Teaching English in Siem Reap

By | November 23, 2012

Siem Reap is Cambodia’s second city. It’s home to the world famous Angkor Wat temples that are truly stunning. It’s also home to about a quarter of a million people. Siem Reap is in stark contrast to the hubbub of Phnom Penh. It’s quiet, relaxed, clean and surrounded by natural and man-made beauty.

Siem Reap is a tourist town that relies heavily on tourism. As a result of this there is a high percentage of the population that can speak a very good level of English and a population that understands the importance of speaking English for tourism, business and general English. There are a number of English language schools in Siem Reap and most of them employ native English speakers.

If you don’t like the lifestyle of living in a big city like Phnom Penh, then the beautiful town of Siem Reap might be more up your street! Siem Reap offers a much more relaxed lifestyle and life here goes at a much slower pace than the nation’s capital.

Teaching English in Siem Reap

Old Market Area in Siem Reap

Finding a Teaching Job in Siem Reap

The same applies in Siem Reap as the rest of Cambodia. In my earlier post called Teaching English in Cambodia I stated that there are a number of methods you can employ to find work. Look in the local newspapers, contact a local HR company, email schools and check their websites directly and get a tuk-tuk or mototaxi to take you around and make contact with the schools in person.

I always use all of these methods and have had no problems finding a teaching position anywhere in Cambodia and that includes Siem Reap.

However, it might not be as easy as finding a job in Phnom Penh and in my experience it takes a little longer than it does in Phnom Penh. Siem Reap is much smaller and it’s also a very popular place for tourists, travellers, and other visitors. There are many volunteering opportunities in Siem Reap and quite a few people end up staying here for some length of time.

In short, there is usually more competition for teaching positions here than in Phnom Penh and it is a little harder for someone to get a job. I’m a qualified and experienced English teacher and it took me a little while to secure a job, so I’m guessing that unqualified and inexperienced teachers might have a few more problems getting work here in Siem Reap.

Minimum Requirements

Unlike Phnom Penh, every application I made here in Siem Reap asked to see copies of my certificates for my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as well as my TEFL certificate. I don’t have the originals with me because they are expensive to replace if they are lost or stolen, but I do have colour copies on my computer. They were fine with this. I’m guessing that because the competition is higher for jobs here in Siem Reap the schools are a bit more selective about who they hire.

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Expected Salary and Living Costs in Siem Reap

[sociallocker id=”762″]In my experience, the salary is a bit lower in Siem Reap than it is Phnom Penh for younger classes, but it’s higher if you teach older students and specific English courses, e.g. English for Business, or English for Tourism. Salaries range anywhere from $7.50 upwards. It’s quite normal for teachers to be earning $12-$18 at universities and for adult classes. Again, it depends on the school that you’re teaching at for how much salary you’ll get. For highly qualified teachers, i.e. those with CELTA qualifications or equivalent, the rate of pay could be even higher than this, maybe $20-25 an hour.

The living costs in Siem Reap are both more expensive and less expensive than in Phnom Penh! Some things are more expensive and some cheaper! There are so many foreign restaurants here, that dining in western style restaurants is considerably cheaper than Phnom Penh. Maybe $4-5 a meal at the cheaper ones. Transport is also much cheaper, as little as $1 for a tuk-tuk to take you one way pretty much anywhere in the town centre.

Accommodation is also a bit cheaper and you can easily find a small studio apartment to rent for less than $50 a month, or even a 1/2 bedroom apartment for about $100-$150 per month. This is, of course, dependant on location.

Khmer food is a little more expensive than Phnom Penh, as are the markets. However, if you venture out to the markets away from the tourists, things are a little cheaper. Other items like electrical goods are more expensive because usually they come from Phnom Penh.[/sociallocker]

Teaching English in Siem Reap

Therefore, it’s a little harder to find a job teaching English in Siem Reap, but not very hard. If you’re unqualified and inexperienced, you’re much more likely to find a position teaching English in Phnom Penh.

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Other Places in Cambodia

Teach English in Battambang


Teach English in Phnom PenhPhnom Penh Teach English in SihanoukvilleSihanoukville


6 thoughts on “Teaching English in Siem Reap

  1. Mary Gioffrè

    Hi William, I’m Maria from Italy! I got my CELTA in Phuket last year and I’m looking forward to beginning my teaching career! As a non native speaker, I know there’s more resistance from schools (eg in Thailand)..that’s why I’m thiking about Cambodia. According to your experience, will I be able to find a decent teaching job as a non native speaker? I’m thinking about PP…do you suggest any school in particular? Many thanks! Mary

    1. William Lake

      Hi Mary, I’ve received your email. I’ll reply back asap. Right now it’s Khmer New Year, so I’m not at home much! Non-native speakers still can still find teaching jobs in Cambodia. So don’t worry too much! I’ll reply to your email asap!

  2. Dean Du Plooy

    Thank you. I am considering looking for a teaching job in Siem Reap and this info has been most useful

  3. Mirek Krejci

    Hi, it probably makes more sense o take the CV from school to school but ive just happened upon your blog. Im living in Siem Reap, actually Pouk, teaching there volunteer but its not paying for the visa and im pretty broke.. like getting desperate. Its a big ask but i need paid part work. Week end preferably… whats the chances?
    ive all the correct qualifications; BA, Honours, tesol and tefl

    1. William Lake

      Hi Mirek,

      Are you a native English teacher? You’re not far in Pouk, I’d get to Siem Reap and start looking for work asap if you’re desperate. The only way to find a job is to get yourself out there. If you’re a native English speaker, you’ll find something quickly. If not, with your qualifications, you’ll also find something, but it might take a bit longer.

      In Pouk, you’re only about 18km away from Siem Reap. Spend a day going to all the schools and look for something.

      Good luck!

      1. Mirek Krejci

        Thank William, im australian. Native speaker.

        cheers thanks for the info and of course its the only thing that makes sense.


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