Where Are Teachers Paid The Most?

Written by Dan

Are you tired of being underpaid just because you’ve chosen to teach? There is hope; if you’re willing to move, your pay may be higher. We’ve scoured the globe to find where teachers are paid the most, and now we want to share this valuable information with all fellow educators! Keep reading this blog post and explore countries worldwide that could make a dream come true for any dedicated educator who hopes for a better salary. Now let’s see which place offers what kind of exciting opportunities.

1. Overview of teacher salaries around the world

Teacher salaries vary significantly around the world. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States has an average starting salary for a teacher of around $39,000 a year, which can rise to about $67,0001 . However, teachers in the US are often considered underpaid compared to teachers in other developed countries2.

In contrast, Luxembourg, a European country, reportedly has the highest-paid teachers in the world. A teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Luxembourg is entitled to an initial salary of €67,000 (US $70,323.20) per annum at the start of their teaching career3.

On the other end of the spectrum, states like Mississippi and South Dakota in the USA have some of the lowest average teacher salaries, being the only states with average salaries under $50,000 a year3.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the average English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher salary ranges from $3,500-USD 5,500/month depending on experience and credentials, with the cost of living ranging from $1,200-$1,9004.

According to a survey, teachers in 28 of the 35 countries surveyed are paid less than the general public considers a fair wage3.

Overall, teachers’ salary depends greatly on the country, the teacher’s qualifications, and the level of education they are teaching.

Please note that these figures are averages and individual salaries can vary based on experience, specialization, and regional cost of living.


  1. Business Insider
  2. Brookings
  3. World Population Review 2 3
  4. Go Overseas

2. The most lucrative countries to teach in 

Sure, here are more examples of actual salaries for teachers in different countries, along with additional countries:

  1. United Arab Emirates (UAE): Teachers can expect to earn between $3,500-$5,500 USD per month, tax-free.
  2. Saudi Arabia: Teachers earn a tax-free salary ranging from $3,000 to $4,000 USD per month.
  3. Japan: English teachers in the JET Programme can expect to earn around $2,200-$2,700 USD per month.
  4. Oman: English teachers in Oman can earn between $2,000-USD 3,500 per month, tax-free.
  5. Switzerland: Teachers in Switzerland can earn an average salary of approximately $60,000-$70,000 USD per year.
  6. South Korea: English teachers in South Korea typically earn between $1,600-USD 2,000 per month, plus housing allowances.
  7. Taiwan: English teachers in Taiwan can earn between $2,000-$2,400 USD per month, with some private schools paying up to $3,000 USD.
  8. Kuwait: Teachers can earn a tax-free salary between $2,500-$4,000 USD per month.
  9. Hong Kong: English teachers in Hong Kong typically earn between $3,000-$6,500 USD per month.
  10. Luxembourg: Teachers in Luxembourg earn the highest starting salary in the world at around $70,000 USD per year.
  11. Germany: In Germany, teachers can earn an average salary of approximately $50,000 USD per year.
  12. Australia: In Australia, the average teacher’s salary is around $47,000-$105,000 AUD per year (approx. $34,000-$76,000 USD) depending on experience and location.
  13. Canada: In Canada, the average teacher’s salary can range from $47,000-$100,000 CAD per year (approx. $37,000-$79,000 USD), with experienced teachers earning at the higher end of the scale.
  14. Singapore: In Singapore, an international school teacher can earn between $4,000-$6,000 SGD per month (approx. $3,000-$4,500 USD), not including bonuses and benefits.
  15. Qatar: Teachers in Qatar can earn between $2,400-$5,000 USD per month, tax-free, and often with additional benefits such as accommodation and flight allowances.
  16. China: In China, English teachers can earn between $1,500-$3,000 USD per month, with some private schools and international schools paying even more.
  17. Norway: Norway pays their teachers well, with an average salary of around $40,000-$45,000 USD per year for starting teachers, and experienced teachers earning around $60,000 USD per year.
  18. Finland: Known for its top-notch education system, Finland pays their teachers an average salary of $40,000-$50,000 USD per year.

Please note that these figures can vary depending on factors such as experience, qualifications, and the specific location within the country.

3. Factors that determine teacher salaries 

Teacher salaries are determined by a variety of factors:

  1. Education Level: Teachers with higher levels of education, such as a Master’s degree or PhD, typically earn more than those with just a bachelor’s degree1.
  2. Years of Experience: The number of years a teacher has been teaching can significantly impact their salary. Most school districts use a step program that establishes a pay scale based on the number of years a teacher works within the district2.
  3. Location: The location of the job is one of the most significant factors in determining teacher salary. Some states and countries pay teachers more than others. Also, urban schools often pay more than rural ones due to higher costs of living31.
  4. Subject Taught: In some areas, teachers who teach in-demand subjects such as math, science, or special education may receive higher pay4.
  5. Supply and Demand: The supply and demand for teachers in a particular area or subject field can influence salary. If there is a high demand for teachers but a low supply, salaries tend to be higher to attract more candidates5.
  6. School Funding: Teacher salaries are often dependent on the budget of the school or district, which can be influenced by local taxes, state and federal funding, and other sources3.
  7. Union Representation: Teachers who are part of a union often have negotiated contracts that dictate salary scales, raises, and benefits2.
  8. Performance: In some districts, teacher pay may be tied to performance evaluations or student test scores3.


  1. Rossier School of Education, USC 2
  2. Ed100 2
  3. Wisegeek 2 3
  4. UMass Global
  5. JSTOR

4. Strategies on how to make the most of your teaching salary 

Certainly, here are some strategies to make the most of your teaching salary:

  1. Pursue Professional Development: Furthering your education or acquiring additional certifications can often lead to salary increases. Many schools and districts have pay scales that reward higher levels of education and professional development.
  2. Teach Summer School or Tutor: Many teachers boost their income by teaching summer school, offering tutoring services, or taking on additional responsibilities at their school.
  3. Relocate to a Higher-Paying Area: Some regions pay teachers more than others. If it’s feasible for you, relocating to one of these areas could notably increase your salary.
  4. Budget Wisely: Developing a monthly budget to monitor your income and expenses can help you identify areas where you can reduce costs and save money.
  5. Save for Retirement: Starting your retirement savings early is crucial. If your school offers matching contributions for retirement funds, try to contribute enough to take full advantage of this benefit.
  6. Pay Down Debt: High-interest debt can eat away at your income. Aim to pay off high-interest debts as soon as possible to free up more of your income.
  7. Take Advantage of Teacher Discounts: A variety of businesses offer discounts to teachers. Always check if a teacher discount is available when making purchases.
  8. Consider a Side Hustle: Many teachers supplement their income with part-time jobs or by starting their own businesses during their off-hours or over the summer.

Remember, the goal is not just about earning more money, but also effectively managing and maximizing the money you do earn.

5. Benefits and drawbacks of working as a teacher in different countries

Teaching in different countries can offer unique opportunities and challenges. Here’s a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks:


  1. Cultural Immersion: Teaching abroad allows you to fully immerse yourself in a new culture, learn a new language, and gain a deeper understanding of the world.
  2. Professional Development: You’ll likely encounter different teaching methods and educational systems, which can broaden your professional skill set and make you a more versatile educator.
  3. Travel Opportunities: Working in a foreign country provides numerous opportunities to travel and explore new places during holidays and school breaks.
  4. Enhanced Resume: International teaching experience is highly valued by many employers and can make your resume stand out in future job applications.
  5. Financial Incentives: Some countries offer competitive salaries and benefits for foreign teachers, which can include housing allowances, paid airfare, and health insurance.


  1. Culture Shock: Adjusting to a new culture and way of life can be challenging and may take time.
  2. Language Barriers: If you’re not fluent in the local language, communication can be difficult both inside and outside the classroom.
  3. Homesickness: Being far from home and loved ones can be tough, especially during holidays and significant life events.
  4. Job Security: Contracts for international teachers are typically for a fixed term, and there may be less job security compared to teaching in your home country.
  5. Differences in Discipline and Educational Standards: Each country has its own approach to education and discipline, which might differ significantly from what you’re used to.

Overall, the decision to teach abroad should be made after careful consideration of these and other factors, ensuring it aligns with your personal and professional goals.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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