Teacher Salary In Germany

Teachers are a special breed. They don’t just do their job, they pour their heart and soul into it—and they expect that their efforts will be rewarded. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Teacher salary in Germany is among the lowest in Europe, even though there are similar levels of education and experience required for those who wish to become teachers there.

How much do teachers make in Germany?

Teachers in Germany are paid according to their qualifications and experience.

On average, a starting teacher in Germany earns approximately €30,000 per year. This salary increases with experience and may reach up to €55,000 per year for experienced teachers.

Although primary school teachers prepare the ground for children’s achievements during their school career, they are classified in category A12, making them low-wage earners in schools. It is particularly unfair that in many states, studying to teach at primary schools takes as long as the teaching qualification for secondary education (comprehensive and grammar schools).

The following table shows the earnings of primary school teachers (grade A12) when they enter the profession (lowest experience level, E1 to E5) and approximately 20 years later (E8 or E9).

Salary primary school teachers in Germany

Salary primary school teacher A12Primary school teacher entering the profession E1 – E5Primary school teacher with 20 years’ experience E8/E9
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania3,1454,298
Lower Saxony3,1834,042
North Rhine-Westphalia3,4594,156

As in the case of primary school teachers, the majority of teachers in secondary schools are also classified in salary group A12. Teachers in secondary schools are often confronted with challenging teaching situations. Their opportunities for advancement are also limited, as there are fewer management and coordination positions at secondary schools. The situation is different for vocational school teachers: They are usually in the salary group A13 and tend to have more opportunities to take a senior position and thus earn more money. Associations and trade unions are therefore working to bring together the salaries of teachers at all types of school in A13. In Schleswig-Holstein, they have already made some initial progress: If a secondary school teacher applies to work in North Rhine-Westphalia, they will be classified in salary group A12. However in Schleswig-Holstein, they would be in the salary group A13. A teacher entering the profession at a state secondary school in Kiel earns €3,806 per month, while in Duesseldorf they would earn €3,459. The classification and therefore the earnings of primary and secondary school teachers differs in each federal state. 

One of the few similar features of the salary structures in each of the federal states is the classification of secondary school teachers in A13. Grammar school teachers are the best earners among state school teachers. Their career ladder also offers more options for promotion than other types of schools, as grammar schools usually need more staff for coordination and organisational duties. On average, the starting salary in Grade A13 is €3,861 and, after twenty years of employment, this rises to €4,658. 

How Much Can You Make Teaching English in Germany?

How much you’ll make as an English teacher in Germany depends on a few things. The type of school or company you teach with will be a big factor, as will your education/ certification and level of experience. If you speak a bit of German, that’s often an added perk on your resume!

Many schools and businesses in Germany hire English teachers on a freelance basis, meaning that you may or may not get enough hours from a single school or company to fill your schedule. In these cases, you may want to take on some private tutoring clients to maximize your time. Some employers will offer a 1-2 year contract, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

One big advantage to teaching English in Germany is that most cities have English Language Teacher’s Associations. By joining the association in the city that you’re hoping to live in, you’ll have access to job listings and insider information about teaching in that specific city. Two examples are the English Language Teachers’ Association Berlin-Brandenburg and the English Language Teachers’ Association Rhine.

What’s a Typical Salary for an English Teacher in Germany?

  • Private Language Academies/Adult Education Centers: €2,100-€3,000 per month
  • Public Schools: €2,500-€3,600 per month
  • International Schools: €2,600-€4,400 per month
  • International Corporations: €3,000-€4,800 per month
  • Universities: €3,000-€4,500 per month
  • Private Tutoring: €15-€40 per hour

Private Language Academies/Adult Education Centers: €2,100-€3,000 per month

There are many private language schools and adult education centers in Germany, which are the main places you’re likely to find employment as a new TEFL teacher. Depending on the school, you may find yourself with anything from a full classroom to a small group class to individual classes. Hourly rates for classes usually fall into the €13-€19 per hour range, though higher and lower rates do exist. Contracts at private language academies are typically done on a session-by-session basis.

Teaching at private language academies and adult education centers is a great way to see a large cross-section of German society because they are open to people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Public Schools: €2,500-€3,600 per month

Public schools in Germany are excellent places to teach English. The German school year begins in late summer and ends from mid-June to July, with about six weeks off in summer, but hiring can happen year-round. Teacher salaries can also vary somewhat by the age group being taught, with high school teachers typically earning more than elementary school teachers.

Contracts at public schools will usually be for one or two years, providing steadier work than most private language academies. Most German public schools will not provide relocation allowances for TEFL teachers, and opportunities for professional development can vary from school to school.

International Schools: €2,600-€4,400 per month

International Schools offer some of the best opportunities for teaching in Germany, salary-wise. International Schools tend to offer one or two-year contracts, with the possibility of renewal, making them one of the steadiest work options for expat teachers. In addition, some offer a relocation allowance of €500-€1,000 to help defray the costs of moving, and many offer professional development courses as well.

At an international school, you can expect to teach about 4 classes per day, with one planning period. Because international schools tend to be prestigious, you can also expect a fair amount of interaction with the school administration and with parents of students.

International Corporations: €3,000-€4,800 per month

Large international businesses are another great source of employment for English teachers in Germany. Many of these companies will hire teachers of business English to ensure that their employees are able to communicate well in professional settings.

These jobs can have excellent rates of pay (in the €20-€30 per hour range), but read your contract carefully, as some companies will bar you from teaching for anyone else while you work with them. Working with a business can also be very helpful in the visa department, as the company will share the burden of completing the often-confusing paperwork.

Universities: €3,000 – €4,500 per month

Universities will sometimes hire teachers for English language and culture. These jobs can be hard to find, but they’re some of the best opportunities out there. In general, you’ll only be considered if you have at least a BA and several years of teaching experience in addition to your TESOL/ CELTA certification. For a teaching load of 18-course hours per week, a university will pay around €35,000 per year.

Private Tutoring: €15-€40 per hour

Private tutoring is a frequent way for English teachers in Germany to supplement their incomes, regardless of what other types of teaching they do. However, some English teachers are actually able to support themselves completely with private tutoring! The best way to do this is by focusing on two populations to tutor: high school students looking to pass their competitive exams, and business people who want to be able to work with English-speaking clients. If you are able to effectively tutor these two groups of people, you might be able to work completely independently!

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