With a good demand for English lessons for students at all levels and of all ages, Hungary offers a wide range of opportunities to qualified TEFL teachers. While most jobs require some experience as well as a degree, there are a few roles for those native speakers who are at the beginning of their teaching journey. While there are plenty of jobs, especially at the private language schools and bilingual schools that seem to pop up all over the place, wages are typically pretty low in Hungary. The cost of living isn’t extortionate, but rent can be quite high, and if accommodation isn’t included with a job, it can be tricky to make ends meet.
Hungarians are frugal and have a great sense of community, and so as long as expats on lower wages adopt a truly Hungarian lifestyle, their salary should stretch to their daily living costs. TEFL wages are often higher than those that local teachers earn. Strong family ties and a desire to look after each other has built solid communities in Hungary, particularly in rural areas where salaries are lower and life is less cosmopolitan. While Budapest is the most popular TEFL destination in Hungary, by choosing somewhere out of the way you’ll be provided with an immersive experience in Hungarian language and culture, and might find it easier to make local friends.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Budapest, Veszprém, Szeged, Pécs, Miskolc.
- Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of 150,000 HUF to 250,000 HUF (£390 – £650 / $500 – $830) per month. In a private language school, you’ll earn around 2,500 HUF to 4,000 HUF per hour (£6.50 – £10 / $8 – $13), but as a freelancer without a middle man to pay, you could earn up to 6,750 HUF (£17.50 / $22) per hour.
- TEFL qualification requirements: A minimum of a 120-hour TEFL certificate will be required for almost all jobs in Hungary.
- Prerequisite university degree: Most jobs require you to hold a degree.
- Term times: September to June.
- Currency: Forint (HUF)
- Language: Hungarian
- Teaching programmes: Private Schools, State Schools, Bilingual Schools, Business English, Freelance.
- Age restrictions: None
- Previous teaching experience: Most jobs require some prior teaching experience.
Since joining the EU in 2004, Hungary has had a growing demand for TEFL teachers, and as English is now part of the school curriculum, there are opportunities to teach students of all ages across the country. Students hoping to attend college or university must have a decent English ability, and so it’s possible to find jobs tutoring teens to perfect their ability, or even roles at the numerous bilingual schools which operate at both elementary and secondary school levels. Bilingual schools (gimnazia) are legally required to hire a native English speaker.
Despite the emphasis on excellence in the education system, teachers are poorly paid in Hungary. While a TEFL teacher will likely be paid more than their Hungarian co-workers, it can be a struggle to live on one full-time wage alone. As rent is particularly high in big cities, some schools offer free or subsidised accommodation for teaching staff, which are often a bit old-fashioned but comfortable enough. Taxes are also high and include a lot of tricky paperwork, so make sure you find out whether the quoted salary is gross or net. Some schools offer insurance, so its worth checking if this or any other perks are included. Many teachers in full-time positions can supplement their income by getting part-time positions at private language schools, providing lessons to kids and teens whose parents want them to get ahead, or in the lucrative Business English market. There are several organisations that promote profiles of teachers, or help to link teachers with prospective students, for those who want to get freelance work away from a private language school.
The experience of teaching Hungarians can be up and down depending on where you are. In rural locations, English levels will be poorer but you might encounter more enthusiastic learners, particularly teenagers who are keen to improve their future job prospects. In a city, where the cost of living is high and it can be tricky to improve on their future outlook, teens might be more demotivated and challenging to teach.
Requirements for teaching English in Hungary
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Teach in Hungary||£390 - £650
($500 - $830)
Across Eastern and Central Europe, Hungary is in the middle when it comes to comparing the costs of living, similar to the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Poland. Your experience of life in Hungary will vary greatly depending on where you live. Choose Budapest and you’ll be part of a big expat community, with the locals often speaking enough English these days that you hardly need to learn Hungarian. In smaller locations, however, foreigners are rare and seen as celebrity figures, with daily life being a bit of a struggle if you don’t learn the language. Whether you’re placed in a cosmopolitan or rural area, you’ll get the most out of your stay by embracing local festivals and cultural events.
Budapest is considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities and is full of culture and history as well as being well known for its dynamic arts and music scene. Outside the city, there is just as much to do with numerous hot springs across the country. Visiting the thermal baths is a popular pastime for locals and tourists alike. Spend your weekends visiting gorgeous rustic towns and Lake Balaton, Europe’s largest and warmest lake. Send home unique presents at Christmas bought at popular seasonal markets, and try the local delicacies.
- Accommodation: £531 – £756 / $674 – $959
- Utilities: £119 / $701
- Cost of typical visit to a GP: £49 / $62
- Monthly transport pass: £25 / $32
- Basic dinner out for two: £17 / $21
- Cappuccino in expat area: £1.71 / $2.17
- A beer in a pub: £1.40 / $1.78
- 1 litre of milk: £0.67 / $0.85
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.18 / $1.50
(living costs sourced from Expatistan)
“I work at Sárospataki Református Gimnazium (Sárospatak’s Reformed High School) in north-east Hungary. I was taking over the job from a friend who taught at this school for two years. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience and knew I would too.
A typical day is waking up around 6.30am and getting ready for school. The school day starts at 7.50am so it’s much earlier than UK schools. Arriving at school I then gather all my materials together and start teaching classes. My timetable varies from only three lessons on a Monday and a Friday, to eight lessons in a row on Thursdays! I teach students different topics and at the end I get them to prepare a speaking presentation, so I can see how well they have learned the topic and how well they are able to speak English.”
Rachel, TEFL Org graduate
Discover more student stories from TEFL Org graduates.