Guide to teaching English in Greece
If pastitsio and gyros aren't enough of a reason for you to go to Greece, then the stunningly blue waters, the medieval cities, and picturesque white houses with blue roofs should do the trick. Greece combines all of the charm of ancient ruins and traditions with the perks of the modern age. Choose a peaceful small town or a thriving metropolis; Greece has both. The capital city of Athens has 3.2 million people and an unmistakably unique atmosphere. ESL teachers in Greece can expect to earn a salary averaging between $800-$1200 USD a month.
Interested in teaching English in Greece? 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 Greece!
Types of teaching jobs in Greece
Teaching jobs in Greece are usually year-to-year positions. Positions can be found across several settings although language academies employ the largest number of foreign English teachers.
The majority of jobs teaching English in Greece are at private language academies. These are located all over the country with the most clustered in major cities. Classroom teachers in private language academies normally only work around 15 hours a week and teach a range of ages.
American and British international schools can be found in cities across Greece. These schools tend to hire qualified teachers with proper licensure in their home country. Although these jobs are available, they’re not common for English teachers.
Outside of normal classes, some teachers might take on private classes to supplement their income. These classes can be with children or adults. It’s popular to give lessons to adults preparing for standardized English exams like Cambridge.
Average salary and benefits for teaching English in Greece
On average, an English teacher's monthly salary in Greece is between $800-$1200 USD. Teachers giving private lessons will be able to charge an average of $10-$20 an hour depending on experience.
Common benefits for teachers
English teachers in Greece will usually receive health insurance as well as paid holidays. A housing allowance or initial relocation bonus may be given but this depends on the employer.
Read more: How Much Money Can You Save Teaching Abroad?
Cost of living in Greece
Although the salary is relatively low when compared with other European destinations, the cost of living in Greece is also low. You may not be saving a lot from your paycheck each month, but you will enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.
- Food: $150-$200 USD per month
- Transportation: $30-$45 USD per month
- Entertainment: $100-$150 USD per month
- Housing: $175-$300 USD for a room in shared accommodation depending on city
- Utilities: $30-$80 USD per month
Where and how to find housing
Some jobs may include a housing subsidy but generally, you will need to find your own apartment. Popular sites to search for accommodation include Spiti24 and spitogatos. Many apartments will come furnished.
You will usually need to pay between 2-3 months’ deposit before moving in.
Where to teach English in Greece
As with starting a job in any new country, it's important to do your research before coming to Greece. Start by exploring these major teaching cities in Greece:
History lovers will be right at home in the capital Athens. Dotted with landmarks from the 5th century, Athens was the heart of Ancient Greece. English teachers hoping to live in a lively city with good job prospects will find what they’re looking for in Athens.
Thessaloniki, a beautiful port city, is a fabulous place for English teachers who want to live by the sea. Though part of the city center was damaged during fire in the early 1900s, there are still bits of history around every turn. Thessaloniki is another major city for jobs due to the population, which is the second-largest behind Athens.
How to get a job teaching English in Greece
English teachers are in demand in Greece, although securing employment can be tricky for non-EU citizens due to complicated visa procedures. Read on to learn about your options for teaching in Greece.
Where to find jobs
The easiest way to find a job teaching in Greece is through a TEFL program, like one of those listed below. These programs will train you (usually in the country you want to work in), certify you, and often help you find a position somewhere. There are several TEFL programs in Greece and are located in most of the major cities. Most likely the position would be in one of the major cities in Greece or a mid-sized town.
When to apply
You should be looking for positions in September/October and January. Many prospective teachers will search for jobs from inside Greece. Making a tangible connection with potential employers by handing over a resume in person will help your chances of getting an interview and subsequently getting hired.
Greece has very common requirements for teaching English. You must be a native English speaker, have a university degree, and be certified in TEFL. However, they do not require any particular degree and there are rarely any requirements on your level of fluency in Greek.
Employers tend to prefer EU citizens and teachers with existing work permits because it is easier to hire them. It is certainly possible to get a job as a non-EU citizen but the process won’t be easy.
To get a teaching job in Greece, you will need a work permit. For non-EU citizens, this may prove difficult. Non-EU citizens can stay in the Schengen Zone for 90 days, but during that time working is not allowed.
If you find an employer to sponsor you, you’ll be able to apply for a work permit. You will need a valid passport, the application, tax and bank forms, travel insurance, and a letter from your employer that confirms your position and your salary. For more information, visit the Greek embassy’s website.
What’s it like to live & teach English in Greece
As an ESL teacher abroad, it’s essential that you take the time to research the country’s etiquette and classroom culture, as it can be vastly different from what you’re used to at home! ESL teachers should be respectful and understanding while adapting to a new classroom environment.
Classroom & work culture
Greek culture is more traditional when it comes to clothing so teachers should dress modestly. This means women should cover their shoulders and wear knee-length or longer skirts while men should wear long pants.
Punctuality is expected in the workplace. Greek people also value personal, face-to-face communication highly. They are friendly and like to make connections with coworkers.
Culture & etiquette tips
Family is extremely important in Greece and elders are highly respected. Politeness is also valued; saying hello to strangers you make eye contact with on the streets is expected as is shaking hands with everyone upon arrival and departure. Greek people are generous hosts and take pride in treating their visitors well.
The OK hand gesture (pointer finger joined with the thumb) is considered rude; giving a thumbs up is the universal sign for OK. Nodding for yes is also impolite – you should say yes instead.
Ready to find your dream teaching program in Greece?
Start researching and comparing teaching programs here at Go Overseas, in the Teaching Programs in Greece section below.
Want to read more? Get started with these articles: