The Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia. The Celebes Sea separates the Philippines from Indonesia, Vietnam is west over the South China Sea, Taiwan and China sit in the north across the Luzon Strait and Borneo is located past the Sulu Sea.
The Philippines is home to over 98 million people and is the 12th most populated country in the world. The English language is widely spoken because it was a former colony of the United States. Many Filipinos are learning English and there are some opportunities for native English speaking teachers.
The country’s climate is tropical and it is hot and humid for most of the year. This archipelago consists of 7,107 islands and there are many beautiful beaches in the country.
Read more about the Philippines.
Why Teach English in the Philippines
The Philippines isn’t normally a country that most people think about when they decide to teach English abroad. However, there are a number of people moving to the country to learn English and study in one of the many English speaking universities in the country.
On top of this, the country is home to countless call centres that take customer services calls for the US market.
For these reasons there is a big demand for English teachers in the country. However, as many Filipinos can speak English to a near native standard, there aren’t that many opportunities for native English speaking teachers. Having said that, highly qualified and experienced native English speaking teachers will find some opportunities in the country.
Where to Teach English in the Philippines
Similarly to nearly every country in the world, it’s no surprise to see that most of the opportunities for TEFL jobs in the Philippines are in the bigger cities. Whilst there are English schools all over the country, it’s the big cities where you’ll most likely end up if you’re teaching in the country.
Types of Teaching Jobs in the Philippines
Private Language Academies/Schools
Most native English speaking teachers will find themselves working in a private language institution of some sort. There are literally 1000s of these schools dotted around the Philippines. As a high number of Filipinos are moving away from the Philippines, you’ll find that a lot of them want to pass an internationally recognised English course and there are many TOEFL and IELTS courses.
Some native English teachers will find work in a university, but you’re going to need to be more highly qualified and experienced than other types of teaching work. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree and possibly a master’s degree as well as an internationally recognised teaching certificate like a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA.
A lot of call centres employ native English speaking teachers to prepare their staff for their jobs. As most of the call centres cater for the US market, they are looking for teachers with a strong North American accent to teach workers.
It’s not easy to make a living from tutoring alone, but if you are already working in the country a number of teachers supplement their income with private lessons.
Teaching Requirements and Qualifications
As the standard of English is very high in the Philippines, there isn’t a strong demand for native English speaking teachers like there is in other Southeast Asian countries. People that do want to work in the Philippines will need to be qualified and experienced.
You will need at least a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree will improve your chances of finding a well-paid teaching position. Ideally, these qualifications should be in an educational field. Moreover, you’ll definitely need an internationally recognised teaching certificate like a CELTA, TESOL or TEFL to stand any chance of finding a job.
Expected Salary and Living Costs
For a full time job, you can expect to earn around $1000 per month. There are schools that pay much less and you’ll find a few that pay more. However, you’ll need to very well qualified and experienced to find a job that pays well in the Philippines.
As stated above, there are many Filipinos that are fluent in English and prepared to work for much less than foreigners. Therefore, you might find that it’s quite difficult to find a high paying teaching job and you might need to settle for less than $1000 per month and some jobs can be very poorly paid.
You’ll also be paying income tax on your salary and this is currently 25%.
Although the country is developing quickly, the cost of living is still very low. Even in the big cities you can find an apartment for as little as $150 – $200 per month
A meal in a local restaurant can be cheap at only a few dollars per person. As the country is quite westernised, you’ll find that there are lots of western style restaurants, but the prices are more than local food.
Transport in and around towns and cities is very cheap and taxis are around 50cents per kilometre.
For more information about the cost of living in the Philippines, take a look at Numbeo.
Unless you’re married to a Filipino, there is a lot of red tape to get a visa. The authorities are strict in the Philippines and you or your employer will need to apply for an Alien Employment Permit. This permit is valid anywhere from six months to two years. Once this permit has been issued, you can then apply for a working visa.
To qualify for a working visa you will need a valid passport, a solid job offer and medical certificate and police clearance.
For more information about obtaining a working visa for the Philippines, you should look at the Bureau of Immigration’s website.
How to Find a Job Teaching in the Philippines
Almost all employers will want to conduct a face to face interview which means you’ll need to already be in the country when you’re applying for jobs. A number of employers in the Philippines do advertise for vacant positions on the internet, but they will require an interview before you are offered a position.
Moreover, employers use local newspapers and jobs boards to advertise for vacant positions.
Finally, the tried and tested method of finding a job will work particularly well in the Philippines. Get yourself dressed up, prepare your CV, find a list of schools and go out and ask for a job!
Teaching English in the Philippines
There is not a huge demand for foreign English teachers in the Philippines because many Filipinos speak English fluently and work for a lot less! You will need to be well qualified and experienced and you won’t earn as much money as you would in other Asian countries.
Many people go to study English in the Philippines and you’ll find that you might be teaching students from other countries such as Korea or Taiwan. Language schools that specialise in teaching English to non-Filipino students often offer pretty low salaries for native English speaking TEFL teachers.
Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in the Philippines, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.