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

Tefl Jobs In Latvia

You may not have considered Latvia as a destination for teaching English abroad, but it actually has a lot to offer. It is a stunning environment with waterfalls, forests, extensive beaches, and rivers. It is one of the Baltic nations, and the cost of living compared with other places in Europe is low. Latvia is a tiny country located between Lithuania and Estonia, and there are lots of ex-pats living and working there. 2 million people call this country home and with good reason as it is a really beautiful place to live. If you enjoy the outdoors, you will have fun exploring the four national parks, a range of castles and historical relics, many beautiful lakes and some impressive cliff walking. More than half of the country is forested, and this also gives it a claim of being one of the greenest countries in Europe. It has 500 km of coastline, which also means there are plenty of beaches if you like long walks in the sand. It is a very peaceful place, although, in the capital of Riga, you will find there is a vibrant nightlife with lovely eateries and wonderful city-based parks.

If you head over to teach English in Latvia, you will be ideally placed to do plenty of exploration around Europe. It is surrounded by lots of other countries, and you can easily get to them during your time off. To the south of Latvia, you will find Finland; to the east is Russia; and to the north is Poland. All of these are great places to explore, and public transport is inexpensive, meaning you can easily get there. Latvia is also a great place to live if you enjoy the sport of ice hockey, as it is their national sport. They have many teams that compete in the National Hockey League and the Kontinental Hockey League.

It may surprise you to know that Latvia enjoys the fastest broadband Internet speeds in the emerging European nations. It could also be an excellent place to top up your income teaching English online. If you live or work in the capital city of Riga, you can also take advantage of the free Wi-Fi connection points, of which there are over 800.

Job types

As with most places, English teachers in Latvia will find the most job vacancies in the cities and bigger towns. This is because the private language schools and international schools like to base themselves in this urban area.

Primary and secondary schools in Latvia

Jobs are often found in state schools at both primary and secondary levels in Latvia. To qualify to apply for a role as an English teacher in Latvia in one of the state schools, you will need a degree and a teaching certificate from your own country.

Language schools in Latvia

Language schools in Latvia tend to offer lessons in the evenings and weekends so that people who work full time can still attend. As an English teacher in Latvia, you’ll find a lot of language school work is teaching adults business English to help them progress with their careers.

Universities in Latvia

There is more than one university in Latvia, but in order to teach English in Latvia at this level, you do need to have a Master’s degree and proven teaching experience. However, these positions are considered highly sought-after, and people tend not to leave once they have managed to secure a role.

International schools

Because Latvia has a high ex-pat population, there are also several private language schools. These are feepaying institutions for the children of people living and working in Latvia. You will be expected to have a TEFL certification and, where possible, a degree in order to secure work at an international school. But, because they are operating as a business rather than a government-funded school, they do have the capacity to offer better salary packages and benefits to their staff.

Private Tutor

Should you wish to top up your income, you can always look into teaching English in Latvia as a private tutor. If you are employed by any of the institutions above, you should check with them that they are happy for you to take a second role. You can teach English to people in your local area from your home or theirs, or you could teach English online, where you will probably earn more money and can stay at home.

Finding a job

Finding work at private language schools or international schools is something you can do all year round. State schools tend to hire between September and January to prepare for the following year. You may find more vacancies on offer at language schools during the summer break as this gives them time to get ready for the New Year. It’s imperative that you are in the country before your school session starts and have your accommodation and documentation in order.

Qualifications

For most jobs teaching English in Latvia, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree and your TEFL qualification. Obviously, to teach at degree level. You need to have a Master’s degree. The better your qualifications, the more chance you have of securing work, and your salary will be higher to reflect this.

Visa Requirements for English Teachers in Latvia

If you are a citizen of an EU country, you do not require a Visa to live and work as an English teacher in Latvia. However, for this reason, people who come from EU states have an advantage when applying for jobs. That doesn’t mean you won’t find work as a non-EU citizen, particularly if you have very respectable qualifications, but you do then need to apply for your work permit before moving over to teach English in Latvia.

Need to know

Latvia has a very high literacy rate, as well as incredible employment figures. The literacy rate is about 99.8%, and you will find you are paid very well in such a developing country, if you find a role teaching English in Latvia. There are plenty of jobs on offer at public, private and international schools. The demand for native English, speaking teachers in Latvia, has increased over the last few years, and yet there is not much competition, so if you fancy teaching English in Latvia, you should find work quite easily.

From a tourism point of view, Latvia is not particularly interesting. However, this is because it is undiscovered rather than not worth visiting. Latvia actually has a fascinating history, and there are plenty of museums to help you learn all about the country and how it came to be so culturally diverse. In July. Karosta has an annual beach music festival, making this a great time to visit. The Areodium is the first vertical aerodynamic tunnel in eastern European countries and gives you an experience of flying. If you are a sports lover, you not only get to enjoy ice hockey but basketball which plays a significant role in Latvian life. While you are there, be sure to head over to the open-air seaside museum, which can be found in Ventspils, this is dedicated to the history of the fishing and boating industry in Latvia, and between the outdoor and indoor exhibits, you will find 24,000 things to see.

Culture and Living in Latvia

Family is very important in Latvia; you can expect to find many generations of the same family living together. Generally, most families have only one or two children to ensure that everyone benefits from the full financial and emotional support of all family members. Parents support children financially even when they are adults, but in return, they will be expected to take care of their parents as they age. Most people do not move away from home, but if they do find work outside of Latvia, adult children will return home to spend all their holidays with their parents.

Classroom & work culture

Because Latvia is a very hierarchical society, you will find no problem teaching children English in Latvia. They are very respectful of someone’s age and position, and therefore you will be treated well by your class. It is generally expected that the most senior person in the room makes decisions, so, therefore, what you say will stand, and the children will respect your decision-making authority.

Culture & etiquette tips

Like their counterparts in other Baltic states, Latvians are very quiet and reserved with strangers. Once you get to know people, they will become more open, but it is imperative to them that their personal life and business life do not cross. Therefore if you make friends with someone at work and begin seeing them outside of work, your friendship should not come into the classroom. Greeting someone should be done with a handshake and eye contact; generally, most Latvians do not smile. You should use people’s titles to address them until they invite you to use their first names.

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LIVING COSTS

Latvia enjoys a low cost of living, which makes it very affordable to live and work as an English teacher in Latvia. Living expenses are fairly cheap, and you should easily be able to cover the cost of renting your apartment, paying bills and grocery shopping and spending money on transport from your salary. It stands to reason that the larger your apartment, the more expensive the rent will be. You will also pay slightly more to live somewhere like Riga. However, many international schools and language schools will offer benefit packages to their teachers, which include housing costs as well as medical cover and transport costs. There are lots of housing styles, some of which are in the old town, some have a mediaeval influence, and others are in hipster neighbourhoods. If you fancy sharing accommodation, there will be other English teachers in Latvia who want to do the same, and this could take your rent down as low as $200/€200/£170 per month. If you are struggling to find somewhere to live, your school may be able to help you or at least point you in the direction of a letting agent.

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: £350/$400/€400
  • Utilities: £80/$100/€100
  • Health insurance: Cost of a typical visit to a GP: £30/$40/€40
  • Monthly transport pass: £45/$50/€50
  • Basic dinner out for two: £8/$10/€10
  • Cappuccino in ex-patt area: £2.05/$2.85/€2.85
  • A beer in a pub: £3.50/$4/€4
  • 1 litre of milk: £4.03/$4.88/€4.88
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.09/$1.38/€1.38

Tefl Jobs In Latvia: 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: Riga, the capital, has many schools needing ESL teachers. Other cities like Daugavpils and Jelgava also have public schools with a demand for English teachers.
  • English teacher salaries in Latvia: The average salary for a full-time English teacher in Latvia of $800/£740/€800 each month, depending on the type of role and your experience.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: At least a 120-hour TEFL qualification
  • Prerequisite university degree: A degree is required for most roles teaching English in Latvia. In some cases, you may find work without a degree, provided you have a TEFL certification.
  • Term times: September to June
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Language: Latvian
  • Teaching programmes: Teaching adults or children in private language schools, state schools, international schools and universities
  • Age restrictions: None
  • Previous teaching experience: Helpful for higher-paid roles

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

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LANGUAGE

Latvian

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POPULATION

19 million

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TEFL TEACHER DEMAND

High

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CURRENCY

Latvian lats

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CAPITAL

Riga

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OUR LATVIA TEFL RATING

3.5/5

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Tefl Jobs In Latvia: FAQS

Q:

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

The average salary for a full-time English teacher in Latvia of $800/£740/€800 each month, depending on the type of role and your experience.

It is not expensive to live and work as an English teacher in Latvia. However, that said, salaries are relative, so there may not be masses left over.

Most jobs teaching English in Latvia will require you to have a degree and possibly even a teaching license from your home country. You should also have a TEFL certification.

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