With millions of visitors every year, Greece is a country with a remarkable history, beautiful beaches, delectable cuisine, and a Mediterranean climate to boot. It's no wonder that it's one of Europe's top holiday destinations, and this helps foster demand among the locals to learn English. So, if you'd like to teach English in Greece opportunities are awaiting you.
Read on to learn more about how you can get a job teaching English in Greece.
Greeks recognize that learning English can provide them with important socioeconomic and educational opportunities. Even after going through an economic crisis, opportunities in the TEFL job market persist, although you'll need to be an EU citizen to have the best chance of securing work.
Most institutions in Greece offer year-to-year contracts and there are a number of places where you can apply as an English teacher. Private language schools hire the largest number of native English speakers every year. You can also work at one of the international schools, or you can offer private lessons as a tutor. Some who have recently graduated also opt to teach through teaching assistant programs. Let's take a closer look at the different options:
The easiest way to become an English teacher in Greece is to gain employment at one of the many language schools, or frontistiria, all over the country. Language schools are popular with students of all ages, especially in the main cities such as Athens, Patra, and Thessaloniki. You’ll be able to find schools that cater to young learners to professionals seeking to further their careers.
Many students of private language schools either go to school or work in the mornings so you’d likely be assigned to classes that start quite early or late. You may also be expected to work during lunch hours and weekends to be able to provide lessons based on your students’ schedules.
The working hours from one language school alone may not be enough to sustain you during your stay in the country, so you may have to work for two or three private language schools at one time to get enough students.
There are a total of nineteen international schools in Greece. The British and American ones are the most popular. These schools use a different curriculum which requires native English teachers in the classroom. They provide education from kindergarten to high school, which makes them a perfect choice for ESL teachers who enjoy teaching English to young learners.
Note that this type of learning institution only hires teachers who have proper teaching licenses from their home country. If you are an undergraduate or hold a diploma that is not from an education major, you will find it difficult to secure a teaching position at an international school. Not only is the competition stiffer, thanks to the higher than regular compensation, but the standards are also higher.
Besides working in a school or at a language academy, many ESL teachers also offer private English classes to boost their income.
ESL lessons can be given at the residence of the teacher, at a tutorial center, or the workplace or home of the student. This means you may need to do a lot of traveling should you choose to become a private English tutor and you may find yourself giving lessons after school and work hours.
Many Greek parents want their children to be fluent in English in preparation. However, the majority of the students seeking assistance are professionals who want to improve their business English, or college students who wish to be able to study at an English-speaking university and require C2 proficiency.
It's quite difficult to secure English teaching jobs at a Greek public or private school since these institutions require most of their teaching staff to have a work visa. And if you are a non-EU citizen, you’ll have a very difficult time securing that document to legally teach English in Greece.
However, if you're not an EU citizen and you want to work at such learning institutions, you can go through a program that places teaching assistants in elementary and secondary schools in Greece. One example of such a program is the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program. American citizens who qualify under it become ambassadors in Greece and serve as local teachers’ assistants for eleven months. The grants from the Fulbright program cover housing and maintenance allowance.
On average, English teachers in Greece can earn from $800 to $1,200. Experienced teachers can negotiate for higher pay. For example. Some TEFL teachers with five years of relevant teaching experience can ask for $1,300 a month. Those with over 10 years of experience can command up to $2,000 per month. Additionally, you may be able to ask for a higher salary if you have a Master’s degree, particularly in education or linguistics.
Since the salary of regular teachers is quite low, many ESL teachers also work as private tutors, charging from $10 to $20 per hour of English lessons.
English teachers usually get free health insurance from their employers. Some also get paid holidays. Housing allowances are quite rare. Relocation bonuses and airfare reimbursements are also not offered commonly.
To teach English in Greece you'll need to be TEFL certified and possess a bachelor's degree. You'll also need to be an EU citizen or hold a work visa to be considered for teaching jobs.
Aside from that, the basic requirement for securing English teaching jobs in Greece is fluency in English. While it is preferred that you come from the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, or New Zealand, some employers may consider native English-speaking citizens from other countries.
Let's take a look at some of the common requirements Greek employers look for:
Most language schools require their applicants to have CELTA/TESOL/TEFL certification. This is the minimum qualification most would look for, especially for non-EU citizens wishing to work in Greece. It is proof that you have sufficient qualifications to give English instructions.
Fortunately, getting a TEFL certification is quite easy nowadays. You can enroll for an online TEFL course and study during evenings and weekends. It won’t even interfere with your work or regular studies.
Plus, some TEFL course providers help their students get placed in language schools all over the world as soon as they finish their TEFL course. This is actually considered one of the most effective ways to find opportunities if you plan to teach English abroad.
A bachelor's degree is another basic requirement for any English teaching job in Greece, especially in public or private schools. Those seeking to work as teaching assistants under various programs are also required to finish a university or college degree to qualify. The good news is that the degree does not need to be in education.
If you plan on teaching at an international school, you may need to have a valid teacher’s license. A bachelor’s degree is required to be able to secure that.
Finding work as an English teacher in Greece can be quite challenging for non-EU citizens. Most private and public schools prefer to hire residents, EU citizens, or individuals who already have work permits. If you are an EU citizen, you can come to Greece and work with just your passport or any valid ID.
As for non-EU citizens, there is still a chance to find work as native English is still preferred in this country when teaching English. Schools still look for native English speakers to teach classes. If you do find an employer that is willing to help you get a work visa, you’ll need to have a valid passport ready.
US, UK, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand nationals can enter and stay in the country for up to 90 days without a visa. This period may be used to search for jobs. However, you cannot be legally employed. Some schools may offer positions for tourist visa holders but the compensation will be low and under the table. Plus, if you get discovered working without a visa, you can be deported or even banned from coming back to Greece for up to 10 years.
If you do find an employer willing to sponsor your visa application, you must obtain a formal job offer from them. Once you have the job offer, you have to go back home and begin the application process.
Have your employer submit all of the necessary documents to the OAED. The employer must make a payment to formally begin the process. Some employers may ask you to put up this amount yourself.
If the application is accepted, your employer will forward a copy of the formal work contract to the Greek consulate of your home country. The consulate will invite you for an interview. After this interview, you’ll be granted a work visa. This entire process can take at least two months, however, some can extend beyond that.
Once you have your work visa, you can go back to Greece and apply for a tax number and residence permit. You must also register for national insurance. Complete all the paperwork within 30 days or else you’ll be forced to depart and go through the entire process again.
There are several locations to choose from if you're looking for TEFL jobs in Greece. Most of the international schools and language academies can be found in Athens but there are also opportunities to be found in other cities.
Let's take a look at some of the best locations for teaching English in Greece:
You will love Athens, especially if you are a history buff. It's the heart of Ancient Greece and every corner can be an important historical landmark.
Modern Athens also has a lot to offer. It is a great place if you love shopping and Greek food. As an English teacher, you will find numerous opportunities in this city as it is the home of most international schools in this country. A large number of language academies are also here.
This stunning port city is an amazing option for ESL teachers who enjoy living by the sea. While it is not as historical as Athens, you will still find a lot of important landmarks to visit here.
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in terms of population. This translates to many students requiring ESL lessons there and you should be able to find a few students to tutor here. It is also home to some international schools.
Another place to consider is Attica. It is a popular tourist destination where you can find famous archeological sites situated a few meters away from modern cultural centers. History lovers will find Attica the perfect place to call home with its numerous museums and historical sites.
Since tourists abound here, you will easily find people who want to improve their English to cater to these foreign visitors. Koropi, a suburban town in Attica, is the location of Lawrence College. So, you might also find students here wanting to improve their English for their English proficiency exams.
One way to find teaching jobs in Greece is to go there and personally apply to the different language schools in the area. Many institutions will favor those who apply in person over those who send their applications online.
It will also help if you already know some teachers who are working there so that they can vouch for you. For this, you’d need to join forums and social media groups for teachers working or wishing to work in Greece.
Another way is to enroll in a TEFL course that offers placement services. These TEFL courses will train you (for a minimum of 120 hours) and then help you find a position with some of their language school partners or contacts after you receive your TEFL certification.
It is best to apply to become an ESL teacher around September or October. You can also try around the beginning of the year when the contracts of teachers are ending. Since teaching jobs are not as lucrative in this country, many teachers choose to vacate their positions once their contracts expire. If you are there at the right time, you may be able to swoop in and take the position for yourself.
As a TEFL teacher abroad, it’s important that you take the time to research the country’s etiquette and classroom culture, as it can be way different from what you’re used to back home! Teachers should be mindful and understanding of their host country’s practices and traditions in order to transition smoothly into their new environment.
The Greeks are quite traditional when it comes to dressing, particularly inside the classroom. They prefer that the teachers dress modestly. As a woman, this means you need to wear something that covers your shoulders and knees. A blouse and long skirt should do. Men should wear button-down shirts and long pants.
Greeks expect you to arrive on time because they value punctuality. Therefore, meetings and activities almost always start on time. Consider this if you are traveling to a student’s home as well. Traffic can get bad so make sure to allow sufficient time for commuting.
Always greet people politely. Make sure to keep eye contact even if you are saying hello to a stranger on the street. When you come into a room, you are expected to greet everyone, sometimes with a handshake. You have to do this when you leave as well. Elders are highly respected in this country so make sure to afford them courtesy.
Note that while the thumbs-up sign is acceptable, the okay hand gesture (thumb and pointer finger joined) is not. Avoid nodding also as this is seen as impolite. Say yes out loud instead.
Greece has arguably one of the lowest costs of living compared to other European countries, although living in larger cities like Athens tends to be more expensive than the rest of the Greek islands. Most ESL teachers can afford to live in the country comfortably even if the average salary is quite low.
As always, renting an apartment or a house is going to take the biggest chunk of your salary. Given that the price of accommodation in Greece has drastically gone down during the economic crisis, renting an apartment is relatively cheap. However, it can still cost a quarter of what you can earn each month. In other words, you'll be looking at $175 to $300 a month if you live in shared accommodation. Rent is much cheaper, by about fifty percent, outside the city center.
Basic utilities will cost you about $30 to 80 a month. This covers electricity, water, gas, and garbage disposal. If you need internet access, you need to add around $20 to that monthly expense.
Traveling is easy and affordable throughout the cities in Greece. Buses are available in most cities and a metro system can be found in Athens. The cost of a monthly transport pass is $30. You can also take a taxi for $12. All in all, you can expect to spend between $30 to $45 a month on transportation.
Greece is a favorite destination for travelers, but it is also a great location to live and work. The workweek of most language schools here tends to be shorter than in other countries so teachers get to enjoy more time exploring their surroundings.
Many ESL teachers choose Greece for the unique experiences it offers. Outside of the classroom you can you can visit the numerous ruins in the area, spend an entire day on the sands of Santorini, or swim at Shipwreck Cove in Zakynthos. Greece is home to many famous historical places like the Parthenon or temples found on Cape Sounion.
You can also shed the stress of the week by sitting on the beach and having a glass or two of the best Assyrtiko wine or the famous ouzo. And not to be missed are authentic Greek dishes like the tasty Souvlaki, Moussaka, or the hearty Fasolatha.
So, if this sounds good to you why not explore teaching English in Greece? If you can find and secure a teaching job we don't think that you'd regret it!
Still looking for more information? Check out some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding English teaching jobs in Greece below.
The average monthly salary for English teachers working in Greece is quite modest. It ranges from $800 to about $1,100 per month depending on your teaching experience and other qualifications. Teachers also offer English classes either in person or online to supplement their incomes.
Yes, English teachers are very much in demand in Greece. Most families want their children to be proficient in English. Additionally, more professionals want to learn business English to be able to transact with their international clients. However, securing a teaching position can be difficult for non-EU citizens because of the complicated and expensive procedure of securing a work visa.
To be able to teach English in Greece, you will need a bachelor’s degree (preferably majoring in education), and a TEFL certification. You will also need native-level English proficiency, a valid passport, and a work visa.
Yes, it is possible to teach in Greece without speaking its language. However, you will find it more interesting and convenient if you at least have a basic understanding. Greetings and common phrases will help you to get around. Plus, speaking with the friendly locals will make your experience much more meaningful.