The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Turkey

Authored by:
CIEE TEFL

CIEE TEFL

Turkey sits where Europe meets Asia, making it an exciting place to teach English abroad. Its geographical position has historically shaped its culture to feature influences from both the east and the west, offering a unique experience for ESL teachers. 

As a predominantly Islamic country, the sight of monumental mosques and atmospheric calls to prayer are part of daily life in Turkey. Not to mention, the country is home to fantastic cuisine and intricate handicrafts. It’s also hard to beat Turkey's incredible beach towns, ancient landmarks, and otherworldly landscapes.

To experience the magic for yourself, this guide helps you discover how to start teaching English in Turkey.

Snapshot of Teaching English in Turkey 

Avg. Salary: $600-$1,600/month
Teaching Hours: 15-25 hours
Duration of contract: 12 months
Peak hiring season: September, January, year-round
School term: September To June
Visa requirements: Residence permit, work visa, freelance visa

Why teach English in Turkey?

As a teach abroad destination, Turkey is an excellent option for first-time teachers, and most jobs don’t require teachers to have citizenship from native English speaking countries. And while salaries can be low, many can teach English and save some money during their time in Turkey.

Teaching English in Turkey is also a fantastic way to live near popular European destinations while avoiding the notoriously difficult task of finding employment in the EU. However, expat life in Turkey can be a daunting experience, and it's a destination that's best suited for those with an open mind and a sense of adventure. 

Read More: Is Teaching Abroad Alone Safe for Women?

What are the requirements to teach English in Turkey?

To teach English in Turkey, you should have:

  1. Native English speaking proficiency, no citizenship requirement 
  2. A TEFL certificate
  3. A Bachelor’s degree 

Some schools in Turkey may require teachers to have prior teaching experience. Additionally, most English teaching positions in public schools require teachers to know Turkish. Some university positions may also require teachers to have Turkish speaking ability. 

How much can you earn teaching in Turkey?

On average, English teachers in Turkey can earn between $600-$1,600 per month. However, most teachers in Turkey take up private tutoring or teaching English online to supplement their income.

Some teaching positions in Turkey offer additional benefits like flight reimbursement and/or a housing stipend, but these extra perks can be rare.

Cost of Living in Turkey

The cost of living in Turkey is low relative to the U.S. and nearby European countries. English teachers in Turkey should budget about $600-$900 per month to cover the cost of living.

The cost of rent can vary depending on where you live and the type of apartment you wish to rent. Istanbul is notably Turkey’s most expensive city, and most teachers opt to live with other expats to cut costs. A private room in a shared flat in Istanbul can range from $300-$450 per month.
 

Types of Teaching Jobs in Turkey

Most English teachers in Turkey find jobs teaching at private language academies, summer camps, or as a private tutor. 

1. Private Language Schools

Private language schools are the primary job option available to English teachers who don't speak Turkish. More often than not, these academies cater to professional adults seeking to better their English. 

You'll most likely be required to work weekday evenings and weekends. The largest private language school chains in Turkey include Berlitz, Wall Street English, and English Time.

2. Private Tutoring

Many teachers pick up private tutoring on the side, but it’s also possible to be a freelance private tutor in Turkey as well. However, solidifying a tutoring schedule can take a bit of time as you get established in your new home. The best way to meet prospective students is usually through local adverts or word of mouth. 

Tutoring wages can be quite low in Turkey, but many tutors can charge between $10 - $20 per hour, sometimes less, depending on your qualifications and location.

3. Summer Camps

Teaching English at a summer camp is an excellent option for teachers seeking a short-term stay in Turkey. Counselors are often expected to lead various camp games, activities, and lessons in English. These camps typically run for two or three months during June, July, and August. 

Most camp positions pay between $100-$120+ per week and typically counselors receive free accommodation and meals. Some popular summer camps include EEC-Anglo, ELACP, and Future Stars. Many international schools in Turkey host summer camps as well, like the British International School.

4. International Schools and Universities

Some international schools and universities in Turkey hire native-English speakers to lead English classes. However, these positions are few and far between and are very competitive, and many require teachers to know Turkish.

To secure a teaching job at an international school or university, you'll likely need a four-year degree in education or a related field, a TEFL certificate, and previous experience. Teachers in these positions can make between $1,200-$1,700 per month and typically receive extra benefits like flight reimbursement. 

Where to Find Teaching Jobs in Turkey

Finding a teaching job in Turkey is best done by responding to job ads in person or via online job boards.

Apply In Person 

One of the easiest ways to secure a teaching job in Turkey is while in the country. Many schools prefer to interview teachers in person, and the entire hiring process can take as little as a few weeks. That means it’s very common for aspiring ESL teachers to arrive on a tourist visa, and switch to a residence permit after finding work.

Job Boards 

However, if you prefer to secure a job before arriving in Turkey, finding teaching positions on online job boards is also possible. Some of the most popular job boards include Dave's ESL, ESL Jobs, and Turkey’s Craigslist.

Always be careful when searching for teaching jobs online. Turkey is a destination known for scams and bad employers, so it's essential that you properly research every position before accepting it. However, standards are improving, and many teachers love their time in Turkey.

Best Places to Teach English in Turkey

Most English teachers venture to Istanbul, but that's not your only option for the best places to teach in Turkey.

Istanbul is the largest city in the country and is a bustling metropolis. It's known as a very diverse place filled with many job opportunities, and is where most expats dream of living.

Ankara is Turkey's capital city, known for its artistic atmosphere. Teaching jobs are plentiful, and teachers in Ankara enjoy a lower cost of living than Istanbul. 

Izmir, Adana, and Bursa are a few of Turkey's other large cities offering teaching positions, most likely at a private language academy.

What’s it like to teach English in Turkey?

Gain insight into what it’s like to live and work in Turkey with these helpful guides:

Which TEFL certificate is best for teaching in Turkey? 

In order to teach English in Turkey, you’ll need to have a reputable TEFL certificate that has at least 120-hours. Additionally, a TEFL course with a practicum, or in-class component, ensures you arrive in the country with valuable teaching experience under your belt.

CIEE TEFL’s 150-Hour TEFL Certification

CIEE TEFL is an internationally trusted brand recognized for being one of the best TEFL providers in the industry. CIEE has a proven track record of helping graduates secure teaching jobs abroad and equips teachers with the confidence needed to be successful. 

CIEE TEFL's 150-hour certification makes it easy to complete your TEFL training online in just three months. This comprehensive course includes:

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