Interested in working in the Czech Republic? Well, you’ve picked a great time to get started. Low prices, untapped niche markets, and a prominent TEFL market are just a few of the reasons why this Central European country is a great place to consider working.
As a former expatriate who lived and worked in the Czech Republic for almost 2 years (as a Guidance Counselor, Copywriter/Digital Marketing Specialist and part-time hostel desk dude), I always felt a sense that anything was possible there, whether it be teaching English (the easiest way to get employed abroad) or trying your hand at starting your own business.
Despite the old school charm of the Czech Republic, there’s something about it that feels like it is always developing. Like something big is about to happen. Youthful exuberance contrasted with traditional values, the thriving expat community, the classical beauty, and the fact that it has become a hotspot for not only the TEFL Industry, but also international business, technology and entrepreneurship opportunities for foreigners, making this country especially unique.
An Emerging TEFL Hub
When you do research on the Czech Republic, it is hard to deny the fact that it is quickly becoming a “TEFL Hub” with a vast array of TEFL Certification programs and expatriate teachers calling it home.
Its central location allows for easy accessibility to other countries and thus, cheap and convenient travel, which satisfies every adventure seeking teacher looking for a way to earn income while traveling.
Most importantly for job seekers, the Czech Republics desire to compete in a more globalized world ensures that there are always some types of English employment available for TEFL Certified native English speakers in the “Golden City,” even if you don’t yet know the difference between jak se mas and dobry den.
Tips to Live & Work in the Czech Republic
Earn your TEFL Certificate
The easiest and most common way to get your foot in the door in the Czech Republic is by earning your Internationally Accredited TEFL Certification in Prague.
On a course like this, you’ll spend about 120 hours in the classroom, including 6-8 hours of observed teaching experience to Czech students. When all is said and done, you’ll have new friends, solid teaching skills, connections throughout the world, and an Internationally Accredited TEFL Certificate.
Get a Trade License (Zivnostensky List)
After you complete your TEFL Certification, the best way to become legal is to obtain a Trade License (also called a Zivnostensky List). Under a Trade License, you’re an “Independent Contractor” in the Czech Republic. This means that essentially you work for yourself, invoice your employers, and handle your taxes and health insurance.
This opens multiple employment opportunities for you in the Czech Republic to live the entrepreneurial dream. It will raise your employability and versatility dramatically, as you won’t be tied to any specific employer. You will need assistance though, and I’d recommend EasyVisa SRO as they helped me obtain my Trade License quickly and easily and offered guidance every step of the way.
Prague is by far the most common place in the Czech Republic to work, but if you want to branch out, try something different, and most likely earn even more teaching hours, check out some of the smaller cities. There is a demand for English teachers nationwide including Brno, Ceske Budejovice, Hradec Kralove and Mlada Boleslav to name a few. You can check out sites such as Quinn’s world of TEFL or Daves ESL Café in order to find more employment opportunities.
I found inspiration on a daily basis from those that I interacted with in the Czech Republic. The value system of the Czechs and the overwhelming excitement and positivity of the TEFL trainees I helped acclimate each month served as a constant reminder of the beauty, greatness and pragmatism of the Czech Republic.
I found inspiration in the rich literary and political history as well. The café and castle district hangouts of Franz Kafka, the sites of protests and historical events, the plays of Havel, and the emphasis on creativity and expediency (despite a few apparent communist values) made me want to take refuge in a Czech café and develop my entrepreneurial ideas and writings.
Speaking of taking refuge to develop ideas, There are numerous cafes (my favorite was always ‘Liberal’ in Prague 7) and co-working spaces such as ‘The Hub’ if you’re looking for some inspirational brainstorming spots.
Utilize Job Guidance Resources
I’m not sure what all the TEFL Certification programs in Prague provide in terms of Job Guidance, but in my experience, there was a lot to utilize. Alumni contacts within the country, lists of language schools both in Prague and in smaller Czech cities, an end of course Prague job workshop, and frequently posted job openings all provided me with ample opportunity to reach out and get my foot in the door.
I emailed every single school in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia looking to get this teaching abroad journey started as soon as the course ended. By the 4th and final week of the course, I already had 2 interviews lined up and one job offer.
Get to know Czechs and Seasoned Expats
If you plan to stay long term, getting to know Czech people and seasoned expats will serve as invaluable contacts that typical expatriates don’t have. They’re obviously a blessing in terms of local weekend trip connections, language help, and pub recommendations, but sometimes they may be something you least expect, such as a reference or an employment connection.
I’ve met Czechs who were raised in America, returned to the CR, and wouldn’t ever live anywhere else. I’ve met expats who came to Prague on a trip 10 years ago, moved back, and have called it home ever since.
What if I don’t want to teach English?
I’d still recommend obtaining the TEFL Certificate. Not only will this make you more marketable in a foreign country. It will also give you an assortment of expatriate connections, ideas, and potential business partners throughout the city.
If you’re interested in something entrepreneurial, starting up an SRO or LLC in Prague has become easier and is basically a one step process. If you cultivate and brainstorm some of these ideas, you may be just a step away from having your own International business. Here are some possibilities.
- Copywriting and Translating – Get a few of your international friends together and offer to translate guides, stories, menus, coupons, website instructions, etc. If you branch out, this may be a nice little side job for any teacher or professional.
- Guiding Tours – There are organizations such as McGee’s Ghost Tours and Sandemans New Europe that are always looking for English tour guides, especially in the tourist seasons. If you’re on the Trade License, you’re highly marketable for a job like this.
- Utilize your Background – I have a background in Journalism and Sports Management. Shortly before I left Prague, I halfheartedly tried my hand at this a few times, only to put the ideas on the backburner once I realized I didn’t have any investors or capital. After noticing typos on menus throughout the city center, I wanted to start an English Copywriting and Translation Service. After noticing the multitude of English speaking children and adults in Prague, I wanted to use my background as a tennis coach to start an expatriate tennis program. Maybe someday!
- International Schools – They do tend to hire mainly EU citizens or teachers with a formal background in Education, but if you have your Trade License, some teaching experience, and a bit of charisma to boot, you have a shot at a job as a teacher or an aide at an International School in the Czech Republic. This would allow for a set schedule, good pay, and a completely English speaking work environment.
There you have it. Earn your TEFL Certificate, get yourself a Trade License, allow yourself to take inspiration from your fairytale-esque surroundings, utilize the multiple connections that you’ll be presented with from the get-go, and you’re on your way to finding a job in the Czech Republic. If you sit back and wait for lessons, students and success to come to you, it won’t happen. Utilize every single connection you have and keep pushing. Keep an open mind, find a demand, and supply it! Na Zdravi!
By Justin Landis, a Former Job Guidance and Admissions Coordinator at TEFL Worldwide Prague.