Teaching in Germany

Teaching in Germany – What You Need to Know & How to Get Started 

Germany is a fascinating country with a history of division and fighting. However, now it is one united country with plenty to offer anyone looking to teach English in a foreign language. It’s a fantastic place to explore, with plenty of stunning Baroque-inspired architecture, especially in Bavaria, and modern buildings offering some of the most fantastic bars in Berlin. It’s also famous for Oktoberfest in Munich, which happens every year in the autumn. In Hamburg, you can participate in the Reeperbahn music festival, which is a bucket list-type event.

In terms of education, the state provision for children is brilliant, and they will receive a good grounding in many foreign languages, including English. The most common jobs for English teachers in Germany are found in language schools, where you will predominantly teach adults who cannot attend school during the day because they work. Teaching adults will mean being confident in teaching business English and preparing for English exams. You will find that the majority of jobs offered in Germany will be on a freelance basis, and English teachers in the country are usually working for more than one institution to make up their hours.


What Qualifications Do You Need to Teach English in Germany?

Like most places, the qualifications needed will vary by establishment, but you will need a recognised and accredited TEFL certification as the bare minimum. We always recommend 120 hours, and you must be careful to ensure that the course is regulated by an external body recognised worldwide, such as the courses we offer. Teaching English as a foreign language has increased in popularity, which means you will be up against stiffer competition for finding jobs, so it’s always a good idea to have more feathers to your bow to stand out from the crowd.

Although a degree is often not a mandatory requirement, it certainly proves that you have studied to a higher level and gives you a better chance of finding work and securing good pay. If you are looking for a position in a German school, don’t be surprised if they want to see evidence that you have basic German skills. Some freelance teachers who work at more than one school do so because they have a driving licence and are prepared to hire or purchase a vehicle to help them get between sites easily. You will also need to prove that you are a native UK speaker, have a clean police records check, and, if possible, have some previous teaching experience. However, there are positions where this is unnecessary.


What are the Visa Requirements for Teaching English in Germany?

If you are from an EU country, you do not need a visa to work in Germany. You will need to make sure that once you have secured a permanent residence, you register with the correct district authority in the first seven days. If you’re not an EU citizen, you need a residency permit to be able to live in Germany for a longer period. You apply for your visa before you travel, and it can actually take up to five months, so you need to leave yourself plenty of time to get your paperwork in order.

Americans will find that the process is extremely drawn out and takes the maximum amount of time. To apply for a visa, you need to have a current passport, confirmation in the form of a letter that you have a job offer in Germany, and the ability to project your income. The application form will also have to be completed; it is a bureaucratic process that takes time and patience to navigate. Because a visa requires evidence of a job offer, you are unlikely to be able to freelance in Germany unless you happen to be from an EU country where a work visa is not needed.

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What Is the Cost of Living and Salary Expectations for Teaching English in Germany?

The cost of living is actually pretty good. It’s cheaper than France, Switzerland and Luxembourg. If you have a salaried role at an establishment, you are also eligible for free medical care, which is considered to be some of the best in the world. Sites like numbeo.com are a great place to check out how the cost of living compares with your current location. Domestic charges are reasonable; for example, it’s about 241 euros to cover your heating, water, electric, refuse and other utilities each month. Naturally, the amount you earn is going to vary depending on the job you are being hired for, but remember, the cost of living and wages generally balance each other out no matter what country you are in.

Looking at the average salary for English teachers in Germany, those working full-time can expect to earn around €1200 to €2000 each month. That said, finding a full-time job is a tricky thing, and most people have to work freelance. Depending on where you are working, you can charge between 12 and 16 euros if you don’t have much teaching experience or 18 and 30 euros if you have evidence of classroom experience. If you are new to teaching and looking to gain experience whilst living and working in Germany, a classroom assistant role has potential, and you would earn around €800 per calendar month. Of course, this does not compare to the full-time salary of a teacher, but living in shared accommodation will overcome some of the financial burden.

The figures quoted are gross salaries, deductions, and contributions, which tend to add up to around 40% of your monthly income. This does sound relatively high, but remember they do have excellent health care coverage, social support and pensions, all of which your deductions are contributing towards. Most people have health insurance, and the cost there also varies. It’s based on gender and age and is more expensive for women than men.


Cost of Living Comparison 

*Figures from Numbeo.com


Restaurants Cost
EUR (€) USD ($) GBP (£)
Inexpensive restaurant meal 12.00 12.26 10.07
Domestic beer (0.5 litre) 3.80 3.88 3.19
Regular cappuccino 2.94 3.01 2.47
Water (0.33 litre) 2.18 2.23 1.83
Markets Cost
EUR (€) USD ($) GBP (£)
Regular milk (1 litre) 0.94 0.96 0.79
Loaf of white bread 1.68 1.72 1.41
Regular eggs (1 dozen) 2.48 2.53 2.08
Apples (1 kg) 2.43 2.49 2.04
Transportation Cost
EUR (€) USD ($) GBP (£)
One-way ticket (local transport) 2.80 2.86 2.35
Monthly pass (regular price) 70.00 71,51 58.71
Taxi start (normal tariff) 3.50 3.58 2.94
Gasoline (1 litre) 2.19 2.24 1.84
Utilities Cost
EUR (€) USD ($) GBP (£)
Electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage (for a regular apartment) 241.33 246.54 202.42
Regular prepaid mobile tariff (per minute, local without discounts) 0.10 0.10 0.09
Internet (60 Mbps, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) 34.40 35.14 28.85
Clothing and shoes Cost
EUR (€) USD ($) GBP (£)
Pair of jeans (Levis 501 or something similar) 76.99 78.65 64.57
Summer dress in a chain store 36.23 37.01 30.39
Nike running shoes (mid-range) 81.08 82.83 68.01
Men’s leather business shoes 105.15 107.42 88.20


Finding Work as an English Teacher in Germany 

There are lots of opportunities for an English teacher to find work in Germany; however, it does depend a little bit on the location. Despite the fact that the Berlin Wall came down over 30 years ago, there is still a pronounced division between East and West Germany. East Germans are much less likely to have proficient English skills, and jobs there are not as popular with those looking to teach English abroad. However, this does mean that for those who are not bothered about location, the opportunities are plentiful. No matter where you apply for work, make sure that you are presented in a smart manner. Even if your interview is on Skype, you should be dressed appropriately. They place a lot of importance on presentation and appearance.

You should address your interviewers with professionalism and manners, making sure that you treat the interview as a formal event. There are various ways to find a job, and some people find that waiting until they arrive in the country, as long as you are an EU citizen and do not require a visa, is the best way to find work. Going basically door to door with copies of your CV can secure you an excellent opportunity. Even this exercise needs to be undertaken in formal interview attire.

teaching english in germany Internship

Public Schools

Contracts offered in public schools, both secondary and primary, tend to offer annual contracts. They like native English speakers as part of their teaching team, and the salary tends to be better in the secondary arena than that of those teaching younger children. Most of the hiring is done during January or September; however, occasionally, opportunities do crop up throughout the year. If you want to teach in a public school, you will invariably be asked to have a degree as well as your TEFL certification of 120 hours. 


Language Schools

Language schools are considered private education, and this is the primary source of work for freelance TEFL teachers. Your pay will depend very much on your experience and qualifications and can be in the region of €15 to €20 per hour. They expect their teachers to keep up to date on current affairs in both the world of news and banking as they want this to form part of the curriculum, and you’ll be expected to ask your students various questions on what is happening in the local area.


International Schools

Finding work at international schools is much harder, and it is the best-paying work you will find. Wages tend to start from around €2000 per month, but you do have to be highly qualified and experienced as well as able to come off strongly at an interview. These positions also come with extra bonuses such as paid flights, assistance finding accommodation and money to help you relocate.



Teaching at universities is standard across the world. You have to have a master’s and doctorate and possibly even a PhD to obtain work in a university situation. They do pay well, and they do tend to offer jobs for life, but they are not for new English teachers in Germany. These positions are going to go to very experienced university professors who are looking to relocate. 


Private Tutoring 

If you are from an EU country and, therefore, able to teach English in Germany on a freelance basis without a work permit, you may want to look into private tutoring as a way to bolster your income. In this case, it’s common to work for more than one institution anyway, but many teachers also choose to take on private students earning between 15 and 40 euros per hour. It’s not impossible for those needing a visa to live and work in Germany to teach on a freelance basis either, but you do need to check the conditions of your visa and ensure that you have complied with any reporting rules.


In Summary 

There are plenty of opportunities for teaching English in Germany; popular locations include Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Freiberg. However, new teachers of English as a foreign language might do better looking for work in East Germany as they will face less competition.

Salary will vary, but on average, you are likely to be able to turn around €1200 to €2000 per month. A lot of jobs are not offered on a full-time basis, meaning you may have to be employed freelance in more than one institution. This tends to work on an hourly rate, and you are looking at between €12 and €16.00 per hour.

All jobs teaching English in Germany will require you to have a 120-hour TEFL qualification from an institution that is recognised and accredited. In many cases, a degree is not required, but of course, experience and education will help you stand out from the crowd when looking for work.

The cost of living is on par with the amount you are paid, but if you are looking to save money on a monthly basis, sharing a house with other English teachers in Germany is a great first step.

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