If you are considering teaching English in Russia, one of your first questions will be – how much money can I make? Are you just considering a career teaching English in Russia? Check out our article on 5 Reasons You Should Teach English in Russia.
The typical English teacher at one of the larger English schools in Moscow will typically start on a salary of 70,000 – 100,000 rubles (around $1000 – $1300 USD ) per month. If you supplement your salary with private lessons, it is easy to earn 3 or 4 times that much. This is for a typical 30-hour workweek teaching in a language school. It is not uncommon for these language schools to include some form of accommodation in their offer.
At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but there are three very big variables to how much money you can make teaching English in Russia. Remember, the cost of living in Moscow is also very low compared to most Western countries.
When determining how much you can earn teaching English in Russia, the first variable is the type of school, the second is how much private teaching you do, and the third is the city in which you choose to live. We will look at each of these in turn.
We are going to walk you through all of the options and the variables to understand just how much money you can count on making when you teach English in Russia.
As most English teachers will be going to Moscow to teach, we will focus our attention there while pointing out how salaries might vary elsewhere. All of these tips and variables affect English teachers equally in any city, the starting salaries are simply lower in smaller cities.
How Different English Schools Affect Salary
The first variable that will affect how much you make teaching English in Russia is what type of school you teach at or whether you teach at a school at all.
We talked about the different types of English schools in our Teach English in Russia: Ultimate Guide, but we will specifically talk about salaries now.
There are two different types of English schools in Moscow and Russia generally.
English Language Schools
The first is a dedicated English language school like English First, Language Link, or their local Russian competitors. They focus on teaching English to Russians of all ages, but they are not part of a school curriculum. All of the students are there because they choose to be (or their parents force them). The salaries at these language schools are typically what we quoted above – 70,000 – 100,000 rubles (around $1000 – $1300 USD ) per month.
The requirements to teach English at a language school in Russia are relatively lax compared to most countries. To get a job, you need either a bachelor’s degree or a TEFL certificate. If you have neither, all is not lost, but it will be harder.
There is not much room for advancement at these schools and most people use them to get their bearings in Russia. You rarely see experienced teachers at these schools because it doesn’t make much sense. After you understand the local English teaching scene you will find other opportunities. Some people go to work as a corporate English teacher at a big Russian company, a private international school, or work 100% freelance.
Private International Schools
The second option is working as a teacher at an international school in Moscow or other Russian cities. The salaries at the international schools in Moscow are much higher than in language schools. Depending on the school you can expect to earn between $1500 and $5000.
The key difference is that when you teach English in Russia at an international school, they want you to be a qualified teacher in your home country. Some international schools require teaching experience as well.
You will also be teaching a relatively strict curriculum at an international school. The highest-paid teachers are those who actually teach a subject like math, science, or social studies. Therefore, it makes sense they would make more money.
There are also a number of perks that come with teaching at an international school like private medical insurance, flights home once a year, and nicer housing.
If you are a teacher in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc. this is a very attractive option to teach English in Russia.
You are unlikely to find these salaries outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg at international schools.
How Private Teaching Affects Salary
The next and largest variable is how much you are willing to work outside of your day job teaching English privately. Thankfully, private teaching rates are roughly correlated with US dollars and euros. You can expect to earn about $30 USD per hour in Moscow and about $20 in St. Petersburg teaching English privately.
If you have some specialized knowledge or business experience, it is easy to charge upwards of $50 an hour to teach wealthier individuals or business people in Moscow. You could cover the entire salary from a language school in 25 hours a month. You would have to teach roughly 120 hours at a language school.
Hopefully, you can see that the real money is made from teaching private lessons already. Many people rely on a language school job for a work visa and teach privately in their spare time creating a fantastic income stream. We know someone in Moscow who teaches 5 hours every Saturday to a wealthy family in Moscow for 5000 rubles ($65) an hour. He earns more than any language school teacher by only working 20 hours a month.
Once you get to Russia, if you are personable and put yourself out there, opportunities to teach privately will present themselves. Maybe not at 5000 rubles per hour to start, but you start at 2500 rubles and work your way up.
Going to local meet-ups and expat hangouts is key to finding private clients. You can find information on both of these in our guide to Moving to Russia as an Expat.
How Teaching English in Different Cities Affects Salary
The final variable that affects how much you earn teaching English in Russia is which city you choose.
At the start of this article, we mentioned the majority of English teachers go to Moscow, and this is true. I would guess that 75% or more of all English teachers in Russia live in or around Moscow.
If you are in Moscow, you are going to have the highest salary at the school where you teach and you will also have the ability to charge the highest rates for private lessons.
In St. Petersburg, salaries are around 75% of Moscow and private teaching rates are about the same. You will get many low offers for both teaching at a school and private teaching but just say no. You shouldn’t accept less than 50,000 rubles to teach at a school for around 30 hours a week or less than 2000 rubles per hour teaching English privately.
The smaller cities will likely be even lower than St. Petersburg, but will all offer accommodation in a shared or small studio apartment. The salaries will never go below 40,000 rubles and if you get an offer lower, it is better to avoid it. The well-known brands of English First and Language Link pay around 40,000 rubles plus accommodation and other benefits for the small Russian towns. You can read about Paul who taught in a few small Russian towns in his article about teaching in the Russian provinces.
Hopefully, we have shown you that while teaching English in Russia might not appear at first glance to be lucrative, if you teach privately, you have significant income potential. We know people who make $10,000 USD as freelance private English teachers in Moscow.
The opportunities are endless in Russia with regard to English teaching. The demand for native-speaking English teachers is much higher than the supply. Everyone wants to learn English and you just need to find your niche.
Worried about getting a job in Russia? Don’t worry, it isn’t as hard as you think.