Switzerland is one of the most sought after destinations for teachers. In order to gain a long-term visa you must either have a lot of money saved to cover your living expenses or find a job. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is an option for many people who have experience, but the low demand for English teachers have made it more difficult to get a job.
Look for a TEFL/TESOL(Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) school. There are several different schools available. Some are online and others are in classrooms. Online schools tend to be cheaper than schools that offer in-class certification. TEFL schools work with students in teaching them how to teach English using the immersion process. This process makes it so the English teacher does not have to speak the native language, and the students can effectively learn English. Courses are offered starting at 20-hour courses all the way to 120 hours. Certain in-class courses will even offer 120 course hours plus hours in a teacher-training setting. To teach in Switzerland the recommended course time is at least 100 hours. One-hundred-hour online courses can range in price from $300 to $600.
Earn the required TEFL/ TEFOL certification. TEFL/ TEFOL certification states that you are trained to teach English as a second language. Although this is not required in several countries in order to teach English it is required (unofficially) in order to teach in Switzerland. Due to the fact that the demand for teachers is so low, the TEFL/ TEFOL certification will be necessary in being a competitive candidate for a job English teaching in Switzerland.
Look for a job. The job search can be started online. There are several different TEFL websites that work with schools in Switzerland and help place people. Remember though, positions are scarce. You may have to look at work as an au pair that requires tutoring of English and other subjects.
Apply for a work visa. After you have received a job offer and depending on where you will be working, either you or your employer must file the appropriate paperwork for you to work in the country. This must be done before you enter. You cannot apply for a work visa if you are there on a tourist visa. If you found work at a school, generally it will start the application for you. If you are planning on tutoring or work as an au pair, then you will have to start the application process on your own. The work visa application process is explained on the Swiss Embassy website.
Prepare to live in Switzerland. A full-time position in Switzerland often has accommodations provided. There is generally no flight reimbursement. Pay ranges depend on experience, so you can make anywhere from $2,200 to $5,000 a month, according to onlinetefl.com.
Tips & Warnings
- Many families hire au pairs to make sure that the children are immersed in English. If you do not mind also being a nanny this is a great way to find work, and most of the time room and board is also paid for. This is a way for those that do not have much experience in the field to find work and still be able to teach.
- Due to the low demand for English teachers, you will probably need a master’s degree in TEFL education in order to secure a teaching position at a school.
- Taxes are high in Switzerland and so is the cost of living. Make sure that you will have enough money to live off of if you do take a tutoring or part-time teaching position.
- Onlinetefl.com: Teach English in Switzerland
- U.S. Department of State: Country Specific Information, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- CIA: World Factbook, Switzerland
- Swiss Embassy, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs: Schengen Visa Information
- I to I, Teach English Abroad: Teach English in Swizerland