ESL TEFL English Teacher Salary in Germany

An ESL teacher in Germany salary ranges city to city and state to state. It’s also is important to note that the salary for an English teacher in Germany changes depending on who you contract with. Language schools tend to pay an average of 10-20 per 45 minutes of class instruction. The major chains typically pay the least. The next tier would be independent agents. They pay a little bit more (I can’t exactly pinpoint a number here because I have never dealt with an independent agent). The final level of pay – which pays the most – is contracting directly with businesses and people.

Note: I have another blog about how to find TEFL jobs in Germany. You can find it here.

There are pros and cons of language schools, working with agents, and contracting with businesses and people directly. I plan to blog about that soon. The questions that I always receive from people who want to teach English in Germany are typically “Can I make a comfortable living?” “How much can I make?” “How do I start?”. These are tough questions because the salaries and cost of living change depending on where you live in Germany. To help explain this, I took the top seven largest cities in Germany and researched what people earn in each city.

Before I go on, I have to give a few disclaimers. My main goal was to provide information that gives a general overview. Moreover, I used language schools as a measuring point to get a general idea of what teachers earn. I chose language schools because they are typically the best starting point for new English teachers in Germany. They are also great places to network and meet other people. Finally, I gathered this information from my contacts and message forums online.  This is by no means a comprehensive list or a promise of earnings. This should however, provide a general overview of how much money you could potentially make at the beginning.  You should also take note that many things (especially taxes) are more expensive in Germany. I plan to write about these topics in the future.

One final disclaimer: If you chose to move to Germany and teach English, try to research as much as you can before your move and start networking with language schools beforehand. This will make your life so much easier after you move.

1) Berlin

(Image Source: Wikipedia Creative Commons, User: Anteeru, and unknown)

Berlin is the capital and the largest city in Germany. It has a population of almost 3.7 million and is the second most populous proper city in the European Union. In addition to its high population, it is a destination city within Europe for travel and vacation.

I did some research on the salary of an ESL Trainer in Berlin, and the language schools seem to pay about 12-15 per lesson (45 minutes). This seems relatively low compared to other language schools I have worked with. While I personally don’t have experience teaching English in Berlin, I think this is due to a saturated market. Berlin is the largest city in Germany with a high population. This means that not only are there a ton of language schools, but a ton of people who teach English. This lowers the overall salary for trainers. Unfortunately, when you compare the salary to the cost of living in Berlin, this could make your life difficult.

If you choose to teach English in Berlin, I would recommend living outside of the city to lower your costs. Berlin could be a great city for an extended vacation teaching English.

2) Hamburg


(Image Sources:Hamburg Train Station, City Street Hamburg, Overview Shot)

Hamburg is the second biggest city in Germany and often visited by travelers. There is a lot to do and see there and many people have fun in Hamburg. The cost of living can be quite high, so many people choose to live in a suburb outside of Hamburg.

I researched the salary of ESL trainers in Hamburg, and the average seems to be around 15 euro per lesson (45 minutes). Note: I posted in an online message forum about Hamburg, and someone posted 18 euro from a private language school. This is better than 15, but other sites listed 15 as an average.

While 15 is an acceptable average for language schools, this is a bit on the lower end from what I have experienced. Similar to other big cities like Munich and Berlin, there is a lot of competition for work which results in a saturated market. Moreover, when you compare the salary to the high cost of living in Hamburg, the salary could make your life difficult.

If you choose to teach English in Hamburg, I would recommend living outside of the city to lower your costs.

3) Munich

(Image Source: Left: Oktoberfest Middle: City Right: Church )

Munich is a great city. Home of Oktoberfest, many people travel to Munich for vacation. It is the capital city of the state Bavaria, and has a population of around 1.5 million. The city is a major center of art, advanced technologies, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business, and tourism in Germany. However, Munich is also one of the most expensive cities to live in. I did some research on this, and several websites ranked Munich as the most (or second most) expensive city to live in Germany.

However, after some more research I found out that teachers make anywhere between 20-30 euro per lesson. Comparatively speaking, this is pretty good. However, many people commented that this seems low (most likely because the cost of living in Munich is so high).

4) Cologne

Cologne City View (Image Source Flickr User: Günther Bayerle)

Cologne is also an international city in Germany. I live pretty close to Cologne and enjoy visiting the city on occasion. There are a lot of things to do and places to visit within the city. One of my favorite places to visit is the Cologne Cathedral.
Before I dive into the salary of English trainers, I want to mention that Cologne is also a very expensive city. Many people need to have a roommate or live outside of the city in order to pay rent.
Researching the salary range of teacher’s in Cologne was difficult because I found so many different reports. However, the average was around 15-20 an hour. Several people reported that they make less while others reported that they make more. I once met a trainer who lives in Cologne and it was said one could earn a good 40-50k a year. So, from what it seems, the pay is quite varied in Cologne. If you decide to teach in Cologne, I would recommend living outside of the city or with roommates to save money.

5) Frankfurt

(Image Sources: City View – Flickr, Paul Sableman Opera House – Flickr, Kiefer Train Station – Flickr, Matthias Ripp)

Frankfurt is a metropolis and the largest city in the German state of Hesse. It also the fifth-largest city in Germany with a population of around 730,000 people. It is home to many of the largest banks in Germany along with one of the world’s busiest airports: Frankfurt Airport. While Frankfurt isn’t my favorite city for taking a vacation or for travelling, it is still a wonderful city none-the-less. However, being such a metropolitan city, the cost of living is also considered to be high compared to some of the other cities in Germany.
It seems that teaching English in Frankfurt pays around 22-26 euro per 45 minute lesson. I also read that you can earn up to 35 by working with agents. This information came from a post I found on a message forum (although from four years ago).

6) Stuttgart

(Images of Stuttgart courtesy of Flickr user: bongs Lee)

Stuttgart is the sixth-largest city in Germany. While I have never been to Stuttgart, the photos of the city look amazing. I’ve attached a few to this post. I hope to visit it one day for some site-seeing. Since I don’t really know that much about the city, I’m going to just stick to writing a few things that I found out about the salary for teaching English in Stuttgart.
I read that most of the big-chain language schools pay about 15-16 euro per 45-minute lesson. However, there are other schools who pay more but I wasn’t able to pinpoint exact amounts.

7) Düsseldorf


(Düsseldorf Images: Flickr Users, Lin MeiRoettgersB)
Düsseldorf is a great city Germany. It is well-known for its shopping and the river Rhine. Moreover, it has a quite a big scene for music and has a large Japanese community. During one of my visits to Düsseldorf, I went to the Rheinturm where you can view the whole city from inside a large tower. On top of the tower, you can order drinks, eat food, and enjoy a nice city-view.
I read online that people have reported about 12-18 euro per lesson. However, the thing about Düsseldorf is that many people live in a neighbor city that has a low cost of living (like Wuppertal) and travel to teach. Moreover, after some networking, you can find language schools that pay upwards of 20 or more.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the pay in most of the larger cities in Germany isn’t bad. However, I would highly recommend that you do as much research as possible before you move. Find out the average pay in the city you wish to move to and compare it to the cost of living. There are also many other bills that you will need to factor into your budget: taxes, health insurance, public retirement, transportation, etc.,

While I can’t really speak about the health insurance, taxes, retirement, etc., I have written a post about saving money in Germany which you can find here.

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