Teaching English in Cambodia

By | December 22, 2016

Cambodia has a reputation that is much worse than reality. It’s got a history of genocide and civil war which is still evident across the country. However, Cambodia has now become a very peaceful country and attracts millions of visitors every year. Cambodia is known as “The Kingdom of Wonder” and most people that visit Cambodia fall in love right from the start of their visit. Cambodia shares borders with Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.

Cambodia is a developing country and because Cambodia was a French Colony most of the older people in Cambodia can speak some French. However, the younger generations are looking towards speaking English as it is the de facto international language. As a result of this, there is a huge need for people who can teach English, especially native English speakers. Native speakers are welcomed from any country that they come from, whether it’s the US, UK, Australia, or wherever.

The Cambodian people are very friendly and very respectful, especially towards their teacher! Cambodia is still a very poor country, and as a foreign English teacher you can expect a salary that is far higher than what most people would earn in Cambodia. In this blog post I’ve outlined some of the more important things you would want know about teaching English in Cambodia.

Teaching English in Cambodia

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

Where to Teach in Cambodia

Most people find it easier to secure work in the 2 main cities; Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. In the smaller towns and cities, it is still possible to find work but there are less schools, so you might find it a bit more difficult to secure a job. Follow the links below to read more about teaching English in Cambodia.

Teach English in BattambangBattambang Teach English in Phnom PenhPhnom Penh Teach English in Siem ReapSiem Reap Teach English in SihanoukvilleSihanoukville

How to Find a Teaching Job in Cambodia

Whilst it is not impossible to secure a teaching position before you arrive in Cambodia, the vast majority of people find a job when they are already in Cambodia. Most schools want to meet you in person before offering you a job.

Most prospective teachers find a job the ‘old fashioned’ way, that is, they put on their nicest clothes, get a handful CVs ready and go and ask for a job! Alternatively, you can email your CVs to prospective schools and you might find some that contact you back, but most teachers that I know in Cambodia have had far more success going around the schools and asking for work.

So to find work in Cambodia, get yourself out there and start handing out your CV. Alternatively, many people have had success from emailing and telephoning the schools directly. I would say take a look online and do some research, most schools have a website in English so it’s not difficult to find schools at all. Then, contact them via email or telephone and try to arrange a meeting. Finally, get yourself out and about and start handing out your CV. It is also common practice in Cambodia to attach 2 passport sized photos to your CV.

When you get to the school, ask to speak to the principal or director directly. Most schools work in the morning from about 7:30am to 11am and then again in the afternoon from about 1pm to 7pm. So try to go at these times as well.

You will probably find that security guards and reception staff will do their best to stop you from seeing the director, but with persistence you should be able to speak to them. If they just won’t allow it, get the director’s business card and make sure that you follow up your visit with a phone call.

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Expected Salary and Cost of Living

[sociallocker id=”745″]This depends on a number of different things: what city you are working in, what school you work for, what qualifications you have and what level you teach. I’ve heard a wide range of teaching salaries ranging from $8 per hour up to $25 per hour. Some schools offer fixed salaries with paid holidays and most only pay you for the teaching hours that you work.

The lower salaries are usually for ‘teachers’ that have no qualifications or experience and their only qualification is that they speak English. The higher salaries are usually reserved for ‘real’ teachers with qualifications and experience.

For non-qualified teachers $10-$12 is about the norm in Phnom Penh and a bit lower in Siem Reap about $8-$10 per hour. But for qualified and experienced teachers it can range anywhere from $15-$25. Each school is different. Most schools pay you either weekly or monthly in cash.

The cost of living in Cambodia is very cheap when compared to western countries and is considerably cheaper than neighbouring Thailand.

It’s easy to find a studio apartment (or room!) to rent for $50 a month and a fairly decent apartment with air-con for about $150 in Phnom Penh. Siem Reap is a little cheaper for accommodation. If you eat Cambodian food, you can easily eat for just a few dollars every day. It becomes quite a bit more expensive if you want to go shopping for western food in Cambodia because everything is imported. For those who don’t mind sacrificing the creature comforts of home, you can easily live on $400-$500 per month. However, $1000 a month would give you a very comfortable lifestyle.

Travel costs are very cheap. There is an abundance of Tuk-Tuks and Moto-Taxis everywhere you go and the price varies per city and distance. It’s better to get yourself a ‘regular’ driver and they’ll often agree to take you for a fixed price each week. Plus, your new friend is an invaluable source of information, and can help to find places to stay, etc. If you want to buy your own transport, a moto is definitely the way to go. You can buy a new one for about $1500 or a second hand one for much cheaper. It’s best to try and get a Cambodia friend to arrange this for you so you don’t pay too much.

Foreigners, whether living or just visiting Cambodia, are seen as very rich. As a result of this, you will need to haggle for the best price for virtually everything you buy![/sociallocker]

Teaching Requirements

This all depends on the school that you’re working for. There are teachers who aren’t native speakers, some with no qualifications or experience and some who are qualified ESL teachers with years of experience. All schools have different requirements. There is no set requirement from the government for foreign English Teachers. Some schools will require that you have at least a Bachelors Degree, some might want a Master’s Degree (especially if you’re teaching Bachelor students), some might want nothing at all. It really all depends on the school. If you do some research online, you’ll soon find out what schools need from you.

So if you have no qualifications or experience you can still find a job teaching. If you do have qualifications and experience you would be wise to go to a school that requires you to have them because you will get a higher salary than those with no minimum requirements.

Visa Requirements

Visa requirements? What are they?! They simply don’t exist in Cambodia (not at the time of writing anyway!) If you have the money, you will get a business visa. Simple. It costs about $280 per year. Some schools, especially the schools that only recruit experienced and qualified teachers, might even pay this for you. Most won’t, but it doesn’t hurt in asking!

Teaching English in Cambodia

I’ve really enjoyed my time and experience teaching English in Cambodia and I’m sure most people will enjoy it too. I’ve been Teaching English in Cambodia for 3 years at the time of writing, so if you have any questions leave a comment below and I’ll answer them as best I can.

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126 thoughts on “Teaching English in Cambodia

  1. Brian Lee

    Well I am 70 in a few months. I have experience with adults /students. I have taught people and charged money as I see fit. So I know I am good, and get results.
    Also now TEFL qualified.
    Also have B.A. – Russian / French – showing a deep interest in languages.

    I am English and I can speak like the Queen or a cockney.
    My Irish – not so good.

    So I am looking for your opinion of what will hapen if I buy a ticket to
    Cambodia and start knocking on doors.

    1. William Lake

      Hi Brian. I’ve known older people to work here in Cambodia. I knew one English teacher who was 75 years old. I don’t think you’d have a problem due to your age!

      1. Calum

        Hi William
        I’m 19 years old and currently working in China. However, I will be leaving china soon due to new visa regulations.

        I need a fast plan of action. Will I be able to get a teaching job easily in Cambodia with the disadvantage of my age? I do have 5 months teaching experience from here in Beijing.

        Also, do you know of any agencies? For instance agencies whom I could get free accommodation off.

        If I rent a place do I have to pay for several months upfront or do I just pay my first months rent?


        1. William Lake

          Hi Calum,

          Yes, most foreigners secure a teaching job very easily and although you’re young, you do have experience. You’d probably have more success looking for work teaching children rather than adults.

          Cambodia doesn’t have agencies that offer free accommodations, help finding work, etc. You’ll have to do it the old fashioned way. Get a job, find an apartment and do it yourself!

          For the rent, it depends on the landlord. Most places however, need 1 month deposit and 1 months rent up front.

  2. Anita

    Nice Blog. I think we’ve met. I was going to ask about age restrictions as I’m in my mid-thirties but based on Brian’s comments below that seems not to be an issue. I am working towards a ‘no-ties’ life here in the UK and if I do get there, you’ll be seeing me. I know you have a ‘barang’ female friend and I was wondering how she finds life in the Bode?
    Neets x

    1. William Lake

      I think we have met! Hope all is good! Yes, she finds life ok here. The men are a bit full on sometimes, but on the whole she likes it too! Be good to see you here mate! Life in the bode is great. x

  3. barefootbeth

    Hi William! I’m so glad I came across your Blog! I’m a 43 year old English woman looking for a career & lifestyle change, and I’ve been considering TEFL, which would allow me to live abroad for a while and experience another culture in depth. I am particularly drawn to Cambodia, but I notice you talk only about ‘schools’ here. Are you referring solely to schools for children? In my professional life I have worked as a trainer, and I am interested in the possibility of teaching adults rather than children. Are there far fewer openings for this? Any info you could provide would be helpful, thanks!

    1. William Lake

      Most schools have daytime classes that focus on children and teenagers. Moreover, a number of schools have evening classes that focus on older teens and young adults.

  4. Buck

    Are there language institutes that specialize in teaching adults in Cambodia? If so, can you tell me anything about them?

    1. William Lake

      I’m sorry, I don’t know any schools that focus on teaching adults. I do know that most schools have evening classes that are for young adults and mid to late teens.

      1. Buck

        OK Thanks a lot. This is useful information.

  5. Mike Carmody-Haynes

    Hello, I have always been interested in asian cultures, and I feel Cambodia would be a great place to go to and experience. I am quite aware that Cambodia is the not the ugly war torn country it once was. I know that they are primarily Buddhists, as a result anger is not really displayed in public. Which intrigues me. I myself am well spoken and educated and have been looking into getting my TEFL certification. However, I do have some concerns and questions I was hoping you could assuage and answer. 1st, I know nothing is guaranteed, but in all honesty, if I left everything behind and took the chance, are my chances favorable of being hired? Is this a competitive field in Cambodia? Are there plenty of openings? How is the current economy? 2nd, What is the general opinion of Americans over there? I ask because I know we are not quite despised, but more “tolerated” by lots of Asian cultures. 3, Should I get hired, what is job security like over there? Is there a high rate of turn over? I want to go for he experience of another culture, but I don’t want to have my experience be tarnished by a financial struggle. 4, Could you put me in touch with some that can help me make this happen? I have lost my job in the field I have a degree in and I’m not having much luck finding new work, my fiance and I have called it quits, and I left all my earthly possessions with her for good. I do not have a good relation with any of my family.I have nothing to tie me down. I am 30 and I want to experience life abroad. Suggestions? Tips? Help?

    1. William Lake

      Wow, where to start!

      1. Yes, you’ll get a job. There are plenty of openings. How is the economy? Well this isn’t America mate, it’s a developing country. The economy is, well, developing!

      2. Americans, like most foreigners, are liked by Cambodians.

      3. Job security changes depending on the job. For some teachers, not much. For professional people that try to do their job well, the security is better. It really depends on the school. There is a high turnover in most schools. Most foreign teachers can make a decent salary here.

      4. Put you in touch with somebody that can make this happen? Only you can make this happen. Stop worrying, book a flight and give it a try. What have you got to lose?

      Suggestions! I’d get a TEFL, it will really help find a higher paying salary. If you don’t like Cambodia (not everyone does!) a TEFL can be handy to find teaching jobs in other countries. Some countries require some kind of teaching qualification!

      Hope this helps!

      1. Mike Carmody-Haynes

        The only remaining money I have. That’s what I have to lose. I mean can you recommend any programs that help with placement? I literally no nothing about where to start. I willing to give this my all, I just have no clue how, or in what way. I do plan on getting my TEFL (I found an 120 hour online course for $295) and lastly is learning khmer difficult? Or even necessary?

        1. William Lake

          I don’t know of any programs that help with placement. I think the best place to start is to get yourself a TEFL. Online ones are not so good because you don’t get any classroom time. You might pass an online course, just to find that you don’t actually like teaching! If you’re worried, make sure that you’re going to enjoy your new lifestyle first.

          Once that’s out of the way, get yourself to Cambodia. The best way to find a job here is to actually be here. As a native English speaker with a degree and a good quality TEFL, you’ll have no problems finding a job! I did my TEFL with i-to-i (the banner is at the top of the page). They offer a range of online and offline courses and a mixture of both!

  6. tomas

    hi william, so i’m studying my tefl, im doing 120 hour course with a mix of classroom and online but my issue is that i have no experience of teaching or a degree… i’ve done volinteering work with a charity here in the uk so have a bit of experience of working with people and i would consider my self to have good people skills. Do you think i could find a placement?? thanks

    1. William Lake

      Hi Tomas. If you’re a native English speaker you’ll have no problems finding a job. I know of many teachers with no TEFL, experience or any other qualification other than the fact that they are native English speaker!

  7. Alex Docker

    William, what did you know about Cambodia prior to your committing yourself to teach in that country? Did you know much about the country? Did you speak their language…some? What were the biggest surprises and the most difficult adjustments you feel you had to overcome? What are some things others may do to better prepare themselves for the adventure that lies ahead of them? And, lastly, what is the most appealing/rewarding aspect of your life in Cambodia?

    1. William Lake

      Hi Alex,

      I’ll answer your questions one by one.

      1. What did I know about Cambodia before I came? Well I heard of Pol Pot and Angkor Wat, other than that, nothing.

      2. Did I speak their language? Before I came, no. Now, yes. Some.

      3. Biggest Surprises? None, didn’t know what to expect before I came, everything was a surprise!

      4. Most difficult adjustments? Coming from the UK, we’re not used to heat! 40 degree commutes to work are a struggle in the beginning!!

      5. Some things for other people to do before they come? Same as if you travel anywhere! Be streetwise, have a safety-net and enjoy yourself!

      6. Most appealing/rewarding aspect of my life? My wife and the fact that we’re expecting our first child soon! πŸ™‚

  8. Steve Crabtree

    Hello William: I found your blog very helpful. I have a BA in English and am taking my TESL certificate starting in the fall. I run an online business that I can probably run from Cambodia (if I can get reliable Internet access once I get there). I know
    French, but no Khmer as of yet. I thought I might try to establish a working relationship with a school or foundation now and come over there in a year or so once I finish up school and set up my support system. I am not too concerned with pay. At this point I just want to take a few years and try to make some kids’ lives better. I also have a degree in journalism, and would like to write about my experiences while there. Right now I want to find the right charity there to begin donating a regular percentage of my business’ proceeds to, whether it is to help with schools or classes to just to free up some kids’ time so they don’t have to labor to support their families. I spent a year in Beijing working for China Daily about 15 years ago, but this time I want to help people who need and deserve my effort! Let me know if you have some ideas how my donations could be put to the best use there.

  9. Patrick Griggs

    Hey William, I’m an American and have been teaching in China for almost 2 years now. My contract with my current school will end at the end of the month. I don’t like staying in one place for too long and have been in Qingdao now for a little over a year. So now I’m trying to decide wether to move on to another city in China or to go to Cambodia. China has been great but i’ve always looked at it as a starter country and don’t think I want to suffer another Chinese winter. They can be rather dull and lonely. Cambodia has always been a place of interest but i’ve got a few worries. I don’t have a degree but have a TEFL. I’m 26 years old. I have experience teaching at mostly training schools ages 3-12 but have subbed at public middle schools. Do you think I can get a job? If so, what is the usual working schedule and how quickly do you think it would take to find a job? Also, China is pretty safe but i’ve heard Cambodia can be risky. How safe is it in Pnom Penh or Siem Reap for foreigners? How about the expat community in Cambodia? Is it a good mix of people? Are there certain people I should avoid? I’ve been ripped of in China by the locals before but never robbed or anything. Like I said China is pretty safe but I hear Cambodia can be pretty rough.


    1. William Lake

      Hi Patrick. You won’t have to worry about the weather here in Cambodia, it’s always hot!

      Cambodia isn’t risky at all. It’s got a reputation of being a risky place, but stay here for just a day or so and you’ll see that just isn’t true any more.

      There’s a good mix of expats living here and there are always people you should avoid in any country! I’m not going to name names!

      Cambodia isn’t a bad place, yes there are bad people like anywhere in the world, but on the whole, they’re wonderful people.

  10. Jeffrey Cannella

    Hi William, I don’t know if my first message posted, but the short of it is I am an American English teacher with an MA in TESOL who has been teaching overseas for nearly 20 years. I am currently in Saudi Arabia, but when my contract ends I am looking to leave this country and return to SE Asia, perhaps permanently. Is it possible for me to find a university job with my background and make at least 1000 dollars per month if not more? Also I have read that healthcare is really dodgy in Cambodia at this time. Is this true or have any respectable hospitals opened in Phnom Phen? I am 47 and if I am going to live in Cambodia for the long haul healthcare will be a major consideration as I get older. Also would my Filipino boyfirend be able to live in Cambodia with me and work as well?



    1. William Lake

      Hi Jeff,

      Yes, you’d easily be able to find a job that pays $1000 per month and even more if you have the relevant qualifications and experience. That’s no problem.

      There is health care here, it’s of varying standards. They can do many procedures here, but for more complicated problems, most people are advised to head to Thailand, Vietnam or Singapore. You can get insurance here to cover the costs of healthcare.

      Finally, there are many Filipinos working in Cambodia doing various jobs. I’m sure he would be able to find some work without a problem.

      Hope this helps.


      1. Jeffrey Cannella

        Hi William, Thanks. I do have an MA TESOL. I am looking at Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar as well. Myanmar is intriguing as it is where Vietnam was back in 1994/95 when I was there last.

  11. Bianka

    Hi William, thank you for the information, I have found it very helpful. I am looking to relocate to Cambodia from Sydney for at least a year but I would like to taken my family – husband and two children. Have you met any ESL teachers that were in Cambodia with their families? I’m interested in access to international primary schools, health care etc? Perhaps you could direct me to someone that may have some information. Thanks,

    1. William Lake

      Hi Bianka. I don’t know anybody that has come here with their families. Sorry. There are many very active expat groups on Facebook. Do a quick search and you’ll find lots of them with very helpful people!

  12. Robert Mancino

    Hello William how are you? My name is Robert and I taught English in numerous cities all around China for a little more than 3 years. Due to major visa rule reformations in Beijing and heavy pollution, I left China. I’m back in the US now, but I have always been fascinated with Cambodia. I am wondering if there are schools where I could teach English one to one full time? Preferably to adults and teenagers? I read a lot of your replies, so you did answer many of my other questions already. I don’t mind working at nights to teach adults and teenagers, but are they a mix of big/small/private classes? I have experience teaching big classes, small groups and one to one. I’m not shy or anything, but I just prefer teaching one to one, because it is just easier. I don’t have to strain my voice and have it feel raw by the end of the day. It is also much less time consuming putting together a lesson for one student. I have taught children for about a year and a half as well, so I can teach children, but I would rather do that as a last resort. I look young for my age, so most schools in China wanted me to teach children. Are Cambodians sometimes like Chinese in that if you look young, you are seen as an inexperienced teacher? I’m guessing the Cambodians will be less traditional and more open minded, but I have no idea. I’m a terrible motorcyclist so…would I survive there? Are there those tuk-tuks I could ride everywhere? Buses? It seems most people who go to live there end up with their own motorcycles? Just wondering what other options I have (I just took the subway/bus in China). Also, do most Cambodians try to overcharge you if you are alone? Like when buying food, paying the landlord for a new apartment, taking a tuk-tuk/taxi, etc? It just seems that aside from having a Cambodian gf…it would be impossible to have a local with me at all times to prevent me from being overcharged. Sorry for the winded post. I plan to travel to Cambodia sometime next year and if I love it, I will stay. I hope to hear back from you.

    By the way, I probably want to live in Siem Reap most, but still undecided.

    Best Regards,


  13. Jack

    Thank you for the blog, William. I am Canadian but would like to stay in SE Asia as I have taught throughout the Middle East and in the UK and Americas. I am now at a university in China. Can you suggest any particular organisation in Pnom Penh or Siem Reap that I should contact re: EFL/EAP/IELTS positions? I don’t need a lot of money to live but I am now 66 and with a BA an M.ED and a DELTA, I would like to work for someone who is reputable and cares about learning.

    1. William Lake

      Hi Jack.

      I’m glad you found the blog useful. Cambodians aren’t great at replying to emails and most won’t reply. I would take a look around when you arrive. Meet some expats and get some advice about what they think are good schools or not. I can only tell about where I’ve worked! There are lots of Facebook groups for expats in Cambodia. Join them and meet others.

      Good luck!

  14. Nicola Bolton

    Hi. I’m 26 and have recently qualified as a primary school teacher and have a job in the UK. However, the constant pressures to raise standards and the large workload are making the job stressful and unenjoyable. I have always wanted to travel and so figured it would be perfect to put the two together! My questions are; do you work all hours like in the UK? How do they monitor/assess children? What are the class sizes? What would be a typical day/week living and working in Cambodia?
    Thanks πŸ™‚

    1. William Lake

      Hi Nicola,

      I left the UK four years ago and have no intention of going back there to live or work. Let me answer your questions one by one.

      1. No, you get a lot of free time here.
      2. There is regular testing/assessments/etc. But beware, money talks in Cambodia. If a child pays to study, then in all likelihood you will be required to pass them regardless of their ability. It’s a problem, but nothing you can do about it.
      3. I’ve taught classes with 5 students and others with 45 students. It depends.
      4. My typical day includes: Go to work at 7:30am finish at 10:30 am. Take care of things around the house, eat, sleep, and do other things. Start work again at 6pm, finish at 9pm. I work at University, so they have late evening classes. Most English schools will be 3 hours in the morning, 3 in the afternoon and 1.5 in the evening finishing around 7 pm.


  15. William Lake

    Hi Robert,

    Let me go through the questions one by one.

    1. I’ve not personally come across any schools where you teach one to one. For this, you might want to consider private tuition.

    2. There are schools that teach adults, but not many.

    3. A huge mix of big/small classes. Depends on the school.

    4. Age doesn’t really matter here. As long as you can teach and have experience you will be fine.

    5. Everybody is a terrible motorcyclist here! You’d fit right in! Tuk-Tuks and moto taxis are an option, but if you’re making many trips a day, the price will soon add up. A bicycle is another option.

    6. Yes, you will be overcharged everywhere you go. After a while, you’ll learn the real prices and be able to bargain for the best price.

    7. I prefer Siem Reap to other cities, but that is just my own opinion. There will be a lot more opportunities in Phnom Penh than anywhere else.

    Hope this helped!

    1. Josh

      Would you say going into Cambodia with just a tefl certificate and some university English courses would be enough to land a job that pays? I’m not expecting to be making money to the point where I can get rich but enough to live there? I’m 24 and don’t have the most experience.

      1. William Lake

        Although the standards are slowly increasing in Cambodia, there are still a number of teachers with no qualifications and experiences. I’m sure you’ll be fine!

  16. zak pitzele

    hello William.

    my name is zak. i have found your blog to be amazingly helpful. I currently live in New York, i have a 2 year degree in culinary arts. i am looking to teach in South east asia. i have been to thailand several times and fell in love with the food and culture of south east asia. i do not have a BA and am planing on taking a TESOL certification course. Is the TESOL enough for me to get a decent job in Cambodia?? or in Thailand?? i would love to be able to email back and forth with you just to be able to pick your brain if possible. any hints or help you can offer would be GREAT!! I am an out going vivacious people person and love kids . i would love love to be able to teach in cambodia or thailand.

    yours truly

    1. William Lake

      Hi Zak,

      I’m glad you found the blog helpful.

      You’ll get a job in Cambodia with or without a TESOL certificate. However, with an internationally recognised TESOL you will find a higher paying job.

      Please send me an email via the ‘contact us’ page and I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.


  17. Nicholas

    Wow. You have made me feel very comfortable in deciding to come to Cambodia. Great blog!

    Just 1 or 2 quick questions for you. I am a single Male 44 years old. I never finished my degree and just recently started an online TEFL. I am thinking of just moving there within the next month with about $4000 USD.

    I am a Certified Flight Instructor so I have experience teaching foreign students. I also was the DARE officer for our police department teaching classroom lesson about drug and alcohol awareness.

    Am I making a mistake thinking I could find a job there?
    Without the B.A or Tefl(yet) I am worried I will run out of money without finding a job.

    This is such an exciting decision I have made but almost very nervous about it.

    Tell me your thoughts on this if you don’t mind.

    Thank you!


    1. William Lake

      Hi Nick,

      You’re not making a mistake, you will find a job here!

      Even a teacher with no degree or TEFL will find a job. Phnom Penh will be your best bet.

      Just be aware that you’re going to get a job, but with a degree and TEFL you’ll get a higher paying job. But without, you should make $10 an hour without a problem.

      With $4000, you can survive a long time in Phnom Penh!

      Good luck mate.


  18. Nick


    Thank you for the comforting words to ease my anxiety. I will hope to be there in just about 3 weeks. Keep up the good work!


  19. Neil

    Hi William,
    Thanks for the blog it is very usefull. I am flying back into Phnom Penh on December the 4th. I dont currently hold any teaching certificates but I have looked into doing a TEFL in Cambodia. Would you recommend any schools that might be good to approach without the certificates to get started once I have arrived?


    1. William Lake

      Hi Neil,

      There is a company that offers a TEFL in Phnom Penh. I forget the name though. One visitor to my blog put me on to it and contacted me by email afterwards to say how much he liked the course. I think it’s called Bridge TEFL.

      With regards to the schools, I think it would be easier to give you the much shorter list of schools that do require a TEFL. Whilst the standards are improving, most schools are just happy to have a foreign face working for them!

      Good luck.


  20. Jim

    Hi , I really enjoyed reading this interesting and informative article .
    I would be very grateful for your opinion on , a matter that is part of my plan , in getting to Cambodia and teaching English for a living .
    I am studying in the UK with the Open university for my degree , criminology and Psychological studies , I have two years left , as I am studying part time , however , after completing this year , I will be able to claim the BA degree without the honours , before continuing on to gain the final 60 points for the full honours degree .
    So , I would like to ask your opinion , could I , or should I , head for Cambodia with the BA in hand and set up my new life while continuing to study my final year with the open university , as it can be done via post and online ?
    Is an open university degree recognised in Cambodia like it is in Thailand ? – it is on the Thai MOE’s list of approved institutions .
    Will a , BA ,without honours be given any merit in the salary scale and job securing prospects ?
    Any input greatly appreciated . Jim.

    1. William Lake

      Hi Jim,

      As far as I’m aware, a degree from the Open University is just as recognised as a degree from any UK institution, whether inside the UK or abroad. Correct me if I’m wrong!

      I know many teachers in Phnom Penh that have no degree or TEFL and it isn’t a requirement for most schools. However, you’re more likely to find a higher paying position with both a degree and a TEFL. Plus having an internationally recognised teaching certificate (I would recommend a CELTA), will have many benefits. In Cambodia, you’re more likely to find a higher paying job in a better school. Moreover, should you decide to teach in other countries, it would also be beneficial. A lot of countries require a teaching certificate for visas (Cambodia doesn’t as yet!).

      I would also think that a lot of Cambodians wouldn’t know the difference between a BA with honours or a normal BA. I wouldn’t worry about it too much with regards to finding a job. But personally, I would get the honours as a degree seems somewhat incomplete without!

      Good luck.


  21. Jim

    Hi , William .
    Just wanted to say thanks very much for taking the time to reply , your comments are very encouraging .

  22. Frida

    Hi Will! Great info thank you!
    I am currently teaching English in China but since I have no degree I will not be able to obtain a working visa. I am 20 years old and finishing my degree online. My contract in China will be over next August and I plan on moving to another country. Cambodia sounds awesome! How is the price for food and housing? I want to be able to also save up money so I can travel around. Do you think I would have this opportunity there? And I have no TEFL but I will have this teaching experience on my CV so I am sure that will help somewhat. Do you know of any TEFL certification programs in Cambodia? Thanks! πŸ˜€

    1. William Lake

      Hi Frida,

      I believe that I covered the price of food and housing in the blog post!

      You can earn OK money in Cambodia and a little to travel around, but don’t expect to save a lot!

      Do a google search for Bridge TEFL in Phnom Penh. I think that’s the only one. I’ve never done the course myself, but a visitor to my blog contacted me and said the course was pretty good!


  23. ACE

    Hi! I am a degree holder with BS Education major in math. I had my license last year and I am still currently looking for a teaching job. I can teach English and Math.
    I had 5 months of teaching Math in a public high school in our place and recently, I worked in a call center industry.

    The question is, though I am a non-native English speaker, would it be possible for me to land a job in Cambodia?

    Thank you very much and I am looking forward to hear from you soon.

    1. William Lake

      I think that it might depend on where you come from. I have worked with teachers from other European countries, some African countries and also many Filipinos, so I don’t think you would have a problem.

      1. ace

        yes. i am a Filipino and though I may not be a native English speaker, I can say that I am fluent in using the language.

        Can u help me apply in the schools where you think I can be qualified for? You can send the list of schools in my email. thank you very much and I am hoping to be employed in Cambodia next month.

  24. Jack Darcy

    Alright Will Mate,

    First and foremost excellent blog. I am thinking of leaping over to Cambodia early January with about one thousand euro behind me. I have just finished a year teaching children and adults in China working with EF, and am back in sunny Ireland now.

    In terms of me arriving early January with no job prospects, do you think I will be able to pick one up in about a month? Also is just under a thousand euro enough to sustain my move and to tide me over before I get work? Do you have any suggestions of where would be good to start off my journey? Again thanks for the good reading.


    1. William Lake

      Hi Jack mate!

      You would easily be able to secure a job in a month. A thousand Euros will be just enough I think. Get a cheap guesthouse, get a job asap and you should be OK.

      I would say start in Phnom Penh. You’ll find a job very quickly and easily there. Once you’ve got a regular income, and sussed out the city a bit, you can make a choice on what to do next!

      Good luck mate! Look me up in Siem Reap!

  25. Anthony

    A lot of people have asked what it’s like teaching but no one has asked about money. About how much can an inexperienced teacher make in Cambodia. Also, have you been able to save much money over there or does most of your salary go towards the cost of living?

    1. William Lake

      Hi Anthony,

      I think people didn’t ask because it’s covered in the blog post! πŸ™‚

      But you can make $1000 a month easily. You might be able to save some depending on your lifestyle!

  26. felix

    I am 27 year old Nigerian with a national diploma certificate and currently working as a english teacher in a primary school in Benin republic, i want to come over to cambodia to work as a english teacher although i dont have a tefl but i have six month working experience as a english teacher. i will like to know the minimum expected salary and concerning the visa will i just booked a flight without having any visa?

    1. William Lake

      Hi Felix,

      I have no idea for Nigerians and visas I’m afraid. As a UK citizen, I get a visa on arrival.

      I have worked with Nigerians in Phnom Penh, so I don’t think that it would be a problem!

  27. John

    Hi,….I have 3 years ESL (all ages/levels) teaching experience in Seoul and Shanghai. I am wondering about age preferences in Cambodian schools. Is there an upper age limit for teachers? I am certain they prefer young people for children’s classes, but overall, is 50+ years old a detriment? – THANKS!

    1. William Lake

      I believe there has been a few questions related to age in the comments!! But no, you won’t have a problem being 50+.

  28. Simon

    Hey William,

    Great blog. I did my TESOL in Phnom Penh back 2012. Was thinking of returning to teach there now.
    Is it really as simple as just going round schools with your resume and getting a job that way?
    Also, how much can you realistically save on 1000 dollars pm?


    1. William Lake

      Yes, it’s the best way to find work. Get yourself out and about. Try to speak to the director/principal if possible. If not, get his/her telephone number of business card and follow up your visit with a call. Don’t email them, they often don’t get read.

      1000 per month? Well it depends on your lifestyle. I couldn’t save anything on that amount, and I struggle. But I know some teachers that can save nearly half of that a month, but they are living very frugally.

      1. Nat

        William, what about supplementing your income by teaching private lessons? Have you ever done this? Is it legal there? I ask this because I know in many countries, people do it, but because of visa rules, getting caught teaching other than at the school where you are hired is illegal and can get you deported.

        Great post and information – thanks!

        1. William Lake

          Hi Nat,

          Yes, many teachers take private lessons. This isn’t against visa rules in Cambodia. However, your school might not like it, so make sure that you don’t approach your students for extra lessons outside of school. I’m often asked to take private lessons, but I often turn them down because I just don’t have the time. My university doesn’t mind me taking extra lessons, but they would mind if I started advertising private lessons to my students!

  29. Simon

    So how much money would you recommend to have as a start up in Cambodia until I get a job?

  30. Robert

    Good blog William, there are not many other decent sites on teaching in places like Cambodia. I’m considering coming to Cambodia in a couple of weeks to teach English, are there usually lots of jobs available in early February?


  31. Joel Tolon

    Hello! My name is Joel Tolon, and I am currently a Junior at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ USA. I am studying Elementary Education with emphasis in English and some day, I want to be able to teach English abroad to people who truly deserve it. I love helping others, and I read your blog about Cambodia and I am DEFINITELY interested in knowing more about teaching English there some day. Would you mind telling me a synopsis of the main things about Cambodia? How do you like it there?

    -Joel Tolon

    1. William Lake

      Hi Joel,

      I think my post gives you a synopsis of the main things about Cambodia! What do you specifically want/need to know?

      I love it here!

  32. Ken

    Hi William,

    Nice blog, and it is been my dream to teach English to students in Asia. I am curious to know if it’s safe to teach in Phnom Phenh or Siem Reip? I reside in Los Angeles, California and I hear nothing but protest and someone got killed by Cambodian Police on the news. Is it safe to travel and teach students?

    Please let me know

    1. William Lake

      Hi Ken,

      I would say that Cambodia is a lot safer than Los Angeles! Cambodia is very safe to travel and teach students. Don’t worry about it!

  33. Lee J Cander

    Hey buddy!
    Other than your awesome and helpful blog I’m more impressed with how much you respond to people very kind!
    So my girlfriend and I both have UK Degree’s (Archaeology and I have one in Philosophy) and we both have 120 hours TEFL qualification, We have some teaching experience as we have both worked at schools as a teachers aid and I also teach Kickboxing, Kung fu and guitar. So I won’t bother asking if we can get a job as I’ve read the comments and can see for myself we certainly can. What I want to know is (probably an odd question) firstly, how easy is it to get things like chicken, fish in Cambodia, I am a gym junkie so a high protein diet would be nice to keep out there and also know of any gyms out there? I have heard of a few such as Dave’s gym which does martial arts and has weights.
    Secondly, my girl friend and I will be flying out to do this together so will it be easier or harder in terms of living, eating and finding jobs (we obviously don’t have to work at the same school aha) but yeah I’m just expecting a nice apartment 1 bedroom with air con, nothing really luxurious but fairly comfortable doesn’t need to be huge just a bedroom, kitchen, hot water, shower etc. Do you think it would be possible to get a job enough to pay for the diet, gym and apartment and would the fact that there’s two of us make it easier or more difficult?

    1. William Lake

      Hi Lee!

      Thanks for reading my blog, I’m glad you’ve found it helpful!

      I’m not a gym junkie so I can’t tell you much about it. I do know some friends that go regularly, so I know there are some here!

      Your living expenses will be lower because you’re living together and you’ll definitely be able to make ends meet with the sort of lifestyle that you’re describing!

      It’s easy to get chicken and fish!! To be honest, you can buy everything you need in Cambodia. Some things are cheaper than home, some more expensive. You can even buy HP Sauce here!

      Good luck mate.

  34. Dee

    Hi william
    My name is Dee and have been living in Thailand for the past 8 years teaching English but I’m now at my lowest point
    I have mainly taught in government high schools but I find the teenagers both boys and girls very rude and disrespectful to me, They never do class work or home work and I never get any help from the Thai teachers. I have also heard this from a lot of other teachers who are also fed up as well so I’m not alone. Have you taught in high schools as well? How do you find your students in Cambodia?
    Any advice about getting work or just your comments will be most helpful
    Dee PS Not all the students are like this but a lot are

    1. William Lake

      Hi Dee,

      As far as I know high schools don’t employ native English speaking teachers as we’re too expensive for their small budgets. It’s all private education here and you’ll find the students differ depending on the school you’re working for. Some will be as you’ve described above, some not!

  35. Lenka

    Hi William,
    glad to came across your page. I have just came back from se asia travels and thinking about moving there for a while:) I would like to do tefl course in Chiang Mai and then to look for job in Thailand or Cambodia(which seems easier with the visas process). I just have one problem and question to ask you. I m not a native English speaker, coming from the Czech republic, but have been living in Ireland for the last 5 years. I have been reading that being a native speaker is like the main expectation:( At least for Thailand. Is it the same in Cambodia? Thanks a lot, Lenka.

    1. William Lake

      It is the main expectation to be a native speaker, however, I’ve worked with teachers from many different countries and many non-native English speaking teachers also find jobs quite easily.

  36. Jane

    Hi there. Nice blog, very useful information.
    Me and my boyfriend are planning on moving to Cambodia in the next year to teach English. I am from UK and I have a degree and TEFL certificate and already experience teaching in China. But my boyfriend is South African with no degree, no teaching experience but soon to have the TEFL certificate.
    Just wondering if you know any other South Africans out there? And is it difficult for them to get the visa to work? And would it be difficult for him to get a job out there?? Thanks, Jane

    1. William Lake

      I worked with a South African in Phnom Penh before. He was a native English speaking, unqualified and inexperienced teacher and he had no problems finding a job!

  37. Ritika Joshi

    Hello William !

    I love your blog ! You are really loving it in Cambodia πŸ™‚ Very inspiring. I am Indian female (26 years old) and completed my MBA – International Business from London. I have also worked there.

    I was wondering if you would be able to tell me regarding racism issues in Cambodia. I have read about Thailand..quite tough for a non native speaker and also that color of the skin matters in Thailand. Is Cambodia the same ?

    Since I have studied and worked in London ..do I still need to do a TEFL/CELTA ? I understand the pay will be higher if I do hold a teaching certificate. I have taught English (informally – during weekends only) in a local orphanage in India (for a period of one year). It was voluntary role.

    I am seeking a career change …and thinking about moving to Cambodia in May 2014. If I do decide to do a TEFL course ..it will be in Bangkok (as my accommodation will be free ) .

    Any suggestions will be highly appreciated. Thank you so much for your assistance.

    I await your reply.

    Kind regards,


    1. William Lake

      With regards to Racism, I wouldn’t know too much. I’m a white English person and generally, Cambodian’s like white skin. I’ve heard some other races and ethnicities complain about it, but I’ve heard mixed reactions. Sorry, I can’t help any more.

      If you’re not a native English speaker, you might still find some teaching positions without any qualifications. If you are a native English speaker, then you don’t really need any qualifications.

  38. Sam

    Hi there,

    My name is Sam and I currently work for a school in Sihanoukville. I would agree with most of what William says, spot on really!

    Our school is fast expanding and we are always happy to receive new applications for English teaching positions.

    If anyone is interested you can contact me directly by email at e.i.s.cambodia@gmail.com – please include a resume.


  39. Graham

    Hey William!

    I am currently teaching English in Phnom Penh as a volunteer for 10 weeks. Four weeks in and I am LOVING it. Whilst my original plan was to go home and get a real job in England, I am increasingly tempted to try and get a job here, especially if the job market stays so dismal in England (and I have family out here).

    I am 22 with a Bachelors degree in History from the University of Nottingham. I have no TEFL but I will, by June, have 10 weeks experience (4 hours a day, 5 days a week). Will this be enough qualifications to get a reasonable teaching job? (something that would pay an amount to realistically live on – pay rent and bills etc) or do you think a TEFL is necessary? Also, is it really ‘impossible’ to get a job out here whilst still in England, or do I really have come back out here first and then ask around (or even ask around like…now?)


    1. William Lake

      Hi Graham. I know a number of teachers that found jobs with no experience and no qualifications. Although the standards are slowly increasing, there are more schools than teachers. Therefore, you’ll have no problems finding work.

      I would say that it is next to impossible to find a paid teaching job without first completing an interview in person. If you’re already here, why leave? Just stay and find a job! πŸ™‚

  40. Cameron Marsh

    I have been in Phnom Penh over a month now and haven’t gotten so much as a callback. I’ve applied to other 25 places all over BKK1,2, and 3. I have dressed to the 9s, passed out CVs, specialized cover letters and even sample lesson plans. The English here is horrendous and I have yet to meet one person of passable English, either in school or out. I met on Austrialian principle who explained that they are looking for experienced teachers with 5 years previous teaching experience and a Masters Degree in English. And these qualifications would yield the pathetic sum of 8 dollars an hour. People volunteering here for free does nothing but encourage the local populace to hold out and now pay teachers.

    Sorry for the hateful rant but this is ridiculous, especially given how “easy and once you land you get a job” people seem to be propagating.

    1. William Lake

      I’m afraid it must be something that you’re doing wrong!

      I personally know many teachers that ‘walked’ into jobs in Phnom Penh. It’s bit harder in Siem Reap, but still relatively easy to secure a job. I also know of many more teachers that have found work easily through friends of friends.

      I think the level of English is pretty good in Cambodia.

      I’m guessing that there is more to this post than what you’re letting on!

      Anyway, good luck.

  41. preston beck

    I really enjoy reading all of your replies to everyone William. I have the opposite problem from most of the people writing you, I may be overqualified. I have a BS in Civil Engineering and a MS in Biomedical Engineering. I am currently enrolled in a MS for ESL. I have worked at my present University since 1984 and want to retire and go somewhere else in the world. I currently manage a lab in Dental Biomaterials Research and teach Dental residents. Is there a place for someone like me in Cambodia?

    1. William Lake

      There’s a place for everyone in Cambodia! There are so many opportunities in this country, not just teaching English! I’m sure you will find something that you enjoy!

  42. John

    Is it safe to give your passport information when it comes to applying for an ESL job in another country? I’ve seen a lot of job posting where employers are asking job seekers to send passport information via email. Especially in China, I’ve read a lot of ESL teachers that got their identities stolen because of this.

  43. John


    When is the best time (month) to go to Cambodia to find a teaching job?

    Is teaching English the only subject to teach in Cambodia as a foreign teacher? I’m more of a Math person.


  44. Rhys

    Hi William.

    Excellent blog and great comments, i have been exploring with the idea of teaching English abroad.

    My major concern is how do they treat black people especially dark skinned men in Cambodia?

    I was born in the UK I am well spoken and educated and have experience mentoring and tutoring and children in primary schools across London.

    How do you feel I would fare out there?

    1. William Lake

      Hi Rhys,

      From my understanding black people have various experiences. Some have complained about racism whereas others haven’t. However, I do know that some schools will only employ white native English speakers, some will prefer them and others will give any native English speaker a job. Finally, some will employ anybody, regardless of language, skin colour, nationality, etc. I guess you will just have to see what happens when you arrive! Good luck!

  45. JoΓ£o Pedro Soares

    I William.

    I am going to PP in 2 weeks (17 June) with a friend. I would like to know if is possible teach music. I Have no degree, but i play classic guitar and african drums for 17 years.

    I would like some advice, how do you think i should moove if it is possible πŸ˜‰

    All the best!

    Wainting for news πŸ˜‰

    1. William Lake

      Good luck! There are all sorts of opportunities in Cambodia! I don’t know so much about African Drum lessons or classical guitar lessons, but I wish you good luck!

  46. Steve Westcott

    Hi William, l can`t think of a question that you haven`t answered in your blog! thanks for all the info. l,m 65, just retired and have been living and working (not as a teacher) in France for the last 20 years so my french is not bad, will this help me find a job teaching English there? Just to clarify l am an English native speaker, thanks steve.

  47. erik

    Dear William.

    I think your post, but most of all, the humongous numbers of replies you posted, are really a great resource.

    In some of the last replies you said (quote)

    “As far as I know high schools don’t employ native English speaking teachers as we’re too expensive for their small budgets. ”

    “It is the main expectation to be a native speaker, however, I’ve worked with teachers from many different countries and many non-native English speaking teachers also find jobs quite easily.”

    Is it a right expectation then, that if I am a non native English speaker (but I completed a MSc in English in Netherlands) and I don’t have any ESL or TEFL, I can still find a job as a teacher in high schools?
    i don’t care about the money.

    Second question. How likely am I to find a job if my stay is short (one/two months)?
    thank you so much

    1. William Lake

      Hi Erik,

      I don’t know of any foreigners that work in the public schooling system. They are severely lacking in resources that the average salary for a local is only $150 per month! There is nothing from stopping you from trying though!

      If you are only going to stay a short time, you will find it much harder to secure a job.

  48. fze

    hello all

    this is a nice blog…although i already got the job….i see reading this blog today — william its all correct..

    mainly what i did was – physically go to the schools and hand them my resume with photo….that did the trick…as emails
    i know are not truly read here since most people just blanket email to all…so here if you show up in person…i feel it works
    better….i only reached out to two schools…and got accepted on the first one….

    of course i have the experience although i do not have any certificates…here its more on YOU….since certificates don’t necessarily mean you are good teacher… as long as your Soft skills are up to the mark….you are good to go….

  49. Ian Wade

    Hi Will,

    I liked the Fb page regarding income in Cambodia for teaching English (TESL/TEFL) but can’t seem to get an answer. I have read it is in the US15k-35k region. It is not that important as I ADORE Cambodia and am looking forward to living and working there.

    Thank you for your time.


    1. William Lake

      $35k per year as a TEFL teacher in Cambodia? I think the website is either very misguided or joking. If it is for real, please tell me what school it is and I will apply before you arrive! πŸ™‚

  50. Allen Harrison

    Very helpful post, thanks! There’s one thing I’m wondering about though: If a typical workload is 20-25 contact h/week, how much do you additionally spend for preparation (typically) ?

    1. William Lake

      It varies depending on the teacher. Also, you’ll find that you’ll be teaching the same book for many terms and your classes will change. Therefore, once you’ve prepared it once, you’ve already prepared it! I usually say it’s about half an hour of prep/marking for every hour that you teach. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Depends on the teacher and the school.

  51. Tara


    I am a 26 year old American woman. I have recently returned to my home country, and am looking for a change. I have two years of ESL experience working with children in Japan. Would you suggest I get a TEFL or CELTA as well? Thank you!

  52. Scott

    Hi William,

    I’ve been thoroughly impressed not only with your blog but your follow through in responding to questions from your readers. Great job.
    My question relates to private tutoring in Cambodia. Is it possible that I could simply set up shop on my own, teaching small groups or individual lessons without the sponsorship from a school? What would it take to legally teach private lessons on my own? Furthermore, if I don’t do it “the right way” in the eyes of the authorities, is it really likely that such laws would be enforced? Any insight into running my own show in regards to teaching ESL in Cambodia would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You,


    1. William Lake

      Hi Scott,

      I’m glad you like my website!

      Yes, doing what you say is very possible. In fact, many teachers take a few extra lessons. I know one guy who rents a small space and takes small classes for $2 per student and he gets around 10-15 students per class. It takes some time to set it up and get students, but you can definitely make it work.

      You can get away with working without the relevant documents, but the country is beginning to be a bit more strict, but you can still get away with it. I would suggest that you do it the ‘right way’. The cost of setting up a business is quite small as are any taxes and other fees.

      Good luck!

  53. Imran

    Hello William.
    I am a Malaysian , 45 yrs of age and thinking of sharing my experience in Cambodia as an ESL teacher.
    I have a bachelor degree in engineering and a certificate in TESOL. Currently i am teaching in Malaysia in a Language Centre .
    Would it be possible to get a job over there. I was told that its a bit difficult for non-native speakers.

    1. William Lake

      Hi Imran,

      I’ve worked with teachers from all over the world, not just native English speaking ones! I’m sure you’ll find a job without any problems at all.

  54. mat

    Hi William
    I love your blog and I really respect the continual effort to update and respond to questions. I’ve been in Cambodia a month or so now and am slowly falling in love with the place, much like yourself it seems. I notice that most questions posted above are from novice teachers, or people worried about qualifications or experience, whereas I am native-British, DELTA qualified and have nearly ten years’ experience teaching general and business English to adults in London and Paris.
    I wonder if you could suggest the type of places that might want and reward my skills and experience – universities or business-focused private schools perhaps. I will of course do my own research but any advice you might be able to give me would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance

    1. William Lake

      Hi Mat,

      Welcome to Cambodia!

      You should try universities and international schools as they usually pay higher, but have higher standards for their teachers. There are some schools that teach English that require their teachers to be qualified and experienced and they too pay higher than most. These schools are often the more expensive schools!

      Good luck!

  55. jeff miller

    Hello William,

    I just returned from a holiday in Phnom Penh and am now considering work there. I’ve seen on your blog(and others)that going to schools in person to find work is probably the best method…but this seems like a rather random way to find work. What are the chances that a place I happen to go to will have an opening? Also that staff will try to PREVENT applicants from seeing the principal; seems like they do NOT welcome walk-ins looking for work! Do you know of reliable websites or if there are any recruiters to help find actual job openings?

    1. William Lake

      Hi Jeff,

      You won’t find many schools that advertise online nor will you find many recruitment agencies. The best way by far is to contact the schools directly. Yes, staff will prevent you from seeing the principal, but ask for their business card and contact them directly. Follow up all your visits with a phone call and you should get something quite quickly. Don’t rely on emailing them either, a lot of emails go unread!

      Good luck!

  56. Marita

    Hi there
    I loved reading your blog and are very inspired by all the information. I am 43 years old female from South Africa. I have no degree or teaching experience. I have 24 years work experience though in administration. I am planning to do a Tefl/Tesol course in the next month and after that I want to fly to Cambodia to get a Teaching job there. I was not so convinced before about this but after reading your blog I feel that I can really do this. Is it still relatively easy to find a tefl teaching job if you do not have a degree there? Hope to hear from you soon.

  57. Echo

    Hello William,

    Your blog is really helpful. Thanks a lot!
    I’m a female, 27, Chinese, looking for a teaching job in Cambodia. I have a BA degree, 120 hours on site TEFL certificate, but since I’m not a native speaker and I have an Asian face apparently(no white enough for the Cambodians!), do you think I have a chance to get a job in Phnom Penh? I prefer to teach English rather than Chinese though…
    Also, usually what kind of teaching job are most available in the market? Full time job or part-time job?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. William Lake

      Hi Echo,

      I know of teachers that teach in Cambodia from many countries around the world and not just native English speakers. However, they sometimes get a lower salary than native speakers. I don’t think you will have a problem finding a job.

      There are both full and part time jobs available!

      Good luck!

  58. Thom

    I really like your upbeat blog. I’m strongly considering relocating from the USA to Cambodia and try my hand at teaching English. I’ll be in the Phillipines Jan-feb 2015 before flying nto Pnomh Penh. Anyhow, my long time Filipina girl friend has expressed an interest in living with me there. Maybe she’s jealous of the Khmer women I would meet! I like the idea but i told her that there probably won’t be any work there for her. Did an internet search, didn’t really find much on that. Since the visa process doesn’t sound like a problem, have you heard about foreigners spouses or girlfriends finding work while there?

    1. William Lake

      There are is a large expat community of Filipinos living in Cambodia and many of them are teachers. Your girlfriend will have no problems finding teaching work. I don’t know about if their minimum requirements are the same as Westerners or whether she may need qualifications though!

  59. Danny Day

    Hi William,

    I just read your article on teaching in Cambodia and found it informative and honest.

    I was hoping you could help me out with a “Teaching ESL in Cambodia” related question. I have been teaching in Taiwan for the past 10 years so I have some experience. I also graduated college in Canada so I have a four year degree. The thing though is that I am from Singapore and I am Chinese.

    My question is: Would that be a problem for me?

    Have you encountered any Asians teaching in Cambodia? Or is it solely a “Whitey” league? I ask because I am aware of the associations that ESL learners make with learning English and being White. Also schools look good hiring White teachers. I first had that problem in Taiwan, but of course gradually though the years it became a non factor. I understand that there will be some form of discrimination for ESL jobs based on me being Asian, what I am wondering is, “How bad is it and should I even bother?”

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and a big “Thank You” if you could give me some info or steer me in the right direction.

    Yours Thankfully,

    Danny Yong

    1. William Lake

      Hi Danny,

      I find it quite hard to answer your questions because as a ‘whitey’, I’ve never personally experienced any problems like you describe. However, Cambodia is crying out for teachers and there are teachers of all nationalities, not just native English speakers. Other Asians that I’ve worked with include Filipinos and Indians. There are also many teachers in Phnom Penh from African countries.

      Therefore, I think that you should find a job, but you will face some discrimination. You might not find a job as easily as us ‘Whities’ but nevertheless, you should still find something.

      I guess the only thing to do is to give it a go! As the demand for teachers in Phnom Penh is very high, you would probably have more luck there than other towns/cities in the country.

      Good luck!

      1. Danny Day

        Hi William,

        Thank you for replying. I’ve decided to go over for a look around before deciding on whether to move there. Can you recommend places I can visit that has a large number of schools or local hangouts of school teachers? Anywhere in particular I should go to meet people (teachers in this case) I can talk to that has experience regarding teaching and living in Cambodia? Where and how do I go about beginning to look for schools? Are there any other good websites you can recommend that has postings by schools with teaching positions?

        Also, what’s rent like for an average apartment in Cambodia and what sort of amenities do apartments usually come with? I doubt they contain washers and dryers so how does one do their laundry there for example? I guess I am asking about the general living arrangements of ESL teachers in Cambodia.

        Thank you again for reading and replying.

  60. Echo

    Hi William,

    It’s said that the demand for teachers in Phnom Penh is very high, but as I checked some local hiring websites, I don’t feel like there are a host of teaching positions,or just because schools usually don’t put job recruitment online?
    Would you please recommend some websites and other ways as well to find a teaching job there please? If the best way is ‘walk in’, then which area is best to try? Thank you very much!

    1. William Lake


      The best way is to ‘walk in’. You won’t find many schools advertising for jobs online. Only very very few schools advertise online for teachers.

      There are schools all over Phnom Penh and they are not situated in just one area!

  61. Chiara

    Dear William,
    Thanks for this nice post, it is very useful.

    I have a question for you, which is more related to the budget: how much you think would I need to bring in order to be well while I am looking for a job? I can leave with about 2.000dollars (flights already considered) .

    I’ve a CELTA qualification and an almost BD, even though I am not native I lived many years in Ireland.
    I have little experience in teachign but I’d love to go in this part of the world.

    Would you suggest me to go ? : )


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