Teaching English in Sweden

By | November 25, 2016

Sweden is a Northern European country that shares borders with both Finland and Norway. This Scandinavian country is also connected to Denmark via a bridge-tunnel. Although Sweden is the third-largest country in the EU, it has a very low population density and a population of just under 10 million people.

Sweden has a lot going for it, it is currently ranked 8th in the world for per capita income, 2nd in the democracy index, 7th in the UN Human Development Index, and 2nd in the OECD Better Life Index.

Unfortunately, there isn’t really a huge demand for native English speaking TEFL teachers in the country as the standard of English is very high in Sweden. There are some opportunities for teaching jobs, but you will need to be well qualified and have some experience.

Read more about Sweden from Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in Sweden

Stockholm Sunset

Stockholm Sunset – Image Courtesy of WikiMedia.

Sweden is famous for being known as the land of the midnight sun! It has some stunning scenery with a beautiful coastline, pine forests that seem to go forever, huge lakes, mountains and some unique architecture.

Due to the fact the many Swedes can speak English you won’t have many problems with a language barrier working in Sweden. However, if you do try to learn some Swedish, then people are more likely to warm to you.

If you do find a job teaching English in Sweden, you will get a salary that allows you to live a fairly comfortable lifestyle. Well qualified and experienced teachers shouldn’t have too many difficulties finding a job because there is relatively little competition for jobs. However, there isn’t a great demand for native English speaking teachers, but there are some opportunities available.

Where to Teach English in Sweden

You’ll find that most teaching opportunities exist in the larger towns and cities. Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo and Uppsala are the largest cities in the country, but you will find that there are some opportunities in smaller towns and cities too.

Types of Teaching Jobs in Sweden

Private Language Schools

stockholm night....LA HORA MÁGICA - THE MAGIC HOUR

Stockholm at Night

There aren’t many private language schools that operate in Sweden because the government sponsored Folkuniversitetet is very popular amongst Swedish people. The private schools that do exist usually cater for the business market and provide business English courses. They mostly require that their teachers are very well qualified and experienced, both in teaching English and in business.

Folkuniversitetet

English teaching is pretty much dominated by the Folkuniversitetet system which is funded by the government and provides free English courses. As a result, this is a very popular English program and most people won’t pay for a course when this one is free.

You will be given a 9 month contract with guaranteed hours, but to be offered a job you will need to be well qualified and have recent and relevant work experience.

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Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

The standard of English in Sweden is high and as a result there are many Swedes that are more than capable of teaching English. If you want to even be considered for a job in the country, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree and an internationally recognised teaching certificate such as a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA.

If you have a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree related to education then you will stand out from other applicants. Similarly, a DipTESOL or a DELTA will really help you, but isn’t really a necessity.

Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1704″]If you get a job in the Folkuniversitet system, you can expect to earn at least $2000 per month. You will need to pay income tax each month and the amount of tax in Sweden is very high. You can end up paying at least a third and up to a half of your salary in tax!

Moreover, the cost of living is very high in Sweden, so you should expect to share accommodation with other people to try and save on living costs. Moreover, Swedes are very sociable but eating in restaurants and drinking in bars is a very expensive pastime in Sweden.

Therefore, you shouldn’t expect to save much money working as a teacher in Sweden. In fact, you probably won’t be able to save anything unless you take a few private students to supplement your income.

Read more about the cost of living from Numbeo.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

As with most European countries, EU citizens are preferred because they don’t need a visa to work in Sweden. If you’re not from the EU, you will need to have a job offer before you arrive so that you can apply for the necessary work and residential permits. However, most employers usually want to conduct face-to-face interviews in person, so it can be very difficult for non-EU citizens to teach English in Sweden.

Read more about getting the appropriate work and residential permits to work legally in Sweden from the Swedish Migration Board website.

How to Find a Job Teaching in Sweden

sigurd lewerentz, östra kyrkogården, 1916

östra kyrkogården

You won’t often find jobs advertised on TEFL jobs boards, but occasionally they do appear. So your first port of call for finding work in Sweden is to check out international, national and local online jobs boards to see if there are any schools advertising for positions.

Alternatively, you should take a look at official websites for various schools and universities across Sweden because they sometimes post vacancies on their own websites.

Finally, you should try to contact the schools directly and enquire about vacant positions because some places don’t advertise vacant positions. Try to find contact telephone numbers or an email address for the school or institution and contact them in person.

Teach English in Sweden

Sweden offers one of the highest standards of living out of any country in the world, but it does come at a high price! You will be heavily taxed on your income and the cost of living is also very expensive. Therefore, don’t expect to save any money on a teacher’s salary because you will just about earn enough to pay for your living costs and a little bit more.

There isn’t much of a demand for native English speaking TEFL teachers, and those that do want to find a job in Sweden will need to be very well qualified and have some experience to even be considered for a job.

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

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