Teaching English in Germany

By | February 6, 2014

Germany is famous for many things, but the one thing that springs to most people’s mind is the beer! On top of this, Germany is a country with a great history and culture making it a popular destination for tourists, travellers and also English teachers. Located in the centre of Europe it’s easy to get to and easy to get anywhere else either by road, rail or air.

Germany is the largest (by population) country in Europe and it shares borders with Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and France.

It is also the centre of economics, technology and industry in much of Europe and whilst Germany is a modern country it is also rich in history with 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are also castles, churches and cathedrals scattered all over Germany.

For more information about Germany, see Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in Germany

Hohenzollernbrücke in Cologne

Hohenzollernbrücke in Cologne – Image courtesy of WikiMedia.

On top of this there is a vibrant festival scene, and some great winter and adventure sports to keep you occupied during your stay. The biggest festival is probably the world famous Oktoberfest which celebrates the delicious beer and music from all over Germany.

The Germans are very friendly people and although they work hard, they do take great pleasure in enjoying themselves. There is often a vibrant night-life in most cities with great club scenes playing some fantastic music.

If this isn’t your thing, Germany is also home to many famous artists, writers, architects and musicians both past and present and their legacy has been preserved in one of the many museums and galleries all over the country.

Indeed, there really is something for everybody when they visit Germany and it’s easy to see why it is a popular destination for ESL teachers looking for work.

Where to Teach English in Germany

There are opportunities for teaching all over Germany. You can be teaching in a big city like Munich or Berlin, or you could be teaching in a smaller town. It’s really up to you to decide what kind of lifestyle you prefer when deciding where to teach.

Types of Teaching Jobs in Germany

Private Language Schools

Wasserturm Undine

Wasserturm Undine

Every language school in Germany is different and there can be literally 100s to choose from in just one city. There are different types of classes and a range of different classes. Mostly, you will be employed on a freelance basis and you get some work here and there. In the beginning, you might sometimes find yourself getting some classes at a few different schools until one school gives you enough classes to survive on your own.

In some cases, you might find that private language schools will offer free German language lessons to their teachers! Others will give you in-house training to help you feel confident in the course that you will be teaching.


Sometimes, large international companies will employ English teachers to train their staff. Instead of freelancing, you will usually be a fully-fledged member of staff, although sometimes you might be employed on a freelance basis. If you are a member of staff, you need to check your contract carefully. Sometimes, companies put clauses in their contracts that state that you can’t work for any other business as an English teacher.

Private Lessons

Some teachers take a few private lessons to supplement their income and private lessons can actually be a very lucrative way to make money as a TEFL teacher. One of the problems that a lot of private tutors face is that students often cancel or rearrange classes at short notice meaning that you have to be very flexible and sometimes you won’t get paid when you expect to!

In some cases, you can build up enough of a customer base to make private lessons your full-time work, but usually teachers do this to supplement their income.

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Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

Summer freshness!

Summer freshness!

There is a real demand for TEFL teachers in Germany, but the standard is often very high with most institutes requiring experience and qualifications. The minimum qualifications you would need in Germany are a Bachelor’s degree and a CELTA, TEFL or TESOL certificate. In some cases, they might even require higher qualifications such as a Bachelor’s degree in an educational field or even a Master’s degree.

You might find some schools that are willing to give you a job, even if you don’t have any degree or teaching certificate. But they are likely to be very difficult to find and the salary will be much lower.

Really, to give yourself the best chance of finding a good job where you can support yourself, you should have at least a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA and some experience. If you have a bachelor’s degree in an educational field or even a master’s degree, you will stand out from the crowd and find it easier to secure a well-paying job.

Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1582″]Teachers in Germany are often paid quite well and you could easily expect a salary of about €25 to €30 an hour. You will find that some schools might offer a less than this, and others will even offer a lot more. However, this is the kind of salary that you can expect for most teachers. The amount that you will get paid can vary depending on location, the school you are working for, your qualifications and how much experience you have.

You must remember that taxes in Germany are very high and the cost of living in Germany can also be very high, especially in the larger cities. However, for all this expense you will have a very high standard of living, perhaps one of the best in the world.

Most schools don’t pay towards accommodation or travel, so you need to budget accordingly. You can easily make enough money to afford a fairly comfortable lifestyle. Most teachers, however, are quite poorly paid and the high paying jobs are quite few and far between. As usual, international schools will usually pay the most.

Click here to find more specific information about the cost of living in Germany.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

Sunset silhouette

Sunset Silhouette

As Germany is a member of EU, native English speaking TEFL teachers from the EU don’t need a visa. Therefore, they are often preferred because they are easier to employ.

Having said that, compared to other European countries, Germany has a fairly relaxed approach to visas. There are a range of different visas available and most teachers will have a freelance teaching visa which can be applied through the foreigners’ office in Hamburg. This visa limits you to only freelance English teaching and lasts for a year.

Read more about the process from the German Federal Foreign Office.

How to Find a Job Teaching in Germany

park and ride

Park and Ride

Online recruiting is also becoming more and more popular with employers in Germany and you’ll often find teaching positions for TEFL teachers advertised online. Some schools will complete the recruitment process online with Skype interviews, and others will require that you complete an interview in person.

It will be easier to find a job if you are already in Germany. You can check online, and in national and local jobs boards to see what schools are employing. Moreover, you can also try looking on websites for schools as they will often advertise vacant positions on their own websites.

Finally, you can get a list of schools in your area and contact them directly and ask them for a job. You can do this via email, on the phone or in person.

Teach English in Germany

There is a real demand for native English speaking TEFL teachers in Germany and if you have good qualifications and experience, you won’t have too many problems securing a fairly well-paying job. Although the cost of living is very high and you will pay a large amount of tax on your income, you will have a very good standard of living, arguably, one of the best in the world.

German people are friendly and welcoming and Germany is a beautiful country littered with stunning landscape. You can travel anywhere in Europe easily and quite cheaply from Germany and a number of teachers that go to live there end up staying longer than what they had initially planned.


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 Poland, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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2 thoughts on “Teaching English in Germany

  1. Dafydd

    I would like to make one correction to the information contained in your pages about tecahing in Germany (possibly also other European countries). You say that teachers from the Eurozone don’t need visas. The term “eurozone” refers to countries that use the €uro as a curency. It is teachers from EU/EEA member states that do not require a visa.

    1. William Lake

      Thanks very much Dafydd, that was a typo! It’s been corrected now. Thanks for pointing it out to me!

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