Teaching Programs in Germany
Guide to teaching English in Germany
From northern sandy shores to the mountainous south, Germany is a geographical marvel with a globalized outlook. While the first thing you might think of is fairytale castles, bierkellers and schnitzels, Germany is also a fantastic destination for those considering teaching English abroad.
Interested in teaching English in Germany? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about the types of teaching jobs, average salaries and benefits, and how to get a teaching job in Germany!
Types of teaching jobs in Germany
With a high quality of life and a strong global reputation, teaching roles are generally competitive across private and public settings. That said, those with specialized skills and determination can land a teaching role in a culturally-rich country made for exploring.
Teaching English in Germany jobs include:
- International schools: Germany is home to several top-level private international schools. Teaching at these institutions include teaching English to both foreign and German students. While teaching roles in these schools can be competitive, experience and qualifications can be a great asset to help you land a teaching role.
- Public schools: State-run or public schools cover age groups from elementary school (age 6+), and secondary school beginning at age 11. Students spend different lengths of time in secondary school depending on which of the three different learning routes they take: Hauptschule (vocational/skill training), Realschule (mixed-level school), and Gymnasium (university preparation).
- Volkshochschulen: Similar to “night class,” Volkshochschulen schools are available in most cities and towns in Germany. These community-level centers provide adult learners the opportunity to sign up for a variety of courses (including languages, IT, fitness, and more) that last multiple weeks.
- Language academies: Students at language academies can range from young learners to adults, to even local businesses or international business professionals. As an English teacher at a language academy, you’ll need to be prepared to teach a wide range of ages. However, language academies may prefer to hire EU citizens or those with existing rights.
- Private Tutoring: Private tutoring is not uncommon in Germany. One-on-one classes help students acquire language skills outside of school. While these roles can be more difficult to find, landing a tutoring job in Germany is a great way to earn money and build your teaching resume.
Average salary and benefits for teaching English in Germany
On average, English teachers in Germany earn a monthly salary between $1,100-$2,250 USD. Those working as freelance teachers can usually charge between $14-$45 USD an hour depending on their experience and qualifications. Licensed teachers with a bachelor’s degree can expect to make around $2,500-$5,000 USD at international schools.
Common benefits for English teachers in Germany
English teachers working legally in Germany are entitled to coverage in their public healthcare system. Most teaching English in Germany jobs do not include accommodation or other perks; however, Germany’s relatively low cost of living makes it possible to survive comfortably on an ESL teacher’s salary.
Cost of living in Germany
Germany’s cost of living varies by location, with big cities like Munich and Berlin being more expensive. However, compared with the rest of the EU, monthly costs are affordable on a teacher’s salary.
Spending habits are unique to each person but here are some average monthly expenses:
- Food: $160-$250 USD per month
- Transportation: $55-$100 USD per month
- Entertainment: $75-$150 USD per month
- Housing: $300-$500 USD for a room in shared accommodation depending on city
- Utilities: $50-$100 USD per month
Where to teach English in Germany
As with starting a job in any new country, it's important to do your research before coming to Germany. You should decide on whether you would rather live in the city or somewhere more rural throughout your experience.
Start by exploring these major teaching cities in Germany:
Berlin, the capital, is a famous arts city that is gaining a reputation as a great place for startups to call home. Packed with history, cultural significance, and a thriving nightlife, this international focus makes it attractive for both English teachers and learners. Teaching English in Berlin jobs can come in the form of Business English, lecturing at universities, working at international schools, and more.
Munich, a German business and economic powerhouse, attracts teachers focusing on working with adult professionals. As the capital of Bavaria in the south, there is no shortage of cultural events (Oktoberfest, anyone?).
Centrally-located, Frankfurt is a great option for those looking to live and work somewhere well-connected with the rest of Germany. Although more compact than Berlin and Munich, Frankfurt is a major European financial hub so freelance teachers looking to teach business English will likely have numerous opportunities here.
How to teach English in Germany
To become an English teacher in Germany, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree as well as a TEFL certificate. Although not essential, prior teaching experience and being a native English speaker will go a long way in your quest to teach English in Germany.
1. Meet the basic requirements
Aspiring English teachers have several options for finding jobs in Germany. However, finding a teaching job in Germany might be a difficult task for those without working rights in the EU. Having the right qualifications and applying early will maximize your employability and help you to secure the perfect job.
As with most available English teaching jobs in Germany, it is advised to apply early for any positions that you're interested in. Because of the nature of Germany’s education system, foreign teachers will likely be competing with German teachers for the same roles. The school year generally begins in August or September for public schools and in October for universities.
2. Submit your application
English teachers in Germany do not need to be native English speakers, although the competition is fierce for non-native speakers. Experience and a bachelor’s degree are preferential to many employers, whereas a TEFL qualification is often essential. Because of the EU’s strict hiring rules, those without EU citizenship may have a harder time finding an employer that will sponsor them.
3. Prepare for the interview
If you’re invited to interview with a potential employer, you should take time to carefully research the position, school, location, and contract.You should also be ready to explain why you would be a valuable asset in the German classroom and come prepared with questions to ask your interviewer.
4. Apply for your visa!
To teach English in Germany, you will need to fulfill the proper requirements to live and work in the country legally. In this case, all non-EU citizens will need some form of working visa to take on paid teaching work legally.
So, it's best to first secure a teaching contract before applying for your visa. Generally, after receiving your contract, you'll be able to set up residency in Germany by confirming your address, opening a bank account, and getting health insurance.
Afterward, you'll be able to submit your application for a work visa. In most cases, your new employer will help you to navigate the process of applying for the appropriate visa. It may take between one to three months to get approved.
However, should you apply before securing a teaching job, there are a few different visa types that allow an individual to work, such as a working holiday visa (applicable for some citizenships), a formal work visa, or even a student visa that allows you to work (legally!) while studying.
What’s it like to live & teach English in Germany
Germans are known for being hardworking, regimented, and efficient -- you will not find afternoon naps or late arrivals in this work-oriented nation. Its dedication to timeliness is seen best in the punctuality of its transit system (a tip that will come in handy if you're running a little late for your weekend train!).
Germans are generally direct and formal, and shake hands upon arrival and when leaving. In Germany, following the rules is important to local residents and something as simple as jaywalking is frowned upon.
Classroom culture in Germany
- Germany is home to one of the most-comprehensive school systems in the world. Children develop specialized skills at an early age, which requires excellent teaching throughout the course of their development. Learning doesn’t stop once you are an adult -- with specialized adult centers allowing continued education for all ages.
- Classroom etiquette across the different learning settings is generally polite, orderly, and productive. That said, learning styles will still vary among students, and English teachers in Germany should cater their lesson planning to consider both the learning culture and each student's personal learning preference.
- While work culture will change across the different learning settings, teachers in Germany can find themselves in a supportive yet formal teacher work culture. Generally, things are done “by the book” when it comes to interactions, teaching methods, lessons, and planning.
- Different settings might have a different take on experiential learning styles and methods. It is certainly not uncommon that, during off-hours, teachers take the time to socially connect outside of the work setting.
Is there a demand for English teachers in Germany?
The demand for English teachers in Germany isn’t as high at public schools as it is in business schools or international schools. Business professionals often want private tutoring to improve their business English skills.
How much do teachers make in Germany?
The average salary for English teachers in Germany ranges from $1,100-$2,250 USD, while teachers with more experience and higher qualifications can earn around $2,500-$4,800 USD per month.Related Content
Can you work in Germany without speaking German?
Speaking German is definitely a plus for finding a job and making you a more competitive applicant. However, English is widely spoken throughout Germany, especially in urban spaces.
What is it like living in Germany?
Living in Germany can offer huge variations in your day-to-day experiences. In addition to a relatively low cost of living, Germany can offer cultural festivals, mountainous landscapes, sandy beaches, and bustling cities for teachers.
Is living in Germany expensive?
Compared to other European nations, the cost of living in Germany is quite reasonable, needing around $1,000 a month to cover all living expenses, including rent. Berlin is recognized as one of the most affordable capital cities on the continent.
What qualifications do I need to teach English in Germany?
Most teaching jobs in Germany will require a bachelor's degree in any subject and a TEFL or CELTA certification. You may also need previous teaching experience, depending on the position.