Having a good level of English language skills has become an increasingly effective way to secure a higher level of employment in Hungary in recent years, which has led to a steady increase in demand for TEFL qualified teachers. The country offers plenty of job options, a low cost of living, and a great location right in the heart of Europe.
What do I need to teach English in Hungary?
As the demand for teachers is high and the number of job seekers is relatively low, it is still possible to find a teaching job in Hungary without any relevant qualifications or experience. However, your chances of landing the better paid positions will increase significantly if you have something to offer employers. Most importantly you should complete a TEFL certification course as most reputable schools will require it and if your training includes teaching practice you will be even better placed. Many employers do have a preference for native English speakers, although non-native speakers with a degree and/or previous classroom experience typically have little trouble getting hired. If you apply to the CETP program (see below), it is necessary to be a native English speaker with a degree.
What type of TEFL employer will I work for in Hungary?
Teachers will find a wide range of potential employers in Hungary, including state-run primary and secondary schools, private language schools, universities, and private businesses. Another option that is popular, either full or part time, is individual tutoring. It is very common for teachers to top up their main income by taking on a few private students outside of school hours.
If you like the idea of finding a job without the hassle of applying and interviewing for multiple options, you might want to sign up for the Central European Teaching Program (CETP). Through the program teachers are placed in public schools to work alongside local teachers, generally in a conversational English role. The CETP is different to most other programs of its kind as it charges a placement fee, although you will get paid a salary that is equal to your local colleagues. On top of the salary, the program covers your accommodation for the duration of the contract. This program is popular as it provides a large amount of teaching experience that will set you up for future jobs elsewhere, and all the arrangements can be made before you leave home.
What about visas for teaching English in Hungary?
Teachers from within the EU are free to live and work in Hungary without a visa, although your employer is still required to arrange a labor permit for you. Anyone from outside the EU needs to obtain a work permit and a residence permit. Until recently this process was notoriously haphazard, but thanks to a new streamlined set up this should no longer be too much of a hassle. If you apply to the CETP program you will need to provide some documentation, such as a notarized copy of your degree, a health certificate stating you have no communicable diseases, and a negative TB test result.
When should I apply for TEFL jobs in Hungary?
As few jobs are widely advertised online, most teachers secure employment in Hungary following an in-person interview on the school premises. To give yourself the best choice of jobs it is recommended that you time your arrival to coincide with the main hiring season that takes place in the weeks immediately before the new school year that starts in early September. January also offers a smaller hiring season. If you apply through the CETP program you will make all the necessary arrangements in advance from within your home country. If you sign an official contract it will usually run until the end of the school year the following June.
Where should I look for TEFL Jobs in Hungary?
Budapest is by far the biggest city in the country, which means that the majority of available jobs are found there. The capital also sees a much higher average salary than elsewhere in Hungary. Budapest has excellent transport links to the rest of the country and the wider continent which makes it a great base for further exploration during your stay. If you join the CETP program you will find that placements are generally focused on smaller cities, rather than Budapest. Two other cities that are well worth checking out are the cultural capital of Debrecen and the historic city of Miskolc.