Teaching English in Turkey

Teaching English in Turkey

Turkey Overview

Main Cities/AreasSalary range (USD/month)
Istanbul, Gaziantep, Ankara, Izmir$1000 – $1500

With the huge demand for English tuition, pleasant weather, interesting culture, cuisine, and history, Turkey is an extremely popular TEFL destination and, unlike many countries in the region, treats EU citizens and non-EU citizens in exactly the same way. This makes it a great choice for Americans, Canadians, and Australasians. For the first year of teaching English, it is a good choice but salaries are not huge and opportunities for professional development are fairly slim. TEFL teachers in Turkey report mixed experiences when it comes to dealing with employers of language centers. Needless to say, it pays to do your research before signing anything. Most teachers say Istanbul is by far the most interesting location to be based in. There are tons of other teachers in Turkey so you should be able to have a great social life with locals and foreigners alike.

Typical Requirements

Degree?TEFL Certification?Experience?

Even if you begin work on a tourist visa (as most do) it is essential that you obtain the proper work and residency permits as soon as possible. This process can take several weeks and it should always be paid for by your employer. Get everything in writing.

Experienced teachers should consider finding in-house Business English work via an agency. The payment is often much higher than if you sign a regular contract with a language center.

Basic Turkish language skills will go a long way and will endear you to the locals however poor your pronunciation is.

The level of bureaucracy encountered during the application process for the work visa is rather high. One of the good things about Turkey is that native English speaking teachers who are not holders of EU passports are able to work in the country just as easily as those from Britain and Ireland.

Accommodation, food, and transport are reasonably low. This is reflected in some degree in the salaries but certainly not enough to enable the average TEFL teacher to save much money each month.

Pros of Teaching in Turkey

  • High demand for English tuition
  • Wonderful people, food, culture and weather and a relaxed pace of life
  • One of the best countries in the region for non-EU citizens wanting to teach English

Cons of Teaching in Turkey

  • Rather high level of bureaucracy for those sensible enough to be unwilling to work illegally on a tourist visa
  • Language center managers are a very mixed bag in Turkey and it can be hard to predict to what extent you can trust them
  • Rather low salaries and not much opportunity for professional development