Everything you need to know about teaching English in Austria
English teachers often overlook the option of teaching English in Austria and tend to favor the Czech Republic to the north. For a small country, Austria has a lot to offer and this article looks at what to expect if choosing to teach English in four of the largest cities in Austria.
Where is Austria?
Austria sits bang center in the heart of Central Europe with perhaps the most attractive location of any European country. It has of course its Sound of Music mountain peaks and the sea isn’t too far away with its southern neighbor, Italy. The other countries which it borders are the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Austrians are perhaps most well-known for Arnold Schwarzenegger, their Habsburg castles and for their famous Sacher Torte.
To understand Austrians better, you need to have some general knowledge of their recent history.
From 1867–1918 Vienna was the de facto capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and – just as is the case with London’s size – Vienna was developed in view of an expanding empire. This is the reason why it sits uncomfortably in the east of the country today and is overly bloated for such a small country in the middle of Europe. However, despite this, it still retains a local feel – albeit a little like an open-air museum in places.
With the rise of the Nazi party and their eventual control of power, Austria was annexed by Germany and spent the duration of the Second World War essentially occupied by their “older brother”. At the end of the war, when other nations like the Czech Republic were drawn more towards socialist ideals, Austria opted to turn the other way and became a staunch ally of the USA and accepted the conditions of the Marshall Plan – also known as the European Recovery Program. This astute, political move protected the Austrian lands from Russian invasion and set the wheels in motion to develop Austria into the wealthy country which it is today.
Austrians are connected to Germany through their joint history and elements of their language, but the similarities stop there and Austrians are very much so a fiercely independent nation. Austrians are also in general a very open-minded people and despite their current conservative government’s views are a welcoming people.
Teaching in Vienna
Vienna, the capital, has year-on-year been voted the world’s most livable city and when you visit you soon understand why. It’s clean, safe and although day-to-day costs are higher than in Prague, it isn’t a prohibitively expensive city by any means. Teachers starting out in Vienna can expect to earn between 15-30 Euros per hour – working for local language schools – and once you have settled in and formed good contacts, you can expect that rate to rise to 40-60 Euros per hour for teaching private students.
The procedure for finding work in Austria is very similar to that of finding work in the Czech Republic, and if you are interested in what it is like teaching English in the Czech Republic then you can find the relevant tefl online pro article here.
A degree isn’t mandatory for teaching English in Austria, unless you want to teach in the state school system, and all that is required is an international TEFL certificate from a reputable school.
Austria also follows the same school year semester times, with summer holidays taking place during the summer months of July and August, and the optimum time to come here to find work is at the start of the school year in September. The secondary time to look for work is in January – when some teachers fail to return after their Christmas break.
Please remember that at tefl online pro we assist our graduates with ongoing job support, help and advice, so feel free to reach out and contact us if you would like assistance in finding English teaching work in Austria.
Teaching contracts in Austria are usually arranged for one year and these can of course be shortened with a few month’s notice should your plans change. It is always best to look for work whilst being on the ground as schools generally don’t employ from abroad.
Teaching in Graz
Graz boasts a medieval old town main square, and is the capital of the southern Austrian province of Styria. It is also close to the vineyards which are famous for producing Austria’s excellent, not so well known wine and is only a 2-hour drive from Slovenia’s fairytale capital, Ljubljana. As Austria’s second largest city, there is a fair amount of work around with slightly lower hourly rates of pay than in the capital. Graz definitely has a much more laid-back vibe than Vienna and has an excellent expat support network too.
Because Austria is a member of the European Union, nationals of the EU can move here and teach without needing a visa. Non-EU nationals will arrive and receive their 90-day Schengen visa, which is the perfect amount of time provided to find teaching work and get yourself legally entitled to work in Austria.
A very good point to note here is that although we are obviously biased when it comes to the Online versus Onsite TEFL certificate course debate, choosing to travel to Austria to take an Onsite TEFL course before you look for work will eat into the first month of your 90-day tourist visa limit and means that you will then only have a further 60 days or less to secure your teaching job and work permit papers/accommodation.
On another note, the system here is set up similarly as it is in the Czech Republic and in both countries we do recommend obtaining a trade license as this will provide you with greater financial freedom and allow you to miss out the language schools completely and directly invoice clients.
Again, please feel free to reach out and contact us if you are a tefl online pro graduate and need assistance with work permit or trade license application information help or advice.
Teaching in Linz
Linz, the 3rd largest city in Austria, is a Baroque-lovers dream and sits thoughtfully next to the resplendent Danube river. It also has a vibrant arts and music scene, and is home to the world’s largest outdoor graffiti gallery. Given its size and population, it has slightly fewer teaching English options that Graz but the salaries are around the same figure and one perk of teaching in this Upper Austrian city is the feeling you get from being one of the few expats around enjoying its local, unspoiled, café culture, cobblestone atmosphere.
In Austria, most teaching work involves teaching adults and this means teaching either General English or Business English, and either groups or individuals.
You will be expected to dress smartly and you will definitely be expected to be on time. Austrians are notorious for their time-keeping (in a good way) and frown heavily on anyone who arrives late.
When describing Austrian students, it’s good to compare them with Czech students. After all, they did belong to the same empire for a good many years and they do share many customs and quirks. Both countries place emphasis on titles – postboxes in the cities state the name of the person preceded by their academic title – but Austrians take this custom more seriously and while it isn’t necessary to hold a college degree, unless you are wanting to teach in the Austrian state school system, Austrians will hold you in greater stead if you do have one.
Austrians are also grammar fanatics, though not as much as the Czechs, and might leave you wondering why you are having to focus so much time on conjunctive verbs when what you feel your students need is to master the art of English conversation.
Perhaps the one big difference though is that while Czechs couldn’t give two hoots if you learn their language or not, Austrians will expect you to learn Österreichisches Deutsch if staying for an extended period of time. With this in mind, the good news is that Czech is a more difficult language and learning Austrian German is comparatively easy.
Teaching in Salzburg
Birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg has got to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It borders Germany and on a clear day enjoys impressive views of the Alps. Salzburg though is no Vienna and it pales in comparison to the capitals sheer size and opportunities. Still though, despite Salzburg being a very popular destination for tourists to visit and expats to live in, there are opportunities to earn a good living teaching English and surprisingly, salaries are on par with what you can expect to be earning in Vienna.
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