Language teachers' salaries in Germany

44 posts in this topic

Hi everyone!

I'm moving to live and work in Germany and I am currently in the process of applying for various teaching jobs. I have a very vague idea of what EFL teachers are paid in Germany, the search results from this forum are a little outdated, I suspect. Working at a language school, what sum can I expect to be paid for 45 min? What would be a reasonable amount to ask for? I am a fully qualified teacher with more than 10 years of experience.

Any info and recommendations/warnings are welcome! :)

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Most schools I know of (and work for..) have not increased their pay rates in over ten years..

 

Pay will depend on where you live.. I don't know about places like Munich, Hamburg, etc.. But in those places you'd need triple what you'd earn in Berlin I think.. Berlin is one of my favorite cities, but I'd never teach there.. - couldn't afford to..

 

Anyway, there is no national average. I would think though that with your experience you'd have to hope for €20ish per unit for starters.. There are places though where you just won't get that..

 

I honestly more and more think that double (and in some cases triple..) that is completely legitimate, because in the sparse times it's so hard to string together enough 90-minute lessons (what everyone seems to want these days..), factoring in commuting, cancellations, etc.. to live off.. The state of ESL in Germany has not improved much in the last ten years. On the contrary...

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It really does depend on the city. The lowest payers (in my experience) tend to be the big-business type language schools (like Berlitz or WS School of English) while the highest would be those that serve businesses (although some of them pay just as little as the private language schools). It depends on what kind of teaching you want to do. Some companies that serve big business clients (and would then call you a trainer), want you to travel to a different site every week, so there are big costs in transportation and planning.

 

If you can build up a private clientele, you could stand to make decent money in private lessons.

 

I've taught at universities in the US and here and there are very big differences. In Germany, you are primarily paid for the time in class, actually teaching here. Prep time is not included.

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But that's why a "teaching unit" is 45 minutes...

 

What's really dispicable is when schools try to not pay travel costs...

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Regarding travel costs.. I made sure that I (nearly) only accepted classes within the centre of town. Sometimes I'd be paid for travel time and then I would (sometimes) accept those classes if they were interesting or there were a lot altogether (say 3 double lessons all morning).

 

Prices paid can be as low as EUR 10 for some schools to about EUR 22 at other schools. This was my experience about 3 or 4 years ago. I am in Dusseldorf.

 

The best thing to do is to cultivate business clients of your own. Brush up on business language and what business people need - e.g. English for presentations, for negotiations, telephoning, and the like. Then put together seminars and courses of your own and market them to schools. You could offer courses that go once a week, weekend seminars, day seminars, exam preparation courses (e.g. TOEIC). You could do seminars on 'American Business Culture'.

 

Working for other people is not so profitable. Work for yourself but don't forget that you have to be a business person - not some airy-fairy dilettante. (You can be one of those in your free time.)

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I agree with a lot of what's already been said above. I work in Frankfurt and the surrounding areas where the rates are generally higher, but they haven't changed much over the past 6/7 years.

 

The general breakdown is as follows:

 

A reputable language school, anything between 22 and 26 Euro per 45 minute lesson.

 

An agent will pay a bit more, anything up to about 35 Euro per 45 minute lesson.

 

A contract directly with a company, the average here is 42 to 45 Euro per 45 minute lesson.

 

To succeed at this, you'll need to be professional as there's a lot of competition out there. A nice website and some business cards are a must to show people that you're serious.

 

It would be good to know where exactly you're planning to look for work, then maybe someone on here can give you more advice on that particular area.

 

Good luck!

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I have realised that the OP is American and I don't think Americans can work on a freelance basis as easily as EU citizens can. In which case.. I'd say .. don't bother fiddling around with language schools here.

 

Try universities and colleges - although I know English teachers who have taught at, say, management schools who were also only given work on a freelance basis.

 

In which case.. try International Schools. They're usually run on a more US style and all in English.

 

But keep an eye open for anything with a contract at university level.

 

But .. frankly... thinking about it.. I really wouldn't advise you to come here to teach. Language schools with contracts (e.g. Inlingua - dubbed by me 'Dante's inner ring of hell') pay badly and don't treat you very well (there are some exceptions.. but Inlingua and Berlitz are franchise operations). The only chain I would recommend is Linguarama. but you'd make more money working on a freelance basis.. but as a US citizen.. bloody difficult.

 

EDIT.. I have re-checked and the original message says nothing about the nationality.. and neither does the profile of the poster. Just some silly little remark. Well, if you want advice, then it's best to give as much information as possible, otherwise you'll end up coming here and finding out that for people of your nationality, the situation is very different.

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Im American on a freelance English teaching visa and just in fact had mine renewed again for two years. Its not a problem when you have the right paperwork and can speak German to the rep at the immigration office.

 

Tap's prices are pretty spot on.

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I heard a few cases about 6 years ago when they started clamping down on US freelancers. One of my friends who is also a lawyer (he normally teaches lawyers these days) defended one guy because of this. Another one solved the problem by getting married. Maybe they've changed the rules again or are not enforcing them as vigorously as before.

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In which case.. try International Schools. They're usually run on a more US style and all in English.

 

Not true at all. There are a lot of different systems used in international schools (English curriculum (UK), Scottish curriculum, American curriculum, IPC, IB, state curriculum of the state in which the school is situated) and it depends upon each individual school as to what they use. All I can say is don't bother unless you have a school teacher certificate that would enable you to teach in a state school in your own country.

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When I was working in Stuttgart last year, the big chain language schools were paying 15 to 16 Euros per 45 minute unit. Teachers rarely stayed long, because as soon as they had acquired more experience and connections, they moved on to other, better-paying schools. My chain school treated me pretty well, afaik, but it was still a difficult life.

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Not true at all. There are a lot of different systems used in international schools (English curriculum (UK), Scottish curriculum, American curriculum, IPC, IB, state curriculum of the state in which the school is situated) and it depends upon each individual school as to what they use. All I can say is don't bother unless you have a school teacher certificate that would enable you to teach in a state school in your own country.

 

That's why I wrote 'usually' and 'on a more US style' (as opposed to German style). I didn't say they were all like that and completely like US schools. Just from what I can gather. But yes, I agree with your qualification.

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I heard a few cases about 6 years ago when they started clamping down on US freelancers. One of my friends who is also a lawyer (he normally teaches lawyers these days) defended one guy because of this. Another one solved the problem by getting married. Maybe they've changed the rules again or are not enforcing them as vigorously as before.

 

Well, Nina, Americans are allowed to look for work in their first three months here , which usually means freelancing as English teachers and without the Vorrang problem of non-EU citizens (ie only competing with Brits and Irish and the occasional Maltese or whatever ). Normally they need at least 2 job offers , though, and 100% proof of legal health insurance...is sometimes an expensive stumbling block.

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You'd be best off applying at the universities. The hours and pay are better and as far as I know, they only accept people who have been teaching for at least two years...and preferably "real" teachers, that is people with a degree in teaching and not any old person with a CELTA certificate.

 

In Berlin you can expect to earn from 10-15 euros per 45 minutes. Volkshochschule pays more but is hard to get into. I earn more at some courses, as much as 20 per 45 minutes but those classes require at least an hour of travel one way.

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Katherina;

 

If you have good references and a history of teaching adults then I suggest you check out Target Training (http://www.targettraining.eu/index.php?pag=cms&id=129).

 

Good Luck!

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I didn't read through all the posts here so I'm sorry if I'm repeating something that has already been said. I just wanted to share my experience. I'm currently working with three language schools (freelance basis). The pay varies considerably from one school to another. I get paid per unit between 16-20 euros. None of my schools have accepted to pay travel costs, but the good news is that you can refuse to take classes that are not close by. Of course there is a downside to that, you might end up having only 3 classes a week. I've had classes where my travel time to the class was close to 1 hour. Unless you take all classes that are offered to you, have a contract with at least 2 schools and are willing to work from 8am to 7pm, you're gonna have a bad time. As a freelance teacher, you are obliged to pay pension, health insurance, taxes etc. All your costs are on you.

 

To give you my example. I earn a month (with cancellations, etc.) between 800-1400 euros (and I don't get that all at once, all three schools have a fixed date when they pay: some on the 3rd, some on the 12th), the maximum I can do is 80 teaching units per month and some examinations (I did a TELC dual level examiner license in the hopes my income would increase). My costs every month (they do not change) are: Health insurance - 250€, Pension - 180€, Bus fare - 160€, Income tax - 80€. I'm not mentioning rent, utilities and all that because luckily my husband has a stable income. As you can see, just those costs sum up to 670€. During the slow months, where I make only 800€, you can imagine how depressing that is. I chose to pay income tax monthly and at the end of the year, I get back a few bucks, but not much.

 

I know a teacher that managed in three years to save up around €10,000 and go back to the states. But boy, was she working her ass off. She was up at 6am and was back home at 8pm.

 

Not to mention that some schools are very unorganized, they take advantage of the fact that we don't know the law, pay the invoice whenever they want to, and blame you for things that was their responsibility in the first place.

 

I don't want to put you off, this is just my experience and I wish you good luck with everything should you decide this is something you want to do.

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Reading a couple of these posts I feel like I am getting short changed.

 

I'm based near Köln. At the moment, my best paying job is €18 per 45minutes. My worst is €10 per 60minutes. I also have a pair of Nachhilfe students that I travel to once a week - I get €10 for each of them, and it takes me an hour to get there, and even longer back. Should I be asking for more money? Yes, of course. Can I afford to? Not really - I can take what I'm offered (or when I am asked to name my price, name something fairly modest), or I can risk them giving the work to someone else altogether.

 

I am not doing anywhere near as well as Avadava financially - I have used all my savings up, and only sometimes do I earn enough to cover my monthly expenses.

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plantwhisperer, I wonder how long you've been doing this job? Earning more comes with time, experience and reputation. When I started out, it was much the same, I took any job I was offered just so I could build up some experience. After a few years, people started coming to me and I could then carge more and gradually I was able to build up my own business.

 

Another point, you have to really like people, and teaching, to make a success of this. It won't happen overnight, but it can be done.

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Yes, I am quite shocked by two of the last three posts. When I was teaching from Monday to Friday, I was averaging about EUR 2500 before tax. Heck, even in the year 2000, I taught at a Euro Business School and earned DM 1 per minute. So DM 45 for 45 minutes - about EUR 22.50 now. And that was 12 years ago.

 

Then I and a colleague did mini-weekend seminars at one company a few times a year (2 x 90 mins each on Friday as of 4 p.m. and 2 x 90 mins plus 1 x 60 mins - plus breaks inbetween on Saturday morning from 9 a.m.) and we EACH received EUR 500 plus VAT for those seminars. We were doing stuff like telephoning English and stuff like that.

 

If you're not making an income from being a native English speaker, then you're just not business-minded enough. Get some business books, learn about marketing, pinch some teaching/course ideas off the Internet. But become a better business person.

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I would add though, long-term, it is simply not possible to "make a success of this". Maybe 0.5% of teachers out there get some nice plush full-time job at a uni or whatever and will keep it til retirement... But the rule is, scraping by, hoping for enough hours to pay the bills, and a neverending revolving door of new 23-year olds fresh out of uni willing to live in WG's, just stick around for a year, and oftentimes with financial support from home.. Warm, native-speaking bodies... So yeah, €10 an hour happens.

 

It's true though - you have to become firmer in your self-confidence and more self-assured in selling yourself. And yes, sometimes they will just say no or not even answer your emails when you say €30 an hour.

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