With the largest population in the European Union and being a favored destination for immigrants and refugees worldwide, Germany exhibits a robust demand for TEFL-certified teachers across all its significant cities. Its central location within Europe also makes it an excellent base for exploring the wider region while teaching English abroad. If the idea of living and working in Germany appeals to you, consider the following details, and your dreams could potentially become a reality sooner than expected.
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The initial thing to understand about teaching English in Germany is that a TEFL certification is likely required to qualify for the majority of job opportunities. Employers generally anticipate their candidates to have undergone some amount of teacher training before managing their classrooms. While a degree isn't typically an official requirement, and jobs are accessible to both native and non-native English speakers, TEFL-certified, degree-holding native speakers often have a competitive edge. Many schools also show a marked preference for teachers from the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.
If you are fortunate enough to secure a teaching position in Germany from your home country, your employer can likely offer substantial assistance with the visa process. However, as most jobs aren't advertised online, teachers often arrive in the country first and complete the recruitment process in person. For the broadest selection of job opportunities, it's best to arrive during the peak hiring periods, namely January and September.
Teachers holding an EU passport can work in Germany without a visa, while those from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand can apply for a working holiday visa that allows you to work with certain limitations. American teachers don't have these options, but with some patience, it's possible for US citizens to obtain the necessary work visa and residency permit for a long-term stay. During the recruitment process and visa application, you will need a variety of documents handy at all times, including:
- Valid passport
- Resume/CV and cover letter
- TEFL or TESOL certificate
- Visa application form
- Health insurance
- Letters of intent or confirmation of employment by the employer
- Proof of funds such as a bank statement
- Passport sized photos
Typically, teachers enter Germany on a standard tourist visa issued at the airport. Once a job has been secured, you can apply for a work visa from within the country, often with the help of your employer. This process may take up to two months, so ensure you have enough funds to support you while waiting for approval.