Hungary might not be the first destination you have in mind when thinking of teaching English abroad. However, you’ll be surprised to know that there is a high demand for native English speakers with a Bachelor’s degree. A recent insert into the European Union in 2004, Hungary is rapidly expanding its education system and international business market. As such, there are many opportunities to teach English in Hungary. Best yet, teaching English in Hungary is ideal because of its central location to popular European destinations such as France and Poland.
Starting your journey you will fly to Ferihegy Airport in Budapest, and if you decide to work outside of the capital, you will connect a short flight, bus, or train from here. No matter where you decide to work, Hungarians take their education seriously. Almost 5% of Hungary’s GDP is spent on education.
Continue reading to find out why more and more people are teaching English in Hungary every year.
Teaching English in Hungary
Most of the full-time work in Hungary comes from colleges, universities, or primary and secondary schools. Occasionally, you can find full-time work in a private language center, or with a company, however, these are not as common. If you are a native English speaker with a bachelor’s degree and TEFL or CELTA certification, you will have an easy time finding work. And if you have a master’s or Ph.D. you might not need further English teaching certification.
If you want to experience the unique culture and fantastic hospitality of an Eastern European destination while saving money, then Hungary might be the ideal destination for you. If you are looking for a destination with more international connections, consider Prague, or the Czech Republic.
Requirements to Teach ESL in Hungary
To work in Hungary, you will need a few things. Check out this list for a quick reference.
- A Bachelor’s degree
- Travel documentation
- Experience teaching English
Remember that if you have a higher degree, you might not need TEFL certification. Also, some newer or lower-paying schools seeking native English speakers might not require TEFL certification. However, the better-paying jobs require TEFL certification, and it always makes you more employable.
There are also many international and private schools that require CELTA certification. These requirements can be a little confusing at first, but check out www.eslspeaking.org for more information. If you have these qualifications, you will then usually do an in-person interview. Once that’s completed, you are on your way to teaching English in Hungary.
If you are an EU National, then you don’t need a visa to work in Hungary. Your employer will get a labor permit for you, and then your passport will suffice. However, all other international teachers working in Hungary except for Britain need a work visa and residence permit. The process to get your permits has been simplified in recent years and most schools provide help with submitting your papers. There are also organizations like the CETP, which help place teachers in schools in Central Europe.
In addition to copies of your degree and a doctor’s letter stating that you are in good health, including a copy of lab results for TB, you will also need to remember that almost all official paperwork in Hungary requires your mother’s maiden name and the city where you were born. Be prepared to have all this information ready.
Teaching English in Hungary Salary and Benefits
An English teacher’s salary in Hungary can vary depending on which type of job you get. On average, you can plan fr around HUF 150,000 – 200,000 or about 700 – 1,000 USD per month. Keep in mind, these averages are for a 25-hour workweek, so you can work independently if you want to increase your savings. You will find higher salaries at colleges, universities, and international schools, mostly in the larger schools.
Housing accommodations and subsidizations are frequently a part of employment packages, so this makes living in Hungary much easier. Unfortunately, except for university positions, airfare is not usually reimbursed or subsidized. However, your local travel costs, for trains and busses are usually covered.
Types of English Teaching Jobs in Hungary
Most of the full-time work comes from colleges, universities, or primary and secondary schools, and also private language centers. Each of these institutions will help you with your work permit. Fortunately, private tutoring and adult education are thriving in Hungary, so you can supplement your salary. Budapest has a thriving business and international community, where adults are seeking to upgrade their skills with English. Although most contracts end in June, some pay throughout the summer if you are renewing in the next school year. And if not, you can work at a summer school camp for around 25 hours a week.
Central European Teaching Program (CETP)
Since 1991, the Central European Teaching Program (CETP) is a program that places teachers outside of Budapest, in the smaller cities and towns of Hungary. Applicants will pay a placement fee (though this is being waived in recent years for rural areas), and reap the benefits of this fantastic program.
From housing to healthcare, to travel, your life will be made easier by applying to this program. You can even bring your dependents with you, and get help deferring student loans. CETP jobs are known for having the best perks and benefits, like paid holidays and high flexibility. And you get to do all of this while exploring the lesser-known side of Hungary.
Things to Know About TEFL in Hungary
Want to know what it’s like in Hungary before you start applying? This section will give you a quick look at life teaching English in Hungary.
Teaching English in Budapest
Budapest is a very popular destination to teach English in Hungary for many reasons. The international city attracts many businesses and people, which means many opportunities for teachers. Over 3 million people live in the Budapest Metropolitan Area, almost a third of the country’s population.
The history of the city is as ancient as Europe itself. From the Celts to the Romans and the Mongols, Budapest has historical stories on every block. And you can see these crossing cultures in the many forms of architecture throughout the city. Even better is the subtropical climate, where summers are hot and winters are mild.
Because of all these fantastic qualities, and the fact that jobs in Budapest have higher salaries and better benefits, competition for work in Budapest is higher than elsewhere in Hungary. If you are qualified and experienced, however, you won’t have difficulty landing a great job.
Work and Social Culture in Hungary
Hungary has fantastic hospitality and a welcoming culture, especially in smaller cities. While larger cities like Budapest keep this integral charm, they also have an international, European culture. Here you will find that family values and community are prioritized, so don’t be caught off guard if you are welcomed into your community. The Hungarian people are used to relying on their neighbours through good and bad times, and as you work there, you will feel that attitude. They work hard, re-use what they can, and take care of their own.
Classroom culture can vary greatly depending on whether you are working at a public or private institution. The better-funded schools have serious attitudes towards education that come with higher expectations for their teachers. However, although the public schools are usually less funded, they provide teachers with the best opportunities to engage with the Hungarian community as a whole.
Do you have a quick question about how to teach English in Hungary? Don’t worry. These are the most commonly asked questions.
When should I look for English teaching jobs in Hungary?
School begins in September and ends in June, so looking before both of these dates is a good idea. Most of the schools begin advertising early in the spring and finish by late summer.
How should I look for English teaching jobs in Hungary?
Organizations like the Central European Teaching Program (CETP) place teachers in schools outside of Budapest, in the smaller cities of Hungary. You can also contact schools directly and visit local jobs boards. Other than these online options, one of the best ways to look for work in Hungary is to get your TEFL certification in Budapest and look for work via word of mouth.
Can I save money while teaching English in Hungary?
Fortunately, the cost of living in Hungary is very affordable. Often, housing accommodations or subsidizations will be a part of your offer. In smaller towns, a teacher may even be given an entire house to rent to themselves. Monthly transportation passes cost about 30 USD per month but are often subsidized by your school. Healthcare is also covered. While salaries are lower in Eastern European countries, benefits like this and a low cost of living make saving money in Hungary very possible.
What is the average salary for English teaching jobs in Hungary?
For a 25 hour work week, you can expect to earn between 700 – 1,000 USD per month with healthcare and housing subsidizations.
What qualifications do I need to teach English in Hungary?
To work in Hungary you will need a university or college degree and most language schools require TEFL or CELTA certification. If you have a higher degree, you might not need further certifications.
Join the Conversation to Teach English in Hungary
What are your thoughts about teaching English in this amazing country? Is it the right option for you, or are you looking for a high-paying European destination like Sweden? If the climate and culture are what interests you, Spain is an amazing place for teachers to practice their craft.