Teaching English in Turkey

By | December 12, 2013

The Republic of Turkey is located both in Asia and Europe. It shares a border with Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Iraq and Syria. Part of the country forms part of the Middle East and it’s unusual because it can’t be considered to wholly belong to any part of the world. Some of the country is in Europe, some in Asia and some in the Middle East!

Turkey is home to a huge amount of history and a very diverse culture. There are ancient Islamic and Christian sites to visit and it is the country where east meets west.

It has been described as a country where old meets new and there is always something new, exciting and unexpected around every corner.

Turkish people are known to be very hospitable to visitors and there are lots of things to do with some beautiful blue seas, ancient ruins, caves and mountains to climb. Turkey truly is a unique country like no other.

Get more information about Turkey from Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in Turkey

Teach English in Turkey

Istanbul by Night. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

There is a big demand for English teachers in Turkey and the government and businesses are pushing people to learn the English language. Students now learn English in the public school system and there are many private schools that also employ native English speaking TEFL teachers.

Turkey has ambitions to join the EU and this also further aids the government’s desire to get the population speaking English.

In short, you will find that well qualified and experienced native English speaking TEFL teachers are really sought after and you will find many opportunities for working in the country.

With modern cities meeting ancient cultures, volcanic lakes and 8,000km of stunning beaches, it is easy to see why Turkey is becoming a popular destination for English teachers.

Where to Teach English in Turkey

You will find most opportunities in the bigger towns and cities, with Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir standing out from the crowd. You will find opportunities right across the country and we will soon be publishing information about the various towns and cities where you will find teaching opportunities in Turkey.

Types of Teaching Jobs in Turkey

Sunset in Side, Turkey

Sunset in Side, Turkey

The public school system in Turkey is now employing foreigners to teach English students. This means that there is now a huge demand for native English speaker teachers with a degree and a teaching certificate such as a CELTA, TESOL or TEFL.

Private Language Schools

There are private language schools of varying quality when it comes to the types of teachers they employ. It is still possible to find a job in one of these without a degree or a teaching certificate, but it is becoming a little more difficult. These schools are sometimes known to mess you about and sometimes won’t pay on time!

On the other hand, there are a number of reputable language schools that require that all their teachers have at least a degree and some kind of TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certificate. These more reputable schools will have high salaries and will even have other benefits too like housing and visa assistance.


Voyage Sorgun Beach

Voyage Sorgun Beach

Universities also employ foreigners to teach English. The pay is very high and the hours are good, but these jobs are usually harder to come by. Moreover, they will require that you have a high standard of education yourself; at least a bachelor’s degree and a good internationally recognised TEFL, TESOL or CELTA is a must.

Private Lessons

A number of teachers will teach private students to supplement their income. In some cases, you might work split shifts and have a long break between your morning and afternoon classes. This time can be filled by taking the odd private lesson here and there and you can easily supplement you income in this way.

Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

Probably one of the most asked questions is about teaching in Turkey without a degree and it is entirely possible to find a job teaching English in Turkey without having a degree. Although the standards for schools are improving, they are still relatively low. Teachers with no degree or a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certificate can still find work in the country.

However, if you’re looking for a job with higher pay, better standards, and other opportunities, you should look for schools that require their teachers to have the appropriate qualifications and this is usually a combination of a lot of experience, a bachelor’s degree or higher and a teaching certificate such as a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA.

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Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1270″]The salary can range from $6 per hour to around $15 per hour. If you are a new and inexperienced teacher, you might only be offered a few hours each week until you prove your worth. After this time, you might get more hours. It is possible to be working 30 hours per week which could mean anything from $180 to $450 per week.

Obviously, the schools with the higher standards when it comes to qualified and experience teachers will be the ones that will pay the most.

On top of this some schools will also pay housing allowance, residency visa and paid holidays, so you want to ensure what benefits the school is offering before you take a job.

The cost of living can vary wildly depending on where you are living, but you can expect your cost of living to be anywhere from $500 to $1000 per month depending on your lifestyle. This might increase if you really are an expensive person to keep!

For more information about the cost of living and individual prices in Turkey, see Numbeo.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

Ancient sarcophagi at the Antalya Archaeology Museum, Izmir, Turkey

Ancient sarcophagi at the Antalya Archaeology Museum, Izmir, Turkey

To work legally in Turkey you will need to obtain a work visa. This can be obtained either before or after arriving in the country. If you try to obtain if beforehand, you will need a job offer and you will have to visit the Turkish consulate in your home country. However, you won’t often find a job without first having a face to face interview in the country.

If you want to get it done after you have arrived, it can take as long as 7 months to get it sorted and it’s fairly expensive, costing around $500 USD.

The school can help you arrange this visa by translating and providing the relevant information that you need, but they rarely pay for the visa for you.

As a result of this, most teachers get a residency visa instead. Although you would be working illegally in the country, and if found out the Turkish authorities might expel you from the country.

For more information about Turkish visas, click here.

How to Find a Job Teaching in Turkey

Sunset in Foca, Izmir.

Sunset in Foca, Izmir.

You might find jobs advertised online on jobs boards and international jobs sites; however, the schools will rarely employ you unless you undertake a face to face interview as schools are much more willing to employ teachers that are already living in Turkey.

When you arrive in Turkey, you can try looking in the local newspapers, looking up the websites for schools in the town or city where you are staying, or even using directories to find the contact details of schools in your area. Then you should try contacting the schools directly.

Generally speaking, you will often secure a job in just a short period of time. If you have the relevant skills, qualifications and experience, you might also expect to find a job in just a few weeks.

Teach English in Turkey

Living and working in Turkey can be a rewarding experience and there are many opportunities for TEFL teachers to live and work in Turkey.

If you want to get one of the higher paying jobs, make sure that you have the necessary qualifications and skills when you are applying for a job.

Ensure that the school where you have applied for a job is reputable, to ensure that you aren’t messed around and that you are paid on time.

You can work in Turkey illegally, but that is never advised. Make sure that you apply for and get the relevant visas required to live and work in the country.


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 Turkey, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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One thought on “Teaching English in Turkey

  1. Addae William

    My name is Addae William a Ghanaian energetic young man of 30yrs of age from Africa Ghana in west-Africa, currently live in Turkey Istanbul.
    l have lent english language for past 20yrs as my second language in Ghana and i have served many school in Ghana as a teacher for the 6yrs.
    l love to continue this teaching job in abroad, because love teaching expecilly English Language.

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