Austria is an extraordinary location to teach abroad. As the former birthplace to Mozart and Freud, Austria is full of culture and history, and provides a variety of programs for teachers to chose from.
Austria also offers many more magical aspects to its visitors and locals. It lies at the crossroads of eastern and western European history, and is home to many majestic landscapes, both urban and rural. It’s centrally located in Europe, and borders eight other countries, making it prime for easy travel. During the winter, the snowy Alps offer some of the best skiing in the world along with towering pines and fantastic apres-ski.
Those who choose to teach in Austria will find locals incredibly friendly and welcoming, and be glad to know that they are living in one of the safest countries in Europe, as Austria has a remarkably low crime rate.
University courses are geared towards teachers who may be a bit more serious and experienced. Many universities require a 4-year college degree and TEFL/TESOL certification. The best part is that university jobs also tend to pay the most. Many teachers who have tutored or taught before end up in university positions. As a university English teacher, you will have more responsibility, but also gain more respect. You will have a regular schedule which is great for integrating perfectly into Austrian culture and becoming a local!
Private and Public Schools
Private schools are one of the biggest employers of native English speaking teachers in Austria. There is even an American International school in Salzburg. Private schools are usually very good and will require that teachers have all the relevant qualifications and experience. They are normally the highest paying employers for TEFL teachers too.
A lot of public schools are taught in German, but there is still a demand for English teachers and speakers. Austria as one of the best public school systems in the world, so you’ll be working with great students and faculty.
Summer Camps are a fun and interactive environment aimed towards individuals who want an alternative to a regular teaching job. The camps usually take place outdoors and indoors, instead of just in a classroom. You are able to work with other teachers who are also there for the same reason. Since the camps take place during the summer, the weather is a lot more enjoyable. Summer camps also offer high school and college students to be able to go overseas while still maintaining their student status at home for the school year. Usually camps require teachers to be over 18 so as to maintain an appropriate age gap from the students. Camps are ideal for energetic, outgoing individuals who love to work with groups with kids. If you have ever been to camp in the United States or been a camp counselor, this could be the right fit for you!
When and Where to Look for Jobs
You should be able to find a teaching job throughout the year. Those who start looking for jobs before the official start of the school year, around September, will be the most successful. Chances are that you will find a job in a major city like Vienna, however that is not always the case.
If you are interested in teaching in the capital and biggest city in Austria, check out Go Overseas’ Teach English in Vienna. Vienna has some of the most options for teaching. If you are good with little ones, then you may consider teaching Kindergarten classes. Vienna's primary schools and universities also look for English teachers. The opportunity to teach Business English is also high. For some extra money, you can do private tutoring or work at language camps during the summer. If all else fails, there is a demand for English-speaking babysitters and nannies.
Salzburg is another city in Austria that has a high demand for English teachers. Salzburg is a relatively small town in a steep valley bordered by two large cliffs with a majestic castle nearby. The region is renowned for its baroque architecture and is famous for its salt mines. Salzburg is mountainous and forested and runs at a little slower pace, than Vienna, but is equally as beautiful. Salzburg has three universities, plus a private medical university, and many international and bilingual schools, where teaching opportunities may arise.
If staying in Austria for longer than 90 days, one must apply for a Visa. All visa applicants must apply at the Austrian Embassy or Consulate General in person. As of May 15, 2014 all applicants, applying for a Visa to enter Austria, must submit biometric data (ten fingerprints). This means that all applicants need to schedule an appointment at the Austrian Embassy and must appear in person. For more information on Visas and applying to get one, look at the Austrian Press and Information Services.
There is a real demand for native English speaking teachers in Austria and although the market is fairly competitive, it’s also fairly easy to secure a job if you have good qualifications and some experience.
To ensure your spot, having a TEFL certificate, and/or a 4-year college degree, will set you a part from competitors. At the very least, there is the expectation that the teacher is a native English speaker.
Salary and Cost of Living
Most of the jobs you will encounter are going pay around 800 Euros a month, if not more. That being said, the cost of living in Austria is one of the highest in the world, which will make it difficult to save money. For example, a one-bedroom apartment will generally run about five hundred Euros a month. However, some programs will offer a homestay, which can be a great money saver.
Austria is one of the most expensive countries to live in, however this does not make it impossible to live in. Cities are more expensive than suburbs, but also have more to offer. As previously mentioned, homestays are a great option to save money on rent. If you are paying for your own place, consider living with one or more roommates/apartment-mates.
There are plenty of ways to save money, such as eating at local cafes and restaurants, where meals will run you no more than 10 euros. If you are staying in Austria for longer than a couple weeks, consider buying monthly passes for public transportation. Depending on where you are teaching, teachers can expect to make from 700 to 1,500 euros per month for language centers, and upwards of 1,500 per month for universities and more established institutions.
Classroom and Work Culture
Work culture will vary depending on school to school. However, most classrooms will have a fairly relaxed atmosphere. The environment in the classroom will largely depend on the teacher, so go ahead and set the tone!