Teaching English in Prague can be an amazing experience. Here’s a complete rundown of EVERYTHING you need to know.
Prague’s become quite the destination for English teachers seeking the comforts of home and the thrill of moving abroad. The gatekeeper between Eastern and Western Europe, the Czech capital boasts a low unemployment rate and a high expatriate employment rate, a booming art scene, modernity, and a quality of life unmatched by most other nations.
Working as an English teacher in Prague provides inhabitants with an advantageous travelling location within Europe and an endless amount of career possibilities as English classes, language schools, and international schools continue to take over the academic and social landscape of the city. Being a Language House TEFL student means you’ve always got the caring community to support you in your new career teaching English in the Czech Republic.
The teaching is the easiest part of moving to Prague. It’s the checklist of bureaucratic tasks and the sheer amount of research one has to do before arriving and while first in Prague that’s daunting. But with this English teacher relocation guide for Prague, you’ll be cruising your way through job hunting, the visa process, and the right TEFL course in absolutely no time.
Sit down, buckle up, and get your notebook ready, because we’re about to tell you everything you need to know about teaching English in Prague this year. Let’s go!
What’s Prague Like, Anyway?
A mix of old and new, Prague’s a unique and charming city jumping into the 21st century with fervor.
Geographically, the city of Prague spans a sizable area. Within its borders exists castles, an enchanting old town, modern buildings, suburbs, and even a large amount of natural areas in the form of parks and even forests.
Although large, it feels small to its foreign inhabitants. With a large tight-knit population of expats, there’s always an event to attend, a friend to make, or a shoulder to lean on.
In the last two decades, the metropolis has exploded onto the world map as a top tourist destination because of its history and architecture. Spires, cobblestones, and winding streets lined with cafes and restaurants pull people in, but it’s the feeling the city gives people that makes them stay.
Prague’s THE Location for Teacher Relocation
After the Czech Republic’s admittance into the European Union, its drive to dive head-first into the English language intensified. This means there’s an endless amount of opportunities for current and aspiring English teachers seeking to relocate to Prague.
With over 100 language schools, private English primary and secondary schools, English camps, in-business classes, and private lessons, there’s always an opportunity to snag a job.
Let’s put aside the teaching for one moment and focus on why relocating to Prague can change your life for the better.
If the city’s advantageous central European location, art scene, bar culture, and history aren’t enough to convince you to take the leap, perhaps knowing that the city, and the nation that its nestled within, are listed amongst the happiest places in the world will provide you enough evidence that you’re idea of packing up and teaching in Prague isn’t such an unthought out whimsical dream at all.
Besides ranking amongst the happiest places on earth, Prague’s also providing its inhabitants, both foreign and native, with a quality of life that bests both London and New York’s.
If you’re still wary, and your upheaval depends upon job prospects, Prague has plenty for foreigners. In 2019, expats made up more than 25% of the workforce in the capital city, with a fair chunk of these expats being native speakers from the UK and the USA.
Where the Best Get TEFL Certified (Because Just Your Bachelor’s Won’t Cut It)
Teaching in Prague is accessible for those with a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certification.
Those seeking to teach in Prague without a BA or BS can teach, selectively, with a TEFL certification from a reputable TEFL course. Companies and schools prefer university degrees, however, and most job opportunities for those without them revolve around one-to-one private English lessons.
TEFL certs give teachers in the Prague job market an edge, proving to prospective employers and students that you’re competent in teaching English as a foreign language.
Receiving this golden ticket to employability is quite easy. The Language House TEFL, one of the leading TEFL organizations in Prague, offers a comprehensive TEFL course, along with an unmatched Young Learners and Teens certification, too.
The Language House TEFL is a demanding program and suited for people who want to get the most out of their educational training. What has made this course so popular over the years are the extras included in the program like their fantastic job support, large (and quirky) staff, extra teaching practice sessions, and their robust graduate community.
The Job Market
The need for English teachers is always high. With so many English schools and avenues for teaching, it’s easy getting a job in this market in Prague. Whether it be through networking, The Language House TEFL’s job assistance, or by searching up listings on your own through Expats.cz and Jobs.cz, a job will surely be out there waiting for you. During the 4-week course, Language House students are given great job assistance and many of their trainees find work before the course even ends. The job assistance also extends to their graduates years after the course is over.
Peak recruitment and hiring take place in September and January, which, respectively, mark the beginning and the middle of the school year. Hiring seasons for language schools span year-round, as private lessons don’t abide by the academic school calendar. Teaching contracts usually last anywhere from 10 to 12 months, with 12 months being the preferred length.
The average salary for an English teacher in the Czech Republic ranges from 35,000 Kč (1,400 USD) to 55,000 Kč (2,200 USD), whereas the cost of living ranges from 35,000 – 45,000 Kč (1200 – 1,600 USD).
There are numerous niches within this job market, each with varying hours and salaries. Here are the most common:
1. Private Language Schools
English language schools hire year-round and typically provide English lessons for adults, business professionals, and companies. These lessons can take place anywhere from a cafe, the language school’s premises, the student’s workplace or their home. This location flexibility means working for a language school can mean spending a lot of time traveling from lesson to lesson daily.
However, this also means teachers can have more scheduling flexibility and downtime, as there’s often the option of taking on as many classes as one wants.
Language schools, on average, pay about 280-500 Kč (about 12-22 USD) per 45 minute lesson. Monthly salaries for language school employees vary, as the amount of classes one commits themselves to determines their monthly salary.
2. Private Lessons
English tutoring or one-to-one lessons can be one’s sole income or a supplemental cash flow. Advertising one’s English teaching services is quite easy, as websites like TeacherCreature allow students to reach out to teachers, via their on-site teaching profiles, to request their services. English lesson services can also be advertised on Facebook through dedicated Facebook groups or by word of mouth.
Rates for private lessons vary based on experience and certifications. Unlike private language schools, teachers of private lessons set their own fees. The average rate for a 45-minute lesson is 400 Kč to 600 Kč (about 17-26 USD)
3. Private Preschools
Preschool teaching is a great option for English teachers that love children and have received the YLT certification through The Language House TEFL.
With hiring concentrated in January and September, preschools are always looking for qualified English teachers. There’s often less flexibility in the schedule of a preschool teacher, as most schools require fixed full-time schedules for their teachers.
One can search for preschool position openings through the same online job boards recommended above, as well as by perusing through Facebook groups, namely The Language House’s alumni group. It’s beneficial to reach out to preschools directly through the email address listed on their website to ask if there are any available openings.
Preschools pay their teachers about 35,000 Kč to 55,000 Kč (1,400-2,400 USD) monthly.
4. Private International Schools
As both the value placed upon fluency in English and the expat community grows, more private international primary and secondary schools are developing.
Like preschools, private international schools focus on hiring around January and September, however, unlike private preschools, these international academies usually only hired licensed teachers as they are legitimate schools that teach everything from history to math in English.
Private international schools advertise openings on local job boards, as well as on Facebook groups. Like private preschools, it’s advantageous to send an email containing your resume and CV directly to the address listed on the school’s website.
International private schools are the best paid English teaching jobs with an average salary of around 55,000 Kč (2,200 USD) a month.
There are numerous other ways to teach English in Prague, whether it be through an immersive summer camp or online, through VIPKid, however the four above are the most common ways to teach English within Prague.
Navigating the Hiring Process
The hiring process for English teachers in Prague has quite a fast turnaround rate, which means preparedness is valued.
Resumes, like those in your home country, must be professional. However, unlike the resumes of the UK and the USA, resumes here tend to have a photo embedded on their front pages.
The interview process in Prague tends to be more laid-back. Most schools prefer face-to-face interviews over those conducted through Skype, so putting off interviews until after the big move here is normal.
Most schools and language schools require a demo lesson to be completed on the day of, or a few days after, the initial face-to-face interview. For this one must prepare a lesson on a topic of their own, or on a topic given to them by the school itself.
By keeping old lesson plans in a folder and bringing them with you to interviews, you increase your preparedness and your overall ability to nail any demo lesson sprung upon you.
The Czech Republic is a welcoming country that has quite a favorable, but bureaucratic and lengthy, visa process. Compared to other countries that make up the EU, Czechia has one of the most favorable visa processes for non EU citizens, namely Americans.
Due to the difficulty of the Czech language and the amount of bureaucracy that needs to be dealt with while obtaining a visa to work in Czechia, hiring an agency to help you with your visa process is highly recommended. The Language House offers an on-site visa assistance company, Visa Guru, that helps expats and newly seasoned English teachers navigate every aspect of getting legal.
Becoming legal to work and legal to live in CZ are two separate entities, though they’re closely tied for non-EU citizens.
Long-term visas allow expats to stay in the Czech Republic after their tourist visa is up. Americans, in order to receive their first one-year long-term visa, must schedule an appointment at a Czech embassy outside of the Czech Republic for an interview with their proof of residence document and other paperwork in hand. Approval for a long-term visa usually takes 90 days.
Other nationalities have a different set of steps with regards to receiving their long-term visa, and to learn more about them, reach out to Visa Guru.
Becoming legal to work does not require one to leave the country, although it does require a bit more paperwork and time.
There are two ways to become legal to work in the Czech Republic:
1. The Zivnostensky List
The Zivnostensky list, or the Zivno business visa, is the most popular option for expats, especially Americans, because of its accessibility.
The Zivno is a freelance visa that can be applied for upon arrival or while in the country during your 90 day tourist visa. The Zivno visa allows the person applying to work a number of jobs in many markets.
With this business visa, one can work for numerous employers, within the same sector, as well as for oneself.
To apply for the Zivnostensky List one must have:
- Proof of Residence Document
- Proof of Health Insurance
- Proof of Funds – This takes the form of a signed bank letter (must be in blue ink) from your banking institution that states that you have more than $7,000 USD in your account.
- Criminal Check Affidavit – These can be obtained from your embassy in Prague
- Various Other Zivno Forms – As these forms are acquired from Czech offices and are only offered in Czech, it is highly recommended that a visa company help you with both acquiring and filling these out.
- Passport Sized Photos
- A Standard Work Visa
2. A Standard Work Visa
This type of visa, applicable to EU and non-EU citizens, requires an employer to sponsor their employee. It’s much less common than the Zivno business visa due to its high cost to employers and the amount of paperwork that needs to be done for its completion.
If a standard work visa is acquired and one is fired from the company that sponsored their visa, that visa is no longer valid.
After you’re legal to both work and live in the Czech Republic, you must start paying social and health taxes. Social taxes vary from person to person, based upon your salary. Health insurance varies from person to person, based upon which public, or private, company you decide to receive services from. On average, each tax is about 130 USD a month.
Housing in Prague
Prague’s rent prices have risen at about 7.3% each year since 2014. With prices rising, it takes a good eye and a bit of scouring through listings to find a deal on an apartment in Prague.
TEFL students mustn’t worry straight away about accommodation. While taking a TEFL course with The Language House, housing is coordinated through the school and starts at 500 USD.
Apartments usually cost between 17,000 Kč to 30,000 Kč a month. Pricing varies from district to district and depends on square meterage. The average teacher spends about 11,000-15,000 Kč per month on housing (including utilities). Most teachers in Prague share apartments with a roommate. Once you get established, it’s not uncommon for teachers to have income to afford their own studio/1-bedroom.
Looking for A Flat
Searching for a flat is quite easy. One can begin their research on Facebook or on leading Czech flat hunting sites. If Facebook’s your go-to, check out the sizable number of groups dedicated to housing in Prague. Also be sure to peruse through the TLH alumni group, as former students are always offering their old flats or rooms in the apartments. TLH itself also has many connections with local landlords. Reach out to the staff if you’re at a loss and need some help finding something.
If searching outside of Facebook, be sure to use Expats.cz and Prague.tv’s real estate sections, or Sreality.cz, a site dedicated solely to Czech realty. All are in English, or have an English option, and are quite comprehensive.
Decoding the Room Formula on Apartment Listings
After finding a flat you like online, or in-person through word of mouth, you’ll have to decode the jibberish on the listing. Listings often have confusing formulas that detail how many rooms it has that look like this: 1+kk.
The first number in the listing tells one how many rooms are in the flat. This number does not just mean bedrooms, so be careful. It can also include any room in which one can live, like living rooms.
The second part of the formula tells the person reading it what type of kitchen the flat has. If the second part of the formula has a “kk ” the flat doesn’t have a full kitchen, but a kitchenette. If it has a “1,” it is a full kitchen. For example, the previously mentioned formula, “1+kk,” means the flat has one habitable room and a kitchenette.
The Lease and Utilities
Read your lease closely. Like in other cities, most leases and contracts will detail how much one’s security deposit cost. In Prague, it is typically anywhere from one to three months’ rent.
Within the lease, it will detail how much your monthly rent is and where it should be paid. Included in this monthly rent is a monthly estimate, tacked onto your base rent, of how much your utilities, like gas, water, and electricity, will cost per 30 days.
At the end of your contract, your utility meters will be checked by your landlord. If you used less gas, electricity, or water than previously estimated, you should receive money back from your landlord. If you use more than estimated, you must pay what you owe.
Overall Pros and Cons of Teaching English in Prague
Before diving in head first into the dream that is teaching English in Prague, it’s important to weigh the pros and the cons of the city and its prospects, overall.
- There’s Always An Endless Supply of Teaching Opportunities – Prague’s an enchanting city with almost as many English teaching opportunities as there are spires. With peak hiring seasons in January and September and language schools that hire year-round, there’s always an opportunity to explore different avenues of your career and make money.
- Prague’s Advantageous Location – The Czech Republic’s central location makes travel within Europe extremely accessible. Its location also means travel is much cheaper!
- Expatriates Galore – Once a city behind a Soviet wall, closed off from other populations, the Czech Republic now has more than 564,000 expats living within its borders. This number, growing every year, means the expat community here is lively. The Language House TEFL supports their new teachers by hosting lots of meetups and events to help bring their graduates together. Homesickness is an accepted side-effect of moving abroad, but with a community like TLH, one can easily fight it off.
- The City is Really Gorgeous – It’s hard to beat what Prague has to offer in terms of beauty. The city is made for strolling along cobblestoned streets and marvelling at the beautiful architecture around you. For Americans and Canadians, we simply do not have this experience back home.
- Ability to Save Money – With the average cost of living in Prague rising, the ability to save money on a teacher’s salary in the capital city is proving harder and harder. Making ends meet is relatively easy. It’s the creation of a financial safety net that’s difficult.
- Few Comforts From Home – Large cities, like New York and London, provide expats with doses of home through different shops, restaurants, cultural centers, and grocers that cater to a certain nation or ethnic group. A few of these can be found scattered around the city, however, most of your homeland cravings won’t be fulfilled until you travel back to your nation.
- The Winters – Prague experiences all four seasons, with winter, surely being the season it experiences the most vibrantly. Once late October approaches, sunlight becomes spare and a dry piercing cold forms a blanket over the city. The cold usually doesn’t lift until late February.
Final Thoughts and Let’s Get Started
We hope you read, then re-read the above. Perhaps you were even inspired to take a few notes. Deciding to teach English in Prague is a wonderful, life-changing moment, but it’s one that should also be thought completely through. The Language House TEFL trains around 200 new teachers each year. The majority of these graduates at least start their teaching careers in Prague.
For most new teachers of the program, teaching in Prague is a fantastic experience. The greatest thing about getting TEFL certified from a reputable TEFL company is that no graduate has to stay in one location. The world is wide and The Language House TEFL will help you be successful in all of the interesting corners around the globe. To get started, you just have to reach out and contact them.