Germany may not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about teaching English abroad, but let me tell you why it should be!
Germany is a great country with amazing cultural attractions, a rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cities.
As for teaching English in Germany, there is a high demand for English teachers, especially in business English schools, and the salary is fair.
Living and working in Germany also means you’ll get the benefits of their welfare system and will have a lot of travel opportunities, seeing as it’s surrounded by other fascinating European countries.
One thing to note is that having an EU passport makes getting an English teaching job in Germany a lot easier, and often not being an EU citizen can be a big hurdle.
However, it isn’t impossible, and for any aspiring English teachers, or experienced teachers looking for a change of scenery, there’s a teaching job awaiting you. You just need to know how to get it.
And that’s where I come in! Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about teaching English in Germany.
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Why Teach English in Germany?
So what is it about Germany that makes it so special?! Well, for starters you will get a comfortable salary, not as much as teaching English abroad in some other countries like, for example, teaching English in Sweden, but you definitely won’t be struggling to make ends meet!
For first-time teachers or people who haven’t traveled extensively, teaching English in Germany can be a great way to get your foot in the door to the teaching world, all within an environment which (if you’re European) isn’t as unfamiliar from home as other places.
However, it’s important to note that first-timers and those without experience will likely find themselves as English-language classroom assistants or with lower-paying jobs.
For EU citizens, it’s a very simple and easy transition as you have the right to free movement and therefore much of the red tape surrounding visas and permits don’t apply. There are also some visa types for specific countries that make the job process a lot easier (more on that later!).
To make matters easier, here is a list of the pros and cons of teaching English in Germany.
Pros | Why you NEED to Teach in Germany
- Fair Salary – As I mentioned earlier, although prices differ based on school, region, positions, and how many hours you work, the salary in Germany for English teachers is very fair, and top positions (such as in international schools) are some of the highest paying in Europe. If you have a lower-paying job, you can expect to break even at the end of the month whilst covering things like your rent, utilities, food, and entertainment (within reason!).
- No Red Tape for EU Citizens – EU citizens can live and work freely in the EU so relocating to Germany in terms of paperwork will be a walk in the park.
- Travel – Not only does Germany have some epic sites of its own (I’m talking the Black Forest, the Bavarian Alps, and more fairytale castles and storybook villages than you’ll know what to do with), it also borders several countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Belgium, and more.
- Non-Native English Speakers Accepted – Being a native English speaker isn’t a strict requirement, but particularly for English-language classroom assistant jobs, native English speakers are preferred.
- Welfare System – There are many benefits to Germany’s welfare system, but knowing that if you get into an accident or fall ill you’ll benefit from their universal healthcare is a big yes.
Cons | What to Consider before Teaching in Germany
- Highly Competitive – Teaching English in Germany is highly competitive, but if you’re willing to work in East Germany which is less popular among ESL teachers, you’ll have better chances of finding a job.
- Lack of Perks – Unlike teaching abroad opportunities in some countries, most notably those in Asia, Germany doesn’t really offer perks like free accommodation/a housing stipend, or reimbursed airfare.
- Difficult for Non-EU Citizens – Non-EU Citizens may find it harder to get a working visa
How Much can Teachers Expect to Make?
The average monthly salary for a full-time teaching position ranges from between 1,400 – 2,250 USD (1,200 – 2,000 EUR) per month. In Germany, there is a range of English teaching positions, but as I mentioned earlier, many first-time or inexperienced teachers will most likely end up being English-language classroom assistants in a high school. Classroom assistants in secondary schools working 12 hour weeks can expect to earn 865 USD a month.
This doesn’t seem like a lot, but the low-hour work week leaves plenty of time to earn extra money through private tutoring on the side. Private tutors can charge between 17 and 45 USD an hour, but take care to double-check the conditions of your working visa if you’re a non-EU citizen!
The other types of jobs you could find in Germany are in international schools, public or state schools, “Volkshochschulen” or adult learning centers, private language academies, or with international corporations teaching business English.
Many ESL teachers in Germany freelance in adult learning centers and private language academies. These typically pay between 14 and 22 USD an hour. They can be found in cities and most large towns and are similar to night classes for adults. The rates are higher in larger, inner-city institutions, and teachers with a bachelor’s degree and experience can expect to be paid more, whereas those with a TEFL certificate only will be paid closer to 14 USD an hour.
These kinds of jobs are ideal for EU citizens, those in the country on student visas with a right to work, and those who have a working holiday visa. Lots of freelancers find themselves working a few hours a week at three to four different schools.
Germany is home to some top international schools, making landing a teaching role there difficult due to the high level of skill and experience needed and the high level of competition, you will also need to be a licensed teacher in your home country. International school teachers can expect to make between 2,500 – 5,000 USD a month. Some international schools also offer a relocation allowance of up to 1,100 USD.
Teaching in public or state schools in Germany isn’t common for ESL teachers due to the higher requirements such as a formal teaching degree and basic knowledge of German, but teachers can expect to make 2,800 – 4,000 USD a month.
Some international corporations will hire English teachers to teach business English to their employees. These types of positions are perfect for English teachers that specialize in business English. The salary is between 3,400 – 5,400 USD a month.
Requirements for Teaching in Germany
If you’re still following me and thinking that you want to give teaching English in Germany a go, then keep scrolling to find out what the requirements are! This list has some strict requirements, plus some handy add ons that will make your life a LOT easier.
- The Right to Work in the EU: If you’re not an EU citizen, you will need to have the right working visa (more on that below!)
- Bachelor’s Degree: This isn’t a strict requirement, but having a bachelor’s degree will really improve your chances of getting a job and is getting more and more important.
- Teaching Experience: For some positions, having teaching experience (especially for business English teaching positions) is given higher importance than your level of qualification.
- TEFL Certificate: A TEFL qualification (or TESOL or CELTA) is another not-so-strict requirement, but could be the difference between you landing a job or not, as it shows employers you not only know how to speak English, but you know how to teach it too!
- Start-Up Costs: If you have applied for a working holiday visa, then depending on which country you are from you may need to have between 1,360 – 4,530 USD in your bank account to show you can sustain yourself for your first couple of months in Germany. However, arriving with at least 3,000 – 4,000 USD is recommended for both working holiday visa/formal working visa teachers to cover any costs incurred before you receive your first paycheck like housing, transport, food, etc.
What Visa Do I Need?
For EU citizens and workers from Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Iceland, a visa is automatic, otherwise, you will have to apply for a visa.
The types of visa you could apply for are a students visa that allows you to work, a working holiday visa (only available to citizens from certain countries), or a formal work visa. Working holiday visas are available for citizens aged 18-30 (35 for Canadians) from the following countries: Canada, Australia, Uruguay, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Israel, Argentina, South Korea, and Chile.
For non-EU citizens who come from other countries, you will need to apply for an entry visa for employment purposes. This visa requires a passport, an employment offer from your employer, plus your projected income along with the application form.
It can take between two and five months to process and must be done before entering Germany, so give yourself plenty of time!
However, residents of the U.S., Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea don’t need an entry visa for employment purposes and can enter visa-free for up to 90 days and find a job.
Once you’ve arrived and found a job, you will need to apply for a work and residence permit.
Where to Get TEFL Certified
If you don’t already have a TEFL or teaching qualification, then maybe now is the time to consider getting one! Luckily in this modern age, it is super easy to get yourself TEFL qualified online. This means you can work around your schedule, so whether you’re a full-time student or have a busy job, you’ll still be able to squeeze in some learning.
Having a TEFL qualification will not only give you the upper hand when looking for an English teaching job in Germany, but it can also help you if you’re thinking about making a career out of teaching English abroad! Many countries nowadays require TEFL certification or have a huge preference for TEFL-certified ESL teachers, so it is definitely a good investment.
Online TEFL Certificates
There are tons of TEFL courses and places to get TEFL certificates online. Some of them are phoney. You can pay companies to get the certificate and not actually complete the TEFL course, but most companies around the world KNOW about these companies. A TEFL course is not a huge investment and it will damage your reputation as a teacher if you are found out – and these companies talk to each other. So do NOT risk it.
Some other TEFL courses are shit and will provide you with no real insight and you won’t feel ready for your teaching career. These are usually video-only courses where you don’t talk to someone or have to undergo any lesson prep on your own, and they won’t help you teach English abroad on the ground or find any teaching jobs. That’s not what you want, right?
So, to make sure you don’t fall into that trap. Here are some of our fave TEFL courses:
The MyTEFL 140-hour course is the gold standard of TEFL certificates. It is accepted by any country and prepares you for a career in English teaching both in the classroom and online. This is an ideal course for those who are not sure whether they want to go into the classroom or teach English online, or both!
MyTEFL does an awesome job at teaching you the fundamental skills in English and what YOU would need to teach the students, but also the basic necessary skills you will need as a teacher, such as classroom management and lesson planning. Once you have completed their TEFL course, you’ll have all the skills you need to transfer your knowledge to your students.
They also offer a 120-hour course if you are solely interested in teaching in person. There are TEFL courses that are fewer hours, but we would not recommend doing less than 120 hours as this is the industry standard for most teaching jobs.
Let’s TEFL is the next best online TEFL certificate, and is the best TEFL course for those needing a refresh of English grammar rules before hitting the classroom. If it’s been a long time since you’ve taken a grammar class, or you don’t feel 100% confident with your English skills, you’re going to want to brush up before applying for teaching jobs.
This is a 120-hour course that covers the fundamental principals of the English language as well as some essential classroom management and teacher training advice. This TEFL course will have you ready and raring to share some knowledge!
TEFL Pros isn’t the most hands-on certificate, but their course is usually the cheapest. Plus, they’ve got a free trial so you don’t need to drop money to see what this is all about!
Like MyTEFL and Let’s TEFL, they have a 120 Hour TEFL course available that covers the fundamentals of English. However, their course is solely online, unlike MyTEFL that also offers on-site classroom experience. This might not be the end of the world for you though as if you’re traveling or working in another job, it’s much easier to complete a course online in your own time.
Getting your TEFL in Germany
If you’re not really feeling the online course vibe or just really want to get some hands-on learning in, then maybe getting your TEFL actually IN Germany is the way to go! There are plenty of awesome in-person TEFL, CELTA, etc. courses to choose from in locations all around Germany.
Bear in mind that if you’re applying for a formal work visa, getting your TEFL after you arrive may not be feasible as you’ll most likely need to have a job offer secured before you’ll get your visa! Here are a couple of great courses to consider:
ITTT Germany – This TEFL course is based in the wonderful little town of Leipzig (described by Goethe as the little Paris, not too shabby, eh?). The course itself is four weeks long and courses have a maximum of 12 students, mostly American, Australian, British, and Canadian citizens although non-native English speakers are welcome! Prices start at 1,714 USD including all materials and certification. This course is fab because you’ll get to practice your newfound teaching skills on local students and be offered advice on how to look for a job as well as a list of suitable schools to contact!
Study CELTA – Located in the city center of Frankfurt, this CELTA course costs just under 2,000 USD and includes materials and certification. The full-time in-person course is four weeks long and gives you the chance to observe real teachers leading a class as well as practicing yourself before diving into becoming a fully-fledged ESL teacher! Study Celta can also assist you in finding accommodation in Frankfurt from 450 – 560 USD in a shared apartment with other trainees. Graduates will have free access to the courses TEFL job website which can help them find a job not only in Germany but elsewhere too!
Where to Teach English in Germany
There are lots of cities and towns to teach English in Germany but the salary and cost of living will vary between cities and regions. Naturally, there are more jobs in bigger cities and a larger range of jobs too! Here are some of the most popular places in Germany to live and teach:
Teaching in Berlin
Berlin is a favorite among ESL teachers, it is Germany’s thriving capital and is full of culture, history, and nightlife. Surprisingly Berlin isn’t the most expensive city in Germany to live in, it’s not even in the top five! Yes, despite being the capital and hugely popular, this gem of a place has relatively low living costs. The city has every type of English teaching job to choose from, but remember that popularity = more competition!
There is a great public transport system so getting around won’t be a problem and if money is really tight, you could always find somewhere to live outside of the city center and commute to work every day! Another pro to living in Berlin is that most people speak English so if your German isn’t quite where you want it to be you won’t be a fish out of water there! This does mean, however, that private tutoring jobs will be harder to come by.
Teaching in Frankfurt
Frankfurt is a great place to base yourself if you have your heart set on doing some traveling whilst you’re teaching English in Germany. It is ridiculously central with most of Germany’s major cities only six hours away by train and foreign cities like Amsterdam, Paris, Bern, and Brussels less than five hours away! The city is hugely multicultural too so you’ll be making friends from all over.
It is Germany’s second most expensive city, but that means that the pay tends to be higher! You’ll find plenty of opportunities here as a classroom assistant, freelancing at adult learning centers and language academies, and at international and state schools. Frankfurt is also pretty big in the world of international business, banking, and finance, so teaching English for corporations is also an option!
Teaching in Munich
Munich is just bursting with opportunities for English teachers. While this fantastic city is the most expensive in Germany, expect the salary to reflect that, and the amazing travel opportunities, nightlife, and culturally rich history make up for it anyway! If you’re a winter sports fan, the Austrian Alps are only one hour away and the rest of Europe and Germany are easily accessible via planes or trains.
The level of English spoken is still high, but considerably less than in Berlin, so you may want to brush up on some German phrases to make life a little easier. On the plus side, private tutoring lessons will be easier to find!
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Living in Germany and Teaching Online
Given the high price of living in Germany, living there and teaching online (while easily doable full-time and legal for EU citizens) might not be the most lucrative way to spend your time. However, it could be a good way to supplement your income, visa permitting.
How to Find a Job in Germany
While there is a large market for ESL teaching jobs in Germany, unlike for example in Japan, many teachers find their own jobs rather than relying on agencies.
Finding Your Own Job
A good way to score yourself a job is to email your resume out to schools, adult learning centers, and private language academies. Alternatively, look for listings online, the Business English Academy is good for looking for jobs specializing in business English, or check out job listings on websites like glassdoor regularly for new opportunities.
Another option if you’re already in Germany is to pop around and give your resume in person to nearby English schools (and maybe charm them while you’re at it!).
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Living in Germany
Clearly, living in Germany is the best way to experience the country as opposed to just visiting! If you really wanna get into the thick of experiencing the culture, food, festivities, then a long-term stay is an absolute must. Here are some basic things you may want to know before you make the big move:
Germany is a very safe country to live in, but as with all places, be sensible and take the necessary precautions. This means never leaving your bag unattended, having an eye on your drink at all times, and avoiding walking down empty, dimly lit streets.
Busy areas like train stations, airports, or festivals like Oktoberfest are the prime target for petty criminals, so be super aware of these kinds of areas/situations.
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Your monthly budget will vary from city to city and rural areas will tend to be a lot cheaper. Aside from these differences, your monthly budget will largely depend on you. Keep scrolling for our money-saving tips if, like me, you struggle in the budgeting department!
|Flying to Germany (from the US)
|$300 – $1,000
|$340 – $800
|$170 – 225
|$50 – $110
|$50 – $170
As you can see, you won’t be struggling to pay rent, but living in Germany on an ESL teacher’s salary can be a bit of a squeeze. If you’re very careful with your money you can save a little every month, here are some tips:
Accommodation: Opting for somewhere outside of the city centers is a surefire way to save some cash, otherwise, opt for a shared apartment. For the real double whammy, do both!
Food: The best way to save money on food is to avoid eating out! Aldi, Lidl, and Netto are amongst some of Germany’s cheapest supermarkets so try and do your weekly shop there if there’s one nearby.
Transport: Many cities have weekly/monthly rail or bus passes that will save you some money. Or if you are confident on two wheels, many German cities are bike-friendly so you can either buy a bike for your stay or rent a bike using nextbike.
Entertainment: Entertainment can be the downfall of any budget, but balancing out your free activities with some pricier ones each month can keep your spending in check!
Speaking the Language
Speaking German isn’t essential for your move (especially in cosmopolitan cities like Berlin), but if you’re thinking of teaching somewhere more rural, you may find it very useful. Having a basic German qualification will also give you the edge over other teaching applicants, so it couldn’t hurt!
FAQs on Teaching English in Germany
Final Thoughts on Teaching English in Germany
Teaching English in Germany is definitely a good idea. Yes, if you’re not an EU citizen you’re looking at some hassle in securing the correct visa… but the bounty of jobs, decent salary, and living in an amazing country with the rest of Europe at your fingertips has got to make it worth it!
Furthermore, if you specialize (or are thinking about specializing) in teaching business English there are opportunities a-plenty, and the salary for these kinds of jobs is quite a pretty penny.
Germany is also a fantastic option for people who want to move abroad but not feel *too* far away from home, in terms of food, culture, maybe even weather. In any case, if it is for you, then hopefully this guide has helped to answer any questions you had!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!