Best and Worst School Benefit Packages


Please do not evaluate schools or directors on this blog or pose questions that solicit such responses. We ask that you stick to the topic of school benefits packages.

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Comments outside the scope of this blog or that evaluate schools will be removed.


The realization that you can’t dine out because your school salary is too small in relation to  the local economy can be, at best, depressing—even more so if you’re putting in long hot days in overcrowded classrooms with no air conditioning or wifi and seriously lacking adequate teaching materials.

On the other hand, many international educators live like royalty, perhaps enjoying a maid, a nanny or cook, a driver, finely furnished housing, comprehensive health insurance, a complimentary car and strong savings and travel potential. Yes, many such schools do still exist in today’s worldwide economic downturn. All you have to do is find them!

Few schools, however, advertise their pay package, and recruiting venues usually release participating schools’ benefit information mere hours prior to the event. Many an international teaching candidate has dropped a school from their prospect list at the last-minute, realizing a dip into savings would be needed just to make ends meet at the particular school.

Which schools offer international educators the opportunity to live in the style to which we would all like to become accustomed? Which schools will keep you just above the poverty level? Our Best and Worst of International School Packages Blog is the place  to share and compare information on what potential schools realistically have to offer.


1,067 Responses to Best and Worst School Benefit Packages

  1. WarrenD says:

    Has anyone worked at American International School Vienna? Want to know if there is any kind of savings potential there before deciding to dive into the application process for next year. I’m a single male with 10 years of international school experience. Have heard plenty of negative comments about the inability to save money in most parts of Europe…hopefully this doesn’t fall into that category.

  2. FlyingTeacher says:

    Has anyone worked for the Cognita group in Europe? If so what is their pay scales for teachers within Catalunya, Spain…

  3. WanderingTeacher says:

    I have been teaching in Europe for five years but now I need to make/save some money. Does anyone know of any high paying European international schools with high savings potential? I know I will most likely end up going to Asia, but I would love to stay in Europe if possible.

    Thanks in advance.

    • John says:

      Generally, the best saving in Europe is in Eastern Europe at one of the better schools. Usually each country has just one outstanding school. Western Europe will soak up most of your money with income tax and social security tax. That being said, if you are committed to staying in one of these western European countries for the long haul (20+ years) you will likely have a better pension than a US social security or state teacher retirement plan.

  4. Vijay Ishak says:

    Does anybody have any information about the NIS in Kazakhstan

  5. annonymous says:

    Has anyone worked in American International School Dubai? Care to share benefits and perks?

  6. Annemirl says:

    I managed to save 60,000 Euro in three years at American International School in Bucharest, Romania. The benefit package there was very good and even included a car

  7. Taft2016 says:

    Anyone know of a school or area where you can take home 55-60k net after housing? We need flights, health insurance and free school places for 2 kids. Is it fairly common?

    Any ideas?

    • Anonymous says:

      Lots of schools in Asia and Middle East. The Big American schools in China, Emirates, Qatar can easily have you saving more than that as a couple.

    • brian meegan says:

      Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar may work for you, depending upon your subject and years of experience.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know which big schools in Europe will take 3 dependent children for a teaching couple?

  9. Nzuri Frank says:

    am interested in an international school in Jeddah but cannot see details on benefits. i have over 15 years experience in teaching maths and science in high school. i would appreciate your input on this issue.

  10. Lion Eyes says:

    Does anyone know if it is possible to negotiate benefits and or salary in South American schools?

  11. Fetcher says:

    Does anyone know approximately what the salary is in Riverside in Prague for a relatively newly qualified teacher?

  12. Anthony says:

    I am interested at becoming an assistant principal or dean at an international school. Does anyone know the salary packages and credentials?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I was offered 5 different positions this recruiting season, 3 of which were before the January fairs, and 2 after when I had re-signed with my current employer. What I can tell you is that the two schools I was most interested in, one in Shanghai, and the other in Bahrain, were $1000-2000 USD/month lower in pay that what I currently make. The school in Egypt of all places was pretty close with an almost identical contract offer as what I currently have. Haiti and India weren’t even close. Maybe half of what I currently make. I’m only talking pay. My children are back home and not overseas with me so the tuition benefits were not important to me but each school offered up to 2 free tuition packages. All but China were tax free but the school in China paid the taxes. The school in Bahrain was the only one that had better housing.

    • Barbara A Lam says:

      Did you use recruiters or attend the fairs? I am working and cannot go to any. What recruiters (if any), would you recommend? I am interested in an American school (if possible), in Egypt, but am currently working with a British Curriculum in the Middle East.

  14. Certified Teacher says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Without experience, you are going to have a hard time getting into the really good international schools, many of which use Search and ISS for all their recruiting. TIE Online is another resource. I am registered with Search, and they list salaries on their website.

    I have always wanted to go to Europe, too, but when I’ve considered the cost of living, it just wasn’t ever worth it. Most teachers I know who have taught in Europe end up dipping into their savings…so they are poorer when they leave than when they arrived.

    I’m currently in China earning 40.5K USD per year plus benefits with 8 years experience and a master’s. This is a pretty good package, and I can save 3000$ per month. One thing to be aware of, though, is that sometimes schools don’t actually pay you according to your contract. For example, out of 11 teachers who left at the end of last year, only 4 actually got their retirement pay, which is supposed to be 10% of annual salary. So sometimes it sounds great, but the reality is very different. I do have a membership to ISR’s site, so I can check reviews, and honestly, I would recommend that you get a membership, too. Obviously some of the reviews are written by jaded, bitter ex-employees, but you can usually tell what to believe. This would give you an idea about the salary and benefits and if those salary and benefits actually materialize.

    Also consider cost of living. Of course Beijing, Shanghai, HK, and Singapore usually pay more…but you are also going to spend a ton living in those places!

    Good luck!


    • Purplekitten says:

      You mentioned “Search” website so… Question? Is it better to sign up with Search vs working with a “free” recruiter?

      Im starting to believe working with a free recruiter, your pay will less.

  15. Maha says:

    Hi there, I am looking for school in the middle east that covers up to 2 dependents tuition fees.. the school I am working for covers only 50% and coming out of my salary. I am left basically with nothing

    • Anonymous says:

      Qatar Academy – all of the Qatar Foundation schools will cover up to 3 dependents I believe. They also cover housing and tuition fees.

  16. Certified Teacher says:

    You should have no problem getting a job, but you’ll definitely end up in one of the lower tiered schools. The best schools require extensive experience, including overseas experience, plus credentials. You’re on your way, but it’ll take a while to get what you need to get into the embassy schools, for example. TIE Online is a good place to get jobs. Once you have experience, you can register with Search or ISS. Good luck!

    • SnoopyRules says:

      Are there lists to show which schools are considered to be top, middle and lower tiered schools? If not, how does one know which schools are which?

      • Certified Teacher says:

        You’ll hear from teachers along the way. Also, Search and ISS list the schools’ compensation packages, but of course you have to be approved and registered to get access to that info. If you check the US State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools, you can see which schools receive funding from the US gov. That usually indicates a better school. You can also search by finding accredited schools on the WACS, SACS, MSA, and IB websites, but it will take some leg work since you’d then have to check out each school website.

        In general, Asia (China and Korea) and Middle East have the most savings potential. Latin America pays less, and Europe is expensive, so you can’t save as much.

      • Certified Teacher says:

        Oh, and also ask for current teachers’ email addresses and then ask them. I do this by implying I’m concerned about life as a young single female. Then once I’ve established contact with teachers, I can ask more questions.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Try RAK academy in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hello, has anyone heard about the International School in Padua? I am a teacher looking at a job over there and wondered if anyone knew what the salary would be/cost of living? Thanks.

  19. dave says:


    What a great forum!!
    Can anyone tell me about the package at the british international school in shanghai (puxi/ padong).
    Is salary net or gross??


  20. Kindman says:

    You want a cracking salary, BIS And JIS in Jakarta are hard to beat. Great money and outstanding benefits, housing, utilities, staff, flights, vehicles. Unreal

    • Anonymous says:

      Really?? How much is the salary ? What are the benefits?

    • Chrissie Fly says:

      Looking for the highest paying job possible for my husband and I. I am aware of regions, but not SPECIFIC SCHOOLS. It’d be great if each of us could make 50k+. Please offer any specific school suggestions. Thanks!

      • Brian Meegan says:

        If you are interested and experienced in ESL, you could both earn your target salary in Jeddah, KSA, along with having free housing and free utilities on a nice compound, car and gas provided, flights, insurance and more.

      • Anonymous says:

        I currently teach in AK and as a first year teacher last year signed on for 53k. I teach in the NWABSD school district 2nd highest in the state. I live in teacher housing due to the remoteness which I rent at a pre-set rate that save a lot of money.

        • Matt says:

          I’m at the same school district (Northwest Arctic Borough School District in Alaska…GOOGLE IT) as a 1st year teacher as well. The salary is tremendous (53.8K USD base salary, no experience). Rent+Health Insurance+US Taxes are taken directly out of pay (500-800 Rent, 90-150 Health Care/Monthly, and no State Tax!). They have a great retirement system (12.6% employer, up to 8% employee). If you use amazon prime, deal with the cold and long nights, and look at deals in the local stores, you can find additional value/savings. Kids/Administration/Villages are very accommodating, friendly, and laid back, plenty of vacation time, and the Northern Lights are AMAZING!

          Overall, I’m looking for me w/non-teaching spouse, 1st year teacher w/Bachelor’s:
          10K into Retirement
          15K easy into Bank: Allocate 1/2 that to IRA, 401K, Social Security, Etc.

          Oh, and the Salary Schedules…
          Bachelor’s+7 years, No Grad Courses=Approx. 70K gross now, was 55K gross in 07-08
          Bachelor’s+10 years,18 hours of coursework earned subsequent to the conferring of the Baccalaureate Degree=Approx. 79K gross now, was 63K in 07-08
          Master’s+13 years=Approx. 90K gross now, was 73K in 07-08

          Big costs are:
          *Flights, Travel, and Food
          *Otherwise, it has many great perks🙂 I’m hoping to be here 25+++ years😀

        • Snoopy says:

          Sorry but what is AK and what is NWABSD?

          • Snoopy says:

            Thanks Matt. I think one likely needs to have a Green Card or US American citizenship to work there. Hope you enjoy it there. You can take up dog sledding and Skidooing🙂

  21. Certified Teacher says:

    Any info on Mosaica International School Hyderabad? Or other schools in India?

  22. Sillas says:

    Few schools, however, advertise their pay package, and recruiting venues usually release participating schools’ benefit information

  23. slunchice says:

    Has anyone worked in Barbados? Is the salary there livable for a family? Anything we should know?

  24. Pro Teacher says:

    Any info on Tunas Muda International School in Jakarta?

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