Since the end of Communism Bulgaria, like its neighboring countries in the Eastern Bloc, has experienced some growth and a push towards westernization. However, the economic crises that has hit hard many of the former soviet satellite states has inevitably affected the ELT industry and teaching salaries are not high.
Nonetheless, language schools in Bulgaria are selective and look for teachers with proven experience or a relevant teaching qualification. Typical teaching requirements are a university degree, experience and/or a TESL/TEFL Certificate.
Work opportunities are there but be aware that you probably won’t be able to save a lot of money on your teaching wages. Typically you could be offered an 8 months teaching contract with around 15 teaching hours per week. Wages range between 780 – 1,200 BGL [= 467.275 USD – 718.885 USD / 398.740 EUR – 613.446 EUR] bear in mind that the average cost of living per month is around 480 BGL [= 287.554 USD / 245.334 EUR]. Accommodation is usually provided and so is minimum health care coverage. Holidays are also paid for.
Recruiting starts in January and then in September so you should start contacting potential employers around these periods. Start by contacting organizations with franchise schools, like Berlitz which is present in Plovdiv, Sofia and Varna.
SPELT (Soros Professional Language Teaching Program) places teachers in many countries including Bulgaria. An MA in Applied Linguistics or TESOL is required in most cases, though EFL certification will be considered if candidates have prior teaching experience.
Contact also TFCEE a non-profit organization that has ratified an agreement of cooperation with the Ministry of Education of Bulgaria aimed at providing qualified native speakers of English as instructors. They supply teachers to universities, English language high schools and high schools of natural sciences. Although TEFL certification and experience are not strictly required having a TESL/TEFL Certificate will be an advantage.
A passport valid at least 3 months beyond your stay and your return ticket is all you need to enter the country as a tourist. No visa is required for stays up to 30 days. Once you have found work your employer will help applying for your work permit and long term visa.
For details on exact requirements contact your nearest Bulgarian Embassy or Consulate.
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IWeb TEFL Team