Teaching English in Cambodia? Why Not Try Something New?

Many of our full-time workers here at Ardor SEO share the same story. They started out in cubicles, being watched by hawk-like micro-managers. Barely able to cover expenses each month, they lived for Friday night chicken wings at their local sports bar. Today they roam the world as free-wheeling digital nomads.

With teaching jobs in Cambodia, making friends with cows is optional

Ardor CEO Kris Reid chilling in India on a yoga retreat, enjoying the benefits of the remote working lifestyle.

An easy way out of the rat race is to pack a bag and head over to Cambodia. As the eighth-poorest country in Asia, your expenses are minimal – the rent is some of the cheapest in the world, and you don’t need much to cover your food and incidentals. As for income, English teaching jobs in Cambodia are still an option, though Chinese schools are fast catching up in popularity.

Teaching English in Cambodia exposes you to an entirely different way of life

Life in Phnom Penh is laid back and low-key.

Unlike elsewhere in Asia, you don’t necessarily need a degree to find a job teaching English; there are many schools out there that will pay you as much as $7 an hour. If this doesn’t sound like much, consider the fact that a street cleaner works for $1 per hour – you will therefore be earning up to seven times as much as a Cambodian street cleaner!

On the other hand, if you are looking for teaching jobs in Cambodia that do require a degree, your best bet is to work at an international school. The upside is great pay – as much as USD$1500 per month. The downsides include 50+ hour work weeks, dealing with spoiled rich kids all day, and enduring micromanagement from multiple administrators with nothing better to do than watch you with suspicion.

Teaching in Cambodia without a degree isn’t always the best way to live

English teacher livin' the dream in Cambodia

It doesn’t matter which you choose – the house always wins. Whatever choice you make, you will eventually reach the same point: a burned out alcoholic with a broken spirit and empty bank account.

If you are thinking about working in Cambodia, jobs in Cambodia for foreigners aren’t necessarily as limited as you might initially think. Since TEFL jobs in Cambodia are easy to get, the key is to make sure you do it with a clear end purpose in mind: use a teaching job to get yourself settled, then start looking to move into a real career (Reddit ‘TEFL Cambodia jobs’ for a great head start) . It’s definitely possible.

In other words, expatriating to Asia is a great way out of the rat race, but teaching English is a lateral move at best. Use it as a stepping stone.

Alternatives to teaching: Jobs in Cambodia For English Speakers

You may not have heard this before, but China has been pouring money into Cambodia and a shift is taking place. Burger shacks and expat pubs are being torn down to make way for massive Chinese casinos and KTVs. While English schools are still a thing in Cambodia, Chinese schools are catching up quickly.

As the Chinese money flows in, western NGOs have tighter limits placed on them; an example that springs to mind is an American-funded project here that shut down, and had its staff deported. This uncertainty has limited the number of NGO opportunities in Cambodia (even without factoring in the herds of youngsters looking to intern for free).

Then there’s bar work. Considering that most bar jobs in Cambodia are staffed by low-paid bilingual locals, finding a bar willing to pay you a living wage is near impossible. If you want to start your own bar, do some research about expat bar owners in Cambodia – it’s a mass graveyard of bankruptcy and regret. Almost every job in Cambodia is a dead end. Scratch that. All jobs. Cambodia isn’t an easy place to live.

So your backup plan is to teach English? Join the line of people from all over the world looking for English teaching jobs. If you are looking for a job teaching in Cambodia without a degree, you will be battling with Nigerians and Filipinos, who are generally better equipped for low-wage survival in third-world conditions. Teaching jobs without degree education requirements attract people who will work for less than you will; it’s a fact.

In addition, getting an official TEFL in Cambodia could set you back around $1500 dollars. That’s fine if you’re serious about teaching, but less so if you feel that teaching is only a means to an end. While some say you may not even need a TEFL Cambodia certification to teach English as a second language in Cambodia, not having one could make you a far less attractive candidate if competing for a spot. Plus, you won’t be able to teach in better paying countries without one.

This writer knows many foreigners teaching in Cambodia. Most of them drink almost every day – the bar is where they go on autopilot every night after work. Beer is the medicine that washes the pain of their jobs away.

Life can be tough when you’re looking for English teaching jobs without degree education

Homeless English teacher living at a Bangkok gas station

If people tell you that English teachers are ‘highly respected’, then they are lying. Third world kids have seen enough degenerates rotate through their classrooms and have their teachers pegged as destitute alcoholics. If you push them too hard in the classroom, they will push back hard. If the kids don’t wear you down, the administrative micromanagement will. If you want to end up a poor, bloated and broken alcoholic, then English teaching is for you!

A smart way to Live And Work Abroad

A group of digital nomads discussing alternative IT jobs in Cambodia for foreigners

Passionate digital nomads brainstorming at a co-working space

If after all this you still think teaching in Cambodia is for you, then more power to you. But there is an alternative.

When it comes to working in Cambodia, jobs for fluent English speakers don’t have to revolve around teaching, scuba instructing or bar work. If you’ve got a knack for content writing, a background in coding, or an appreciation for human resources, you could be a potential candidate to work with us here at Ardor SEO. Led by Kris Reid, AKA ‘the coolest guy in SEO’, we’re a tight-knit team of remote workers who know how to have fun.

So remember that a life abroad can be yours without having to go the route of many of your world traveling friends. There are more ways to be employed and travel the world than to teach English in Cambodia, or volunteer with an NGO. Teaching in Cambodia without a degree might be amazing if that suits you, but if you’re looking for something else there’s no need to assume that it’s your only option. You can find something amazing to do here in Cambodia to make money and live the life you want.

Hot creative job openings in Asia

A man browsing English teaching jobs in Cambodia with his tablet

A man enjoying remote working

If you don’t see any specific openings on our jobs page that fit your skill set, below is a list of some of the broad skills agencies are looking for:

Outreach Coordinator

For the outreach portion, you’ll be reaching out to potential partners that will help us move our SEO strategies forward. You will produce email templates and craft custom responses to partners as needed.  The job is 100% remote – you are free to work from anywhere in the world. In addition, if you are the selected candidate, then you will receive a free flight and accommodation to train with our senior team in Cambodia. 

For more information, get in contact with us here.

Project Manager

Are you good at holding the reins, a master of time management, and know when to crack the whip as deadlines creep closer? Are you good at building relationships with your team, and able to keep track of several moving parts at once?

If so, we could use you as a project manager. You’d help with scheduling, time allocation, and steering the ship as things shift and change. If you believe you’d be a good fit, let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

SEO Analyst

Are you a data-driven, analytic mind who knows the internet like the back of your hand? Can you self-motivate, work independently, and solve issues by yourself as they occur without needing to be micromanaged?

If so, we could use you as an SEO Analyst – ideally, you should be based in Asia (Thailand, Vietnam etc). You’d assist our SEO team in looking for ways to improve our clients’ sites, build authority, and even implementing new website designs. Don’t worry if you’re a bit new to it. We’ll teach you what you need to know to get started.

SEO Content Writer

Are you a writer? Do you know your way around quality content? Did you read this article and cringe, immediately spotting several ways you could have written it better? This is a chance of a lifetime for a dynamic writer seeking to build a lucrative career.

You’ll produce SEO content for our clients, provide direction to our in-house writers, and move projects forward. Also, you’ll craft articles, web pages, and anything else that needs to read well and sound good. Build your portfolio and learn how to write for the web at Ardor SEO.

Finding a Place Where You Belong

Many new digital marketing agencies pop up and look for candidates to hire. However, it’s best to choose a business that has been in the field for some time. We at Ardor SEO have been catering to clients since 2010 and we’re always searching for awesome people like you to join our team. So, if you’re searching for employment, don’t teach English in Cambodia and work with us instead! Feel free to drop us a line and we can have a chat about possible roles you could fill.