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What do I need to teach in Germany?
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 65
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:14 am    Post subject: Teaching English in Germany Reply with quote

While it certainly sounds like some of you had very negative experiences, it is possible to find enough ESL work in Germany to get by, as well as other types of freelance and full-time work, without fluent German skills. Not having a work permit definitely makes things much harder, but again, nothing is impossible. As a former freelancer, language school hiring manager (Germany-wide) the past 7 years, and the past 2 years founder of a company helping expats move to Germany and get job offers and work permits, I can say with certainty that there are plenty of non-EU citizens who have been able to successfully make it. It is true that it's not really possible to earn a lot and that full-time jobs are rare, but even this is possible after building up a career for several years and with some luck. The average ESL wage in Berlin for teaching adults at private language schools is around 14-16 Euros. 8-9 Euros may be par for the course at KITAs or for other work teaching kids, while the big famous chain schools pay around 10-12 Euros per 45 min. My first year freelancing was also awful, spent bouncing around the city 12 hours a day for low wages, but over the course of 1 year I was able to quit at the schools that paid the worst or only offered 90-min. classes, and build up hours at other schools that had better conditions.

Some key points to keep in mind, especially if one does not have a work permit:
1. July/Aug/Dec are generally bad months to come due to everyone being on holidays.
2. Americans/Canadians/Australians/New Zealanders have 90 days to find offers of work and apply for a work permit - OR if you have enough savings you can buy yourself 6 more months' time with the work permit for qualified workers searching for employment. So, you could theoretically very easily have 9 months to look for work. (Provided you have enough savings and a uni. degree).
3. Savings? Estimate at least 1000 Euros a month for Berlin and more for other cities. For applying for the 6-month job seeker residency permit for example we recommend having at least 6000 Euros in the bank.
4. Bring your original university degrees and CELTA with you - this is extremely important in Germany for getting job offers/a work permit.
5. Plan very well before you come with a list of schools you want to target. Find a cheap place to stay to conserve money, and get busy from the first week with the job search. Be very persistent following up with schools.
6. A business background, German skills, and a CELTA are definitely huge benefits, and some schools will not consider candidates without these - but there are other schools which hire candidates without any of these.

One point I strongly disagree with in the previous posts. The OP will not be competing for jobs against unemployed 10,000 Germans. These are often people with low educational background, a history of unemployment, and I'd guess very few are qualified to teach English. There IS also an extensive support network of expats - in Berlin, this is definitely the case. But just go to for 5 min. and you'll see international groups meeting in all the big cities of Germany. So, the OP will not be alone if he/she is good at networking.

Other areas of work where non-EU, non-German speakers are finding jobs and getting work permits - anything in the arts (dance, theater, photography, writing, illustration, arts & crafts, graphic design, etc.) and IT/start-ups (especially in Berlin). As I said, my company Expath exists to help people in exactly this situation, we're easy to find online and although we are Berlin-based we can provide advice on moving anywhere in Germany!
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Phillip Schofield

Joined: 02 Feb 2015
Posts: 116
Location: The Land of Pelmeni and Honey

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Teaching English in Germany Reply with quote

Shaytess wrote:

One point I strongly disagree with in the previous posts. The OP will not be competing for jobs against unemployed 10,000 Germans.

I meant 10,000 other expats all trying to teach English.
An exaggeration, of course, but it certainly feels like it.

As a graphic designer and illustrator I still had a hard time. The amount of startups I applied for and were rejected by was frustrating, especially when I knew that what they required me to do was extremely simple for someone of my background. I assume (to question otherwise would be to cause myself more despair) that I was deemed overqualified for the positions.

Well, it sounds like your little agency is a useful one. A shame I didn't know about it when I lived there.
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Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15343

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Germans are not renowned for their Philoxenia.
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