With its fairytale cityscapes and magical natural vistas, Sweden is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. If you want a hearty portion of the great outdoors, Sweden is your perfect destination.
Sweden isn’t exactly swimming with jobs teaching English. In fact, with 90% of the population already speaking impeccable English, they don’t need much help from us! That being said, there’s still some demand for English teachers in this alluring Scandinavian country.
The opportunities are more varied than in other countries. If you have a background in business English or have studied a Business English TEFL, a job in Sweden will put your skills to good use. You may be assigned to help office workers prepare for a meeting or a student study for the IELTS. On the other hand, if you like teaching kids, there is a demand for au pairs and teaching English at private schools. The only thing we will say is that you’ll need to be committed to the search, as there aren’t heaps of jobs.
Without further ado, read on for all you need to know before you teach English in Sweden.
Why Teach English in Sweden?
Aside from the Northern Lights and smörgåsbord, here are some other reasons why you may want to teach English in Sweden.
Pros | Why You NEED to Teach in Sweden
- Client variety: While jobs aren’t plentiful in Sweden, those that do exist are varied and will keep you on your toes. You can teach high school kids, adult students, or business workers. You can even work as an au pair. In general, the highest demand for jobs is teaching business English. Swedes tend to know exactly what they need from their English teacher and will let you know what they want from you. You’ll often find that classes are very focused.
- Contract length: A typical contract length for a teaching job in Sweden is nine months. That means you don’t have to commit to a lengthy stay. If you love the lifestyle and want to stay longer, you can ask for renewal or even move to a new city once your contract is up.
- Visa (EU): If you’re an EU citizen, you can teach English in Sweden without a work permit or visa. It’s a piece of cake!
- Landscape: We’d love to meet anyone whose heart doesn’t stop when taking in Sweden’s natural beauty. One of the best things about getting a job in Sweden is the chance to explore the country as much as you can.
- Culture: The Swedes are known for their humble nature and balanced approach to work and play. In addition, Sweden is revered for being one of the most progressive nations. What’s more, they’ve turned a sit down with a coffee and cake (Swedish fika) into a daily custom. Living in Sweden means you get to experience all this extraordinary culture for yourself!
Cons | What to Consider Before Teaching in Sweden
- Pay: The average salary of an English teacher in Sweden varies from $1,440 – $1,800 USD (14,000 – 23,000 SEK). Remember you will be taxed at around 30%. Plus, life in Sweden doesn’t come cheap.
- High cost of living: Once the taxman gets his cut, you should prepare for most of your leftover earnings to cover your living expenses. In addition, the tourist attractions in Sweden (that you’ll be desperate to do) are very expensive. Boat trips, husky rides, Northern Lights expeditions – these will add up. You’ll need to be careful with your purse strings!
- Visa (non-EU): If you’re not from an EU country, you need a work permit to get a legal job in Sweden. Because Swedish employers do not advertise their vacancies online, you need to job hunt once your feet are on the ground. For that reason, moving to Sweden as a non-EU citizen may feel risky as there is no guarantee that you will secure a job.
- Requirements: To teach English in Sweden, you need a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. Without either of these, you probably won’t get a job in Sweden.
- Hiring process: Candidates are rarely able to apply in advance for jobs in Sweden, as vacancies are seldom advertised online. You’ll need to take a gamble on finding work on arrival and support yourself while searching for work.
- Swedish winters: When you tell your family about your plans to move to Sweden, this will come up. As you probably know, light is scarce during the Swedish winter. Some days you might only see four hours of sunlight. Give this some thought if you are prone to seasonal affective disorder or generally feel blue during winter in your home country.
How Much Can Teachers Expect to Make?
The average salary of an English teacher in Sweden is $1,440 – $1,800 USD (14,000 – 23,000 SEK). At the upper end, you can make $3,000 (27,000 SEK). This is before tax, which is usually around 30% or higher. How much money you can make as an English teacher in Sweden depends on your credentials and the type of work you do.
One of the most famous Swedish institutions is ‘Folkuniversitetet’. Essentially a ‘community-university.’ They provide education to adults across a range of topics. One of these areas is English, and there is always a slew of opportunities for those wishing to teach English in Sweden. The pay grade isn’t the highest, but this is where most of the jobs are found. Your education and experience will determine what salary you are offered.
Alternatively, you can try your luck with private schools, where salaries are slightly higher but jobs are rarer. In case you wondered, you must be fluent in Swedish to teach at a public school. Plus, you’ll need a formal teaching certificate. For many, this rules the option out.
If you love spending time with children and want a cultural immersion experience, you could work as an au pair in Sweden. The scheme is designed for non-EU citizens who have some basic Swedish language skills. You can apply for jobs online, after which you may apply for a special au pair visa that grants you a 12-month stay. You will receive accommodation and some food, plus a taxable monthly salary of $370 (3,500 SEK).
If you’re an EU citizen, you could freelance as a private tutor. This requires being a self-starter, and you can charge $16 – $26 (150 – 250 SEK) per hour.
Requirements for Teaching in Sweden
Before you book that flight, check that you meet the following requirements for getting a job in Sweden.
- High level of English: You don’t necessarily need to be a native speaker to teach English in Sweden. However, you do require a high level of proficiency in the language.
- TEFL certificate: You need a TEFL qualification to seek a job in Sweden. This may be completed online or in-person at an academy.
- Business TEFL: This isn’t essential, but if you study a Business TEFL course, you stand a stronger chance of finding work. In fact, any additional TEFL courses you have completed will help in your job hunt in Sweden, particularly if you don’t have any teaching experience.
- Bachelor’s degree: Another must-have. Your bachelor’s degree can be any subject, providing it is an academic topic. If you have experience in that field, you may be able to teach your degree topic (in English) rather than language classes.
- English teaching experience: Although not mandatory, any teaching experience you have will be useful. It will make your application stand out and support you during the interview process.
- Visa: If you are an EU citizen, you don’t require a work visa. However, if you are from any other country, you will need to ask your new employer to sponsor you. Once you have a job offer in writing, you may use this to apply for a work permit.
Where to Get TEFL Certified
As you require a TEFL certificate to work in Sweden, your next step is to get qualified. If you already have this, skip ahead to find out where your qualification can take you in Sweden! Don’t forget, once you get your TEFL certificate, that’s your ticket to teaching English anywhere in the world.
Online TEFL Certificates
|myTEFL Professional||myTEFL Intermediate||Let’s TEFL||TEFL Pros|
|120 Hours||60 Hours||120 Hours||120 Hours|
|✅ Live Tutor Included||✅ Live Tutor Included||❌ No Live Tutor||❌ No Live Tutor|
|✅ Job Assistance||❌ No Job Assistance||✅ Job Assistance||❌ No Job Assistance|
|The most comprehensive TEFL course.||Best for getting a TEFL cert quick.||Great for brushing up on English knowledge.||Allows a free trial before buying.|
There are tons of places to get TEFL certificates online. Some of them are phoney. These are usually video-only courses where you don’t talk to someone or lesson prep on your own and they won’t help you teach English on the ground. Here are 3 good ones:
The myTEFL 120-hour course is the gold standard of TEFL certificates. This certification will be accepted by any country and the course prepares you for a career of English teaching and curricula. They have other certifications with fewer hours that will also work for your job in Peru but may not help you get a job somewhere more rigorous later on. MyTEFL does an awesome job at teaching the skills you need to manage a classroom and transfer your knowledge to your students.
Let’s TEFL is the second-best online TEFL certificate and might be the best for those needing to review English rules themselves before they hit the classroom. Actually, if it’s been a long time since you’ve taken a grammar class, you’re going to want to brush up.
TEFL Pros isn’t the most hands-on, but one of the best teachers at our institute vouches for the quality of their curriculum. 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!
Getting Your TEFL in Sweden
Another option is to complete your online TEFL in the country of smörgåsbord itself! This is a great way to find your feet and get a sense of the culture before committing to a job. You’ll need to check the tourist visa in Sweden for your nationality, but in many cases, tourists get 90 days in the country. This gives you ample time to study, explore, and even start your job hunt!
If you fancy studying your online TEFL in Sweden, just pick one of our recommendations from above.
Where to Teach English in Sweden
The next item on your agenda is deciding where to teach English in Sweden. I’ve rounded up the cities with the most potential of finding a job.
Teaching in Stockholm
Islands and cobbled streets make Stockholm one of the most atmospheric cities in Europe. The capital city has all you could possibly need in your new home and is where you’ll find the majority of ESL jobs. There are ESL schools, private schools, and of course, the Stockholm Folkuniversitetet.
Teaching in Gothenburg
The student city of Gothenburg is known for its lively university vibe and for being one of the most sustainable cities in the world. It’s also making waves in the technology industry. There are a decent number of jobs in Gothenburg teaching English.
Teaching in Umeå
This attractive city is located on the north-east coast of Sweden and known for its cultural heritage. Following the trend, Umeå also has a reputation for its green initiatives. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the whole of Europe, there is usually a need for conversational and business English teachers.
Living in Sweden and Teaching Online
Teaching English online has become one of the most popular ways for ex-pats and nomadic types to make a living while traveling. With its high cost of living, Sweden isn’t the easiest place to do this, but it is an option if you are bringing in enough to cover your living costs.
If you’re an independent English teacher with your own stream of reliable, high-paying private clients, you might be able to make this work – at least, for a few months while you experience the Swedish lifestyle. Another option is teaching English online to supplement your earnings while teaching at a school in Sweden.
If you do want to teach online, you’ll need to weigh up your options away from Stockholm and Gothenburg. The cost of living is at its highest in these cities, and it is likely to be more viable in a less touristy city.
How to Find a Job in Sweden
Few Swedish schools and universities advertise teaching positions online. As a result, you’ll need to travel to the country to find a job in person. This makes the process easier for EU citizens, but it isn’t impossible for international travelers.
To find a job in Sweden, follow these simple steps:
- Prepare your CV and ensure that it highlights your full educational background and any relevant employment. Also, indicate your nationality so the school is made aware if they need to sponsor your work permit.
- You can head to Sweden any time of year to find work. But bear in mind the majority of jobs are available at the start of the semester. September and January are the peak hiring seasons.
- Once you’re in the country and have decided which city you want to live in, you can start handing out your CV. Make a list of the private schools in your preferred city and find out where the folkeuniversitetet is located. Folkuniversitetets are found in all major Swedish cities.
- Visit the schools and folkuniversitetets in person with copies of your CV as well as your academic credentials. It’s useful to take a passport-size photo as well. Make inquiries about any current or future teaching vacancies. Compose yourself professionally and be humble – channel that Swedish style!
- Once you line up some interviews, prepare thoroughly as you would for any job interview. Dress smartly and plan some questions to ask your interviewer. Speaking of which, this is what I would ask about:
Questions to Ask at Interview
When interviewing for a job in Sweden, be sure to ask about the nature of the work as well as the specifics below:
- Enquire about your contract length and the anticipated teaching hours per week
- Confirm whether teaching materials are provided and establish how much prep you’ll need to do each week
- Find out whether healthcare is provided
- Look into annual leave – check that this is paid leave
- If you are not a EU citizen, confirm that the school will sponsor your work permit
- Check if the school can help you find housing locally
- Ask if you can study Swedish at the institution – you may get a reduced rate if so. Plus, you’ll get brownie points for your enthusiasm!
All being well, and with a few job offers on the table, you can choose the best fit for yourself based on the contract terms, salary, and the above points.
Living in Sweden
Living in Sweden provides you with remarkable insight into Scandi culture and lifestyle. Here’s what it’s like to live the Swedish lifestyle.
As with all destinations, you should take care to lock up your home, car, and valuables. Be mindful not to leave your possessions in the way of an opportunistic thief – especially while on public transport.
Of course, keep your wits about you at night, too. I’m sure you don’t need reminding not to roam dark alleyways in the dark. But overall, Swedish cities are safe and violent crimes and assaults are rare.
That being said, you’ll need to take care of your health during those cold Swedish winters.
The wages of an English teacher in Sweden do fluctuate. If you’re based in Stockholm, you’ll earn more but will see your expenses inflate at the same time.
|Flying to Sweden from the US:||$400 – $700|
|Total Monthly Expenses||$1670 – $1970|
Accommodation in Sweden is going to take the lion’s share of your monthly earnings. Staying in the city center will naturally result in higher rental prices. In that case, try to find an apartment further afield. A one-bedroom apartment in the heart of a city like Stockholm will cost $960-$1,280 (9000–12,000 SEK) per month. But further out, your options reduce to $750-$1,000 (7000–10,000 SEK). A shared house will be around a third of this.
Public transport in Swedish cities is reliable and cost-effective. A monthly bus/Metro ticket in Stockholm will set you back around $100 (930 SEK). Stick to Uber rather than metered cabs when you need a taxi to save your pennies. The cheapest way to commute is by bicycle. Cities like Stockholm have excellent cycle lanes in place to keep you safe. You’ll earn those meatballs, too!
Groceries in Sweden are in keeping with other northern European destinations. Expect to pay around $3 for a loaf of bread and $1.30 for a liter of milk. Sweden has plenty of low-cost supermarkets like Netto and Lidl, where you can do your weekly shop on a budget. By comparison, regular dining out in Sweden will wipe out your bank balance, thanks to the sky-high taxes! The more you cook your own meals, the more you can save.
Entertainment across Sweden is steep, so set yourself a monthly budget and stick to it. Entry to a nightclub is generally around $16 (150 SEK), and a ticket to the cinema will cost you around $13 (120 SEK). Fortunately, Swedish cities are extremely walkable, so you can spend many hours chilling in leafy parks and eyeballing glorious architecture! Don’t miss the free museums either.
Speaking the Language
Around 90% of Swedes are fluent in English, thanks to the high standard of Swedish education. This means that as an ex-pat, you’ll be able to go about your daily life without mastering Swedish.
However, if you do plan to spend a year in Sweden, you may benefit from getting a basic foundation of the language. It’s a rapport-builder and opens the door to more relationships with Swedes.
You might be surprised to hear that Swedish is considered one of the ten easiest languages for English speakers to learn. That’s because the grammar and sentence structure are pretty similar. What’s more, Swedish has fewer irregulars. The thing that may catch you out is the pronunciation – Swedish has some sounds that are very different from ours.
Besides Swedish, which is the official language, a number of Swedes speak Finnish – completely opposite the spectrum of learning ease, but Duolingo just added this course to their platform if you want to have a go!
Final Thoughts on English Teaching in Sweden
While opportunities to teach English in Sweden are fewer and further between than other destinations, once you find one, you’re in for a rewarding experience. Sweden is a clean, modern and safe place to call home. It’s a great option for English teachers who want to teach the adult market and develop a teaching portfolio.
Beyond the innovative lifestyle, Sweden is loaded with awesome scenery. Be sure you enjoy as much of it as possible!
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