Teaching English in Singapore

Teaching English in Singapore

Singapore Overview

Main Cities/AreasSalary range (USD/month)
Throughout the island$1500 – $4000

If you’re looking for a life in the tropics complete with Western comforts then Singapore is the place to be. You may have seen Crazy Rich Asians, and said to yourself, “I want to live there!”

An efficient transport network and first-class infrastructure make it one of the most popular destinations in the region for those seeking an orderly and secure place in which to live.

Teachers’ salaries in Singapore are often very attractive indeed but accommodation costs can be high. English is the national language but although most inhabitants are fluent there are still plenty of opportunities for experienced and highly-qualified teachers.

Flag of Singapore - Wikipedia

Typical Requirements and Tips

Degree?TEFL Certification?Experience?
YesYes1-2 Years

If you only have a year or two of experience as an English teacher and do not possess an MA or PGCE you will almost certainly only be able to find work in kindergartens and private language centers.

When renting accommodation, make sure you negotiate a diplomatic clause in your contract so that if your work contract ends early or you have to move overseas you are not liable to pay the rent for the rest of the rental agreement.

Experienced teachers are advised to find out about opportunities to teach at the British Council. Previous IELTS examiners and those holding a DELTA certificate are more likely to be successful.

All teaching staff has to be registered with the Ministry of Education. This means you need to be in possession of original educational certificates and degree transcripts. An employment pass is issued by Immigration once the Ministry of Education has registered you. The whole process takes a few weeks but you will normally be issued with a temporary visa in the meantime. It is normal to enter Singapore on a 1-month Visitor’s Pass which you receive on arrival.

Accommodation prices range from moderate to high – there are very few bargains in Singapore. Food and transport costs are reasonably-priced. Alcohol is expensive.

The famously low level of Income tax is paid on an annual basis and it is the employee’s responsibility. This means you need to budget and make sure you save enough over the year so you can pay off the bill when it arrives. It also means you need to fill in a tax return form.

Pros and Cons of Teaching in Singapore


  • Excellent infrastructure – daily tasks can be accomplished easily
  • Moderately-priced and efficient transport system
  • Lots of opportunity for professional development


  • Those without much experience will have difficulty finding a sufficient salary
  • Strict rules regarding who can teach in public schools and universities
  • The small size of the country may make you feel claustrophobic after a while. Big Brother is watching you!