A Way Abroad Logo
The ultimate resource for women dreaming of a life abroad

An Insider's Guide on How to Teach English Abroad in Hungary

write for us!

Here’s the deal: I never had a burning desire to be a teacher. But I did have a burning desire to live in Europe.

Enter…the Central European Teaching Program. While this program isn't mandatory to use, this is the easiest way to get a teaching job in Hungary and the program I personally used.

Since then, teaching (and my wonderful kindergartners) has grown on me quite a lot. And the affordability, atmosphere, and travel opportunities that come from living in Budapest have made it my favorite place to be!

Not sure that you're sold on teaching English in Hungary? Teaching English in Czechia is another great option to be able to live in Central Europe.

If you’re interested in teaching English as a foreign language in Hungary, I'll walk you through the steps you can take to score a job teaching English and some tips to make your process a smooth one.

Short on time? Here's the cheat sheet:

🏫While it's possible to get hired to teach English in Hungary on your own, the easiest ways to get a job is through the Central European Teaching Program.
🏰Budapest might be the most popular place in Hungary to live abroad but there are a ton of other great cities and towns to choose from.
👩‍🏫The main requirements to teach English in Hungary are: 

‍Requirements to Teach English in Hungary

  • Native English Speaker
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • 120 Hour TEFL certificate minimum (no degree in teaching required)
  • At least 20 hours of paid or voluntary teaching experience completed before arrival (I got mine done over the summer while I was getting my TEFL certificate)

Still in need of a TEFL/TESOL certificate? Get an online or in-person certificate from ITTT (International TEFL & TESOL Training)! Kat, the A Way Abroad founder, took their 120-hr online course with a tutor when she first started her journey abroad. 

Their course gave her the confidence she needed to teach classrooms of children around the world. Since then, she has used their certificate to get work visas in 3 countries around the world so you'll never have to doubt the authenticity of their training! 

Use this special discount code to get 15% off all of their courses!

The Central European Teaching Program

Woman sitting on ledge in Budapest with Parliment building in the background
Enjoying the views of the parliament building

Say hello to the CETP (Central European Teaching Program).

This Portland, OR based program cooperates with the Hungarian government to place American teachers in schools of all levels across Hungary.

Once CETP finds a placement for you, you may be required to interview for the school remotely. I had two brief interviews and a teaching video before I was hired.

While I teach in Budapest there are loads of great places to live in Hungary. Budapest is a competitive area so it's not a guarantee you'll get a job there. The majority of placements are in smaller cities & towns across Hungary. Orientation is in Budapest, but afterwards, someone from your school will come pick you up and take you to your city/town.

Serious about
browse all articles

Who Is the Program For?

This program is geared primarily towards teachers from the United States but it's possible for native English speakers from other countries to apply. If you're a citizen of Canada, the U.K., and other EU countries, assuming you're native English speakers, then you can also apply.

This program is family-friendly, which is unique. Something that I love about CETP is that it’s for people from all stages of life, not just freshly graduated college students.

What does that mean? There are a lot of young, single people who do the program but there’s also families, single mothers with their kids, couples, and friends who want to move to Europe together.

Program Fee

The $2500 program fee goes towards CETP placing you in a school, orientation (and accommodation during it), and most importantly, help with your visa. The visa process was completely in Hungarian and for me, would have been impossible without their assistance.

The fee might sound substantial (it certainly did to me!) but you pay it in installments:

  • $500 with your application, and then two $1000 installments.
  • When returning for a second year, the fee drops drastically to $750!

Program Application

CETP has a rolling deadline, so you can apply any time of the year.

Once I emailed the program coordinator, the process went pretty quickly. Mary was so reassuring and friendly over our Skype interview, and she told me what kinds of jobs were available in my requested region (Budapest).

Within two weeks I was interviewing with my current school. All that was left for me to do was to complete my TEFL certification and mail in my paperwork.

Program Orientation

Orientation was a rush. It felt like the city was our playground!

All of us wide-eyed Americans were soaking up the new information on Hungarian culture and language by day, and then exploring the ruin pubs of Budapest by night.

Our program fee paid for the hostel that was our home base and there we went to CETP’s sessions on the Hungarian language, teaching methodology, and Hungarian culture.

Want to‍ get a head start and learn Hungarian before you move? Mondly is a great language app to learn some basic words and phrases before you arrive and once you're settling in.

Teaching Salary

I made approximately $500 USD/month for teaching part time. Your exact salary will depend on your school though because you're an employee with them, not the program. Note that you get free housing so you're not expected to pay rent with that.

It may not sound like much but it’s enough to live comfortably in Hungary. Although many teachers say that it’s just enough to live on. If you want to make any larger purchases, or if you want to travel, prepare to dip into your savings, or to perhaps find some side hustles like becoming a freelance English teacher or starting an online side gig.

Be sure to bring enough savings for the first few months, as this will help you settle in a bit smoother. Also, with the low salary, CETP can provide documentation to help you suspend student loan payments.

Program Accommodation

I love, love, LOVE that when teaching English in Hungary schools provide you with free accommodation!

‍Schools are required to provide a private apartment for the teacher. However, they emphasize that not all apartments are as updated or fancy as one may be used to.

But hey, it’s a roof over your head, it’s your own space, and it’s rent free!

A lot of schools own the apartments themselves, but some are open to giving you a living stipend which you can put towards an apartment of your own choosing.

Program Health Insurance

CETP makes sure that you get full Hungarian residency benefits, which include access to Hungary’s healthcare system.

You’ll most likely spend lots of time in the waiting room, but visits to your assigned primary care giver are free and your school makes sure to find you someone who speaks English.

Personally, I’ll see that doctor if I need a sick note from work but I’ve found private providers for everything else (gynecologist, dentistry, etc.).

How to Find English Teaching Jobs Outside of CETP

While I don't personally have experience with this, I do know it's possible to find teaching jobs directly through the schools.

Personally I think the fee was worth it to have the program handle the heavy lifting but if you're not at a place where you can pay that or feel more confident in job hunting, applying, and dealing with the visa on your own, I'd scour job boards to find openings.

A few recommended websites to find English teaching jobs are:

Although I know plenty of people who have had success with job boards, I highly recommend you research a school and check their legitimacy before you send them any personal information. This also isn't a list of all the reputable job boards but just a few that I've had recommended to me from people I trust.

Types of Schools to Teach at in Hungary


I was placed in a kindergarten and have a slightly different situation than most of my fellow expat teachers.

Here's a break down of a normal schedule teaching at a kindergarten:

  • I have a fixed schedule of 25 hours/week, from 8am-1pm.
  • Once a week I work until 5, teaching at an after school program.
  • Required meetings take up another hour, so I’m working 31 contact hours/week.
  • The lesson planning/craft making/research brings it up to about 40 hours/week.

But the fixed hours are really easy to plan around!

And I love that I can spend my afternoon lesson planning in my favorite cafe or making more money teaching online instead of just staring at the walls of the teacher’s lounge.

Public Schools (Primary Schools & High Schools)

Teachers work approximately 25-30 hours in the classroom each week and classes last 45 minutes.

Their schedule changes each day based on which periods they’re assigned.

For example, you could start your day at 8, have 3 back to back classes, a long break, and then 1 more class starting at 2. Or maybe you’ll get lucky and all of your classes will be close together.

Either way, you don’t start much earlier than 8 and you don’t finish much later than 3.

If you’re placed in one of Budapest’s Bilingual schools, however, I’ve heard that the schedule is much more demanding.

Private Language Schools

If you go through the program, you'll most likely be teaching English at a kindergarten or a public school. There are plenty of private language schools throughout the country that also hire but to find those jobs you'll need to apply on your own.

A perk to working at a private language school is that they don't necessarily have to abide by the same rules that public schools do so if you're not a native English speaker, there's a chance you could still get hired so long as you can still prove you have a great level of English.

Private schools range greatly as some are for full-time students, some are after-school programs, and others are for adults looking to practice business English.

School Breaks

Not all school breaks are created equal!

If you teach primary level or above, you will receive 1 week of fall break, 1 week of spring break, a longer Christmas break, and the entire summer (June 15-August 31st) off of school.

Kindergartens stay open all year, so kindergarten teachers only receive national holidays off and have 5 weeks off during the summer.

The Cost of Living in Budapest

While you might decide to teach English in another part of Hungary, if you end up in Budapest like me, knowing these numbers might help you out.

Note that these are estimates based on my monthly expenses. Your costs could be way different than mine based on your hobbies and the places you choose to frequent. It's just to give you an idea, not the rule.

Even though its growing popularity with tourists has made Budapest’s prices rise, it’s still considered to be quite affordable.

Here's a breakdown of monthly expenses in Budapest:

  • Rent for my central, 1-bedroom apartment is ~$485 (but remember the school pays for this)
  • A beer at a local pub is ~$3
  • A meal with a drink + dessert is ~$10

You can find a party any day of the week, especially among all the ruin pubs of the Jewish Quarter in the 7th district. If you like going out and drinking, add some to those prices as cocktails and wine are more expensive than beer.

When most people think of Hungary, they only think of Budapest, and to be honest, I was one of those people, too. Now, though, I know there is so much else to explore in Hungary than just the capital city.

If you want to stretch your legs, know that Budapest’s central location is perfect for traveling Europe. Prague and Vienna are just a train ride away, and lots of budget airlines fly out of Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc airport.

Of course, I’ve only experienced life in Budapest but I know that the rest of Hungary has so much to offer too!

Will You Teach English in Hungary?

I love my life here in Budapest and am happy I trusted CETP to handle the process for me. If you're interested in living and teaching in Hungary, I'd highly suggest contacting them.

Finding a job and getting a visa can be a complicated process without the knowledge of Hungarian or an EU passport. Having a 3rd party arranging the small details will make the process so much smoother.

Best of luck to you and maybe see you soon in Budapest!

All images courtesy of depositphotos.com.

keep a way abroad fueled!
Consider making a donation

A lot of effort went into making this amazing piece of journalistic genius. If it helped you out, send us a quick thanks by buying us a coffee. All the money donated through Ko-Fi goes towards keeping A Way Abroad awesome. Big thanks!

Pick an image to pin it!
Go back up arrow