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Two Questions
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AdamtheJohnson



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:36 pm    Post subject: Two Questions Reply with quote

...that I could probably find if I read around some more.

1) Do you need a master's to teach in Prague? Follow up question, what is the likelihood of securing a position with only a Bachelor's degree in a non-teaching field and no experience?

2) Where are most teachers placed? I would really prefer the city center of Prague but would consider something 30 mins or less outside, if by bus or train.

I recently saw a special on Prague and sort of fell in love with the atmosphere there. I'm a big Tarkovsky fan and his homemade Polaroids are so similar to what I saw in the TV special, and it's just breathtaking.
So I put Prague on my list of TEFL locales, but know almost nothing abotu it at this juncture. Any help would be appreciated!

Adam
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9589
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The vast majority of the work in Prague is for those at newbie level. An MA is pretty useless for entry-level work and doesn't pay off in most cases in terms of 'better' jobs - there just aren't that many around and those few that are require good local language skills and reputation and contacts.

So, no, your BA will be fine.

As for being 'placed' in the city centre, it sounds like you may have misunderstood a few basics for this market.

1. A certification training centre can give you good contacts with reputable local employers, but you are still responsible for your CV writing, job interview, demo lesson, and contract negotiation process yourself. It's not like just training and then walking into some job arranged for you by others.

2. The vast majority of the work is teaching businesspeople in their offices. Expect to spend much of your day travelling from business to business. You may find that you've got a few school-based classes, where students come to you, but they are the minority.

3. Most teachers are responsible for finding their own housing, usually a flat-share. Schools may provide assistance with this, but it's not common that a school has housing for its teachers, whether in the city centre or outside (and I can guarantee that if they did, it would be outside the centre!!).

Keep in mind that Prague is very much an employers' market. There are lots of teachers to go around, thanks to the fact that the city is a training centre mecca. It's competitive, and wages are relatively low to cost of living. It's a beautiful city and teaching/living there is do-able, but go for the culture and beauty, not to get ahead financially.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9589
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) Do you need a master's to teach in Prague? Follow up question, what is the likelihood of securing a position with only a Bachelor's degree in a non-teaching field and no experience?

Sorry, I only addressed this indirectly above. You WILL need a CELTA or equivalent certification to compete on this job market. There are lots of reputable courses offered in Prague, and trying to compete without one would be very frustrating, with all the newly certified teachers around.
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AdamtheJohnson



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, so BA is fine but CELTA is required.

Yes, I woudl be going there for culture and experience - which is why living in the city center in Prague is very important to me. While I find the Czech countrstside to be quite beautiful, IT would be the excursion from the norm, not the other way around, for me.

So would I be able to live and work in Prague? Are there openings? Places to live?
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smithryansmith



Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll second everything that Spiral has said and add a tidbit or two.

This is probably the worst the Prague market has been and its showing no signs of getting better. Long gone are the days when a TEFL certificate and being a native speaker was enough to get a job. Many jobs now have 20 applicants minimum and many with experience who will work for proverbial peanuts.

I think I should also mention that being an EU citizen is almost a REQUIREMENT in Prague these days. Most employers wont even talk to Americans, Canadians, Austrailians, etc. unless they have a business license. The work permit is just too expensive.

Most of the newbees in Prague that I knew last year were able to stay for about 6 months and put themselves massively into debt doing so.

Sorry to be all doom and gloom but the glory days of TEFL teaching in Prague are long gone. Unless you are prepared to risk going into massive debt, think twice about it.
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AdamtheJohnson



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh well, I guess. I was hoping to get somewhere in the EU with jst a bachelor's, but I guess it's back to Asia for me.
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smithryansmith



Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, if you want to try Europe, most non-EU teachers seem to be having better luck east of here. Turkey and Ukraine.
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AdamtheJohnson



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nah, it's all about Prague, man. Maybe I'll just go on holiday eventually.
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Praguegirl



Joined: 26 Jan 2010
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am an American woman who has been living and working in Prague for a year and a half now. I have legally held three different jobs, and currently work for James Cook Languages and TEFL Worldwide Prague. I interact closely with our students to help them find jobs, and stay in contact with them long after the course. I have many American friends in Prague, and the majority of them teach English (legally.)

I can guarantee you that what smithryansmith said is simply not true. There was a period last year (from about September 2009 through December 2009) when there was a bit of a hiring freeze and our students found it difficult to get jobs for a time. That was followed by a period of a couple of months early this year when the visa requirements changed (mainly the insurance rules and which types are acceptable,) and some teachers were denied visas as a result. However that situation was quickly resolved, and as of our January class, our students have had little difficulty getting jobs in Prague and obtaining a visa to work legally. Whenever we become aware of such issues, we immediately let current and potential students know, and do everything we can to help them.

Companies regularly call us asking if we have teachers avialable, and we have an average of 3-5 graduates per class who stay in Prague to work. They certainly have no problems at least getting an interview, and most of them are able to find jobs. One of the students from the last class went back to the US for two weeks after the course, and already has 3 interviews arranged for later this week when she gets back. As I work for James Cook, I can guarantee you that they are willing to hire Americans, and that they work with a visa company to ensure the visa process will be succesful. IJV reguarly hires our graduates and takes care of the visa process for them (free of charge.) Our graduates also regularly get hired at preschools and kindergardens around Prague. While these schools offer various amounts of support in the visa process, my Czech colleague and I are more than willing to offer as much help as we can. We have met with a visa company to clarify the requirements, and are reguarly in contact with her to keep up to date with changes. My colleague has made countless phone calls to the foreigners police, US embassys and Czech embassys to help students get visas.

The bottom line is this: there are jobs in Prague, and Prague schools are perfectly willing to hire Americans. If you follow the procedures and get your papers in on time, it is very likely that you will get a visa. Anyone who says otherwise is not talking based on facts. The main qualifications for getting a job in Prague are a TEFL Certificate (It does NOT have to be CELTA either, just the equivalent,) and for most jobs a University degree. (Though we have had graduates without degress sucessfully find degrees as well.) It's not that hard if you put your mind to it and go after what you want!
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AdamtheJohnson



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Praguegirl wrote:
I am an American woman who has been living and working in Prague for a year and a half now. I have legally held three different jobs, and currently work for James Cook Languages and TEFL Worldwide Prague. I interact closely with our students to help them find jobs, and stay in contact with them long after the course. I have many American friends in Prague, and the majority of them teach English (legally.)

I can guarantee you that what smithryansmith said is simply not true. There was a period last year (from about September 2009 through December 2009) when there was a bit of a hiring freeze and our students found it difficult to get jobs for a time. That was followed by a period of a couple of months early this year when the visa requirements changed (mainly the insurance rules and which types are acceptable,) and some teachers were denied visas as a result. However that situation was quickly resolved, and as of our January class, our students have had little difficulty getting jobs in Prague and obtaining a visa to work legally. Whenever we become aware of such issues, we immediately let current and potential students know, and do everything we can to help them.

Companies regularly call us asking if we have teachers avialable, and we have an average of 3-5 graduates per class who stay in Prague to work. They certainly have no problems at least getting an interview, and most of them are able to find jobs. One of the students from the last class went back to the US for two weeks after the course, and already has 3 interviews arranged for later this week when she gets back. As I work for James Cook, I can guarantee you that they are willing to hire Americans, and that they work with a visa company to ensure the visa process will be succesful. IJV reguarly hires our graduates and takes care of the visa process for them (free of charge.) Our graduates also regularly get hired at preschools and kindergardens around Prague. While these schools offer various amounts of support in the visa process, my Czech colleague and I are more than willing to offer as much help as we can. We have met with a visa company to clarify the requirements, and are reguarly in contact with her to keep up to date with changes. My colleague has made countless phone calls to the foreigners police, US embassys and Czech embassys to help students get visas.

The bottom line is this: there are jobs in Prague, and Prague schools are perfectly willing to hire Americans. If you follow the procedures and get your papers in on time, it is very likely that you will get a visa. Anyone who says otherwise is not talking based on facts. The main qualifications for getting a job in Prague are a TEFL Certificate (It does NOT have to be CELTA either, just the equivalent,) and for most jobs a University degree. (Though we have had graduates without degress sucessfully find degrees as well.) It's not that hard if you put your mind to it and go after what you want!


That's very encouraging. Though I dont have any sort of CELTA. Would I be able to get one IN Prague/CR and immediately transition into working?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9589
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The peak hiring seasons are Sept/Oct and a second, smaller one in January. Timing could be very important....if you plan to take a course in the month or so before a time period when employers are hiring, then you can minimise the up-front expenses you will incur in the process.
There may be work open in other periods, but the openings will be fewer (so possibly more competition) by definition.

Realistically, I think that it's yet to be seen what the current hiring climate will be next month. Hopefully the economy has improved overall, more businesses will be planning language courses for their staff, and things will pick up as compared to last year.


When teachers are more in demand, obviously chances for non-EU candidates (who are more trouble and expense for employers who help with the work permit process - the only ones you want to work for, Adam) increase as well.

Also, you might re-read my point 1 in the post above. I tried to describe how taking a cert course in-country would realistically help....definitely useful in terms of contacts with reputable employers in the city. This can be invaluable.
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mr tree



Joined: 09 Oct 2007
Posts: 112
Location: Prague, CzR

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam - yes, you would absolutely need a TEFL certificate of some sort, and don't be tricked into a "cheaper option" like a weekend course, an online course or an Oxford Seminars course - there are people here with better qualifications than those, so they would get the job ahead of you.

A full course takes four weeks to complete and costs around 1000 euros. (or more?). There are three or four options where you can take the course in Prague, which might provide a little acclimatization and access to the local market (the advantages spiral spoke of). But there are thousands of places around the world offering these courses too, so you have options...

Ryansmith's "20 applicants to a position" may be OTT but my experiences are certainly closer to his than Praguegirl's. A colleague's American gf moved here in January 2010 and had to work for absolute peanuts and get up before 6am in that lovely -20C winter we had. That was a low point and the market might well have picked up, but RIGHT NOW would be the best time to apply for jobs as schools prepare for the new year, but as of right now you're unqualified - no way you'd get a job.

Even with a qualification, Ryan's right to say that there was certainly a few months where non-EU people were basically not considered. You've gotta remember, there's a recession on, there's jobless people in England and Ireland, and they hear too about this "take this training course and work anywhere in the world" idea. As a hiring manager, if you're faced with two applicants, one from the EU and one non-EU, you'll choose the EU every time. It might be discriminatory, but it's a ****load less paperwork too Smile

The situation may have changed over the summer - I've had my ear away from the ground a little Wink I'd imagine a fair few people left Prague because of the worsening conditions, so that might have created some fluidity in the job market.

As for where you'd be based, it would be possible to live and work in Prague, no problem. Centre? You certainly would want to live NEAR, rather than IN the centre. Less expensive, nicer apartments, less hassle from idiot tourists. As for work, it depends on the locations of the offices you'd be sent to
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AdamtheJohnson



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is all extremely interesting. I would need to get my cert with that program.

It's already August though. I guess I've missed the peak season already. Will the spring season be as lucrative?

This and going to university in France seem to be my ONLY options to get into the parts of Europe I want for an extended time. So I'm highly considering both.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9589
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I mentioned before, there is usually a second, smaller hiring wave in January (partly to replace teachers who don't return after the winter holidays, and partly to meet the needs of clients who signed new contracts for language classes beginning at the start of the year).

It's smaller than the normal September hiring season, and so may be more competitive.

Most contracts are Sept - June. Expect to have unpaid off time in July and August. You might get lucky and find a summer camp to work at, but there's little going on in the traditional holiday months.
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AdamtheJohnson



Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the typical rate vs cost of living in Prague?
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