Hungary is a teaching destination that is rapidly growing in popularity due to a strong demand for English language proficiency, a low cost of living, and the friendly local population who are both welcoming and laid-back in their approach to life. The countryâs location right in the heart of Central Europe is also a draw is it allows easy access to dozens of other countries across this fascinating region.
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As the demand for teachers is very high, it is possible to get a job without any qualifications or experience. However, the more you can offer employers, the better chance you have of getting the most sought after jobs that pay the best salaries. A TEFL/TESOL certificate is generally expected by most decent employers, particularly one that included practical teaching experience. If you are a native English speaker, you will also have a good advantage, as will those with a degree and/or previous classroom experience. If you choose to follow the CETP program (see below), you will need to be a native English speaker with a degree.
There is a wide variety of potential employers to look out for in Hungary, including state run primary and secondary schools, private language schools, universities, and individual businesses. There are also good opportunities to work in private tutoring on either a full or part time basis. Many teachers take advantage of this demand to add to their main income outside of normal working hours.
The Central European Teaching Program (CETP) is another great option for anyone looking to live and work in Hungary. The program places teachers in schools across the country where they act as conversational teachers working alongside the existing staff. There is an initial placement fee for this program, but teachers still get paid a local salary and receive free housing for the duration of the contract. One attraction of this option is that it can all be arranged in advance before leaving your home country. It also provides you with a great deal of classroom and life experience that will look great on future job applications.
As Hungary is an EU member, teachers with an EU passport do not need a visa to live and work in the country, but the employer will still need to organize a labor permit. All other nationalities require a work permit and a residence permit. The process for this has improved significantly in recent times and the employer should sort out most of the paperwork for you. If you are going through the CETP system, you will need to provide a notarized copy of your degree, a general health certificate from your doctor stating you have no communicable diseases, and a negative TB test result.
Unless you are involved in the CETP program, you will most likely need to be in the country ready to interview for jobs prior to the new school year that starts around the 1st of September. Many schools also take on new teachers at the start of January. Employers typically prefer to interview in-person and a trial lesson is commonly expected. Positions organized via the CETP system are arranged in advance, so you will not need to interview at the school on arrival. Teaching contracts generally run until the end of the school year in June.
The magnificent capital city of Budapest is home to the majority of teaching jobs in Hungary as it has by far the largest population in the country. The city is a major travel hub for exploring the rest of the country and the wider region during your stay. It is also where the best salaries are found, although the cost of living is higher than in many other parts of the country. It is worth noting that the CETP program usually looks to place its teachers in smaller cities outside of the capital. Other popular destinations include the cultural capital of Debrecen and the historic city of Miskolc.