Teaching English is a common way for young travellers to get a flavour of expat life while also doing something beneficial.
ESL (English second language) teachers not only help bridge the language barrier, they often become cultural mentors to their students as they help them transition into an English-speaking society.
Bali is Indonesia’s number-one tourist spot, visited by millions of people yearly and with more than 100,000 foreigners calling it home. It promises a tropical lifestyle dreamed of by many, with a low cost of living.
Teaching English in Bali might sound fun and very tempting, especially for those looking to travel and explore while working, but just like everything in life, its has pros and cons.
Check out this guide with all the ins and outs you need to know before applying for teaching jobs in Bali.
What to Expect from Teaching English in Bali
There is always a demand for English teachers in Bali. With so many private schools, international schools and language centres, they are always searching for native English speakers with the right qualifications to teach.
The large expat community creates a high turnover in the English teaching market, with most teachers working for 12 months and moving on afterwards.
If you are lucky enough to land yourself an English teaching job in a school, you can enjoy the benefits of sick leave and holidays that aren’t available for freelance teachers. Housing is usually not included, but housing in Bali is quite affordable so shouldn’t be a big concern.
Teachers in Bali generally work for 20-25 hours per week, leaving you plenty of time to head out and explore the beautiful island.
Where to Teach English in Bali
Although there are many online teaching options, having a face-to-face interaction and connection adds something special to the experience.
Here are some ways to teach English in person in Bali.
Most English language teachers teach at private or international schools as they are most in need.
Most teachers who teach at a private school earn between US$600-$1,100 per month, depending on experience, while wages at private preschools and kindergartens tend to be more modest.
Language Schools or Extra-curricular Programs
English First (EF) language school has a large presence in many Indonesian cities, including Bali.
Students at these types of schools range from primary school-aged to university level. Since it’s an after-school or evening program, most classes commence in the afternoon or the evening. A great schedule if you would like to be out exploring all day.
As for the pay, language schools tend to be at the lower end of the pay scale, sitting at around US$5 per hour on average.
Requirements for Teaching English in Bali
Just like with every other job, teaching English in Bali comes with several essential requirements you need to meet in order to start working.
The basic qualifications include the following:
#1 Being a native speaker
Indonesia will only issue work visas for teaching English to nationals of classified English-speaking nations: the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa.
Unfortunately, Indonesian immigration won’t issue a visa to non-native speakers, even if you’re TEFL certified.
#2 TEFL Certificate
A TEFL certificate is mandatory before you can teach English in Bali.
Acquiring a TEFL certificate is fairly easy nowadays, with many TEFL courses and certification programs available online. More on that in the next part.
#3 Bachelor’s Degree
As well as a TEFL certificate, teachers must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. This doesn’t need to be a teaching degree!
#4 English teaching experience
Previous experience of teaching English is preferred but not required for most positions.
Although not mandatory, having some experience would be highly beneficial as the job market in Bali is very competitive.
As most programs require a one-year commitment, schools or programs will help you to obtain a work permit and KITAS (temporary stay permit). Neither of these is obtainable prior to receiving a job offer.
Usually, your employer will sponsor and cover the cost of the KITAS for you ($1,200). If you decide to leave early, they might ask you to return some (or all) of the money paid for your KITAS.
Teaching English in Bali Online
If you opt to teach English online from Bali, you can find companies like English First and Study Bali International (SBI), which have similar requirements to what is needed as an on-site teacher.
They will still sponsor your work permit and KITAS even though you teach online.
However, if you’d rather go the digital nomad route, there are many companies that will have online teaching opportunities you’re looking for.
To be qualified as an English language teacher with Skooli, you don’t need to be a native speaker, just fluent in English with an English bachelor’s degree or a related field.
You will teach online to a range of middle, high or university students. Their pay is competitive and varies based on your qualifications and teaching experience.
Preply is a global marketplace of online language learning for students of all levels.
The minimum education required to be a teacher on Preply is a High School Diploma and a minimum of 1 year of teaching experience.
Since it’s a marketplace, you’ll be able to set your own rate and schedule!
You have to apply as a teacher and have your profile evaluated before you can start working.
It’s important to highlight that working for a non-Indonesian company will make you fall into the digital nomad category, and you will have to take care of your visa yourself.
You will not be allowed to teach English to any Indonesian resident or earn an income from within the country.
It is super easy to get a TEFL certificate online, or even in person if you prefer face-to-face learning.
Choose a TEFL or TESOL course that is 120 hours or above, as most teaching jobs worldwide require the industry’s standard of 120-hour TEFL certification.
#1 Online TEFL Certification
There are many course providers that offer online TEFL certification, such as TEFL Org, International TEFL Academy or Teach Away.
Each company has its pros and cons, with various TEFL courses for you to choose from.
The cheapest one would be TEFL Org’s 120-hour Premiere Online TEFL Course priced at US$264.50.
The International TEFL Academy focuses on the 170-hour certification instead of 120-hours.
Teach Away is also a great option to get TEFL-certified by accredited North American educational institutions, with programs starting at US$995.
Since there are many companies offering online TEFL courses, make sure you do your due diligence before joining any course and pick the one that suits you best.
#2 On-site TEFL Certification in Bali
Although online TEFL certification is more popular among aspiring English language teachers, you can always get your TEFL certificate in Bali.
English First is a big educational organisation with schools across Indonesia, and they will actually sponsor your TEFL studies if you accept a teaching job with them! If you’re low on cash but looking for a teaching opportunity, this could be a great option for you.
Destination TEFL is a leading TEFL school based in several Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand. They offer a 4-week course that covers all manner of teaching methodologies including business English, phonics, classroom management, and lesson planning. There is a 6-hour practicum where you’ll be observed and assessed while teaching.
The good about getting your TEFL certificate on-site is that you’ll get to practice your teaching skills before you actually start teaching.
Pros and Cons of Teaching English in Bali
The Balinese hold very tightly to their culture and traditions, and are incredibly proud of their heritage.
Teaching English in Bali will allow you to experience an in depth look at Balinese culture and hospitality.
From food to dances, delve into a cultural experience beyond what you usually see as a tourist.
Bali is so beautiful, and the island has a lot to explore!
There is always something interesting to see nearby, no matter where you are, and it’s very easy to get around using a scooter.
The opportunity to travel around this stunning destination is probably the reason most people start teaching in Bali.
#3 Social life
As we’ve mentioned before, Bali is full of expats from all over the world. It will be easy for you to meet and make friends with fellow expats or even locals since everyone living in Bali is incredibly very welcoming.
#4 Affordable living costs
The overall cost of living in Bali is pretty affordable.
You can easily find a safe and comfortable home, afford nice groceries and be able to join adventures on your teacher’s salary.
Bali is a safe place to live.
Just make sure always to keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings.
Just because it’s safe doesn’t mean crime doesn’t exist in Bali.
#1 Low salary
The salary for teaching English in Bali tends to be lower than in many other countries. Although the cost of living is cheap, it’s still pretty difficult to save money.
#2 Immigration and visas
Dealing with Indonesian immigration can be a hassle. Things tend to be notoriously disorganised and slow, and the extension service can be costly for long-term tourists.
Most employers will sponsor and handle the paperwork for you, but you must keep this in mind as it might annoy you.
Bali’s tropical climate can sometimes be challenging, especially if you stay long-term.
The scorching hot sun and humidity need some time to get used to, while the rainy season often makes commuting hard.
Be sure to consider your working environment before signing up for a long stint.
The English teaching job market in Bali is highly competitive. Finding a decent-paying teaching job in Bali can be difficult.
Bali is a popular spot for aspiring English language teachers who are looking to work while also travelling.
Make yourself stand out with stellar recommendations, qualifications and a winning personality!
Teaching English in Bali is a good way to gain experience in the teaching industry, especially if you’re new to it.
Don’t expect to get rich by teaching English in Bali. The low salary might give you cold feet, but it’s nothing compared to the incredible memories you’ll have of your time on the island.
Good luck with your job search!
Featured image: Bahasa Bule