Teaching English in Germany
Is teaching English in Germany a fairytale type of story? Well, it’s a popular country to teach because it has a low cost of living, great work-life balance, and a lot of job opportunities.
The job market in Germany is thriving and it’s one of the easier EU countries to find work in. Teaching English in Germany is mostly all freelance work. The country has everything you need – a low cost of living, great work-life balance, and brilliant beer. You likely won’t end up in a school because they’d rather hire you as a freelancer instead.
To legally work in Germany, you will need a work permit. To get that you will need to show proof of a job offer and you have all the right qualifications. You will also need to show that you have a university degree, clean criminal record, and health insurance. Many applicants also have certification in CELTA, TEFL, or TESOL.
If you are from another European Union nation, there are not many barriers when it comes to paperwork for English teaching jobs in Germany. On the other hand, non-EU applicants from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand can apply for a working holiday visa. Americans have several options for applying into recognized programs for teaching jobs in Germany.
The first thing you have to understand that teaching English in Germany is mostly just freelance work. Because it’s freelancing, none of the schools you work for will contribute to your pension or health insurance. Also, working for several different language schools means you have to travel between classes.
As most of the work involves teaching in an in-company setting, you can expect to teach adults. They are typically quite motivated, and very knowledgeable about grammar and they will expect the same from you. If you would rather teach children, you should look into working at an English-language Kindergarten or a language academy for Young Learners (YLs).
Fulbright – If you are an American student who wants to teach in Germany, Fulbright might be one of the best opportunities for you to get started. In Germany, placement types range from primary through secondary schools.
DAAD Scholarships – Join the 1,000 foreign students network who come to Germany as foreign-language assistants (FLA). Successful applicants enter host schools and support the local subject-specialist teachers in their native languages.
International Schools – If you are already qualified as a primary or secondary teacher in North America with at least two years of experience, you should consider applying for jobs at international schools.
Here are some of the most popular employers for English teachers in Germany and job boards for freelancing opportunities:
On average, freelance English teachers work about 25 hours per week and earn an average monthly salary of €2,000 ($2,400 USD). Once deductions for healthcare and pension are made, this works out at around €1,400. Hourly rates range from €21-25.
Because most jobs require you to be a freelancer, you can set your schedule with as many of as few hours as you want. Depending on the school, a teaching hour doesn’t always necessarily mean it’s one hour, and is often considered to be 45 minutes instead.
If you are salaried rather than paid by the hour, you should be paid for Christmas, Easter and all local and national holidays. If you are a freelance English teacher in Germany, you do not get paid for any holidays. Also, you will be responsible for your own taxes, and healthcare and pension contributions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Freelance English teachers earn an average monthly salary of €2,000 ($2,400 USD) if they work for about 25 hours of work per week. Hourly rates range from €21-25.
No. An undergraduate degree (as a minimum) is required for teaching English in Germany. Private tutoring opportunities are always available for non-degree holders.
No, you don’t need to be able to speak German. But it’s helpful to navigate around the country and also speak to coworkers. There are some schools that may require basic German language skills.
In a language school, there is more of a culture of keeping customers satisfied. You are expected to provide lessons and go above and beyond the expectations of your students to keep them interested and developing their language skills.
Consult with your nearest German Embassy for more information. Currently, there are no working holiday visas for Americans. US citizens can apply in programs like Fulbright, DAAD scholarships, and for international schools.
Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders are eligible to apply for a Working Holiday Visa, which will allow them to find legal work in Germany for up to 12 months. This is just a general guideline and contact your nearest German Embassy for more information.
Based on teacher feedback, German students place more emphasis on grammar. Therefore, teachers should be prepared to be able to explain grammar points clearly especially with adults and higher-level students.