The Comprehensive Guide to Teaching English in Germany

by Published

How to teach English in Germany

Have you ever dreamed of demystifying the American Thanksgiving or becoming the area expert on every English-speaking country (even the ones you’ve never been too)? While teaching English in Germany, you can do it all! Shakespeare probably still won’t make any more sense than it did back in high school, but at least you’ll understand more than your students.

Along with the usual joys that accompany teaching ESL abroad, Germany will greet you with a host of other distinct customs. You may get exhausted from the abundance of holidays, or gain a little weight from all the coffee and cake your colleagues bring in to work. The summer months may also get strenuous with the occasional days off during heat waves, because there’s no air conditioning in the classroom. All that paid time off isn’t for the faint of heart, but teaching ESL in Germany is a terrifically rewarding experience.

red rooftops of Nuremburg, Germany

Picturesque views are just part of the job teaching in Germany.

Getting a job in Germany without a European passport isn’t the easiest of deeds, but we’ve got a few solutions to help you find the best English teaching programs in Germany. Say hallo to our Comprehensive Guide to Teaching English in Germany! Auf geht’s!

FAQs on teaching English in Germany

How much do English teachers make in Germany?

Teaching English in Germany will get you at the very least a liveable wage. Because the types of jobs and hours a week can be so variable, it’s difficult to attach an exact salary. Working at a summer camp for a few weeks will get you a modest weekly stipend of a few hundred euros on top of room and board. Those hired by private language schools full time could expect a salary of a few thousand a month.

I’m rich! What should I spend all my Euros on?

Luckily, living costs in Germany are some of the most affordable in western Europe! After spending chump change on groceries and a few hundred on rent for a shared apartment, you’ll have a good bundle leftover to enjoy the treasures of Germany.

One of the best investments to make while teaching English in Germany is in a railroad discount card or other transportation method like ride sharing. The entire country is well connected by a web of railroads and routes, which makes travel and weekend trips almost too easy. Apart from a travel fund, be savvy about your ice cream spending, because nothing is more tantalizing in the hot summer months than deliciously creamy Eis!

[Use MyGoAbroad to find & compare jobs in Germany]

Cologne Cathedral

Gorgeous gothic architecture? Consider it a perk.

What are the requirements to teach English in Germany?

While each job asks for slightly different qualities from prospective English teachers, there are a few standard qualifications that will certainly help you along:

  • German language skills. Sure you may be teaching English, but having at least a basic grasp of German will help you navigate daily life abroad, make connections between German and English while teaching, and communicate with colleagues. Depending on your job and institution, German may be the only common language spoken in the teachers’ room.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. Whether you studied Art History or Biomedical Engineering, a bachelor’s degree could be that check in the box to land you a job. It could also qualify you to take courses for a TEFL certification, further improving your employment chances.
  • TEFL Certification. A TEFL or TESOL certification prove that you have the know-how and skills to effectively teach English, not just speak it. 
  • EU Passport. One of the biggest hurdles to English teaching jobs in Germany is the issue of legal residency. Not all companies provide teachers with visas for those without an EU passport. It’s a lengthy and pricey process that many companies would rather avoid. When looking for English teaching programs in Germany, be sure that the positions are open to non-EU citizens as well!

These qualities aren’t always required per say, but they could greatly open up your job opportunities!

Is teaching English in Germany without a degree possible?

Although your best bet of landing a job teaching English in Germany is with at least a bachelor’s and TEFL certification, you can still find a handful of opportunities for teaching English in Germany without a degree. Common opportunities include private tutoring while living with a host family or helping out at language summer camps with kids eager to chat in English.

bike passing through the Berlin wall

You’ll get an inside look through history as a teacher in Germany.

What types of jobs are there for teaching ESL in Germany?

English teaching programs in Germany span the entire ESL position spectrum, from freelance tutoring to 9-5 teaching jobs. Jobs can be freelance, part-time or even full-time in a wide range of settings like the forest or a corporate building. You can opt to work directly through an employer or find program packages that have all the sweet connection necessary to help you with placement.

Where can I find ESL jobs in Germany?

Apart from the fabulous opportunities listed below in this article, there are dozens of other online resources to get you started. Private language schools and companies post job openings to teach in Germany on expat forums and online resources. Keep an eye out for forums and websites specifically for life in Germany, and you might just unbury a gem.

[Explore more English Teaching Programs in Germany!]

Should I teach in Germany in a city or a rural area?

Germany is a land of rural area and small towns, as opposed to mega metropolitans. However, the demand for most teaching jobs comes from large cities such as Frankfurt and Munich, where many large international corporations and students are based. As a result, it’s much easier finding jobs to teach English in Germany in cities!

What are you hoping to get out of your experience? Cities offer a larger job pool and a lot more to do in your free time. On the other hand, you may pick up German and connect with locals  much more easily in rural areas.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Because you can’t teach in Germany without a trip to this beautiful castle. Duh.

Can I teach other subjects, besides English, in Germany?

To teach as a full-time instructor in primary or secondary schools in Germany, you will need a German teaching certification which takes about five years to obtain! In addition, a teaching degree is followed by a practicum, during which teachers-in-training intern at a school for over a year before becoming full fledged teachers. That’s the equivalent to getting a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the U.S.!

However, if you remain unshakably gung-ho about landing an education job that’s not teaching English in Germany, there are ways. Don’t fret.

International schools are found worldwide and Germany is no exception. Many relocated families from around the world choose to send their children to international schools, where they can receive an education in English with a curriculum similar to home. These types of schools need teachers for all subjects, so if you’re already an accredited teacher in a subject other than English, this type of job has your name on it.

[Free ebook! The best advice for first-time ESL teachers in Germany]

Other insider tips

Germans are serious about their education, and that means they’re willing to hunt down a native English speaker as far as kingdom come. Tutoring on the side is a great way to supplement your income from your teaching job. From school kids to business execs, finding a tutoring student is easy peasy even in the smallest of towns.

American media dominates one third of the world’s media industry, which means people of all ages will have a basic understanding of American pop culture and politics. A great way to engage students in lessons is to utilize all sorts of multimedia to encourage language learning in a fun way. Reality TV shows may not be a great primary tool, but it will certainly get some more eyeballs looking up front than a grammar worksheet.

Finally, it’s wise to distinguish ahead of time what type of English your students and institution are accustomed to. Some Europeans have been heavily shaped by British English throughout grade school, so you can’t assume that they’ll spell color without the “u” or know the simplest of American idioms. You may have to pick up some of the king’s English yourself to best understand students’ language levels!

trams in berlin, germany

Teaching English in Germany is as easy as navigating public transport (a challenge to start, but then you’re in a groove).

What are the best jobs and programs for teaching English in Germany?

English teaching programs in Germany come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from private language institutions to K-12 schools. A typical job may involve dishing out business phrases to adult professionals or clapping the ABCs with kindergarteners. Depending on your qualifications, goals, and preferences, there’s bound to be a perfect job match to teach in Germany!

1. The Fulbright Program

The Fulbright grant for English Teaching Assistants is a nationally competitive program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Recipients of the award to Germany are placed in a wide range of different schools to assist in English language instruction and share American culture. From vocational schools to gymnasiums, you’ll have the possibility of experiencing teaching at schools that are otherwise just available to German accredited teachers!

  • Cities:  Anywhere from Berlin to off-the-map villages
  • Types of jobs: English Teaching Assistant
  • Related: Visit their site

2. International TEFL Academy

New to teaching English as a second language? Why not multitask and work toward a TEFL certification AND teach ESL in Germany at the same time? After receiving your certificate, International TEFL Academy will lend a hand in the job search so you make the best of their connections and expertise. Non-EU residents will even get a whole lot of information on getting legal residency status, which will certainly save a number of headaches!

3. GeoVisions

For those not wanting to worry about finding a place to crash and where to find the closest grocery store, you may want to consider moving in with a nice German family. GeoVisions is one of the few English teaching programs in Germany that sets you up with a family to teach English to and live with. You won’t ever have to worry about commuting to work as you soak up the German culture and language right in your own home. You job may be to help the host kids on their English homework or chat up a storm a few hours a week with the whole family.

4. LEOlingo - Sprachcamps fuer Kinder

Children and outdoor enthusiasts will find a home away from home at a LEOlingo summer camp. As a camp counselor you’ll get to teach English in Germany while riding horses and canoeing through the German countryside! As if that doesn’t already sound like an adventurous educator’s dream, participants also get a weekly stipend on top of room and board. Check out camp life on the other side of the world and live out your childhood dreams while teaching in Germany!

5. Berlitz

A good majority of English teaching programs in Germany take place in private language schools that cater to business professionals or university students. Berlitz is one of the oldest and most established language schools with a presence in over 70 countries, teaching dozens of different languages. To work at Berlitz on a freelance basis, you may already need legal residency status in Germany. Many native English speakers who teach ESL in Germany do so in private language schools across the country such as Berlitz!

  • Cities:  Various cities around Germany
  • Types of jobs: Private language schools
  • Related: Visit their site

Teaching English in Germany ist dein Schicksal! 

The doors may not be a wide open as teaching in South Korea or China, but hey, teaching in Germany can still be your destiny. Globalization is only getting stronger and that means the demand for English proficiency continues to grow. If you’ve ever had an interest in exploring the Land of Ideas, now is as good a time as ever.

Start getting used to those ham and cheese filled bread rolls, because your next task will be finding that dream job. 

Find ways to pursue teaching ESL in Germany

Topic:  Before You Go