Teaching English in Cambodia
Despite a harrowing history of war and genocide, Cambodia is now one of Southeast Asia's most peaceful and heavily visited destinations. Many people travel to Cambodia to see the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, beautiful beaches of Sihanoukville and unique mix of modern and colonial architecture in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Combine this with hospitable and friendly people, a relatively low-cost of living and increased access to modern amenities and facilities, and it is easy to see why more and more intrepid travelers are choosing to make Cambodia home. One of the easiest ways to work and live in Cambodia is to teach English.
How to Find Work in Cambodia
The easiest way to find teaching work in Cambodia is to just show up in the country and start handing your CV out to schools. It is possible to find work before you arrive either online or by contacting the schools directly, but most directors at schools in Cambodia prefer to meet you in person and see that you are already in the country before they hire you. Additionally, many schools in Cambodia do not advertise job postings online, so it can be difficult to secure a job prior to being in the country.
Requirements for teaching English in Cambodia
Not so long ago it was easy to apply to many language schools in Cambodia with nothing more than a clean shirt and decent spoken English and land a job, but today standards have risen quite a bit due to an increase in competition amongst schools.
Most schools now require teachers to have a Bachelor degree and/or a Teaching Certificate such as a CELTA or TEFL. Degrees do not necessarily have to be in English or teaching related fields, but post-secondary education is definitely a must, especially at the better schools that offer higher salaries.
Furthermore, teachers should have a proven record of employment (not necessarily ESL teaching) and no criminal record. Pedophilia and sex tourism are huge problems in this part of Southeast Asia and many schools go to great lengths to ensure that they are not hiring dangerous criminals.
While there are still a few schools who will hire people with little education or experience, these schools generally pay very little and working conditions can be dismal.
Where to find work
The bulk of language schools and English teaching jobs in Cambodia can be found in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Popular schools here include the Australian Centre for Education (ACE), Cambodia's most respected language center, New World Institute, a large and relatively new school, the English Language Training Institute (ELT), and Home of English International. International schools like Northbridge International School and the Western International School and universities such as Pannasastra University and the Royal University of Phnom Penh also hire English language teachers, although teachers at these institutions are often required to have a Bachelor of Education or a Masters degree.
Siem Reap also has a few schools where ESL teachers can find employment including a secondary branch of ACE, the British English Language School (BELS) and the International School of Siem Reap (ISSR).
English is taught at many other smaller schools in cities and villages throughout Cambodia, such as Battambang, Sihanoukville and Kampot, but work is often on a volunteer basis as many centers lack the capital or amenities to attract salaried native English teachers.
Overall, Cambodian students are lovely to teach. In Cambodian culture teachers are given the utmost respect, so students are often incredibly polite and respectful to teachers. Moreover, many are extremely motivated to learn as they understand the importance of learning English to secure a spot in the global economy. Students can be shy around foreigners, but after they feel a bit more comfortable around the teacher they will ask questions about grammar, pronunciation and culture, and they love to have a good laugh, so games and jokes always go over well.
There is a lively expat scene in Cambodia, especially in Phnom Penh, made up of NGO workers, journalists and of course teachers. English teachers in Cambodia come from all over the world, with a large majority hailing from Australia, New Zealand, England and North America. Teachers in Cambodia tend to be adventurous, well-traveled individuals who like to venture off the beaten path, and enjoy getting to know the culture and local scene. Quite a few teachers in Cambodia have fallen in love with the country and have decided to stay there for the long haul, so at most schools it is easy to find veteran colleagues who can give pointers on living in the country, cultural differences and tips on teaching Khmer students.
Salary expectations and cost of living
Depending on the school, salaries can range anywhere from $500 USD to $3000 USD per month, and the better schools will include a one year contract, multiple entry working visa, medical insurance, and bonus incentives. Generally, international schools, universities and reputable language schools offer the best salary packages.
Teachers can also work on a casual hourly basis without signing a yearly contract, in which case rates can range anywhere from $8 USD to $25 USD an hour. Casual workers are not usually provided with any extra benefits.
Regardless of the level of salary one earns, the cost of living in Cambodia is quite low. A basic one bedroom apartment in Phnom Penh can cost as little as $200 USD a month, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs approximately $2 to $3 USD, a bottle of beer retails at about $1.50 USD, and a taxi ride across town (about 1 km) costs around $2 USD.
Visa Requirements in Cambodia
Visitors from most English speaking countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, and the UK can get a single entry, one month tourist visa on arrival. The fee is USD $20 and you need to submit two passport sized photos with your application. It is also possible to buy a 30 day business visa on arrival for USD $25, also accompanied by two passport sized photos. The business visa is a good option if you would like to work soon after arriving in the country. Regardless of the type of visa you enter Cambodia with, it is very easy to change your visa after you arrive, and most schools will even arrange a multiple entry business visa with 6-12 months validity for you once you are hired.
Links to some English language schools in Cambodia
- English Language Training Institute
English Language Training Institute, Phnom Penh
- HOME of English International School
Established in 1997, Home of English International has emerged as one of Phnom Penhs leading private childrens schools.
- Footprints School Phnom Penh - General Information
Footprints School, Phnom Penh
- Western International School
- American Pacific School
Joomla! - the dynamic portal engine and content management system
- Royal University of Phnom Penh-Home Page
the Royal University of Phnom Penh the oldest and largest University in Cambodiawhose history dates back to 1960
- Passtra University of Cambodia
- Home | International School of Siem Reap
ISSR-Cambodia.com - At the International School of Siem Reap we care for your childs development and about providing a quality education with excellent resources and within a secure environment. We offer a full educational programme following the la
- BELS British English Language School
Volunteer Teaching in Cambodia
Cambodia is a developing country and as such, many people throughout the country still struggle to get by. Education, especially in foreign languages, is extremely important given that tourism is a huge industry in Cambodia, but unfortunately it is a luxury many cannot afford. Volunteers teachers can make a huge difference helping to train people of all ages basic English language skills.
Links to volunteer teaching organizations in Cambodia
- Volunteer Teaching in Phnom Penh Cambodia
Volunteering in Phnom Penh,Cambodia
- Volunteer teaching in Cambodia, Teach English with Projects Abroad
Projects Abroad offers volunteer teaching placements and volunteer work with disadvantaged children in Cambodia. Teaching projects for those volunteering abroad in your gap year or career break.
- vMaD - Volunteer Cambodia
- Volunteer In Cambodia: Home
Experience life in Cambodia while volunteering your time to teach conversational English in Phnom Penh. Living as part of a group of international volunteers in Phnom Penh, you'll be part of a new centre providing affordable conversational English co
For More Info on Teaching English in Cambodia and Southeast Asia Check Out This Page
- Country Guide for Teaching English in Southeast Asia | Southeast Asia Wanders
A country by country guide on teaching English in Southeast Asia, including requirements, work visas and salaries