The rate of teachers particularly those who are in the ESL industry varies greatly.
Now, there’s what we call online ESL teaching and face-to-face ESL teaching. The first one is probably what’s most of us prefer coz of its convenience.
The average base rate of full-time online ESL teachers (office-based and home-based combined) range from 12,000 – over 100,000 as of 2021. Whereas for offline teachers (face-to-face or classroom ESL teachers), it’s around 10,000 – 18,000.
See that gap? It’s huge. European and American-owned companies pay way bigger than employers from Asian countries. That is why the monthly income of every ESL teacher can’t be the same. In fact, even if Teacher A for example works on the same company with Teacher B, their respective rates differ in many ways.
I’ve been teaching ESL for many years, and to someone with varied experience in both online and face-to-face ESL, I know what I’m talking about. I’ve had my fair share of satisfaction and disappointments teaching in many different platforms to diverse learners.
What Is The REAL Salary Of Filipino ESL Teachers?
1. For Office-Based ESL Teachers Who Are Working Face-To-Face With Students:
Base rate is 10,000 – 18,000 a month with SSS, Pag-ibig, and Philhealth (as of 2021). Please note that this rate doesn’t include incentives or bonuses. During my time (2012), I barely get bonuses or incentives, and my base salary was 8,000 PHP a month. Usual monthly income? As someone who’s experienced in ESL teaching and with friends in the same industry, I’m quite certain that majority of the teachers who work in an office-based company bring home a salary between 10,000 to 14,000.
Note: This is based on my experience as a former ESL instructor in an ESL school in Cebu City. My job was to conduct classes face-to-face in a traditional classroom setting. I did one-to-one and group classes. *There’s a small increment in your salary if you teach a group of students, but I won’t discuss it further coz there’s nothing special about it (salary wise). The rate for home-based online group classes are better though.
Things to consider:
- -It was in 2012.
- -Though it was not my very first employment, I was new in ESL teaching at the time.
- -When I applied to teach for the ESL school, I was a nurse by profession. At the time, I didn’t have a teaching license yet. I was employed as an ESL teacher although my major wasn’t in line in teaching or education. In the ESL industry, though your educational background doesn’t guarantee you a job, it is a huge advantage coz many employers prefer a candidate who is an Education graduate.
- -I was a beginner teacher who has no substantial experience in the field.
If you research the salaries of some office-based ESL schools, you’ll see that ‘8,000’ per month still exist. So, just coz it’s 2021 doesn’t mean the salary of an office-based ESL teachers skyrocketed. Sadly it is not for some companies here in the Philippines even in big areas like Cebu and Manila.
When you work in an office-based setting, there are ways to increase your salary, but I’m not talking about getting a promotion nor changing your position in the company.
During my time as an office-based ESL teacher, I was given the opportunity to extend my working hours. Since my schedule was always fully booked, the management suggested to have additional hours of work so that other students can experience my class. Sounds like I was a popular teacher back then, huh? (chuckle)
The teachers’ shift was 8AM to 5PM (including breaks). Mine was a bit different since I have extension classes. As I recall it, I was usually out at 7 or 8 in the evening. Though it was kind of exhausting if you imagine it, but I consider it as one of the highlights of my career as an office-based ESL instructor. I loved the experience, and the students were always amazing.
Teachers who are in-demand earn more than others. While attendance plays a major role in how much money you get every pay day, the quality of your work through students’ feedbacks is what matters the most. Even if your colleagues don’t like you or the supervisor is unfriendly with you, as long as many students choose to book your class over and over again, then you’re good and nothing else matters. That’s basically how you survive.
How much was my added salary or how much did the school pay for my extended classes?
-Actually, there was nothing special coz it’s the same as my hourly rate if we base it from my 8,000 monthly base salary (excluding incentives, if there’s any).
-If we do the math: (let’s say for this month of July)
8,000 base rate divided by 22 working days is equal to 363.63
Therefore, I was paid for 363.63 PHP for every one hour additional class. That was my reality. Perhaps, some companies have changed over the years, but you can only know if you’re there. Most companies or schools don’t divulge the exact amount that they pay to their teachers. You can’t expect employers to be transparent with their applicants. That’s why job seekers in general cannot set clear expectations when it comes to compensation. Companies only post an estimate or the maximum amount that a teacher can POSSIBLY earn.
Note: I know that the salary mentioned above is very low, but please know that on top of that base rate, there is also government mandated benefits that a school pays. This experience is unique to me, and I’m just sharing this information to somehow shed some light on this topic.
2. Office-Based ONLINE ESL Teachers Who Are NOT Working Face-To-Face With Students:
-Salary per month: 12,000 – 18,000 base rate (excluding bonuses and incentives)
-Compared with #1, these teachers conduct classes virtually using the company’s computers, headset, etc.
-The pay is relatively higher than the first one because the company doesn’t have to deal with students face-to-face which means less hassle on their part, and it’s cost-effective.
This can sometimes be misleading or confusing for some ESL teachers especially to those who are newbies coz when we searched for jobs, we often see ads that say ”Looking For Online ESL Teachers” or ”Office-Based ESL Job”. It’s important to know the specific type of ESL job you’re applying for in order to have a clear expectation. For instance, online ESL teacher job can mean two things: home-based teaching where you set up everything on your end or office-based ESL teaching where you have to commute to work. If you mistook one thing for another, you’ll end up disappointed.
I bet you see job ads on many sites with a salary of up to 25,000 or even 50,000, right? That’s a trap, and if a company really did pay you with that amount as your base salary, then you’re the luckiest. Companies put the maximum amount you can POTENTIALLY earn. There’s nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day, it’s your decision.
3. Home-Based Online ESL Teachers
-Salary per month VARIES but to give you an idea about the compensation of this type of ESL job, I’ll talk about my own experience.
-When you’re a home-based online ESL teacher, the rate is usually per hour. So far, I haven’t worked in an online ESL school that doesn’t pay by hour.
-Part-time or Full-time
My ESL Teaching Salary Over The Years: range from 110 PHP per hour – 755 PHP (or 15 USD) per hour
or 15,000 – over 100,000 per month
As you can see, I’ve reached a point in my life where I was paid that amount per hour. It is not impossible. That’s why it’s important to seek options.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a part-timer or not. You’re hourly rate remains the same just like everybody in a company. The difference is that, you get less than what a full-time teacher make if you’re spending 4 hours only a day. Working for a minimum of four hours is the standard requirement for a part-time ESL teacher, but that’s not always the case these days. Many companies give their employees the freedom to set their schedule with no minimum hours required. This is one of the many perks of home-based jobs: time freedom or flexible work schedule.
Things to consider when it comes to your hourly rate as a home-based online ESL teacher: (Well, this applies to all jobs out there.)
- -Your performance during the application process: from interview to demo. Though not all companies base their salary offer to this, it’s best to have a great impression from start to finish.
- -The more experience you have, the more likely you get a higher rate. This is case-to-case basis coz there are companies that offer a uniform rate to all teachers regardless of education and experience.
- -The amount of time you work a day. So, if you’re full-time and you work 30 days a month, expect that the salary is way bigger than the rest of your co-workers who often don’t show up during weekends. Same goes with a part-timer who exceeds 4 hours a day. On the other hand, if a person works just to get by, then it’s a different story.
“You get paid in direct proportion to the difficulty of problems you solve.”
― Elon Musk
Why Home-Based Online ESL Teachers Have Higher Salary?
To be honest, I had this same question when I was new to ESL teaching. Every time I searched for ESL teaching jobs, rates of home-based online ESL teachers are higher. That’s why I decided to go virtual, and I didn’t go back to office-based ESL since then.
Common reasons why online ESL teachers get higher compensation:
- – Home-based Online teachers USE THEIR OWN EQUIPMENTS FOR WORK: LAPTOP/PC WITH WEBCAM, HEADSET, INTERNET ROUTER, ETC.
- – Home-based Online teachers SET UP THEIR OWN WORKSPACE WHICH MEANS THAT THE COMPANY DOESN’T NEED TO TAKE CARE OF ANY MAINTENANCE ISSUES, THEREFORE SAVING A TON OF TIME AND MONEY, AMONG OTHER THINGS.
- – Home-based Online Teachers HANDLE EVERYTHING ON THEIR END, FROM STUDENTS’ ISSUES TO TECHNICAL PROBLEMS BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THEIR CLASSES (EXCEPT FOR SOME COMPANIES WHO HAVE THEIR SUPPORT DEPARTMENT)
- – Home-based Online Teachers PAY FOR THEIR INTERNET SUBSCRIPTION FROM INSTALLATION TO MAINTAINING THE QUALITY OF THEIR CONNECTION. TEACHERS DEAL WITH ALL THE HASSLE THAT COMES WITH TEACHING AT HOME.
- – Most of the Home-based Online Teachers if not all, HAVE NO GOVERNMENT MANDATED BENEFITS OR CONTRIBUTIONS LIKE SSS, PHILHEALTH, AND PAG-IBIG.
- – COMPANIES DON’T NEED TO RENT A SPACE FOR TEACHERS.
- – COMPANIES DON’T NEED TO HIRE MANY EMPLOYEES TO ALWAYS KEEP AN EYE ON TEACHERS
Now, if you reached this part without skipping some of the paragraphs -you’re probably serious about getting into the ESL industry or perhaps you’re a pro who’s just curious about what I have to say (chuckle). Whatever that is, thank you for spending some of your precious time.
There’s a plethora of job opportunities for you out there, and if you’re only specific to ESL teaching, then I suggest checking my previous posts. I’ve listed 110 ESL companies, and I also posted about the latest ESL jobs you can find on Facebook. I’ve compiled them for you. So, if you want to speed up your search, go ahead and check my other blogs.
I hope you find this content helpful.