Teach English in Germany
There is no denying the fact that a person’s ability to communicate in English is fast becoming paramount at the international level. From academics to entertainment and the corporate sector, the English language has become a valuable and almost a mandatory skill set to have. It will not be wrong to say that fluency in the English language could have a huge impact on one’s success and progress in life.
The importance of the English language has also gained quite a momentum in Germany, which has opened up a considerable market for English language teaching. There are many opportunities for native as well as non-native but expert level speakers in both the bigger cities and smaller towns. Most of these opportunities are not only quite well paid, but the hours you put in also are not that tough as well.
One of the biggest advantages of settling down in Germany as an English teacher is its location. You can use the country as the base to travel or backpack through Europe. Moreover, the scenic beauty of the country itself is nothing short of breathtakingly beautiful. You can not only earn money but also explore the culture of the country and meet new people.
Challenges of becoming an English teacher in Germany
Even though Germany promises to give you a great experience but there are a few challenges that you may have to think about. These could be:
- Tough requirements for English teachers – Germany places a great deal of importance on its education system, and currently has one of the best education systems in the world. while most parents are quite keen on ensuring that their children learn English, it is highly unlikely that they will compromise on the expertise that the tutor has to offer. they are willing to pay a considerable fee, only if the tutor offers expert teaching skills. Hence, more qualified teachers will naturally take precedence.
- A competitive job market – While the English teaching job market continues to grow in Germany, but it is already quite saturated in the bigger cities and the competition is quite tough. So, you must bring your A game. Contrary to the popular belief, being a native-speaker may not be enough for most of the government-funded educational institutions. You may have to have a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certificate to get an edge over others. The TEFL courses can be quite useful to you as their training programs focus on techniques that help you become a better ESL teacher. Any other teaching experience or courses will add you to the crème de la crème of the English teaching squad!
- Tougher to get a working visa – If you are a non-EU citizen from the United States then getting a working visa may be quite difficult for you. You may have to work hard to find alternatives to working visa that is considered legal in the country otherwise you may not be able to enjoy all the perks, health insurance, and other benefits that come with a good salary package.
Despite its challenges, why teaching English in Germany is a good option?
- A strong economy better pays – Being the center of Europe, Germany boasts one of the most powerful economies in the continent. If you are qualified and experienced enough then you will be able to secure jobs that pay extremely well. The overall wages for English teachers in the country are better than many of its neighbors.
- A good job market – As mentioned above, the country has a great job market for English teachers. Not only schools but several businesses and organizations are always looking to hire native speakers to teach English. Even the private and freelance sector in Germany are quite well-paid. Moreover, you can find good opportunities in both bigger cities and smaller towns.
- International experience – Any international experience that you gain in Germany will be a valuable asset to your career as an English teacher. The reason is the high standard of education in the country. Therefore, securing a job here will speak volumes for your capability, qualification, and experience as a teacher.
What are the requirements for becoming an English teacher in Germany?
Some of the requirements mentioned below may not be mandatory but they will help you get better job opportunities.
- Bachelor’s degree – You do not need to have a bachelor’s degree to become an English language teacher in Germany. However, having a degree can give you an edge over your competitors.
- Certification such as TESOL, TEFL CELTA – Once again, these certifications are not mandatory. However, getting one of these certificates will give you the necessary skill set and training that will help you secure better-paid jobs and more opportunities. These certifications can make up for your lack of degree or international teaching experience.
- Get a visa – If you are an EU citizen and from a native-English speaking country then getting a work permit is not that difficult. However, if you are a non-EU citizen then securing a legal work visa is not the easiest of things. The good news is that there are other types of visas that will allow you to English in Germany.
- Tourist visa for Americans – If you are an American citizen then a tourist visa is your ticket to teaching English in Germany. A tourist visa will allow you to stay for three months in the country. During this time, you can find a job, which will make it easier for you to apply for and get a freelance teaching visa. A freelance work permit is quite expensive and may cost you as much as $5,000.
- Requirements for getting a freelance work permit:
- Visit the “Foreigner’s Office” located in the city where you are residing.
- Copy of your degree that must be notarized
- TEFL or TESOL certificate
- Three letters of recommendation
- Proof of your qualifications as an English teacher
- A bank statement to show that you can support yourself
- Other types of visas
- Student visa – This is another way to teach English in Germany. You can get enrolled in any university located in Germany to learn the German language, which will help you get a student visa. This type of visa allows you to work for about 20 hours a week. A student visa is a good option for non-EU citizens especially Americans.
- Working holiday visa/youth mobility visa – Once again a working holiday visa is not possible for American and South African citizens. However, if you are from other native-English speaking countries such as Australia, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland you can stay in Germany for a full year on the working holiday visa. You can apply for this visa if you are between the age of 18 to 30 and for Canadians, the age limit is up to 35 years. This type of visa allows you to take up full-time jobs with different educational institutions. Once your visa expires you can apply for a Residence Permit of Employment in Berlin.
It is ideal to apply for the visa at least 90 days before you plan to arrive in Germany. The entire process will take up to 2 weeks to complete.
what type of English teaching jobs can you get in Germany?
- Public or state-funded schools – German public schools are one of the best places to work as an English language teacher. The hiring is done throughout the year and you get a very long summer vacation. The salary you get paid depends on the grade you teach and your qualifications as a teacher. Moreover, these jobs are quite stable as the contracts last from one to two years. But before you apply to public schools you must know that these schools do not offer any relocations expenses. Moreover, you will need to meet their criteria for teaching, which is not that simple. You will also need to be fluent in the German language and have authentic German credentials.
You will need to have:
- A higher education institution three-year degree – the institution should be academic, not technical.
- Masters or university diploma in at least two (in some cases at least one) subjects and education.
- If you are not an EU citizen then your degree will be assessed according to the requirements of the German school system, which is done by the Ministry of Culture.
- You can expect to make $2,839 to $4,000 per month by teaching in state-funded public schools.
- Volkshochschulen – These are the education centers for adults, which offer different courses such as computer, fitness, and language. These schools prefer candidates who are native speakers or non-native speakers who have, for some time, lived in a native-English country. Moreover, you will probably not need a German teaching degree. The requirements are a bit lenient in smaller German towns. You can expect to earn between $2,390 and $3,400 per month by working with Volkshochschulens.
- International schools – These are privately owned schools and usually follow international school systems. For example, an American school follows the American School System. These schools offer some of the best-paid teaching jobs in the country and getting a job here is relatively easier than state-funded schools. Your students will consist of different nationalities and, therefore, learning fluent German may not be mandatory. You will be expected to teach at least four classes per week and your contract may last for one to two years. Some of the German International schools may also offer you relocation expenses along with a handsome salary of $3,000 to $5,000 per month.
International schools will require you to have at least one internationally recognized teaching license and some teaching experience.
Some of the major international schools in Germany are:
- Bavarian International School
- Frankfurt International School
- International School of Dusseldorf
- Munich International School
- International corporations – Large-sized business corporations also hire English teachers who can teach their employees the English language. These corporations may require you to have a recognized teaching certificate and some may ask you for teaching experience too. These companies may also help you a lot with your visa processing and offer other benefits such as health insurance plans. However, before you sign up with them you must read the contract very carefully because a few of them may forbid you to take English teaching jobs with other institutions. You can earn between $24 to $34 per hour.
- Universities – Teaching English at the university level may have tougher requirements. The universities may require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree, a few years of teaching experience and a valid TEFL or TESOL certificate. The university jobs are relatively more difficult to secure but they pay extremely well. You may be able to earn around $40,000 per year plus additional benefits.
- Private tutoring – In Germany, private tutoring is quite a popular way to supplement your regular income. The requirements are also very easy to meet; most of the time a valid TEFL or TESOL certification may be the only thing you will need. You can earn somewhere between $17 to $50 per hour. If you get enough students, you may be able to turn private tutoring into your primary source of income. However, one of the setbacks of private tutoring is that you may not get any additional benefits such as health care, transportation, and accommodation, which other institutions may offer.
- Work as an English teaching assistant with Fulbright – There are many English teacher programs that can help you get a job as a teacher assistant with different institutions.
- What are English teaching programs – There are many teaching programs in Germany that will help you get some of the best teaching jobs. Most of these programs have a qualification process and once hired may ask you to go through a training program, which could be a great thing for your resume. After completing the program, you are then placed in different institutions in different cities as an English teacher.
Some of the major English teaching programs are:
- The Fulbright program – This is one of the best known nationally competitive programs for Americans and is funded by the U.S. Department of State. If you win the grant you are given a job with different schools to help out as an English teaching assistant.
The benefits will include:
- $967 as a monthly stipend
- international travel
- Assistance in getting the German work permit
- health insurance
- Administrative support
- Qualification requirements
- You must have at least a bachelor’s degree to apply to the program. If you can speak German fluently then your degree can be in any subject otherwise it will have to be in German studies.
- You must be a citizen of the United States of America.
- High academic achievement
- Other teaching programs include:
- Geo visions
- International TEFL Academy
- British Council
Do I need to know the German language to teach English in Germany?
It will obviously have added advantages but it is not mandatory (in most of the cases). Knowing the basics of the language will not only help you with your day-to-day life in Germany but will also give you an edge over your competitors who do not know the language at all. If you do not know the language then you may not have the luxury to choose the job that suits you the best because you may have to settle for whatever you can get.
Do smaller cities offer more job opportunities for English teachers as compared to bigger cities.
It is usually believed that the job market for English teachers is most favorable in the major cities. Yes, it could be true but these cities also have more competition as the markets are saturated. The smaller cities, on the other hand, may offer fewer opportunities but if you have the right qualifications then the chances of getting a job are higher. Moreover, the cost of living in smaller cities is also relatively lower, which will allow you to save more money.
What is the cost of living in Germany?
Even though the salaries for English teachers are comparatively better in Germany but the downside is that the cost of living, which is relatively higher. You may have to spend between $910 and $1,365 per month on accommodation, food, and entertainment.
Your major expense will be rent, which is likely to be between $569 and $910. The costs will be higher if you are living in the center of the city. One way to deal with this is to get roommates or share your accommodation.
As for food, a fast food meal may cost about $8, on average, and an inexpensive restaurant meal may cost around $12 to $17 whereas the nicer ones may give you a meal at around $23 or more.
How is the local transportation in Germany?
Another advantage of teaching in Germany is that the country has a very efficient local transportation system that makes traveling very easy for expats. The major transportation includes:
- Deutsche Bahn – This is the National Railway Company
On average, you may have to spend $107 per month on transportation.
Can I become an English teacher without traveling to Germany?
Many teachers believe that if they cannot travel abroad they simply have no chance to teach English as a Foreign Language. That is not true! You can now teach online and become a TEFL teacher. However, the thing about online teaching is that you need to find a platform that is recognized and offers great opportunities otherwise the experience you gain may not be considered authentic. So how to find such a job?
The answer is VIPKID! It is the largest online language school that has more than 500,000 Chinese students and over 60,000 teachers. The platform actively hires new teachers and offers many benefits that make it a perfect place to begin your TEFL career.
Here are a few reasons why VIPKID can be your top choice:
Benefits of teaching on VIPKID
- International experience – The platform allows you to get valuable international experience by teaching Chinese students. This is a great thing for new teachers who do not have enough experience and cannot find regular jobs.
- Good salary – The salary offered by VIPKID is the most competitive in the online job market for EFL teachers. You can make anywhere between $7 to $22, which is a great way to earn some extra money. Moreover, you do not have to wait until the end of the month to receive your paycheck as VIPKID processes the money at the end of every lesson.
- Flexible working hours – This is a great advantage for those who have full-time day jobs. VIPKID allows you to pick your own working hours and let you work from anywhere you want.
- No hassle of traveling – You get international experience without having to travel abroad, which saves you the mammoth and expensive tasks of making your travel arrangements and relocating to an entirely different country.
- Bachelor’s degree
- 1-year teaching, mentoring or similar experience
- Great command over the English language
Do I need TEFL or TESL certification to teach on VIPKID?
No, you do not need to have any of these teaching certificates to get hired by VIPKID. However, having these will help your chances of securing more and better-paid teaching jobs on the website. A certificate will definitely give you an edge.
Teaching English in Germany definitely has its upsides. Not only do you get to travel but you also have the chance to earn a decent living and gain some valuable international teaching experience. However, you must also consider that the cost of living in the country is relatively higher in Germany, which may force you to spend carefully. If you do not want to leave your country but still get international experience, then VIPKID is the way to go. The platform can easily turn into a decent secondary source of income and help you achieve your target of becoming an English teacher.