With prices still low after the economic crisis of a decade ago, Greece is a popular tourist destination and so it’s easy to see why TEFL teachers might be enticed by the low cost of living. However, local unemployment is still high in Greece and as such, the TEFL industry has suffered – people can’t always afford luxuries such as language classes. On the other hand, the unemployed youth of Greece understand the benefit of learning English, and the opportunities for foreign employment it provides, and so anyone who can attend English lessons will certainly be willing.
There are fewer jobs around than there used to be in Greece, and competition is mixed. Some experienced TEFL teachers have been able to seek more lucrative work elsewhere, leaving more positions for newbie teachers. However, those who are keen to stay in Greece are accepting work that is below their usual paygrade, so in big cities it can be a struggle to get work. Large chain companies are often easier to get work with because of certain restrictions on hiring, but it’s also recommended to look off the beaten track to face less competition at smaller schools.
With beautiful scenery, a delicious local cuisine, and fabulous weather, there are enough plus points to encourage a move to Greece, even if the work can be poorly paid. The locals are friendly and eager to learn, and if a teacher isn’t too fussy about where they work or making big savings, a nice quality of life can be enjoyed in Greece.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Athens, Heraklion, Katerini, Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, and Crete.
- Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of €700 – €1,000 (£630 – £900 /$790 – $1,100) per month. An hourly rate of €25 – €30 (£22.50 – £27 / $28 – $34) from professional organisations in big cities, freelancers will charge around €15 (£13.50 / $17) per hour, or €10 (£9 / $11) for group lessons.
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL certificate is a minimum requirement for nearly all jobs, and the better qualified you are, the better your chances.
- Prerequisite university degree: Required for all state-teaching jobs, beneficial for most positions.
- Term times: September to June.
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Greek
- Teaching programmes: Public Schools, Private Language Schools, Freelance.
- Age restrictions: None.
- Previous teaching experience: Not as important as being qualified, but still likely to help you get work if you have got a few years of experience.
At the height of the economic crisis, private schools in Greece that employed TEFL teacher were forced to tighten their budgets or close altogether. The private teaching sector suffered, and the number of TEFL jobs in Greece shrank dramatically. These days, it’s still tricky to find a job, especially in certain areas. TEFL teachers are likely to find work in the more affluent areas and cities, such as Athens, Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, and Crete. However, the cost of living in the idyllic Greek islands and the big cities is much higher than rural countryside locations, so if you can find work in a smaller area, you might find it easier to save money. Smaller areas to investigate are Edessa, Larissa, and Preveza.
While some schools have stayed open, competition is rife – with so many school closures, there are a number of experienced TEFL teachers in Greece who are looking for work, making it tough for those who are new to the country or inexperienced. Many out-of-work teachers take up private tutoring, dropping their prices so low that parents consider it better value to hire a private language teacher for their child than to send them to a language school.
The tricky work situation in Greece can make it an uncomfortable place for foreigners – with so many locals (especially younger people) out of work in Greece, there can be animosity towards foreigners that are able to acquire work in their country. Also bear in mind that the government enforces a ratio of 1 foreigner per 10 Greek employees within a company, so smaller businesses are just not permitted to hire non-locals. Full-time positions will be around 25 – 30 hours per week, but many schools have reduced to around 12 – 18 hours per week (and lower wages), so freelance work will likely be required to boost your income.
Requirements for teaching English in Greece
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Teach in Greece||£630 – £900
($790 – $1,100)
Greece saw a huge financial and economic crisis in 2007-2008, an event which they have slowly been recovering from. In recent years, prices have started to climb in Greece now that the situation has stabilised, but it remains a cheap destination for both tourists and expats. Locally, unemployment was at around 30% of the population in 2013, and although the situation has improved to around 15%, youth unemployment is still a major concern, having dropped from 60% to nearer 30% in 2020. The continued struggle in Greece is a double-edged sword for TEFL teachers – the low cost of living makes it easy to get by in the country, but the lack of disposable income means that locals are often unable to afford luxuries such as language lessons. Young people can’t afford to splash out on learning another language, but they also know that learning English will enable them to travel and work abroad, gaining work opportunities that they can’t find at home. So it’s a mixed bag.
VAT is high in Greece, so expect to pay a lot for products that have been imported. With a delicious and famously healthy national cuisine, embracing Greek food will be friendly both on your wallet and your waistline. The price to go out for a beer or coffee might be fairly similar to other European countries, but in Greece you’ll notice how much cheaper accommodation is – renting is cheap and affordable, and even in more affluent areas you can live somewhere decent. Many schools provide accommodation for teachers, making up somewhat for the low wages.
- Accommodation:£407 – £674 / $502 – $833
- Utilities: £103 / $128
- Cost of typical visit to a GP: £34 / $42
- Monthly transport pass: £27 / $34
- Basic dinner out for two: £26 / $32
- Cappuccino in expat area: £3.49 / $4.31
- A beer in a pub: £3.84 / $4.74
- 1 litre of milk: £1.12 / $1.38
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.74 / $2.15
(living costs sourced from Expatistan)
“My TEFL journey began while at university with the dawning realisation, in my final year, that I wasn’t going to achieve my ambition of joining the Diplomatic Service straight from there. But I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted to experience living and working abroad, not just travelling. So I investigated how I could gain the right kind of experience that would enable me to achieve my goal of working abroad.
I did my TEFL course in June; went home, worked all the hours I could, saved money, applied for every job I saw going in Spain, got offered one in a small mountain town in Greece and decided ‘what the heck, I come from a small town in the mountains of Scotland, how different can it be?’.
I never did join the Diplomatic Service, instead I found my dream job teaching in a small school in a mountain town in Greece (one hour by moped to the beaches in the summer, half an hour to the ski slopes in the winter – what wasn’t to like?).
This was the first step in my TEFL journey that took me from the Highlands of Scotland and around Europe. To this day it offers me opportunities to travel to amazing and fascinating places around the world. Now, my goal is to give this opportunity to others; from the best courses, to the right advice, to the most awesome jobs, The TEFL Org strives to deliver the greatest opportunities!”
Jennifer MacKenzie, TEFL Org Managing Director and co-founder
Discover more TEFL experiences over on our blog.