When choosing a career in teaching overseas, it’s handy to know which countries are in need of more teachers, increasing our chances of getting hired. In this article, we give you the in-depth information you need to get started.
|Rank||Country||Teacher:Pupil Ratio (1:)|
Source: WorldAtlas (2019)
There are some obvious countries but also some curve balls, that you may want to consider!
The teacher shortage is growing worldwide and many countries direly need teachers. The top 10 teacher shortage countries showing the overly imbalanced ratio of the teacher to students are shown in the table above.
As these countries are desperately filling teacher shortages, there is a need to know why this is happening and what measures are being done by these countries.
It is alarming to see that most of the countries mentioned (Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Uganda, Gambia, Comoros, Rwanda, and Namibia) are from the continent of Africa.
What are the teacher shortages like in Africa?
In East Africa, Tanzania’s population is over 60 million and over 44% are children.
What does this mean?
With this overwhelming number, we can imply that one teacher needs to attend to more than 200 students, which is far from the ideal setting.
“Teaching is the noblest profession,” they said. But they also associate teaching with being low-paying. Consequently, this creates the impression that teaching is not a long-term career.
For countries like Cabo Verde and Uganda, teaching is not attracting new teachers because it is not on par with high-status professions—a common perspective.
So, how are they coping with this kind of mindset?
These countries are recruiting many teachers to uplift the quality of education. In fact, they even allocated an increased budget from their government to accommodate more teachers and increase their pay.
Thinking about teaching in a place where it’s really needed? It is imperative to get an idea of how much are they getting paid on a monthly basis.
Here is an overview:
|Country||In local currency||In USD ($)||In Euro (€)||In GBP (£)|
|Cabo Verde||217 000 CVE||$2400||€1968||£1694|
|Namibia||12 900 NAD||$866||€710||£611|
|Solomon Islands||6 730 SBD||$844||€692||£596|
|Uganda||2 780 000 UGX||$781||€640||£558|
|Rwanda||734 000 RWF||$733||€601||£517|
|Comoros||247 000 KMF||$612||€502||£432|
|Tanzania||1 340 000 TZS||$578||€474||£408|
|Laos||4 830 000 LAK||$512||€420||£361|
|Sierra Leone||4 550 000 SLL||$445||€364||£314|
|Gambia||12 400 GMD||$242||€198||£170|
Source: Salary Explorer (2021)
Meanwhile, the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) revealed that British Columbia, China, Estonia, and the Netherlands are facing shortages but working on their solutions.
Estonia and the Netherlands share the same sentiment with Cabo Verde and Uganda.
The only difference is that Estonia and the Netherlands are already stepping up by reducing tuition fees for teacher education students and giving them more training to ensure the quality of teachers they are producing.
In Asia, China is among the countries with the largest demand for teachers. It is attracting more English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers.
These countries are in demand of ESL and teachers of other subjects and they usually provide accommodation for those who want to teach on-site.
Teacher Shortages in the United States
In 2019, media outlets like CNN reported that the United States desperately wanted to fill teacher shortages by recruiting teachers from overseas.
- Washington D.C.
If we zoom in; 80% of the California school districts need more teachers. They even raised teachers’ salaries to encourage teacher applicants. Other states are also taking steps in increasing teacher’s pay.
The average monthly pay for teachers in these states are as follows:
|State||In USD ($)||In Euro (€)||In GBP (£)|
Source: Indeed (2021)
What Does the Future Look Like for Teacher Supply and Demand?
Sutcher, Darling, and Carver-Thomas (2016) projected the teacher supply and demand for new teachers in the school years 2003-2004 through 2024-2025.
Source: Economic Policy Institute (2019)
It can be gleaned from the data above that by 2025, the projected estimated supply of teachers will only be around 100,000 compared to more than 300,000 projected demand for new hires.
This implies that with the recurring situations around the world, the situation is going to get worse.
Not a great outlook!
Or is it?
If you are looking to teach in one of the locations highlighted in this article, you are probably going to be well rewarded as countries and states are forced to make teaching a more desirable career (higher salaries and better benefits etc)
Accordingly, some of the countries address the teacher shortage crisis through escalating teacher’s pay, outsourcing international teachers, targeting investments, valuing teachers, and redesigning schools.
What Are the Best Countries for Teaching Jobs?
Based on many studies, China runs at the top of the list. China has continued to be the most sought-after teaching destination right now because it has almost 300 million English learners.
Aside from that, people also look at the opportunity to learn Mandarin, which is considered to be one of the most widely used world languages.
Because of the cheap cost of living, you can save a lot from the ¥19,164 ($2,978 or €2,439) pay every month.
Another country you should look for if you want to teach in Europe is Spain. Many schools in Spain need international teachers to teach English as a Foreign Language.
Teachers can teach there even without any experience just so they can get certified with a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) certification.
But if you want to settle for a suitable position in their schools, being licensed with two to three years of experience will be a wonderful asset.
Although moving to a European country will not be easy, it is interesting to note that you can earn €2,166 ($2,644) monthly.
What’s good to know about teaching in the UAE specifically in Abu Dhabi or Dubai is that you do not pay tax! Because of the good accommodations schools offer to teachers, they do not have to pay for rent.
With an average of AED 12,000 ($3,267 or €2,675), that means you’ll get a higher net pay plus medical insurance.
There are many schools to choose from and some of them are extraordinary international schools that are preferred for English-speaking teachers.
Vietnam is an emerging large market for English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers.
For Vietnamese, their strong desire to learn English will help them seek more professional work among others. This creates opportunities for teachers who want to teach English.
Since they have a low cost of living and a good salary of about VND 36,000,000 ($1,564 or €1,564), you can have a high standard of living.
Opportunities for teachers to teach in Qatar include working in prestigious international schools. This means that it is possible to earn a competitive salary.
Speaking of wages, the average monthly wage is QAR 10,685 ($2,934 or €2,401) and it’s tax-free. With the good accommodation they have, airfare and health insurance are provided for teachers and their dependents.
So, if you are looking to work abroad where you can have your family with you, Qatar can be a good choice.
Is There a High Demand for Teachers?
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institutes for Statistics projected that the world will be needing 69 million teachers by 2030. This is imperative to meet the global education goals.
There is a high demand not only because of the shortages due to the above reasons. Part of the reason is the countries that need more teachers to staff the rising number of international schools.
There are now over 10,000 international schools globally, teaching over 5 million students. That’s a lot of teachers!
The top 10 cities for international schools as of 2019 are:
- Dubai (United Arab Emirates) – 309 schools
- Shanghai (China) – 174 schools
- Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) – 163 schools
- Beijing (China) – 151 schools
- Doha (Qatar) – 142 schools
- Singapore – 135 schools
- Tokyo (Japan) – 125 schools
- Phnom Penh, (Cambodia) – 121 schools
- Bangkok (Thailand) – 119 schools
- Karachi (Pakistan) – 109 schools
Source: ISC Research (2019)
What Kind of Teachers Are in Demand?
One of the most in-demand teachers is an English as a Second Language (ESL) educator. Why? Most of the people in the world speak other languages aside from learning English.
With English being a massive medium of communication, most students have to learn to speak it, regardless of their first language.
This is also in demand not only for school children but also for adults who want to learn English for business purposes.
Post-COVID, the world is changing, it is now much more common to teach ESL remotely, from the comfort of your own home. You don’t even need to be hired in a formal school to become one.
Instead, there are already a lot of companies recruiting ESL teachers to teach speakers from different parts of the world.
Which Countries Need English Teachers?
ESL teachers are usually paid per hour. But here is an estimate of monthly average pay for ESL teachers according to Glassdoor (2021):
|Country||In Local Currency||In USD||In Euro||In GBP|
|South Korea||KRW 2,353,739||$2,085||€1706||£1476|
Aside from ESL, Special Education teachers are needed most in the United States.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the growing demand for SE teachers could reach up to 8% by 2026 creating more vacant positions by that time. If you are looking for more opportunities of getting hired, you may want to consider special education as your track.
Which Countries Need Special Education Teachers?
How Much Do Special Education Teachers Earn in a Year?
|United Arab Emirates||AED 120,000||$32,670||€26,738||£23,134|
Mathematics and Science teachers are also in short supply.
A study by Ingersoll and Perda (2009) found that many teachers are aligned in these subjects but only a few are qualified according to standards. The result of this is lots of vacancies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Which States in the Us Need More Qualified Maths and Science Teachers?
Here are the monthly average salaries for the aforementioned states:
Source: Zipcruiter (2021)
What Countries Pay Teachers the Most?
According to the latest data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), for 2017-2019, the top 5 countries with the highest teacher salary are Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and Australia.
The UK also has a wide range of teacher salaries.
For a bigger picture, you might be interested in the top 20 countries that pay teachers the most (all figures in USD):
|Top 20 countries(average)||Primary||Lower Secondary||Upper Secondary|
|Luxembourg||$70 295||$79 667||$79 667|
|Germany||$63 257||$69 735||$74 021|
|Switzerland||$59 975||$67 022||$75 494|
|Denmark||$50 271||$50 526||$48 122|
|Australia||$45 216||$45 213||$45 213|
|Austria||$45 029||$44 453||$43 726|
|Spain||$42 215||$47 117||$47 117|
|Netherlands||$41 632||$44 215||$44 215|
|United States||$41 119||$41 833||$41 806|
|Sweden||$40 650||$41 928||$42 702|
|Canada||$40 504||$40 504||$40 504|
|Iceland||$39 881||$39 881||$38 705|
|Norway||$39 676||$39 676||$47 960|
|Ireland||$36 966||$36 966||$36 966|
|Finland||$35 187||$38 002||$39 899|
|Portugal||$33 834||$33 834||$33 834|
|New Zealand||$33 389||$33 389||$33 389|
|Korea||$32 111||$32 172||$31 444|
|Italy||$31 313||$33 708||$33 708|
|France||$31 300||$32 941||$32 941|
Source: OECD (2019)
I hope this article enlightened your thoughts on teaching to countries that need more teachers. With the demand we have on our plate, teaching overseas is no longer a dream but will be your reality.
Tanzania, Solomon Islands, Sierra Leone, Cabo Verde, Uganda, Gambia, Comoros, Laos, Rwanda and Namibia.
China, Spain, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates and Qatar are all ranked top of the best countries for teachers list.