles of teaching English. Obtaining one before arriving in Cambodia can significantly boost your hiring prospects and salaries.
For the highest-level jobs at international schools, you’ll need a teaching license and master’s degree from your home country along with 2+ years of prior English teaching experience. Jobs at universities may require at least a master’s degree.
What to Expect Teaching English
Classroom environments vary across Cambodia. At many language schools, classes can be lively and challenging to manage with up to 25 students and limited resources. Implementing creative teaching methods and classroom management strategies is essential. Lesson planning and preparation time is often unpaid.
At international schools, classes are smaller with well-behaved students genuinely committed to learning. However, expectations on teachers are higher with required detailed lesson planning and more contact hours.
Overall, English teaching in Cambodia provides great opportunities to mentor eager students, share your culture, and make an impact. Developing patience and flexibility will help overcome initial hurdles. Finding the right school fit makes a big difference in having a positive experience.
For native English speakers looking to teach abroad, Cambodia offers accessible job opportunities in an exotic setting. Come prepared with teaching credentials and an open mind to make the most of this life changing experience.