Teaching English in Finland

By | February 28, 2014

Finland is located in Northern Europe and shares borders with Sweden, Norway and Russia and to the south across the Gulf of Finland lies Estonia. It is the 8th largest country in the EU with a population of 5.4 million, it is the most sparsely populated with most Fins living in the south of the country.

Although the country has remained neutral since the end of World War 2, it has joined many international organisations including the UN, the EU and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Finland has a great welfare system that has helped it to have one of the highest per capita incomes anywhere in the world. Moreover, it regularly performs well in international benchmarks such as education, civil liberties, quality of life, human development, economics and even happiness!

Read more about Finland from Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in Finland

The Siltasaari bank in Helsinki

The Siltasaari bank in Helsinki – Image courtesy of WikiMedia.

There is actually quite a high demand for native English speaking TEFL teachers. There is a high standard of living in the country and many Fins are able to afford to pay for private English classes and although English is taught in schools many students will go for private classes to improve their language skills.

The working conditions in schools and institutions are very good and employers often pay very competitive salaries and some schools will even provide you with accommodation on top.

As Finland isn’t a particularly popular destination with TEFL teachers, there isn’t a lot of competition for jobs. Therefore, a well-qualified and experienced teacher should have no problems in finding a good job in the country.

Moreover, when you’re not teaching there is a lot to see and do, especially if you like the outdoor lifestyle!

Where to Teach English in Finland

Most opportunities will be found in the south where most Fins live. Bigger cities such as Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere and Oulu will have the most positions available.

Types of Teaching Jobs in Finland

Private Language Schools

Lapland

Lapland – The home of Santa Claus!

Schools generally employ teachers in one of two ways: firstly, they might offer you a contract or they will employ you on a freelance basis. If you do find a school that is willing to offer you a contract, you’ll find that they offer a number of perks on top of your monthly salary including paying for or providing you with free accommodation.

Most teachers, however, will be employed on a freelance basis and you’ll end up taking classes whenever and wherever you can. This sometimes means that you might have a few classes in the morning and then nothing again until the evening, meaning that you’ll have a lot of free time waiting for your class to start!

Private Lessons

A good way to supplement your income is to take private lessons. If you are good at networking and advertise in the right places, you shouldn’t find it too difficult to find some students that want to take extra classes to improve their English.

Private lessons, however, don’t come without their problems. Students can sometimes cancel or rearrange lessons at very short notice meaning that you will have to be very flexible. Moreover, if students do cancel at short notice, you might end up not getting paid when you expect to.

Most teachers don’t make this their full-time income; instead they take a few students when they don’t have classes in a school.

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Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

To stand a good chance of finding a job as a teacher in Finland, you should really have at least a bachelor’s degree and an internationally recognised teaching certificate such as a TEFL, TESOL or a CELTA. Whilst it might be enough to be a native English speaker to find freelance work or private lessons, most schools will require that you have qualifications and in some cases experience.

Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1711″]Teachers are generally paid very well in Finland and you can expect to earn as salary of around €1,500 a month if you get a contract and freelance teachers can earn about €20 per hour. You will be taxed on your income and this is currently around 30% of your salary.

The cost of living is a little cheaper than in neighbouring countries when it comes to things like accommodation, but it is still quite expensive in some areas. Your salary should give you a fairly decent standard of living, but restaurants and bars can be very expensive, so it really all depends on your lifestyle.

You will find it difficult to save money due to the high cost of living and the high amount of tax that you will need to pay. But if you have a high paying job with free accommodation or you are taking a few private lessons each week, you should be able to make some small savings.

For more information about the cost of living in Finland, see Numbeo.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

Vuoksa River

Vuoksa River

Finland is a member of the EU and as a result, citizens of the EU don’t need a visa to work in the country. However, if you don’t come from the EU, you will need a residence permit. There are 2 types that you might need and it will depend on the type of the job that you get, this could be either a residence permit based on employment (if you get a contracted job) or a residence permit for a self-employed person (if you are freelancer).

Therefore, it is much easier for EU citizens to find jobs because in most cases they will be preferred candidates because of the fact they don’t need to apply for any kind of visa or permit.

For more information, visit the Finish Immigration Service’s website.

How to Find a Job Teaching in Finland

Helsinki Ruoholahti

Helsinki Ruoholahti

Generally speaking schools will recruit between September and October and then again in January. Although these are the best times to start applying for jobs, you will find some opportunities all year round.

You can start looking for suitable positions before you arrive by checking online jobs boards, because schools in Finland generally advertise on various websites for TEFL teachers.

If you have enough money to support yourself in Finland for a few months, you could also try arriving in the country before you have found a job and then looking for one after your arrival. Due to visa restrictions, this method might only be possible for EU citizens.

Alternatively, you can also try contacting schools directly and enquiring about vacant positions. Use the internet to find their contact details and try calling or sending an email.

Teach English in Finland

It’s hard to see why Finland isn’t a popular destination for native English speaking TEFL teachers because the salary is good, you will have a high standard of living, and there is some potential to save a few Euros if you get a good job or take some private lessons on top your regular teaching hours.

Disclaimer

Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in Finland, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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