Bulgaria is one of several countries in the Central and Eastern European region that have developed their infrastructure substantially since joining the EU in recent years. The market for English language teachers has also grown to cater for the high demand for English language skills that are essential for many local people who want to climb the career ladder in a wide variety of professions. Among the countryâs many attractions are its famous Black Sea coastline, very affordable ski resorts, and its stunning natural scenery.
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No one would suggest that Bulgaria is a good destination for saving money or living a lavish lifestyle on a language teacherâs salary. However, that doesnât stop people coming to explore the countryâs culture, history and natural surroundings, while also earning enough to get by. The average monthly salary of around $650 to $1,000 USD is enough to enjoy many of Bulgariaâs cultural highlights, particularly if you top up your earnings by taking on a few private students in your spare time. A degree is not essential for many teaching jobs in Bulgaria, although it will be a big advantage if there is competition for a position. A TEFL certificate is all but essential if you want to apply for the better paying jobs.
The majority of foreign English teachers in Bulgaria work in private language schools that are either aimed at young students after school hours or adults during the evenings and at weekends. As salaries are not generally that high, it is common for teachers to earn extra income by finding private tutoring jobs outside of their language school hours. Private students can be anything from school children who need extra help to pass exams to people from local companies looking for business related English skills. Short-term contracts can also be found in English summer camps that typically run from early June to late July.
The school year starts in early September so the weeks running up to it are the best time of year to find a job. There is also a secondary hiring window in January. However, jobs in private language schools can come up at anytime of the year if teachers decide to leave mid-term or demand suddenly increases. A typical working week would include around 20 to 25 teaching hours, plus additional administration time. The biggest job market in Bulgaria is in the capital Sofia, although other cities such as Varna and Plovdiv are also worth checking out.
In general, Bulgaria has one of the lowest costs of living in the EU; however, as schools typically donât provide airfares, accommodation or any other bonuses, it is difficult for most teachers to save much of their monthly earnings. Employers will often help you find an apartment that has recently been vacated by a departing teacher, or you can look to share an apartment with another employee at the school to reduce your outgoings. Groceries from local markets are very cheap, while dinner for two at a decent restaurant can be as little as 7 euro. Overall, the average monthly outgoings for a teacher in Bulgaria are between $500 and $1,000 USD per month, depending on the location and your lifestyle.