Beautiful Baroque and Romanesque buildings, the epicenter of classical music and hundreds of art museums -- it’s no wonder Vienna is at the top of the list when it comes to choosing where to teach English. Home to Sigmund Freud, Mozart, and Pez candy, Vienna hosts a variety of engaging activities and fun sites. It is the largest city in Austria, so there is a plethora of cafes, museums, parks and gardens. Vienna is one of the few cities that still has a Ball Season, which can last up to three months. You can visit the world’s oldest zoo, ride the ferris wheel at Wiener Prater Public Park, or stroll along the Danube River while enjoying one of the sausages that Vienna is famous for. Sound heavenly? Well there is a high demand for teachers, so make the move!
It’s no surprise that a city that offers as much variety in sights and entertainment would also offer many different places to teach. 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. Although most public schools are taught in German, there are many private, international and public bilingual schools in the city. English is the current language for international business, so the opprotunity to teach Business English is 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.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
Most places like to interview in person. Although Skype is a great tool, prepare to possibly take a trip. Make sure to have a CV (curriculum vitae); this is different than a resume and often requires a picture of yourself.
If you find yourself in Vienna without a job offer, check out the local English newspapers such as Vienna Review or post an ad yourself. Never know what you may find or what may find you.
It would be extremely helpful to have a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate or the British equivalent CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Some places will require teaching experience (your TEFL or CELTA course will give you a degree of experience). Depending on the employer or school, the requirements may be the certificate, prior experience, as well as a degree from a 3-4 year university.
Some schools may be okay with just previous experience or if your college degree is in English or Linguistics, then TEFL/CELTA or experience may not be needed. Most universities will require a Master’s degree when hiring for full-time professors. However, you can work as a teaching assistant in a university, even if you don’t have the degree to be a professor.
Salary & Cost of Living:
The average start-up cost for Vienna is $3900-5500 US dollars. This will secure you an apartment, food, and transportation for the first month. Most teachers earn 15-30 Euros ($19-39 USD) per hour in the classroom, depending on experience. Teachers are often not paid for prep time. However, teachers can offer private tutoring lessons and earn 40-60 Euros ($52-78 USD) per lesson. Some schools offer discount cards for teachers to local cafes, restaurants or stores. Meals at restaurants can cost 5-18 Euros ($6-23 USD). If you plan to do some grocery shopping, milk costs about 1.05 Euros ($1.33 USD) and fresh bread is around 1.50-2.55 Euros ($1.96-3.24 USD).
Vienna offers many forms of transportation, such as trains, trams, buses and taxis. You can purchase a monthly public transportation pass for about 49.50 Euros ($62.86 USD) or a taxi ride for 16.00 Euros ($20.32 USD) one way. Walking or bicycling is a great and inexpensive way to see the city and travel to work.
Keep in mind the location of your school and transportation when apartment hunting. Inner city rentals can run 700 Euros per month ($888.86 USD) and up. Outer city apartments rent for about 533.33 Euros per month ($677.23 USD) and up. Some schools may offer accommodation or you may consider sharing a place to keep costs down. Basic utilities cost around 205 Euros ($260.31 USD) per month. You will likely use a cell phone in country, which can cost around 13.75 Euros ($17.46 USD) per 100 minutes.
Applications sent, interviews done, school choosen and you are armed and ready with tons of information - what should you expect next? The next big hurdle is obtaining a work visa. Some schools will sponsor you, but not all schools do this. You will need to complete the application; note: any question left unanswered will result in a denied application.
If you are from a country that is a part of the EU (European Union) then you don’t have to worry about a visa. If you are from Japan, you can work in Austria for up to 6 months without one. If you are from any other country, like the United States, you have to acquire a visa within 90 days.
Classroom & Work Culture:
With a sigh of relief, the visa process is done. Now here’s what should you expect in the classroom:
- Most teaching positions are around 25-30 hours of classroom time plus preparation.
- Average class sizes are between 15-20 students depending on the size of the school.
- Most class start at 8am and go till 5pm with a long lunch (up to 2 hours).
- Classes are Monday- Friday depending on the school. Normally there are two days off per week.
- Hours, days and pay should be in the contract with the school.
- Some schools may have a curriculum in place so you only have to prepare a lesson plan. Some may only have the books they require you to use and have to make lesson plans from those.
- Don’t be afraid to ask other English teachers for advice. This is also a great way to meet other teachers.
- EXPECT TO HAVE FUN!