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Teaching English in Cambodia

As with many South Asian countries where the economy is poor, well paid teaching opportunities in Cambodia don’t abound.

However, two classes almost at the opposite end of the social spectrum are driving the ELT market in Cambodia. The new affluent Khmers, who want to give their children more opportunities in life by educating them in English, and the less affluent Khmers who want to get better paid jobs in the travel and tourism industry where, to get hired, they need English language skills.

On top of that, Phnom Penh has become a trendy place to be and more and more Westerners want to spend a year or two in the capital and pay for their lifestyles by teaching.

In response to these changes, Cambodia is developing a range of commercial institutes devoted to English language teaching so the demand for English language teachers is there if you look for it.

Qualifications to Teach in Cambodia

Most schools ask for a degree and a TEFL Certificate. However some of the less professional schools are still accepting teachers without a degree; it is strongly recommended that you have a TEFL certificate, however, as proof of teaching ability and also to be able to handle a class – prior to hiring you, many schools will want to see a demo class but will give you time to prepare for it.

More and more schools are taking standards seriously and look for teachers with a degree and a TESL/TEFL Certificate so having either (or both) will give you the edge. If you have a teaching degree, plus teaching experience then it might be worth trying the international schools.

Without a degree the pay is likely to be less also. There are also occasional sweeps of the schools by officials looking for unqualified teachers.

How to Apply for TEFL Jobs in Cambodia

The best way to find work is doing the rounds of schools. Potential employers will want to meet with you in person and expect to see you smartly dressed. You should have with you your TEFL/TESOL CV/Résumé, some passport photos plus copies of your TEFL Certificate and/or degree.

Always insist on speaking to the school owner or DoS‏‎. If he or she is unavailable, then make an appointment and come back later.

Make yourself available even at short notice. Teacher turnover is high so don’t be surprised if a potential employer that turned you down in the morning calls you in the afternoon to ask if you are free for a couple of lessons in the evening.

It is probably best to stay clear of the dozen of cheap makeshift schools scattered around Phnom Penh. They cater for Khmers who want to learn English but can’t afford to pay the high fees of more professional schools and employ local teachers under very poor conditions.

Note that for most nationalities visas are available on arrival in Cambodia. If you prefer to get it beforehand you can do so through an e-visa system.

TEFL Pay in Cambodia

Experienced and/or qualified‏‎ teachers should expect to be paid an hourly rate of about $10 USD (€8, £6) though you can find schools that will pay you up to a little more if you are lucky. Specialist teachers (Business English‏‎, Creative Writing, etc.) are paid even more.

In Cambodia $10 USD (€8, £6) per hour is a decent wage.

Payment in arrears is quite common practice. Some schools will pay monthly by as much as 15 days in arrears whereas some pay twice monthly only a few days in arrears.

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