For those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path teach abroad destination, Hungary should be at the top of your list! Having joined the EU only in 2004, the country has seen a quick rise in demand for English in order to compete with other EU nations. This, coupled with Hungary's education-forward cultural attitude, has meant a continued increase in demand for ESL teachers.
Not to mention, this central European country provides Americans with the rare opportunity to live and teach in Europe. Hungary is also revered for its historic architecture, stunning landscapes, and fascinating history and culture with influences from both the East and West. There’s truly so much to love about living and teaching English in Hungary!
And this comprehensive guide shares everything you need to know to get started.
Snapshot of Teaching English in Hungary
Avg. Salary: $700-$1,200/month
Teaching Hours: 20-25 hours
Duration of contract: 10-12 months
Peak hiring season: June, year-round
School term: September to June
Visa requirements: Work permit or EU residency
Why teach English in Hungary?
First and foremost, Hungary has become one of the best opportunities to teach English in Europe for Americans, thanks to programs offered by CIEE TEFL and CETP. These programs not only accept Americans without EU citizenship but also ensure that teachers are paid enough to afford a comfortable standard of living.
Not to mention, teaching English in Hungary means living in central Europe where exciting travel spots are just a short train or plane ride away. The nation's capital city of Budapest is also often regarded as one of Europe's most beautiful cities and is home to a large expat community, making it easy to meet fellow travelers.
Read More: Is Teaching Abroad Alone Safe for Women?
What are the requirements to teach English in Hungary?
To teach English in Hungary, aspiring ESL teachers must meet these key job requirements, and unfortunately, there's not a lot of wiggle room for those who don't have:
- Advanced or native English speaking ability
- A bachelor’s degree in any field
- A reputable TEFL Certificate
- A certified clean bill of health
- A clean background check
Prior teaching experience is another common job requirement for teaching English in Hungary. If you don't have any experience, choosing a TEFL certificate with a TEFL practicum is an excellent way to gain some!
How much can you earn teaching in Hungary?
English teachers in Hungary earn on average 150,000 to 365,000 HUF ($700 to $1,200) per month. Most positions do not provide housing or reimbursed airfare. Schools that do provide housing generally pay teachers lower monthly salaries.
Cost of Living in Hungary
The cost of living in Hungary ranges between $600 to $900 per month. Many English teachers in Hungary earn enough to cover their monthly expenses plus occasional local trips. However, it's possible to earn additional income through private tutoring or teaching English online to offset costs.
Rent in Hungary can be high, especially in Budapest, where some pay between $350 to $650+ per month for accommodation. Many expats in Budapest opt to live in a flatshare to help reduce the cost of rent to $200 to $300 plus utilities. However, those living in more rural areas can expect to pay around $200 to $350 per month.
Types of Teaching Jobs in Hungary
ESL teachers can find jobs in public schools, private bilingual schools, and even international schools and universities in Hungary.
1. Public Schools
One of the best ways for Americans to teach English in Hungary is through the public school system. ESL teachers who opt to work in Hungary's public schools can be placed in various cities, including more rural destinations.
To teach English in Hungarian public schools, CIEE TEFL graduates and alumni can apply through CIEE TEFL's Job Placement Assistance Program in Hungary for free. Another popular organization is the government-approved organization known as Central European Teaching Program (CETP).
2. Private Bilingual Schools
Bilingual schools in Hungary are private schools that provide students with an education in both Hungarian and English. These schools hire TEFL-certified English teachers to lead not only English classes but other core subjects taught in English like math or science. Bilingual schools generally provide higher salaries than other teaching opportunities in Hungary.
3. Universities and International Schools
Highly qualified teachers with a degree in education and a teaching license are eligible to teach English at universities and international schools. These positions provide the highest salaries and benefits for teachers.
4. Summer Camps
There are also summer camps that hire native English speakers, like Let's Play English and Funside, that provide an excellent opportunity to teach in Hungary for a shorter period of time. English summer camps don’t typically pay a lot but do provide counselors with room and board and the unique chance to live and experience Hungarian culture.
Where to Find TEFL Jobs in Hungary
You have options when it comes to finding teaching jobs in Hungary. Although it’s possible to find a job before arriving in Hungary, most teachers find success applying in person.
CIEE TEFL Job Placement Assistance in Hungary
CIEE TEFL's Job Placement Assistance in Hungary is a fantastic opportunity that connects CIEE TEFL alumni and current students with partner bilingual K-12 schools in Budapest. CIEE TEFL's partner-school placements are 11-month contracts that provide a sizable monthly income of 365,000 HUF ($1200) per month.
English teachers are primarily hired to lead English classes but may also have the opportunity to teach other subjects in English like science and math. Those who have citizenship in the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, or South Africa are eligible to take advantage of CIEE TEFL's job search assistance in Hungary. CIEE TEFL placement assistance is free to all CIEE TEFL students and alumni.
Start your teach abroad journey with CIEE TEFL’s Job Placement Assistance in Budapest.
Central European Teaching Program (CETP)
CETP is a recruitment organization that helps non-EU citizens teach English at public schools in Hungary. The program requires an application fee and provides successful applicants with teaching job placements in Budapest or throughout the country. The salary provided by CETP is about $500 per month, enough to live comfortably with the included cost-saving benefits of free housing, health insurance, and paid time off.
Applications are accepted year-round and are open only to U.S., Canadian, and U.K citizens. To participate in CETP, you must pay $1,900 for a placement outside of Budapest or $2,500 for a position in Budapest, which covers CETP's visa and placement assistance.
Learn more about how to apply to CETP on their official website.
Applying to Bilingual Schools Directly
It's also possible to apply to Hungary’s bilingual schools directly. However, many schools prefer to interview prospective teachers before offering them a full-time teaching position. Additionally, most schools require teachers to have EU residency, which means American ESL teachers may find it challenging to find a job independently.
Thankfully, the previously mentioned programs like CIEE TEFL's Job Placement Assistance in Hungary make it possible for Americans to teach English in Hungary.
Best Places to Teach English in Hungary
Most English teachers live in Budapest, but that’s not the only worthwhile place to teach in Hungary. Here's a rundown of Hungary's best teach abroad destinations.
Budapest is by far the best place to teach English in Hungary, thanks to its vast size and vibrant expat community. As Hungary's capital, Budapest is actually two cities, Buda and Pest, split by the Danube River. It’s known as a beautiful capital city with so much to do and see.
Debrecen is Hungary’s second-largest city tucked away in the northeast, where some find success securing a teaching position. The city has a university where it may be possible to find a job teaching English for those with a master’s degree in education.
Szeged can be found in the south and is another of Hungary’s largest university cities. ESL teachers can find teaching jobs at the local bilingual or language schools.
Other Hungarian cities like Miskolc and Szolnok offer ESL job opportunities as well.
What’s it like to teach English in Hungary?
Before you make the leap teaching English in Hungary, check out these helpful guides to learn more:
- A Day in the Life: Teaching English in Budapest by Denae Away
- An Expat Guide To Living In Budapest by You Could Travel
- 77 Fun and Interesting Facts About Hungary by Wonderful Wanderings
- 18 Cities to Visit in Hungary That Will Blow Your Mind by My Path in the World
Which TEFL certificate is best for teaching in Hungary?
Securing a job teaching English in Hungary requires holding a TEFL certificate from a reputable provider. It’s also imperative to choose a TEFL course that has at least 120-hours of training and an in-class component or practicum. A TEFL practicum ensures you possess the valuable teaching experience that many hiring schools want to see on your resume.
CIEE TEFL’s 150-Hour TEFL Certification
CIEE TEFL is an internationally recognized and trusted TEFL provider with a proven track record of helping graduates successfully secure English teaching jobs worldwide. CIEE TEFL's flagship 150-hour certification provides comprehensive training to ensure aspiring ESL teachers succeed in the classroom.
The CIEE TEFL 150-hour course includes:
- 130 hours of ACCET accredited coursework completed in three months online
- 20 hour TEFL practicum providing valuable in-class experience
- Instruction by highly qualified TEFL tutors
- Lifetime job search assistance
- Access to CIEE TEFL Job Placement Assistance in Hungary