Finland is a fantastic place to set yourself up as an English teacher. Finland is known worldwide as an education powerhouse, with one of the best and most successful educational systems in the world. As a result, students tend to be motivated and eager to learn, and teachers are very well respected.
The winter may be long and cold, but with a vibrant indoor culture, saunas, and the ability to engage in numerous winter sports, there are plenty of things for an adventurous teacher to do!
There are a number of different options for teaching English in Finland, ranging from public or private schools to adult learning centers to universities to private tutoring. In general, you will need both a Bachelor’s degree and a TESOL/ CELTA certification to teach English in Finland, and candidates with EU citizenship are preferred. Because teaching is a very competitive field in Finland, the more education and experience you have, the more likely you are to be able to find a job.
In general, full-time salaried work for English teachers in Finland is less common than time-bounded contractual work. Most contracts last for one semester to one academic year. Depending on the type of teaching you do, you could make anywhere from €1,000-€3,000 per month, with salaries in the midrange of €1,200-€2,000 per month being the most common
How Much Can You Make Teaching English in Finland?
- Public Schools: €2,600-€4,300 per Month
- Private or International Schools: €30,000-€40,000 per Year
- Adult Education Centers:
- Universities: €3,000-€4,300 per Month
- Private Tutoring: €10-€30 per Hour
Though the exact salaries will likely change from year to year, the overall proportions should remain similar. In general, working full time as an English teacher in Finland will allow you to earn enough to live comfortably, regardless of where you teach.
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Public Schools: €2,600-€4,300 per Month
Finland has an excellent and extensive public school system. According to the Finnish National Agency for Education, average gross salaries for teachers in all subject areas were €2,600 per month for kindergarten teachers, €3,400 per month for primary school teachers, €3,700 month for subject teachers at the lower secondary level, and €4,300 per month for upper secondary education teachers.
As an international teacher, your salary may be different from these averages, particularly because you’re more likely to be working on a semester or academic year contracts rather than on longer term contracts, but these are good overall guidelines to keep in mind.
Private or International Schools: €30,000-€40,000 per Year
Private or International Schools are among the best options for teaching English in Finland. These schools typically offer contracts for the duration of the academic year, at salaries ranging from €30,000-€40,000 per year based on experience. Some schools may offer airfare from your home country and initial accommodation, though this is not universal and should not be expected -- it should be seen as a bonus. Typically, the schedule at an international school will be 4 hour-long classes per day, with time for professional development built into the work week. All in all, it’s one of the best English teaching opportunities you can find!
One possible way into a coveted position at an international school is through substitute teaching. While it’s not a surefire method of getting hired long term, it is a way to potentially get your foot in the door and could be a good supplement to tutoring or other freelance work.
Universities: €3,000-€4,300 per Month
Universities are wonderful places to teach in Finland, but your chances of getting a university teaching job are close to zero unless you have a lot of experience in teaching English language and culture and in designing university-level courses. Because teaching is such a well-respected discipline in Finland, university teachers are usually very accomplished in research as well as teaching, and many are on track for tenured positions. Therefore, university teaching is probably not the best option if you’re only planning on staying in Finland for a year or two.
In addition, you may have better luck finding university-level teaching jobs in Finland if you’re also well-versed in another academic area – for example, English Literature. If you’re hoping to stay in Finland long-term, and you have the necessary experience, university teaching can be an excellent career. University teachers typically earn €3,000-€4,300 per month.
Private Tutoring: €10-€30 per Hour
Private tutoring is a common way for English teachers in Finland to supplement their income. Private tutors charge anywhere from €10-€30 per hour. Typically conversation practice will command a lower price than more formalized tutoring, but either one can be a good supplement to your income. You can also find tutoring students at all ages and levels, from high school students through business professionals.
Adult Education Centers
Finland’s adult education centers offer classes in a wide array of subjects, and they offer opportunities for adults from all walks of life to expand their knowledge. In an adult education classroom, you may be teaching English to native speakers of numerous languages besides Finnish, as many new immigrants to Finland take classes at these centers.
Editor's Note: We were unfortunately unable to find salary information for Adult Education Centers in Finland. Have you taught at one of these facilities and are you willing to share your salary range? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
How Much Does it Cost to Live in Finland?
- Rent will be your biggest expense in Finland, and apartment rental prices can vary widely. Housing Anywhere and Expat Finland are two sites that can help you find good housing options, and of course teacher networks in-country are excellent resources for finding housing as well. You can find a room in a shared flat in Helsinki for between €500 and €700 per month. A private apartment can cost anywhere from €900 to €1400 per month. Obviously, pricing can vary quite a bit among cities, and between cities and rural areas.
- Groceries cost comparable amounts to what you’d pay in the U.S. in many cases. Staples like pasta and rice are around €2-€4/ package. Local Scandinavian goods are the most affordable, and things like apples, bananas, and oranges are also in the €2-€4/ kilo price range. Goods that have to be imported over large distances, like avocados, could run you as much as 10€/ kilo.
- Dining Out can run around €40 for a basic pub dinner for two, and around €80 for a fancy dinner for two at a nice restaurant.
- A monthly ticket for public transport in Helsinki is €55
- If you’re buying alcohol at a supermarket, a domestic 0.5L beer will be €2-€3, and a bottle of good table wine will be around €15
- If you’re going out for a drink, a beer in the local pub will be €5-€6. A fancy cocktail at a trendy bar will be €10-€12.
Just like in any other country, all of these costs may vary somewhat depending on whether you're living in a larger city or in a smaller town, but overall, this should give you a good idea of what things will cost and the lifestyle you'll be able to afford!
- Finland’s Employment and Economic Development Office has a guide for Jobseekers in Finland.
- The Finland Forum is a fairly active forum full of questions and answers about moving to and working in Finland.
- If you’re unsure about legal aspects of moving to Finland, the Finland Immigration Services website has the answers to many frequently asked questions.
- Expat Finland also has lots of information for foreigners looking to make Finland their home.
- ESL Base has a handy guide to many of the schools in Finland that hire ESL teachers.