How to Teach English in Germany in 2019: The Process Explained

by: Quincy Smith ESL Authority Quincy Smith | Last Updated November 15, 2019

Germany Overview

Average Salary
$3,300/mo
Native Speaker Required?
No
TEFL Required?
Yes
Degree Required?
No

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About Teaching English in Germany

Not only is Germany a great place to visit as a tourist, it checks almost all of the boxes when it comes to teaching English:

  • Good pay
  • Minimal requirements
  • Simple visa process

In addition, there are ample job opportunities thanks to a high demand for the language – the following are some of the places that regularly hire those looking to teach English in Germany:

  • Adult education classes
  • Private language academies
  • Public schools
  • International corporations
  • International schools
  • Universities
  • People seeking private tutoring

Though many jobs will require you to have a bachelor’s degree, the only certification you need to apply for jobs is a TEFL certificate.

In addition, teachers and foreign workers praise the visa + residency process for being streamlined and easy to navigate for both EU and non-EU citizens (especially compared to other overseas teaching locations).

If you’ve been thinking about teaching abroad in Europe, Germany might just be the place for you!

Want more?  Check out this great video on a week in the life of an English teacher in Germany!

Requirements to Teach English in Germany

Compared to other teach abroad countries, the requirements to teach English in Germany are pretty lax.  In fact, there is only one core requirement: you must have a TEFL certification. That’s it. You don’t need a college degree or previous experience.

However, while having a TEFL will get your foot in the door, the best teaching jobs in Germany are reserved for applicants with a more robust resume.

Let’s explore the most common teaching requirements what different school types prefer.

Common Teaching English in Germany Requirements

  • Previous English teaching experience, ideally in a foreign country
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Fluency or proficiency in German

Requirements for Different Jobs

  • Private language schools – You’ll usually need to have your bachelor’s degree, and high-paying positions will require previous experience.
  • Public schools – Elementary school teachers may be hired with only a TEFL certificate, but most high school positions will require a bachelor’s degree.
  • Businesses and corporations – You’ll need to have a thorough knowledge of business English, rather than just casual English. You’ll also need to be proficient in German.
  • Universities – In almost all cases, you will need multiple years of previous teaching experience. You will also need a college degree. Some prestigious positions may require you to have your master’s or teaching license.
  • One-on-one tutoring – You can teach students with just a TEFL certification, but you can charge a higher hourly rate if you have previous job experience and fluency in German.
 

How Much Can You Make Teaching English in Germany?

Salaries for English teachers in Germany will vary depending on your qualifications, past experience, and the type of organization you’re teaching at.

Let’s start by looking at the different types of schools in Germany and what they pay.

Adult Education Centers and Private Language Academies

€13 and €19 per hour

The most abundant teaching opportunities in Germany are with adult education centers and private language academies and the demands of each will vary widely depending on the size and location of the school. You might have a full classroom, or you might be teaching individual groups in smaller classes.

In many cases, you’ll be paid hourly rates based on the classes you teach. Each hour tends to pay between €13 and €19, though you might find higher rates in large, inner-city institutions. You can also expect your pay to be higher if you have a college degree and previous experience. For teachers who only have a TEFL certification, your rate of pay will probably be closer to the €13 side of the spectrum.

On a monthly basis, you can expect a full-time job to bring in between €2,100 and €3,000.

Public Schools

€2,500 and €3,500 per month

Germany public schools do their hiring in September and January and your salary will vary depending on what age group you teach. High school teachers will have larger salaries than elementary school teachers. Your contract will typically last for at least one year, which means you’ll have steadier work than you’d find with a private language academy.

Elementary school teachers can expect to make between €2,500 and €3,000 each month while high school teachers can expect between €2,900 and €3,600.

International Schools

€2,500 to €4,500

As far as salary is concerned, teaching at an international school is about as good as it gets, though most insist on contracts lasting one or two years. These contracts also typically have renewal possibilities, so they’re the most steady work option a foreign teacher will receive.

For teachers who only have a TEFL certification and little experience (more on the requirements to teach in Germany here), you can expect to receive about €2,600 per month at an international school. Teachers with more experience and a college degree might expect a range from €3,500 to €4,400.

Some international schools will also provide a relocation allowance ranging from €500 to €1,000 as a way to reduce the costs of moving and support with your working visa.

International Corporations

€20-€30 per hour

Many international businesses will hire teachers to instruct their employees in business English. This type of job often has an excellent pay rate, but will typically require that you are fluent in German. The higher end of the spectrum is €30 per hour or $4,800 per month, but these contracts often have a stipulation that you cannot teach English to anyone else while working for the company. The lower end of the pay spectrum is around €3,000 per month or €20 per hour.

Universities

€35,000 per year

University jobs in Germany are difficult to find usually worth it in terms of salary and support. Most universities will only consider you if you have taught English for several years, and you have a bachelor’s degree or higher. If you teach about 18 hours per week, universities usually have pay rates of about €35,000 each year.

Private Tutoring

€15-€40 per hour

Private tutoring is an ideal way to supplement your income and you can earn more by knowing a bit of German in addition to having several years of teaching experience. On the high end of the spectrum, you might make about €40 per hour. The low end of the spectrum tends to be about €15 per hour.

How Teachers Can Get a Work Visa to Teach in Germany

There are a number of requirements you’ll need to meet in order to get your German work visa as a teacher. Following a successful job interview, you will receive your letter of intent or contract from an employer and will use it to procure the rest of the documentation, all of which depends on your citizenship status:

  • If you are not a citizen of the European Union, you can apply for a single permit which allows you to reside and work in EU countries, including Germany.
  • If you do not have a single permit, you will need to apply for a permanent residence visa and work permit which will only be valid in Germany.
  • If you are a citizen of the EU you are not required to have a work visa, but you will need to register within your city.

Now that you know what’s required based on your citizenship, let’s break down the requirements and process for securing your visa.

Visa Requirements to Work in Germany

A single permit visa is a visa that allows non-EU citizens to work and live in all EU countries.

If you apply for a permanent residence visa and a work permit, you will be authorized for work in Germany alone. The documentation required is:

  • A guaranteed contract from your place of employment
  • Proof of residency and address
  • Proof of opening a bank account
  • Filing for a tax number
  • Your passport
  • A passport photo
 

How to Get the Documents for Your German Work Visa

Your first step is to get a guaranteed contract from your new employer. This contract should come with a letter of intent, which explains that you will be employed as soon as you’re legally able to work. To receive their letter of intent, most English teachers follow this process:

  • Receive your TEFL certification. For maximum job opportunities and salary, you should also have a college degree, but this isn’t required by law.
  • Begin applying to language schools and other organizations looking for English teachers.
  • Enter Germany with a three-month tourist visa.
  • Establish a residence.
  • Do your in-person interviews until you receive a letter of intent.

After you’ve received your letter of intent, you should complete the following steps to get the rest of your documentation:

  • If you haven’t established your residence yet, apply to your nearest Rathaus or local government office where you confirm your mailing address.
  • Open a bank account. There are a number of different banks in Germany, with some of the most popular being Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, and Sparkasse banks.
  • Get a health insurance plan. All German residents are legally required to have health insurance, whether they’re citizens or not.

When you have all of your documents, you’ll take them to the Ausländerbehörde, or Foreigners Office, where you will submit everything.  Your application will have a filing fee, usually somewhere from 50 to 150 Euros.

You’ll receive a work permit, but you won’t be able to receive payments until you file for a tax number. Filing for a tax number is a fairly straightforward process that can be done right away.

How to Get a Job Teaching in Germany

Applying for jobs can feel overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure where to start. These are a few pointers for beginning your job search:

  • Start applying for jobs as soon as you receive your TEFL certificate – you don’t need to have a visa yet. To do your in-person interviews, though, you’ll need to enter Germany with a three-month tourist visa.
  • While you can apply to jobs via common ESL job boards, it can also be advantageous to find a contact email for schools and then send over your German-formatted resume.
  • Private tutoring is a great way to supplement your income, but to get a work visa you will generally need a contract with an organization of some kind.
  • Corporations are willing to pay high wages for their English teachers, but the market is very competitive. You’ll want to have previous experience and German proficiency before you focus exclusively on corporate jobs.

It’s helpful to decide on the city you wish to live in, and then apply for as many schools and openings in the area as possible. Before you can receive your letter of intent from your future employer, you will generally need to complete the following steps:

  • Format your resume in the German style
  • Apply to jobs and contact school administrations through email
  • Establish residency in Germany, often by renting a room from a German family or rooming with other ESL teachers
  • Go to your in-person interview, possibly with a follow-up interview

If the school likes you, you’ll receive your letter of intent with a guaranteed contract. From there, it’s just a matter of gathering the documentation for your work visa.

FAQs about Teaching in Germany

Can You Teach English in Germany without a Degree?

The short answer? Yes!  It is possible to teach English in Germany without a degree.  The long answer is that it’s not always easy and you’ll find a better job with a degree.

Other Resources

Quincy Smith ESL Authority

Quincy Smith

Quincy is the founder of ESL Authority and a former teacher in South Korea and China.  Currently based in Shanghai, he enjoys strong coffee, IPAs, and solo travel.

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