Lush green countryside, buzzing cities, historic landmarks and blissful beaches; you’ll get all of this and more with a TEFL job in Turkey.
Stretching across two continents with a diverse multi-cultural population and stunning landscapes all around, Turkey reaps the benefits of being in the midst of western Europe and eastern Asia – and there are countless places to explore if you’re TEFLing there.
Take a hot air balloon ride over the stunning rock formations of Cappadocia, spend an afternoon wondering around the spectacular Hagia Sophia or take a weekend trip to Pamukkale and Hierapolis to take a dip in the thermal spas and discover ancient Roman ruins.
It sounds like a dream come true to us. And let’s not forget, Turkey’s got a high (and still growing) demand for TEFL teachers and a relatively low cost of living.
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£650-£1,250 per month
Cost of living
TEFL certificate needed
120 hours +
Main job types
Private language centres
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In Turkey, most job opportunities are at private language centres which are predominantly located in the larger cities and Istanbul, in particular. With this type of work, you’d generally be teaching 5-15-year-olds and working full-time. If you’re a non-native English speaker, private language centres offer the best chance of employment. Plus, with some positions, you might even get your accommodation and/or some other benefits thrown in.
There are also lots of jobs at private international schools where student ages range from young children to mature adults and everything in between. They usually offer competitive salaries and even benefits for licensed and experienced teachers. (N.B. You’ll need to be a licensed teacher to work in a private international school).
Although it might be a less popular route to go down rather than teaching at a language centre or international school, private tutoring offers a fair hourly wage and is a good option for TEFLers looking to earn some extra cash on top of their monthly salary.
The average salary for a TEFL teacher in Turkey is usually around 4,200-8,400 TRY / £650-1,250 / $800-1,600 per month. This will cover a comfortable lifestyle and you should be able to save or spend extra on weekend activities like exploring the country and socialising with your newfound TEFL buddies.
You’ll be glad to hear that the cost of living in Turkey is fairly low, especially in comparison to lots of other European countries. On the whole, living in Turkey is cheaper than living in Italy, Spain or Russia, and it’s also cheaper than many popular TEFL destinations in Asia, such as Vietnam and Thailand.
If your accommodation doesn’t come included in your job contract, you can expect to pay around £150 for a one-bedroom apartment in the outskirts of Istanbul or £200 in the city centre. £3 will pay for a decent meal at an inexpensive restaurant, a beer is around £2 and a one-way ticket on local transport will cost approximately 40p – very affordable on a TEFL teacher’s wage.
As for most TEFL jobs around the world, the best place to look for TEFL work in Turkey is online via TEFL jobs boards such as LoveTEFL Jobs. This way, you can search and apply for positions that you qualify for and get to grips with the level of jobs on offer.
The hiring process normally involves submitting your completed application online along with your CV and possibly a cover letter explaining why you’d like to teach English in Turkey. Then, you’ll likely be asked to take part in a Skype interview so that the employer can see how you present yourself and how good your level of English is. After that, fingers crossed you’ll get a job offer.
In Turkey, the school term runs from September to June, with breaks for the winter and summer holidays, so we’d recommend starting your applications for work between August and September or December and January, just before the new school terms begin.
TEFL jobs in Turkey are plentiful and many TEFLers report receiving job offers within two weeks of applying. But always remember to check your contracts carefully as some private language centres are run much more like businesses than schools, and the welfare of teachers is not always their first priority.
For visa reasons, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in any subject to teach English in Turkey and you’ll need an official job offer before you can start your visa application – your employer should help you with the application process.
Generally speaking, the documents you’ll need to apply for the visa are:
You don’t have to be a native English-speaker to find a TEFL job in Turkey but it is generally preferred by employers. If English isn’t your first language, you may find that you need to search longer and apply for more positions than native speakers.
Starting with the most popular, Istanbul is the location with the highest concentration of TEFL jobs in Turkey. It’s a transcontinental city, stretched across Asia and Europe, with thousands of years of history forming its foundations. The largest city in Turkey and in Europe, Istanbul is regarded around the world as the bridge between the east and the west and it’s a hub for the country’s arts, culture, music and film festivals.
Another of the largest cities in the country, Izmir is a great alternative option for TEFL teachers to look for work. Home to sapphire-coloured sea sides, impressive cultural landmarks and a more modern, liberal atmosphere than other cities in Turkey, Izmir has plenty to offer and a rich history to discover.
The bustling capital city, Ankara is home to many young people and students as well as exciting street life, including lots of stylish cafes and restaurants. It’s also a cultural hub with the state opera and ballet based there, amongst multiple theatres and museums.
The climate in Turkey can be described as mediterranean with a hot, humid summer and a mild and slightly rainy winter. The summer months run from June to September and winter starts in December and ends in March with temperatures in Istanbul ranging from 3°C in the coolest month to 28°C in July.
Turkish cuisine is also something to look forward to, with influences from Central Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. If you choose to TEFL in Turkey, you can expect plenty of fish, meat, yoghurt, soups and stews, and rice – all flavoured with delicious spices.
On your days off, as well as chowing down on the tasty local cuisine, there are tons of activities to take part in and sites to see. Turkey’s home to one of the main turtle nesting beaches in the Mediterranean – İztuzu Beach – and there are a dozen ski resorts to choose from if you fancy hitting the slopes at the weekend. Plus, due to its vast history, there are some jaw-dropping ancient ruins that are a must-see, such as Göbekli Tepe, which is a site containing ruins dating back to the 10th–8th millennium BCE.
TEFL teachers demand
Turkish Lira (TRY)
Our Turkey TEFL rating
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