A Guide to Teaching English in Kazakhstan


Why teach English in Kazakhstan?

Nowadays, teaching English in Kazakhstan is a completely different story if we compare the one we had a few decades ago. Young people tend to master their soft skills and gain diverse knowledge to succeed in the modern world with open borders in terms of business, tourism, and international relationships. There are more people now in Kazakhstan who are willing to learn foreign languages, and not only among the young generation. International financial institutions, as well as oil companies, do their business in the country.

The hiring process, from the vacancy being uploaded on a job-hunting website, and during the onboarding process, is often in English. As a result, there are a lot of language schools and courses in Kazakhstan that demand teachers with accredited certificates.

How much can I make teaching English in Kazakhstan?

Language schools and courses can be found in any city, like Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Aktau, Karaganda and other financial or industrial centres. The average monthly salary is 350-400 GBP but you can earn up 1,300 GBP, depending on your qualifications and experience.

Teachers constantly developing get salary increases on a scheduled basis. For instance, those who have the qualification “Teacher-Master” get at least a 70% salary increase. Salaries are paid on a monthly basis. It is common for international teacher contracts to include many hours per week to make teaching in Kazakhstan profitable.

Language schools in Kazakhstan usually offer international teachers help with visa applications, airfare cover, free shared accommodation as part of a contract, and health insurance.

If you enjoy teaching English and sharing knowledge, you will one hundred percent have admiring and thankful students.

What are the requirements to teach English in Kazakhstan?

A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is required, as well as experience of not less than two years. Your degree should be in a subject you want to teach. An Accredited CELTA / TESOL certificate, or IELTS / TOEFL if you are not a native speaker, is often required, depending on the language school. English teachers in primary or secondary state schools might not have these certificates.

When is the best time of year to look for teaching jobs in Kazakhstan?

You can apply any time. However, July – August would be the best time to start job hunting for English teaching jobs. By September, most hours are already allocated, and your salary is based on hours per week.

Where are the most jobs teaching English in Kazakhstan

As mentioned above, English teachers are in high demand in big cities: Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Karaganda, Pavlodar. In smaller cities there is a demand as well, but not that high, with lower earnings. English teachers can obtain jobs in private or public schools, a lyceum, a gymnasium, or a university. In private schools, offering their classes to people of different ages, salaries are way higher, with more benefits as well. You can find a list of schools in Kazakhstan here.

You should also remember that apart from, or instead of, working in a school, many teachers provide English classes privately. In such circumstances your client can be a student who needs to pass exams to enter university, or an adult pursuing career progression, or even those whose family members live abroad.

Your choice depends on your personality and the time you are willing to spend on the job. But you should definitely leave some room to get acquainted with Kazakh culture and traditions, and enjoy beshbarmak, a national dish consisting of boiled horse meat, shourpa with large noodles, potato, and onions, and baursaks, a national dish made from spherical or triangular pieces of dough and fried in oil, and other delicious food.

Nur Sultan

Nur Sultan – Credit: Batyrlan Tolegenov

What’s the best way to find teaching work in Kazakhstan

Some websites you can use are:

Needless to say, most schools will interview you in advance by Skype or phone, but some will require in-person interviews. And, of course, word of mouth still has its power. But to avail it you should start making friends! Another useful link here is Expat Centre.

What are the visa requirements to teach English in Kazakhstan?

All visitors to Kazakhstan are required to have passports with validity of more than 3 months from the visa expiration date. The passport must contain at least 2 blank pages intended for visa and stamps. An invitation letter should be obtained from your employer.

As mentioned above, most employers will help with visa applications. Immigration regulations are liable to change on short notice. Therefore, prospective teachers are advised to check the current situation before departure through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Kazakhstan.

What is the cost of living in Kazakhstan?

The key drivers of the country’s economy are ore, manganese, chromite, lead, and zinc among others. Agriculture is essential, accounting for 5%, industry 35%, and service 60%. The country also produces and exports oil and gas in hundreds of thousands of metric tons. However, a few years ago, the local currency (tenge) took a massive dip against the dollar and prices soared. The situation remains unpredictable. Therefore, it is important for expat English teachers to make sure they are up to date with Kazakhstan’s current economic situation.

Prices vary across Kazakhstan, but here is a guide:

Accommodation cost in Nur-Sultan:
One-bedroom apartment in city centre – KZT 140,000
One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre – KZT 90,000

Public Transport fare varies slightly from city to city:
City centre bus/train fare in Nur-Sultan – KZT 80
Taxi rate per kilometre – KZT 120

Milk (1 litre) – KZT 330
Eggs (12) – KZT 430
Loaf of white bread – KZT 100
Rice (1 kg) – KZT 250
500 gr of boneless chicken breast – KZT 631
500 gr of local cheese – KZT 1,086
1 kg of apples – KZT 524
1 kg of potatoes – KZT 127
0.5 l domestic beer in the supermarket – KZT 299
2 litres of Coca-Cola – KZT 437
1 packet of cigarettes – KZT 350

Going out (these prices can also vary depending on the city and district)
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac meal or similar) – KZT 1,730
Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district – KZT 2,239
Basic dinner out for two in a neighbourhood pub – KZT 7,260
2 tickets to the movies – KZT 2,743
2 tickets to the theatre (best available seats) – KZT 10,553

Aiza Daimova

Aiza Daimova

Hi there! My name is Aiza Daimova, and I am more than happy to provide this information to those who can mix business with pleasure travelling to Kazakhstan. I was born in the northern part of the country, finished my school, and graduated from the University with a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages, in Petropavlovsk. I have a few years’ experience working as a teacher, friends and relatives occupied in education as well. If you have any questions after you have read the article, you can email me at dukakhovna@gmail.com and I will be glad to assist. If I do not know the answer, I will find it!


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23 comments and teachers' experiences of Kazakhstan

Note - Some of these experiences were shared before the article above was written

  1. Bradley


    I am a certified teacher from Colorado in the U.S. I have been working abroad for about four years now; I am currently working in Taiwan. I’ve been looking into going abroad again and Kazakhstan has been in my peripheral for the last month or so. I am no stranger to new cultural experiences. I also read a post that the weather in Almaty and it said it is similar to that of Denver, Co, so I’m not concerned about that either.

    Currently, I’ve been researching a lot and reading posts about Kazakhstan, but most posts are from several years ago. I’m wondering if anyone has a new information about teaching there (salary, living, cost of living. etc.), and some more information about Almaty versus Astana. I’m leaning more towards Almaty for its history, environment, and location. Most the things I’m reading about Kazakhstan get me excited about it, except for the police harassment. Is this really a problem or are people making it out to be more than it is?

    Please, any and all information is helpful.


    • Bradley

      Also, when I search for jobs in Kazakhstan, NIS comes up most frequently. Is there anyone that works/worked there can give me some details about the school?

      Thanks again.

      • cherryblossom

        Hi there,

        so what did u do with your job in KZ? Its really interesting as I am from Kz myself, but now living in UK. I was also searching for EFL job in KZ. ye, and saw the same. its expensive schools as i know.
        I dont agree that people in kz are not friendly to foreigners

  2. sabreena

    Hi, I have a job offer to teach in Turan as a Science teacher, but I am hesitant because I heard that people are cold towards foreigners – like their weather!
    I need some good advice, please!
    Thank you.

    • MagreefJohn

      Hi Bradley and Sabreena,

      There is really nothing to be worried about. All the infrastructure you need exists sufficiently even more than needed.
      You might find people cold in the beginning, but you will get used to it as it is not so at all. They are just not as those people you used to see. NIS are a network of schools with better education and better equipped labs and buildings. These schools are administered by the body which does not under the monitoring of Ministry of Education. So its more of liberate. So many things have been changed. Tens thousands of people have graduated and have been studying, working in western countries. Tons of schools, companies, firms and institutes having connections with western similar institutions. The weather is not so problematic as it depends which city you are heading. Mainly foreigners go to Almaty or Astana. In Almaty summers are not so hot (around +25 Celcius), winters around -15 in average. In Astana winters are colder. Around -35 in average. You put on some sheepskin coat and all problems turn to amazing views of snow. Almaty and Astana are expensive, but mostly earned money goes for rental and bill payments. So if you are being employed by a company which pays there is nothing to worried about. There are so many places to enjoy, just have a look on youtube or google/images. It has amazing history, traditions and touristic places as well as awesome nature. There are places like ‘Saryagash’ where tens hundreds thousands of hopeless patients from around the world have been cured/treated organically. There are over 132 nationalities that makes Kazakhstan even more interesting with its multinational and multicultural environment. This has made people tolerant. I think the best advice would be if you are a foreign, especially from western countries, you may find students or workers from Kazakhstan, talk to them. Believe me talking to people is tremendously differs from the impressions got from these written people reviews. Then even if you decide to work, maybe its better first to travel there for a short period of time and see with your own eyes. Another thing I would like to highlight is about getting friends as soon as possible. I have travelled a lot and all the countries which I classify myself as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ mostly related to people I have met and have had with. This is very rapid developing country. It has still things to improve but definitely worth seeing. The nation that has 2000 year old cities, the biggest libraries of 11-18th century in the world; taxed Russia, China…historically; country with almost no citizens migrating as unqualified laborer workers does have worth seeing, reading, talking and wondering.

  3. MagreefJohn

    ‘I think the best advice would be if you are a foreign, especially from western countries, you may find students or workers from Kazakhstan, talk to them.’

    Just for clarification. I mean if you are from western countries you may search for students/workers in your home town or country universities, companies. Meeting them can help you a lot in making decisions. And this is another opportunity to get friends even before you get to Kazakhstan.

    Being sincere is key in getting sincere friends…

    Hope my comments were helpful.

  4. Stephen

    Hi, I’m Stephen, I’m also an English teacher in Ukraine currently but will like to relocate to Kazakhstan, how ever my native country is Ghana formally a British colony, but I lived and studied in the UK for 12 years and finally decided to move to any non English speaking countries to teach English, I have been teaching English in Ukraine for the past 3 years but the economic situation here is very terrible….I personally don’t know much about Kazan as compared to Ukraine… first of all I will like to know if I need visa from Ukraine to Kazakhstan secondary I want to know about racist issues in the institutions and on the street.

    • Dinara Kassenova

      Hello, Stephen. My name is Dina. I’m from Kazakhstan, Astana city. You need a work visa. Kazakhstan is a great country to live. We are hospitable, friendly, tolerated people. I have a friend he is from Kenya. He has lived here for 6 years. He is ESL teacher. we don’t have racist issues in the institutions and on the street. I would like to help you. I can offer to you work here. I open language school in Astana. If you are interested I can answer all your questions.

      • Ezekiel Katsirizika

        Hie Dinara Kassenova,
        Your response to Stephen`s enquiry has given me a bit of hope. I am Ezekiel. I was born in Malawi. I completed my high school over there and then moved to South Africa where i lived for the past 21 years and studied at University of South Africa. I have a bachelors and postgraduate degrees in Information Science. An English teaching and creative writing certificates. I have worked in Unisa library for just over six years.
        I am currently in Vietnam looking for teaching English jobs. I do not seem to be able to get any opportunity because my passport is not on the list of prefered nationalities. Any chance that i can get an English teaching job in Kazakhstan?

      • Ulebe precious

        My name is precious am from Nigeria base in Ghana i teach and take care of children in kindergarten school here in Ghana, can i get a job there in Kazakhstan? I will love to relocate

        • Aidar

          Hello Ulebe precious! My name is Aidar Urazbayev. I open a kindergartner is Nur-Sultan (Astana). If you still interested to work in Kazakhstan please write me. Also you can find me via fb.

      • Emad

        May you share your WhatsApp?

  5. Bel

    I want to know how people in kazahstan deal with foreigner and is it okay in turan school?kindly describe :) thank you

  6. Habib

    Hello : my name is Habib and I’m new here and I’m looking for a teaching English job in Almaty but I don’t how to find it. And I really find Kazakh people different.. they don’t like to talk or help u the way u find it useful. So is there is anyone who can help me through contact me if it’s possible.

  7. Жанадиль Бердибаев

    Hello Sabreena. Kazakhstan is very great country. And people are very hospitable

    • Adetola

      Do you live there?? can a Nigerian like me with great teaching experience and a Bachelor degree with diploma get a teaching job in Kazakhstan?

  8. Connie

    Is there an age restriction to teach ESL there? I just turned 60 and have turned down by several countries because of it. Thanks.

    • Mark Schwartz

      Don’t teach in Kazakhstan. Go to Japan or Europe.

  9. Mark Schwartz

    1) don’t teach in Kazakhstan

    2) the police won’t help you when you need their help. A taxi driver stole my wallet, and I called the police immediately and the person on the phone acted as if nothing happened. I waited for two hours for the police to arrive and nobody showed up.

    3) as soon as salespersons find out you are a foreigner, they will do whatever they can to make you pay extra

    4) winters are long — and prepare for an 8 month winter. I am not kidding. If you think you can stay all day in an apartment for like eight months… you can’t go out. Forget about it. It is usually below -30

    5) do not expect to see smiling faces in Kazakhstan. It was part of the Soviet Union.

    6) supermarkets and restaurants are mediocre. You’ll be bored after two months. It is so cold in Kazakhstan and nothing really grows there in the winter. So everything is imported… so they are expensive. For a single leek you can pay like six dollars. I am not kidding. You can’t find good nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and so forth) you need to eat the same type of food again and again. Potatoes and meat.. if you want to eat some exotic foods or something good you can easily end up spending your entire salary on food. If you want to live like a soviet and eat potatoes all day and drink some expired tea, you can live in kz

    7) you can not rely on your managers or bosses here.

    If you really want to ignore what I said above and want to go to kz then work for a university. Don’t work for a language school or something because they will just tell you to go back to your country when they don’t need your help anymore. They can act like they are the best persons in the world but they can show you what hell is like. I am warning you and the choice is yours.

    • Monir Hosen

      Monir Hosen Sumon knock me in messenger I talk to you.

  10. Al


  11. Brian Rutasingwa

    Thanks for encouraging me

  12. Alejandro Araiza

    Hi I want to go live and work in Aktau. Can anybody help out?

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