While there isn’t a booming TEFL industry in Norway, the pull of the majestic fjords and the mesmerizing Northern Lights are enough to entice the more intrepid teachers out there. To get work in Norway you need to be well-qualified and have decent experience – like much of Scandinavia, the locals are skilled linguists and have an excellent level of English language ability. Norwegian is a Germanic language, and while more similar to Swedish and Danish, the similarities with English make it easy for Norwegians to pick up the language. Around 80% to 90% of Norwegians are said to be able to speak English to some extent, and the country often scores highly on global English proficiency tests.
Finding a job in Norway can be tricky for several reasons. Firstly, the sheer number of locals who speak English fluently means that many English teaching jobs can be filled by Norwegians. Locals also hold the upper hand for jobs in kindergartens and public primary schools, where applicants are usually required to be fluent in Norwegian as well as English. The preference for hiring locally means that schools are often keen to hire native English speakers already resident in the country rather than bringing a new teacher in. However, in smaller locations where the pool of local native speakers will be smaller, you’ll find better opportunities. Also, top positions at International Schools might be looking for multi-talented teachers who have more to offer than just a TEFL certificate, degree, and experience, so if you have any other strings to your bow, make sure to consider how these could be used to boost your chances.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger.
- Average salary for EFL teachers: Annual salary in an international school will be around 386,000 kr (£32,150 / $39,000) for primary school teachers and 465,000 kr (£38,730 / $48,000) for secondary school teachers. Full-time jobs for professors in universities will pay around 470,000 kr – 510,000 kr (£39,000 – £42,500 / $48,460 / $52,580) per year. The average monthly salary for a full-time teacher is 25,000 kr to 30,000 kr (£2,100 – £ 2,500 / $2,580 – $3,090). The hourly basic wage is around 160 kr (£13 / $16.50), although this can soar to over 300 kr (£25 / $31) per hour for high-level Business English classes.
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification is a minimum requirement.
- Prerequisite university degree: Most jobs require a degree, and top positions in International Schools might specify which subject your school be qualified in, or that you need an MA in your field.
- Term times: Mid-August/September until July.
- Currency: Norwegian krone (KR)
- Language: Norwegian
- Teaching programmes: International Schools, Private Language Schools, Part-Time, Evening Classes, Kindergarten, Public School, Freelance.
- Age restrictions: None.
- Previous teaching experience: Your chances will be boosted in all jobs with a few years of experience. Some jobs require at least two years of full-time experience behind you.
Bilingual international schools cater primarily to the children of expats, offering well-paid positions to TEFL teachers who are highly qualified and experienced. Hiring usually takes place between September and January, and your first interview is likely to take place online. Contracts are usually for one year, and they might reimburse expenses such as your airfare and initial accommodation while you search for a rental property. Many schools offer medical insurance.
There are other fields of work in Norway which require English-speakers. Some who move to Norway for other work might stay on and work as an English teacher (and be easily hired despite lack of qualifications or experience because they’re already resident with a bank account, etc), or they might have a spouse who takes up part-time TEFL work in the country. These fields include engineering, developers, the oil and gas industry, tourism, construction, au pair work, nursing and hospitality. If any of these are fields that you have a background in, think how you can utilize your skills to gain access into the tricky market of TEFL teaching in Norway. Remember that corporate gigs are a major employer of TEFL teachers, rather than private language schools catering to kids and teens or lower-level adult learners.
Requirements to teach English in Norway
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Teach in Norway||£2,100 - £2,500
($2,580 - $3,090)
Norway is one of the most expensive countries in Europe, and in the top ten most expensive countries in the world. While tourists often comment about the expense of visiting Norway, when it comes to the cost of living in the country, it’s not quite so simple. Things may cost more than in other European countries, but wages are often higher, meaning that even on a lower salary in the country you can afford to get by. Norway is interesting in that it has no minimum wage, and there is a narrower range of salaries across different industries. Jobs that are typically poorly paid in other countries (such as service industries – working in a café or restaurant), will pay you more than you might expect in Norway. But at the higher end of the scale, in jobs such as middle management where in other countries you’d expect a much higher wage, these positions will see managers earning little more than the people they supervise. Across the board, wages can be seen as more equal in Norway, and a full-time teaching position will certainly pay your way if you don’t live too extravagantly and bear in mind the high VAT.
Make the most of your time off work by indulging in outdoor activities. In the summer, the sun never sets in Norway; locals and tourists alike make use of the ‘midnight sun’ to enjoy experiencing the great outdoors at this unique time. Fishing, cycling, hiking, skiing, ice-skating, exploring fjords and watching the Northern Lights are all great ways to get a taste of the local culture. It’s a good idea to foster enjoyment from free outdoor activities – Norway can be an expensive place to live, so you’ll save more if you don’t splash out on your weekend activities. Allemannsrett is the name for a local ‘law’ which means you can pitch your tent or hike anywhere in the country – great news for keen campers.
While in Norway, you’ll do well to embrace the Scandinavian diet. With limited imports, especially outside the biggest cities, you’ll find it hard to get the grocery items you might be used to buying back home. Eating local will be cheaper and also show you the best that the country has to offer. With world-famous chocolate, mind-blowing berries, Svele pancake stacks and Lefse (a sweet flatbread to eat with coffee) on the list of local luxuries, it’s easy to find a sweet treat. If you like strong flavours, you’ll find plenty of Scandinavian fish dishes to try during your time in Norway!
- Accommodation: £1,166 – £1,774 / $1,427 – $2,172
- Utilities: £177 / $217
- Cost of typical visit to a GP: Full-time contracts might provide health insurance for TEFL teachers. Cost of typical visit to a GP: £60 / $73
- Monthly transport pass: £63 / $77
- Basic dinner out for two: £39 / $48
- Cappuccino in expat area: £3.53 / $4.32
- A beer in a pub: £7 / $9
- 1 litre of milk: £1.62 / $1.98
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £3.04 / $3.72
(living costs sourced from Expatistan)