Teaching English in the Philippines

By | November 17, 2013

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 sits 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

A Perfect Dying AfternoonThe 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.


golden sunset 2Some 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.

Call Centres

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.

Private Tutoring

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

Visa Requirements

North Mindoro Beach

Image Courtesy of WikiMedia.

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.

6 thoughts on “Teaching English in the Philippines

  1. eidel

    I’m from the Philippines if we talk about other ascent other than US i think they will find more opportunities for British ascent here. were not fluent in English if we say very good grammar because actually we have our own English variety which is the Philippine English. it is just its easy for us to catch US/American ascent since we always have English basic foundation.

    1. eidel

      actually Spanish is supposedly the second language of the Philippines thats why Chavacano, Ternateno, and Caviteno which are known Spanish Creole exist in the Philippines moreover until 1980′s the Philippine constitution defines Spanish as national language. Spanish language deteriorated in the Philippines during American Colonization. Americans that time teaches English in public schools that’s why my great great grand parents speaks English and at present times English is a common household language here in the Philippines.

      1. William Lake Post author

        Yes, from the colonial past of the Philippines, I know that Spanish has left a lasting legacy on the country with language and religion, etc.

        What about nowadays? Are people still learning to speak Spanish in the Philippines?

    2. William Lake Post author

      Thanks for the information! Why would the British accent be preferred over the American accent? I’m British myself, so it’s nice to hear that, but I’m just wondering why that would be the case?

      1. nichole

        I am an American currently living in the Philippines and have noticed that my west coast American accent is preferred over other American accents do mostly to the reason it is what they are used to hearing from American TV and movies. As to the British accent I’ve been told by my Filipina friends its because its sounds sofisticated to them.

  2. nichole

    Also a a side note some schools prefer a British accent if there school is teaching British English. Schools here either offer British or American English programs and depending on there program dictates the preferred accent.


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