Why should I teach English in Germany? Good question! There are plenty of compelling reasons, not the least the fact that it borders nine other countries. Um… yes, nine! And to make that even more attractive, the rail-system is next-level impressive. So if you’re planning to teach English in Europe, it makes sense to choose Germany. You’ll have easy access for a bit of weekend country-hopping.
From stunning art collections and art collections to thoughtful war memorials, it’s a fascinating place to teach English. The cost of living is low for a major western country and cities like Berlin are a hub for cute cafes (proper coffee snobs can safely apply ☕✔️) and creative types. Local parks are often taken over for weekend flea markets and live music. I saw live graffiti, browsed hundreds of colorful stalls, witnessed a crazy drum circle️ and had currywurst all in one sticky Berlin summer afternoon. And that’s not even mentioning the museums, art collections and architecture that all make up a huge part of German life.
It’s a pretty diverse country too - from stunning countryside areas and smaller towns to impressive cities like Munich, Cologne, Hamburg and Frankfurt, there’s no shortage of ESL jobs for the right teachers.
What’s the best way to go about finding an English teaching job in Germany?
There are a few things that can help you stand out to German schools. Here’s what we recommend you do:
1. Research schools thoroughly and know about them!
Don’t just blindly apply, the ESL schools and opportunities here will expect you to know a bit about them.
2. Brush up on your German.
It’s going to be pretty obvious if you lie about this, so take a few classes to get yourself up to a competent speaking level. The better your German, the better your chances.
3. Get your CV translated.
It’s not a big investment and it can really set you apart from the competition. Why not include an English and German version to really impress!
4. Translate your lesson plans too!
See number 3 and repeat for lesson plans.
5. Get yourself a TEFL.
6. Have a working visa sorted already.
If you’re not from Europe you won’t just want to wing this process. Have it under control so that schools will take you seriously.
What types of English teaching jobs are there?
Germany has a ton of different types of teaching English jobs and it’s worth scoping them out if you’re planning to live and teach here. Most of them will expect you to have some level of German proficiency as well as a TEFL certificate and teaching experience. The more boxes you tick, the more likely you are to land a role. Germany is a particularly good location for experienced TEFL teachers as it’s quite a competitive market.
You can go with a private academy, or wrangle yourself some freelance hours, but private tutoring is perhaps the most flexible and least lucrative way to teach English in Germany. You’ll be responsible for your own taxes and you might find that demand is a bit seasonal.
This kind of teaching will require you to be pretty much a self-starter. Otherwise, it might be wiser to go through a more official channel. Provided you’ve snagged a precious work visa, this is one of the easier ways for those without an EU passport to get an ESL position in Germany.
If you meet the requirements, then public schools are the place to be. With long lazy paid summer holidays it’s definitely one of the most secure ways to teach English in Germany. Schools are pretty competitive when it comes to benefits too - but salaried, PD opportunities and other perks will vary from area to area.
These schools are usually going to expect you to be a licensed teacher in your own country and pretty fluent in German. Even if you’re teaching English, these schools are often considered the crème de la crème of German education and so they hire people they feel excel. Roles here involve a pretty packed day with only one planning period and full-time hours. However, these are on the of the few types of school that will help you out with visas, settlement allowances and the like.
If you’ve got a bit of a background in business, this might be the role for you. There are tons of EU headquarters for big companies in Germany and they will often hire their own English teachers to help with their staff’s English proficiency. Bigger companies are often willing to help out with visas too, so this could be another good route for non-EU citizens.
These jobs are possibly the unicorns of the German ESL opportunities. If you’re lucky enough to snag one, you can expect to be paid the equivalent of about $40,000 per year, with plenty of vacation time. Pretty sweet for a job that only has a teaching load of about 16-20 hours a week. Masters will be preferred and plenty of teaching experience (3-5 years minimum) will be expected.
Okay, so hit me with the requirements
It’s possible to land an ESL teaching job in Germany without all of these requirements, but these are pretty much what most schools are going to want to see. As Germany is competitive there tends to be quite a bit of competition and ticking all these boxes is the best way to ensure you land a job!
- German language skills! This is not just a bonus to German schools, they expect you to be able to communicate in the local lingo as well as teach English. Other countries in Europe are much more lenient about language skills.
- A bachelor’s degree - it doesn’t matter what it’s in. It just matters that you’ve graduated.
- TEFL certification - Any ESL certificate will do and Germany will also accept TESOL or CELTA.
- EU passport - It’s hard to get a work visa if you’re not from Europe, but don’t let that put you off! Where there is a will, you will most likely find a way.
Professional teaching experience is considered a big bonus and we’d recommend at least having a few voluntary weeks of voluntary hours under your belt.
What about salary? Can I actually afford a decent lifestyle as an ESL teacher in Germany?
It’s hard to put a solid number on the salary for teaching English in Germany. It can vary! If you’re working freelance hours or in private schools, you might not have full-time hours. That being said, you can expect to make between $1,000 - 4,000* per month which is more than enough when you consider the cost of living.
Groceries are cheap and the rent is reasonable (even in the bigger cities!), public transport is reliable and won’t cost much and it’s safe to bike in most German towns and cities. Because there’s so much to do that is free, you won’t spend much while living and teaching English in Germany.
*It’s worth noting that the bigger wages are going to require more experience and qualifications, so that’s factoring in when you’re eyeing up teaching roles.
The typical salary for different types of English teaching roles
$15 - 45 per hour
$2,000 - 3,500 per month
International schools (certified teachers)
$2,500 - 3,500 per month
$3,000+ per month
$3,000+ per month