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Home / Teach English in Estonia the Complete Guide for TEFL Teachers | Reviewed May 2022

Tefl Jobs In Estonia

Estonia has a very old-world feel; even today, it has many towns with a mediaeval look and feel. Folklore is very important, as are folk songs. The forests are picturesque and straight out of a fairytale. That said, it is also very modern and developed, meaning if you choose to live and work as an English teacher in Estonia, you can enjoy a fantastic quality of life. Although it is not the most popular tourist, destination interest is growing, and residents understand how important English is as a global language and are keen to learn. The country has a variety of cultures and influences because there are so many people living there from Finland, Slovakia, Germany and other Baltic regions, meaning that only 70% of those living in Estonia were actually born there.

There might not be as many opportunities in Estonia as there are in some other European areas. However, you will still find a good range of options on offer for qualified TEFL teachers to teach English in Estonia.

Estonia is absolutely beautiful, and around half of the country is actually a forest. Unsurprisingly, this means that camping and hiking are some of the most popular ways to spend your time off, especially during the summer. Along with forests, you have lakes and rivers, which also means that swimming and canoeing are popular. Estonia could be the perfect destination for you if you enjoy outdoor pursuits. There is less to do indoors; although there are some galleries, theatres, and museums for you to explore, it is an older-style culture that some people might find outdated. On the other hand, it’s quiet and peaceful, and many consider teaching English in Estonia to be a haven of Tranquility.

Job types

There are four main choices for English teachers in Estonia. International schools, universities, state schools and private lessons are your best bet. The working week in most schools tends to be between 25 to 35 hours. Each of the positions offers something different and will depend on your qualifications.

International Schools in Estonia

Due to the large ex-pat population, international schools are bilingual and feepaying. Therefore, they often recruit English teachers from abroad. The parents are keen for their children to have the best education possible, which is why they have chosen to pay for their education. All age groups are catered for, and generally, English teachers in Estonia working in international schools will need to have been qualified teachers in their home country. They will also want you to prove that you have over two years of experience in the classroom and that having a TEFL certification is highly valued. International schools tend to pay well and also offer extra benefits, including your accommodation for the first few weeks and your airfare to get there.

Universities

Although there will not be many vacancies, Estonia has world-renowned universities, and when they look for staff, these jobs are considered very prestigious. In order to apply, you will need to have a Master’s degree and have taught in your home country. The pay will be much higher than in other locations, but you may have different time commitments working longer hours.

Primary and Secondary Schools

Like most places, state schools are funded and regulated by the government. English is taught in state schools from the primary level, so there will be opportunities in both, but they do not pay as well as in international schools.

Private Lessons

Another way to earn money as an English teacher in Estonia is to offer private lessons. However, it is suggested that you sort out your main job first and get settled in the area. You will need to build a client base and teach from your home or theirs. You need to ensure your school has no issue with you having a second job and comply with any government regulations for the self-employed. You can also teach English online, meaning your students could be anywhere in the world, provided your Internet connection is stable enough.

Finding a job

The best place to look for vacancies as an English teacher in Estonia is online, if you come from an EU country, you will not need to worry about a Visa, but if you are not an EU citizen, your visa application for a work permit needs to be completed in your home country before you arrive. Regardless of where you come from, the initial interview could be over the Internet or phone, but in many cases, they will then want to see you in person if they feel you might be suitable. Most jobs teaching English in Estonia will be found in Tallinn, which is the capital city, as this is where most educational establishments are located. The best time to look for work as an English teacher in Estonia is between September and January. This tends to be when schools start to consider the staffing arrangements for the following academic year, which begins in September.

Qualifications

It is likely that you will need a degree to teach English in Estonia in international schools. However, those that only have a TEFL qualification can find work in state schools. Therefore, the more qualifications you have, the better placed you will be to find a well-paying job.

Visa Requirements for English Teachers in Estonia

If you are a citizen of an EU country, you don’t need a Visa for working and living in Estonia, as this too is an EU member state, and this often makes finding work as a teacher in Estonia easier. Those looking to teach English in Estonia who don’t live in an EU country do need a visa in order to work legally. You should find work before you apply for a visa, and your employer will likely help with the documentation. You need to arrange private health insurance regardless of where you are coming from.

Need to know

People who live in Estonia tend to be very laid-back, quiet and reserved. Classrooms, therefore, tend to be reasonably quiet places, and your students may be reluctant to engage in lively conversation or debate. This can get easier as they get to know you. It doesn’t mean they are reluctant to learn; in fact quite the opposite. They are more than happy to learn but prefer written exercises to spoken language. As a result, literacy rates in Estonia are some of the highest in the world.

Estonia is a small country, so there will never be as many job opportunities as you would find in bigger places; however, if you have ‘teaching English in Estonia’ on your bucket list, you will find work if you keep looking. It is worth contacting all institutions and getting your name on the list of teachers who are interested in working there, although a lot of state schools will manage with local teachers as this is cheaper for them. If you have the time and financial stability, you could spend a summer volunteering at a summer camp where you will get to know people and then be able to look for schools that may not be online yet.

Culture and Living in Estonia

There is no religious preference in Estonia; in fact, only around 14% of those who live there have any beliefs. The culture is just folksy and old-fashioned, which many people really like in such a digital age.

Classroom & work culture

The school week can be anywhere from 25-35 hours, depending on the role you have been assigned. Some schools will ask you to get involved in extra-curricular activities in the evenings and on weekends. English is very much in demand as locals are aware that without it, they will struggle to work in the international arena, so you will find students keen to learn and attentive.

Culture & etiquette tips

Schools tend to be quiet places, and most Estonians are reserved and not loud in any way. The better you get to know people, the less reserved they will be. When you greet someone, do so with a handshake and smile and be sure to maintain a sensible distance as they do not like people to be in their personal space.

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LIVING COSTS

Northern Europe does have a high cost of living, but Estonia sits somewhere in the middle. It is more expensive to live in Estonia than it is to live in neighbouring Lithuania and Latvia but cheaper than in Finland and Sweden. One of the good things is that employers often offer free or subsidised housing to go alongside your salary, which makes things more affordable. If you don’t find a job that provides accommodation, you will find rent to be quite reasonable. If you’re a citizen of Tallinn, then public transport is also free, but even if you’re not, it is cheap. This makes exploring the local area in your downtime really easy. It’s a small country, and you can easily take a ferry to somewhere like Finland or Sweden or use buses to visit Russia and Germany.

The climate is fairly typical of Europe, especially in the north. Winters are dark and cold and can be very long. Summers can be hot but certainly not as warm as some places. So if you’re a sunseeker, this may not be the best destination for you. a lot of the leisure activities take place outside, so it does help to be outdoorsy if you’re going to look into teaching English in Estonia. On the other hand, there’s not much nightlife, it’s not a particularly busy city, and there really isn’t that much to do. So if you’re a party person again, Estonia might not be the best place for you to teach English. However, if you are someone who enjoys their own company or spending time with people who like being quiet, then Estonia could be your dream destination.

In order to provide the most accurate cost of living figures, we use numbeo.com, the world’s largest cost of living database, updated regularly.

  • Accommodation: £538–£968/$676–$1,216/€676-€1,216
  • Utilities: £197/$247/€247
  • Health insurance: Cost of a typical visit to a GP: £45/$57/€57
  • Monthly transport pass: £24/$30/€30
  • Basic dinner out for two: £25/$32/€32
  • Cappuccino in ex-patt area: £2.26/$2.82/€2.57
  • A beer in a pub: £3.49/$4.38/€4.38
  • 1 litre of milk: £0.93/$1.17/€1.17
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.76/$2.21/€2.21

Tefl Jobs In Estonia: KEY POINTS

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AVERAGE SALARY

$500–$800

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EDUCATION NEEDED

Bachelors degree

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TEFL CERTIFICATE NEEDED

120-hour TEFL qualification

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MAIN JOB TYPES

Public & private schools

KEY FACTS

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Tallinn, Tartu and Narva.
  • The average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time English teachers in Estonia is likely to be in the region of €800–€1,000(£720–£900/$920–$1,150) per month. International schools and university salaries are around €1,500 (£1,350/$1,725) per month or even higher in some cases. Freelance private tutors can earn €9 to €13 (£8–£12/$10–$15) per hour.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be required for most full-time positions but not for voluntary positions or summer camps.
  • Prerequisite university degree: Most jobs do require a degree.
  • Term times: September to June.
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Language: Estonian
  • Teaching programmes: Private Language Schools, Public Primary and Secondary Schools Universities, International Schools, Freelance, Summer Camps.
  • Age restrictions: None.
  • Previous teaching experience: Necessary for some positions (university and international schools).

Facts about Teach English in Estonia the Complete Guide for TEFL Teachers | Reviewed May 2022

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LANGUAGE

Estonian

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POPULATION

13.3 million

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TEFL TEACHER DEMAND

High

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CURRENCY

Euro (EUR)

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CAPITAL

Tallinn

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OUR ESTONIA TEFL RATING

3.5/5

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Tefl Jobs In Estonia: FAQS

Q:

How much can I earn as an English teacher in Estonia?

The basic monthly salary for full-time English teachers in Estonia is likely to be in the region of €800–€1,000(£720–£900/$920–$1,150) per month. International schools and university salaries are around €1,500 (£1,350/$1,725) per month or even higher in some cases.

Northern Europe does have a high cost of living, but Estonia sits somewhere in the middle. For example, it is more expensive to live in Estonia than it is to live in neighbouring Lithuania and Latvia but cheaper than in Finland and Sweden.

It is likely that you will need a degree to teach English in Estonia in international schools. However, those that only have a TEFL qualification can find work in state schools.

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