Due to a rapid increase in job numbers and fewer restrictions on who can legally work as a teacher, the Eastern European region is now beginning to catch Western Europe in terms of popularity. Typically, the balance between income and cost of living means that many teachers find they are better off financially in a country such as the Czech Republic than they are working in a traditional teaching hotspot such as Italy.
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The monthly income of foreign teachers in Russia varies hugely depending on many different factors such as location, qualifications, experience, and number of contracted hours. Private language schools generally pay an hourly rate which averages around $650 per month for a first-time teacher. This figure can rise substantially with relevant experience. Many positions also include accommodation or a housing subsidy which can be a real benefit in the big cities where rental properties are often in short supply and prohibitively expensive. Full or partial airfare reimbursement is sometimes provided when jobs are secured from outside the country. Teachers who offer private tutoring either part or full-time traditionally have the highest earning potential in Russia. General conversation practice is typically charged at $15 to $25 per hour, while business English or exam preparation can bring in between $35 and $50 per hour.
The biggest employers of foreign teachers in Russia are private language schools which can be found in all the major cities. These cater to adults and children of all ages and are a good starting point for first-time teachers and those who are new to living and working in Russia. Moscow in particular has a large number of schools both international and locally run, all of which offer contract based and casual positions. A typical full-time position involves around 30 hours per week in the classroom.
Teachers who have experience and qualifications can also apply for jobs in universities, colleges, and international schools. These environments offer substantially better salaries than language schools but jobs are small in number and competition can be very strong. Another option for qualified teachers is the business English sector. This growing market generally involves travelling to the client's office to provide lessons that are specific to their individual needs. Lessons are often delivered before or after the normal day's work so the hours can be a little erratic, however, salaries are typically good in this field.
Regardless of the type of employer, the majority of ESL teachers in Russia also top up their salary by offering private tutoring in their free time. Word of mouth is the most common way of finding suitable clients and once they have as many as they can handle many teachers decide to go full-time. Private tutoring offers great flexibility as you can set your own schedule. It also provides plenty of opportunity for meeting local people and making friends and contacts in the wider community.
Although the cost of living has risen significantly in recent years, Russia is still a very affordable place to live for foreign teachers outside of the major cities. In Moscow and St. Petersburg everyday expenses are also relatively low with the notable exception of housing. Good quality rental apartments are often in short supply in the most popular areas so rental fees continue to rise year-on-year. The ideal solution is to secure a teaching position that includes accommodation or a housing subsidy in the contract. Failing that, many people without housing benefit choose to share an apartment with fellow teachers.
Although teaching jobs are plentiful across Poland, average salaries are not as high as you will find in many Western European countries. However, the average monthly income of $600 to $1,000 is considerably more than the average local wage and is generally enough to live comfortably on. Teachers who find they need extra cash to fuel a busy social life, to pay off student loans or for further travel commonly take on private students in their spare time. Hourly rates for private tutoring range from $10 to $20 depending on experience and location.
The most common employers of foreign ESL teachers in Poland are private language schools that can be found in all major towns and cities. The vast majority of employers will expect their teachers to hold a degree in any subject and the addition of a TEFL certification will allow you to apply for jobs with higher salaries and better working conditions. Some employers will help you out when it comes to applying for a work permit, and many will also help with finding accommodation. The number of hours of actual teaching varies from school to school, but on average teachers spend between 20 and 30 hours per week in the classroom.
The cost of living in Poland varies depending on your location and lifestyle; however, most teachers should find they can live comfortably on their income. In comparison to much of Europe basic costs such as groceries, public transport, and utility bills are relatively cheap. One area where costs have risen in recent years is accommodation. While it is possible to rent a one-bedroom apartment away from the city center for around $300 per month, many teachers choose to reduce their costs by renting a room in an apartment shared with friends or colleagues. Apartment sharing is particularly common in Warsaw where rents tend to be considerably higher than other areas.
As there are a huge number of employers across the country offering a wide range of positions, the average salary can be anywhere from 18,000 to 30,000 CZK (currently $700 to $1,200) per month. Many private language centers prefer to pay by the hour and it is common practice for teachers to work at more than one institute in order to make up a full-time schedule. Teachers working on an hourly rate can expect to earn around 200 to 300 CZK ($8 to $12) per hour. Private tuition is also a common way for teachers to earn extra income outside of normal working hours. The rate for private lessons will usually depend on experience, but is typically from 300 to 500 CZK ($12 to $20) per hour.
The most common form of employment for foreign teachers in the Czech Republic is through private language schools. Language schools generally cater to young learners of all ages who require extra English tuition outside of school hours, while some also run adult classes. Language schools can be found in most towns and cities throughout the country, with over a hundred located in Prague alone. Job applicants will usually require a degree in any subject and a TEFL certification is also generally expected. Teachers with a passport from an EU country can typically turn up in the location of their choice and find a job relatively quickly. Non-EU citizens are recommended to secure a position from within their home country and then apply for a work visa through the school office upon arrival.
It is also possible to find teaching jobs in public primary and secondary schools, as well as some colleges and universities. These positions are relatively few in number in comparison to language schools which means that the competition for each job is often quite strong. Previous experience is usually expected for public school positions so many first-time teachers spend a year working for private language schools before applying. The peak hiring seasons for public schools are August/September and January/February. In contrast, jobs in private language schools can be found year-round.
As well as a strong demand for teachers, the relatively low cost of living is another reason why the Czech Republic is a very popular destination for teaching English abroad. Routine expenses such as groceries and public transport are considerably cheaper than you will find in most of Western Europe and North America. Many teachers also reduce their overheads by renting a room in a shared apartment rather than living alone. A comfortable room in a good area starts at around $250 per month, while a private one-bedroom apartment starts from around $400.
Salaries for English language teachers in Romania are not high in comparison to some other European countries and they vary depending on the type of employer and your level of qualifications and experience. On average, you can expect to earn anywhere between $500 and $1000 per month. Although this might not sound very much, it is worth considering that the local cost of living is very low so your salary will actually go further than you might imagine. To be eligible for most TEFL jobs in Romania you will need to be a native or fluent English speaker with a bachelor's degree and a TEFL certification.
The majority of teaching jobs are located in the bigger cities such as Bucharest, Constanta, Cluj-Napoca, and Lasi. In the capital in particular there are a large number of potential employers that include international schools, public schools, private schools, colleges, and language schools. Private schools usually pay a better salary than public schools so they are generally the better option for most teachers. Language schools that offer conversational English classes to adult learners are probably the most popular positions as they also provide plenty of opportunities to supplement your income by taking on private tutoring outside of normal working hours.
Many employers prefer to hire EU citizens as it avoids having to deal with a lot of paperwork. However, it is still possible for non-EU teachers to find employers who are willing to help out with the visa application process. In order to have a good choice of jobs it is best to actually be in the country when job hunting as not many employers advertise their vacant positions online. The peak hiring season is September as this is when the school year starts, although there is also a secondary season at the start of the New Year semester in January. The school year ends in June when students and most teachers head off on a well earned vacation. If you want to work on through the summer there are often openings at various summer camps that start at the end of June.
The overall cost of living in Romania is very low in comparison to North America and Western Europe. As very few employers provide free housing, this is usually the biggest expense for foreign teachers. However, small apartments can be found for as little as $100 per month, although many teachers choose to share with another teacher from their school so they can afford something a bit more comfortable. If you buy your groceries from local markets and avoid expensive imported luxuries, you should be able to shop for as little as $65 per week. A simple meal at a local restaurant should also be affordable at around $10 a head. The typical monthly cost of living for most EFL teachers in Romania should range from $500 to $800.
No one would suggest that Bulgaria is a good destination for saving money or living a lavish lifestyle on a language teacher?s salary. However, that doesn?t stop people coming to explore the country?s culture, history and natural surroundings, while also earning enough to get by. The average monthly salary of around $650 to $1,000 is enough to enjoy many of Bulgaria?s 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 don?t 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. Overall, the average monthly outgoings for a teacher in Bulgaria are between $500 and $1,000 per month, depending on the location and your lifestyle.
The average monthly salary for English language teachers in Hungary is between $700 and $900, although this can be higher at college or university level. Most jobs require around 20 to 25 hours of teaching per week which also allows many teachers to supplement their main income by taking on private students in their spare time. Please note that many employers expect applicants to have a degree and a TEFL qualification.
Job opportunities in Hungary are varied and include primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, language schools and private businesses. Private tutoring is also popular, either part time or full time. Students can often be found in classified ads in the local newspapers, via online forums, or by simply posting flyers around the local area.
Another popular option with native speakers, particularly American teachers, is the CETP Program which places applicants into teaching jobs around the country. Although this program charges a fee for your placement, it does include a salary that is equal to local teachers, as well as paid accommodation, health insurance, and paid vacations. Another benefit of this program is that you can arrange it all before leaving your home country, which removes any hassles with visa applications, job hunting and interviews etc.
Unless you are involved in the CETP Program, most jobs are filled via an interview in person. To have the best chance of success, you should make sure you are in the country before the school year starts in early September. There is also a secondary hiring season in January. Contracts generally run until late June. Most employers will help you through the process of obtaining a work permit, although in private language schools you might be expected to work on a local freelance licence.
Some schools do advertise their vacant positions online via job boards and teaching forums, but for the widest choice of options you are probably best to list all the employers in the area and simply pay them a visit with your CV/resume in hand.
Although the average salary is not particularly high in Hungary, the cost of living is low in comparison to many other countries in the region. Some employers will provide paid housing or a housing supplement which can make a huge difference to your monthly outgoings. The level of help given to housing is largely dependent on the finance of the individual school so it is a good idea to shop around when looking for work.
Other benefits such as airfare are rarely included, although university jobs often include a higher salary to compensate for travel to and from your home country. Once in Hungary, a monthly public transport pass will cost up to $30 which can sometimes be covered by the employer if you negotiate well. Groceries will be one of the bigger expenses, with an average bill being around $450 per month. The overall cost of living for an EFL teacher in Hungary is between $650 and $950 per month, although this will vary depending on the location and your lifestyle.
Salaries in Slovakia are not large by European standards, but jobs are plentiful so those with qualifications and/or experience should be able to earn enough to live comfortably. The average salary is between $550 and $1,300 per month. To get the upper end of the pay scale you will need a TEFL certification and a degree, or some previous classroom experience.
There are a few options for teaching English in Slovakia. The most numerous jobs are found in private language schools that offer lessons on-site or at the premises of private companies. These positions involve around 20 to 30 teaching hours per week, but you might be expected to teach in a different location each day.
State-run primary and secondary schools are another popular option as they offer the chance to get involved in the local community and really experience life in this fascinating country. The pay is likely to be a little less than private language schools, but your students will be fun, enthusiastic and willing to learn. Many teachers are also able to top up their monthly salary by offering private tuition to students outside of school hours.
Few jobs in Slovakia are advertised online, so most teachers head to the country to look for jobs in person. The best time of year to look for available positions is in August, with a secondary recruitment window in January. As there are typically more jobs on offer than teachers looking for them, you should be able to shop around and choose which job suits you best. The country?s capital city, Bratislava, is home to the largest number of potential jobs, while smaller cities such as Kosice, Nitra, Presov, and Banska Bystrica are also worth checking out.
Whatever type of job you are looking for, a TEFL certificate is almost always required. Teachers with a degree will also have a wider choice of options, although those without can still find jobs due to the strong demand. Employers also generally prefer EU citizens as they do not require a work visa. However, some employers will be willing to go through the visa application process for non-EU citizens if you are able to sell yourself well.
As the average salary is not particularly high most teachers look to make savings wherever possible. The best thing you can do is find a job that includes free housing as this will remove one of the biggest expenses from your monthly outgoings. If not, many teachers choose to share an apartment with a fellow teacher. Overall, the cost of living is quite low for the region, allowing a comfortable lifestyle for teachers who are careful and willing to budget.