A Guide on How to Teach English in Prague
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About Teaching English in Prague
Sitting in the heart of central Europe, Prague has become an increasingly popular destination for qualifying and working as an English teacher. Famed for its spires, Gothic castles, dramatic ruins and stunning surroundings, it offers a chance to live and work in a cultural hub, with a mix of old tradition, trendy cafes and lively beer halls!
Prague is one of the most beautiful and safe cities in the world. There are lots of teaching jobs available and the Czech Republic is home to the greatest beer in the world!
With over 100 language schools in Prague alone, as well as private and public schools, the demand for English teachers is strong and jobs are in abundance. Jobs tend to be acquired on the ground, but can be applied for from overseas. While September and January are peak hiring seasons, language schools generally employ teachers all year round.
Typically, teachers are required to be TEFL certified, and while a degree is not necessary for all positions, it can boost salaries. Due to its decent hourly wage and relatively low cost living, it offers an ideal environment for teachers to live comfortably and potentially save a bit of money. It also welcomes non-EU citizens to apply for jobs with an accessible-but-lengthy visa system in place.
Requirements to Teach English in Prague
These will vary from employer to employer, but the most common requirements are:
- TEFL certificate
- Bachelor’s degree (sometimes preferred but not always required)
Most employers require their teachers to be TEFL certified. If you don’t have a TEFL certificate, it’s highly recommended that you obtain one. One option is to enroll on a TEFL course in Prague itself. This can give you an advantage as many of the TEFL providers offer job assistance upon completion of their course and they have an excellent foot in the door of the local job market. We have compiled a guide of the best TEFL courses in Prague to help you out!
Having a bachelor’s degree is sometimes preferred by employers, but isn’t always required. Private and public schools tend to ask for one, but most language schools are happy with a TEFL certificate.
Teaching Salaries in Prague: How Much Can You Make?
Teaching English in Prague will allow you to live comfortably and break even (and maybe save some money). Teachers work around 25 hours a week and earn between $900 and $1,300 USD a month, depending on qualifications and experience.
“Prague is no longer as cheap as it once was but it is still very affordable. It’s very important to save some money every year for July and August when teaching classes drops considerably. You can expect to make 1000 Euros a month working for a language school if you teach 25 hours a week.”
Different types of jobs
Private Language Schools
Private language schools are a popular choice for English teachers in Prague, especially as they hire year round. The positions are pretty easy to land and they’ll typically require you to be TEFL qualified, with some preferring a degree as well. Working at a language school will give you experience with different levels, ages and backgrounds, and a chance to work with business professionals.
Language schools tend to pay by the hour at an average rate of about $12 USD for a 45 minute lesson. It’s common practice for teachers to work at more than one institute in order to make up a full-time schedule. Expect to take home between $900 and $1,300 a month, depending on your hours.
Opportunities to teach in a public school in Prague are somewhat limited in comparison to language schools, so expect strong competition. Qualifications usually include a Bachelor’s degree in English or a related field, and a TEFL for those whose degree is in a non-related subject. Previous teaching experience is often preferred. Salaries will vary between schools, but are usually between $1,000 and $1,300 USD a month. Preschools and Kindergartens are popular options.
Private International Schools
These schools typically pay the most but will generally only accept licensed teachers. The average pay here is about $2,000 USD a month.
How to Increase Your Salary
Private tutoring is a good way to supplement your income, and teachers tend to charge between $12 and $20 USD an hour. Teachers advertise through newspapers, local cafes and online websites and will teach both children and adults, as well as business professionals.
Experience and Qualifications
While they aren’t requirements for all teaching positions in Prague, having previous teaching experience and/or a degree will boost your salary. If you can get some teaching hours in before coming to Prague, it could be beneficial.
Prague is a popular destination for English teachers, so few jobs offer any extra perks like paid airfare or accommodation.
Cost of Living as an ESL Teacher in Prague
The cost of living in Prague is fairly inexpensive when compared to other European capitals. You should live pretty comfortably on a teachers salary and are likely to break even.
Rent in Prague will be your biggest expense. Living outside of the city centre is cheaper, and in some cases you’re able to negotiate on rental prices. Renting a room will cost you between $250 and $700 USD a month, depending on the location and whether you live alone or in a flatshare. Schools are usually able to assist you with finding housing.
Let’s look at some average figures for the cost of living in Prague, compliments of Numbeo:
|Meal, inexpensive restaurant||145||$6.50|
|Local transport, monthly pass||550||$24|
|Loaf of fresh white bread||23.43||$1|
|Milk, 1 litre||18.70||$0.83|
|Domestic beer in a restaurant, 1 pint||40||$1.77|
Want to know how much Czech Koruna are worth? Check out XE’s currency converter
How Much Start-Up Money Should You Bring?
When moving to another country it’s advisable to bring some start-up money to hold you over until your first paycheck. The amount you should take will depend on the type of lifestyle you like to lead, typically anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000 USD is the recommended amount. Most teachers obtain their work visa while in Prague, so you need to take into consideration visa costs.
Don’t forget you may also be required to show a bank statement with at least $6,000 in order to get a visa, though this isn’t always enforced.
Visa Process for Teachers in Prague
If you’re a citizen of the EU, you don’t need a visa to legally teach English in the Czech Republic but you do if you’re a non-EU citizen. The good news is that the Czech Republic is happy to give out work permits, the bad news is that the process can be rather lengthy.
Work visas are commonly processed in-country, so if you’re a non-EU citizen you can enter the Czech Republic on a 90 day tourist visa. Once in Prague, you can apply for a work visa to enable you to teach English legally.
“The visa process takes time, effort and money but there are companies that can walk you through it step by step – for a fee of course – or you can bravely navigate the process yourself!”
Zivnostensky List (Zivno) and Long-Term Visa
These are the most common legal documents for English teachers in Prague. The Zivno is essentially a trade license which entitles you to work legally for any school and private tutor within the Czech Republic. You’re technically your own “business”, so you’re responsible for paying your monthly taxes and maintaining invoices and expenditures. As a non-EU citizen you’ll also need a long-term visa, and this goes hand in hand with the Zivno – you can’t get one without the other.
Teachers can apply for these documents and for jobs while they’re still on their tourist visa. The visa process can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 3 months (sometimes even longer), so it’s worth applying as soon as possible and preparing the needed paperwork before your arrival in Prague.
Note: We’ve heard good things about Easy Visa for people looking for visa help in Prague.
The following is the required paperwork:
- A passport valid for 12 months beyond your stay in the Czech Republic
- Visa application form
- Bank or credit card statement showing access to at least $6,000 USD
- Paperwork from your landlord in Prague – a signed housing contract and a signed business address document (usually the same address)
- One year health insurance policy
- Apostilled criminal background check (contact your national embassy in the Czech Republic to learn how/where to obtain this document – if you’re American you can sign an affidavit promising that you don’t have a record and get it notarized by a Czech notary)
The process itself is a little complicated, but Wandertooth broke it down from their own personal experiences. Schools don’t usually assist you with this process but if you’ve completed your TEFL course in Prague, your provider should offer visa support. Some teachers use an agency to help with the process, like Visa Guru.
The visa and related paperwork cost about 400 Euros (approx $450 USD). If using an agency, this cost can go up.
Standard Work Visa
This is another option for non-EU citizens. This work permit requires the employer to act as a sponsor and to lodge an application. However, many employers are reluctant to go down this road as it can be expensive and requires extensive paperwork. Instead, they will request that you have the Zivno.
How to Find an English Teaching Job in Prague
You can apply for English teaching jobs in Prague from both overseas and on the ground. Some schools will only accept applicants who are already legally able to work in the Czech Republic. If you’re a non-EU citizen, this will mean that you’ll have to apply in person for these schools as you need to be in Prague to be able to apply for the correct visa documentation.
If you’re applying from overseas, expect to send over your CV, a filled out application form and your interview will be conducted over Skype. If applying on the ground, you can still apply online, or you can apply in person by handing out your CV to potential schools. Your interview will then be in person. Language schools tend to only offer part-time hours at first, so you may end up accepting hours from more than one school to make up a full-time schedule. This is very common.
Where to Find Jobs
If you’re planning on completing your TEFL course in Prague, your provider should assist you with the job search post course completion via their local contacts. If this isn’t the case for you, researching jobs online is a great place to start. There are over 100 language schools in Prague, like Caledonian School, Berlitz, British Council and James Cook Languages, just to name a few. Check out their current vacancies to apply from overseas, or if you’re applying in Prague, either apply online or head over to the schools in person and hand in your CV.
If you’re after a job in an international school, TES is a good place to start. Job boards are another source, both for language schools and public/private schools:
Typical hiring seasons are September and January, but it’s possible to find a teaching job in Prague all year round, especially at language schools. For public and private schools, you’ll need to stick to the hiring seasons as they’re in line with the semester dates.
FAQs about Teaching English in Prague
Can You Teach Without a Degree?
Yes, it’s possible to teach English in Prague without a degree. You’ll find that certain employers require/prefer their teachers to have one, particularly public and private schools, but most language schools are happy to hire you without one.
Can You Teach Without a TEFL?
While most employers will require you to be TEFL qualified, some schools may still hire native speakers who aren’t. Having a TEFL certificate will certainly give you access to more jobs, so it’s recommended that you obtain one. Completing a TEFL course in Prague is a great choice as it will open up employment doors upon completion.
Can You Teach With a Criminal Record?
There isn’t a huge amount of research out there on this subject. You do have to submit a criminal record check as part of the visa application, and schools may do a background check, but it doesn’t obviously state anywhere that the criminal record must be clean. It may depend on what your criminal record says, so if you’re concerned, it’s recommended that you speak to your local Czech embassy and a lawyer about your options. You can always check out teaching English in other countries if you’re unsure.