Teaching English in Ukraine – a Guide

We spent two years teaching English in Ukraine for London School of English in Odessa, and now teach English for London School of English in Kyiv. Ukraine isn’t necessarily the first place people think about when considering teaching English abroad. Even though what you see in the news at the moment is conflict, most of the country is very peaceful. There’s a low cost of living compared to salaries, and as it’s not in the EU, teachers from all over the world can work there. Here’s our guide to working as an English teacher in Ukraine.

A guide to teaching English in Ukraine

Why you should teach English in Ukraine

Ukraine can be a great place to teach. There is a huge need to learn English at the moment and students are generally keen. The better schools have excellent conditions and a professional teaching environment. The cost of living is low compared to the wages and you can have a good standard of life and still save money. As well as this, it’s not in the EU, so people from all over the world can teach there legally.

Kiev is a beautiful city full of stunning architecture, history and culture. There is an art scene now and some wonderful street art. It has proper seasons, with cold, snowy winters with access to skiing and other winter sports, and hot and sunny summers when the city is full of outdoor bars and restaurants.

Street art in Kyiv Teaching English in Kiev Teaching English in Ukraine TEFL Ukraine

 

Odessa is on the Black Sea. In the summer, it’s hot and sunny and you are walking distance from the beach. It’s famous for its nightlife, and in summer the superclubs at Arkadia are full of beautiful people having all-night parties.

Teaching English in Odessa Ukraine Teaching English in Ukraine TEFL Ukraine

Odessa opera house

The country is huge and diverse. Part of the Carpathian mountains are in the west of the country and have hiking and outdoor sports in the summer and ski resorts like Bukovel in the winter. The city of Lviv is similar to Polish cities, while those like Kharkiv towards the east are more Soviet in appearance.

Have we convinced you yet? If not, perhaps our blog: What we liked about Odessa will convince you, or our monthly blog posts about living in Kyiv.

 

Job Opportunities teaching English in Ukraine

The majority of jobs for English teachers in Ukraine are in the cities of Kyiv and Odessa. While there are some positions in other cities like Dnipro, there are less. Most jobs for non-Ukrainians are in language schools. The biggest chains are the British Council, International House, DECAmerican English Centre and London School of English. The British Council are only in Kiev, International House are in Kiev, Odessa, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Poltava and Lviv, and LSE has three schools in Kiev and three in Odessa. American English Centre only takes American and Canadian teachers and have schools in Kiev, Odessa, Lviv, Kharkiv, Dnipropretrovs’k, Poltava and Zaporozhye.

There are also many smaller schools in the various cities, particularly in Kiev and Odessa, who recruit teachers.

Language school work involves classes of both adults and children who come after school and work to improve their language level. This may be in group classes or 1:1. Teachers also go out to businesses to teach English to employees. In some schools, like American English Centre, native teachers are used for communication classes. Language skills such as grammar and vocabulary are taught by Ukrainians. In others, like LSE, both Ukrainian and native speaking teachers cover both language and communication skills.

 

Teaching English in Odessa involves spending lots of time with teenagers London School of English

Teaching in Odessa

Summer Schools and summer camps in Ukraine

A shorter term option for working as an English teacher in Ukraine is to do a summer camp. Study.UA and DEC both run summer camps every year and recruit teachers to work on it.

If you want to find out whether you will like teaching English in Ukraine, you can also volunteer at a summer camp. You won’t get paid, but you get accommodation and food. Check out GoCamps and ESS. A friend of ours has volunteered with Go Camps and recommends it.

Teaching English in Kyiv teaching English in Ukraine TEFL Ukraine English teacher Ukraine

Terms

Language school work tends to follow the school terms. Courses start in September and run until June or July. Most are closed for a few weeks in the summer, unless they run summer schools.

Salary for English teachers in Ukraine

Jobs at the British Council offer a range from 19,000 to 25,000 and above. Again, you get an accommodation allowance on top of that.

International House offer 10,000 for new teachers. I’d assume that goes up, if and when you have more experience.

When you look at advertised salaries for teaching English in Ukraine, they seem low. However, bear in mind the cost of living. You can get a beer for less than $1. A full meal can cost less than $3. If your rent is covered by the school, you don’t have that many outgoings.

Find out more about the cost of living in Odessa in our blog.

Cost of living in Odessa, Ukraine

 

Jobs can also offer paid holiday, sick pay and sponsorship for further qualifications like the DELTA or DipTESOL. They should also cover the cost of visas and work permit.

 

Lviv Teaching English in Lviv Teaching English in Ukraine English teacher job Ukraine Lviv

Requirements for teaching English in Ukraine

What you need to teach in Ukraine depends on where you want to work. The British Council only accepts teachers with a degree and a CELTA or Trinity TESOL Certificate, or a DELTA or Trinity Diploma, or Masters’ degree in TESOL or Linguistics with teaching practice. You won’t get a job there with an online TEFL.

London School of English in Kiev and Odessa prefer teachers with CELTA or Trinity TESOL, but will accept teachers with other qualifications. They tend to be wary of teachers who got certified in Asia though. Again, they don’t accept online certificates.

Several schools, including London School of English, International Language Centre and Grade Education Centre, offer the CELTA course, so you can train with them before getting a job.

American English Center put their teachers through an in-house training course before they start teaching, so you don’t need to have a teaching certificate to work there. Smaller schools are often happy to get someone to teach at all.

If you are not sure what all these acronyms mean, we wrote a blog to help you: What’s with all the acronyms in teaching English?

 

Teach English Ukraine Teaching English Odessa English Teacher Jobs Ukraine

The beach in Odessa is lovely in summer and interesting in winter

 

Paperwork to be an English teacher in Ukraine

To teach legally in Ukraine you need a work visa and a work permit, and then apply for temporary residency, which comes in the form of a blue passport-like book called a Posvitka. Many teachers come in on a tourist visa, which their school then converts into the work visa. This often involves a trip over the border to the nearest Ukrainian Embassy in Moldova. This process is quite complicated. The professional schools will arrange this for you, and pay for it. However, these schools are also the ones that require specific qualifications to work there. Smaller schools are less likely to be able to employ you legally.

 

 

How to find a job as an English teacher in Ukraine

London School of English in Kyiv and Odessa recruit teachers through its website and on TEFL.com. Other schools also advertise there. International House recruits through its IH Jobs World site.

Other schools have job information on their specific websites. You can also look at the Ukrainian jobs sites rabota.ua and work.ua. Search for English teacher or something similar and the post in English will come up.

Another option if you want to teach English in Kyiv or Odessa is to fly to Ukraine and visit schools looking for work. You can usually get 90 days visa-free entry to come and look for work. Be aware, though, that after 90 days you need to leave and can’t come back for another 90 days, so this isn’t an option for long-term work. You need to convert your visa to a work visa within the 90 days.

If you want any more information about teaching English in Ukraine, get in touch with us either by leaving a comment or sending a message to our Facebook page.

 

Read our interview with teacher Anna about her experiences teaching English in Ukraine. New Teacher Tales blog.

 

Thinking of teaching English in Ukraine? Pin this article for later.

A guide to teaching English in Ukraine

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42 Responses

  1. Kurush says:

    Hello Kate and Kris
    Thank you for the interesting information you shared bhere about teaching English in Ukraine. I’m a non_native English teacher . I have an M.A in TESL and right now I’m teaching in a university in Istanbul , however I am planing to leave Turkey and looking for a job in another country and Ukraine as you described may be a good destination to me . Will you please kindly provide me with some more tips and details? Thank you again and wish you great moments .
    Best wishes,
    Kurush.

    • KateandKris says:

      Hi Kurush,
      What else would you like to know? You can also contact us through our Facebook page which is at the top of this blog, or through the ‘Contact us’ form.

  2. Korinna says:

    This is so interesting. Unfortunately I’m not so good in English to get any certificate, but I would like to live in the Ukraine for some time. Any other jobs you encountered for travellers?

  3. Katherine says:

    Privet Kate and Kris! This is a great guide! Thanks for putting it all together. 🙂 I used to teach in Kharkiv, so reading your article brought back good memories. Anna’s interview was also a really good read!

    • KateandKris says:

      Spacibo! You have the blog ‘8 months in Ukraine’! I’ve been checking that out. It’s great. I’ve just noticed that you’ve got a learning Russian blog too. I’ll have to check that out as I’m trying to remember my Russian…..

      • Katherine says:

        Thank you! 🙂

        Yes, blogging about learning Russian is my (somewhat) newest love. How far did you get with the language? It would be interesting if you made a post on your struggles / successes with it!

  4. Usman says:

    Hi, Kate and Kris for the useful information you shared about teaching English in Ukraine. I have a question pertaining to this article. I’m from Pakistan and i have done English Literature here in my native country. Am i likely to get a suitable job at any reputable school or college in Ukraine? Your reply will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • KateandKris says:

      Hi, you could get a job at a language centre in Ukraine, if you have a proof of your language level (e.g. IELTS or TOEFL or something similar). You’ll probably need to be in the country to visit schools. Good luck and send us a message on Facebook if you have further questions.

  5. Andi says:

    Hi Kate & Kris,

    very interesting read. I have just completed TEFL course and off doing summer camp to gain experience in UK in a couple of weeks. I too love Odessa and been numerous times, in fact I am there again for 5 days from 29th June to 4th July – can you help advise of the smaller schools who accept TEFL because I need experience first before doing further CELTA courses etc… I would like to see them and what they offer. I am looking for part time work and short term contracts – do you think this is possible?

    Many thanks

    Andi

    • KateandKris says:

      Hi, Sure, there is Speak Up, Odessa Language Cultural Centre, and Bridge as well as American Language Centre. There are probably a few more now. You’re more likely to get part-time work with them anyway. Just check what the visa/work permit situation is with whoever you choose, as you don’t want to get deported!

  6. Francine Gold says:

    Thank you Kate and Kris. I am an American and I teach high school here in the states. I have a Masters Degree in Education and am a certified English teacher as well as a certification in ESL (English as a Second Language). Do you think I would be accepted as a teacher in Odessa in the summer?

    • KateandKris says:

      You would be accepted to teach in Odessa, yes. I’m not sure about summer work though. Most language schools close down in August. You could get summer camp work, although I don’t know if much of that is in Odessa. It tends to be in the Carpathians. Are you planning to teach in Ukraine for long?

  7. Maryam says:

    Thank you Kate and Kris ,
    I am Iranian and I have MA in TESOL. I would like to come to Kiev and teach there .Do you think I would be accepted?
    Waiting your reply

    • KateandKris says:

      Hi Maryam, I’m sure it is possible since there are a lot of schools. You may need to come to Ukraine and look for work though. I don’t know if you would get hired from abroad. Send us a message on Facebook if you want more information.

  8. David Eggen says:

    Hi Kate and Kris, I’m 63, divorced from a lady from Kharkov. I have never been a teacher but I have done a lot of different things in my life including becoming an officer in the US Marines. I want to move to Ukraine and live there and have thought perhaps I could teach English there. I would like to immigrate to Ukraine and live there for some time. Is it possible for me to get work there? I do not have a college degree, ended up in the Marines after a couple years of college and never looked back. I have good people skills, have been in sales for many years. I would have money to live there at least a couple years and then my social security would kick in if I choose. Any advice for me or is it hopeless?

    • KateandKris says:

      Hi David, As far as I know, it’s not possible to get a work visa to teach English in Ukraine without a degree. People used to work here without a work visa, but recently they have tightened the laws and you can only stay 90 days in any 180 day period, so basically, you can come for 90 days and then you have to leave again for 90 days. You’d have to try a different field I think. Good luck!

  9. W. L. says:

    Hi, Kate and Kris!

    I’m a retirement-age American. I was preparing last summer to go into the Peace Corps to teach English in Ukraine. But, paperwork issues arose that could not be resolved before departure.

    After months studying the country and learning basic Ukrainian I still want to go. But, it could be as long as two years before I could get to Ukraine with the Peace Corps. And no guarantee I’ll get in.

    I visited Ukraine in early October to get an idea of what it’s like. I spent a week in Kyiv and another in Dnipro (formerly Dnipropetrovsk). Kyiv was exciting. Dnipro was rough around the edges, which I expected, but I grew to like it.

    Now, I’m taking classes to get a TEFL certificate in August 2018. I’m hoping it is a way to get work in Ukraine (or some other country) on my own.

    If I understand your blog entry, that certificate may not be such a big help. I also have a college degree – a BFA – but no post-grad degrees.

    British Council, you say, requires CELTA or a Trinity TESOL certificate, etc. And if your LSE prefers similar credentials, so, that’s probably a long shot.

    American English Centre, Grade Education Center might be my best bets, though from your description my TEFL certificate may not count for much.

    Or smaller schools, which you say are happy to get who they can.

    Do schools require teaching experience? And if so, how much? I’m anxious to get to Ukraine, but I’m afraid I’ll need a year or two of teaching in the US before I can go.

    Thanks!

    • KateandKris says:

      Hi
      So if I understand right, you have a Bachelor’s degree and you are doing a TEFL certificate? That will be fine to get a job at schools like Grade, Speakup and American English centre and the many other schools here. Someone told me last week that there are 310 English language schools in the city! Some schools, like ours, will ask for a CELTA or Trinity or at least a certificate that includes assessed teaching practice with real students. However, many won’t and the certificate will be useful in helping you understand how to actually teach effectively. Send us a message via Facebook if you want more information. Good luck

  10. Maria says:

    Hi! My name is Maria and I am an American with a bachelors Degree in Supply Chain Management. I have never taught, but my husband is I will be moving to Ukraine next fall for my husbands med school program and I am looking at the possibilities of finding a teaching job in Kharkov. What do you think the chances are of me getting a teaching job teaching English in Kharkov?

    • KateandKris says:

      Hi, English teaching is huge in Kharkiv and there aren’t many native speaking teachers there, so I think you will be in with a good chance. To get a decent job, I’d recommend taking either a CELTA or CertTESOL before you go. They are courses in how to teach English with teaching practice where you are observed and given feedback so it really helps you. Send us a message on Facebook if you need any more information.

  11. Gennady Dekhtyar says:

    Hello KateandKris,

    I was born in Kiev and Immigrated with my parents when I was a little boy to the U.S. I speak English fluently and have a College Degree in Psychology. I am interested to possibly teach English in my home town one day as a means of giving back to the country that I was born in. I am a U.S. Citizen, I can speak Russian and read it at a very basic 1st grade level and only know a few words in Ukrainian but can understand most of it. I remember when I went back to visit in 2001, I did need a VISA just to go there and visit. I still have family that lives there, but I am wondering how hard would it be if I went there and tried to find a English teaching job as a former local? Would you recommend to go through a U.S. based agency or try to get a job my own way through family or people who knew me as a kid from my town? Im not really doing it for financial gains (more of a fulfillment) but obviously cash and housing would be welcome. Thank you for your time.

    • KateandKris says:

      Hi, Thanks for you message. I don’t think you’ll have a problem at all finding a job in Ukraine. For a start, there are far more local teachers than expat teachers, and you are basically American anyway. In terms of how to get a job, do you have the right to live and work here? If not, you will be better off looking at the bigger schools who can organise a work permit and visa for you. If you don’t need a work visa, then looking at small local schools will be ok, as long as you bear in mind that salary in those places will be local. Also, in smaller cities, the inability to communicate may hamper you.
      I’d strongly suggest you do a course to learn how to teach English. A CELTA or a Trinity CertTESOL will give you the most possibilities for employment in a decent school. You can take these either in the USA or in Ukraine. The CELTA is cheaper in Ukraine. You can take it at LSE, Grade and ILC.
      Another option is look at starting out on a summer camp programme like Go Camp or Peace Corps.
      Send us a message on Facebook if you have more questions.

  12. John says:

    Hi. Thank you for the great information. Do you know anything about university teaching opportunities in Ukraine?
    John

  13. Joe says:

    Hi, I’m a 19-year-old student from Australia who is currently in my second year of university. the only real experience I have in regards to teaching languages is that I myself have studied Japanese for 3 years. I have no teaching experience or certifications but am interested in teaching English in Kyiv. Is it possible to get a job with no experience/certification? would I have a greater chance with a TEFL certification? I am also interested in volunteering to teach English could this also be a possibility?

    • KateandKris says:

      Hi Joe, without a TEFL certificate, it is highly unlikely you will get a paid job with a work permit. Jobs that can provide a paid work permit generally ask for a CELTA or Trinity certificate or equivelent (e.g. not online). However, you could volunteer. Have you thought about camp? Since you are a student, that might work for you. You could look at Go Camps which a friend did and recommends (there is a post coming soon about it) or DEC Camp.

  14. Volga says:

    Hi.Thanks for the in-depth information. I worked as an instructor at 3 different universities in Turkey for 18 years. I am planning to work in Ukraine. Any comments or suggestions on my chances there? Thanks in advance.

  15. Subir Banerjee says:

    Thank you Kate and Kris

    Along with all other those who take part in this discussion. I have an idea from this discussion that we can do many thing even as a travelers !! Here I got I idea to teach English there in Ukraine while I shall be there as a tourists !! I can help students to improve their communication skill and at the same time I may
    learn Russian/Ukrainian from them !! While I was learning Japanese I was looking for Japanese Tourists those who are here in our city of joy Kolkata so as to improve my vocabulary and communication skill !! I stood first three times in the Japanese Language Speech contest held in our city !! I helped Japanese Tourists as an interpreter cum tour guide and even I arrange their transport – food at my own cost and in this way I have managed to improve my Japanese studies. Sometime I also show them my written script and they help me to get the correct answer !! Learning any foreign language is very costly in any country/city but for me it is very interesting, even as a gift I also got Dictionary, Grammar books etc. from them. Sometime I also arrange their stay in my own home along with food and never ask them to pay. I also arrange my own car with driver and oil so that they can travel around our city !! Now even after 15 years we are still good friends > I live here in Kolkata the city of joy and the cultural capital of India. I was working as a Official in our National Bank. Yes I was a good paid staff along with many facilities and learning foreign language and traveling is my hobby !! I request all of you to think my idea so as to build up world wide friendship by promoting tourism !! I also arrange tour at the choice and budget of the tourists !! Thanking you so much for taking the trouble of reading up to this.
    Subir Banerjee
    email: travelwithme@writeme.com

  16. Roger says:

    I spent three summers working in Crimea in the mid-1990s (Ukraine used Coupons for money and one needed 255,000 to make a dollar. I lived and worked in Sevastopol and found the people and culture very much to my liking. I have a few bachelors degrees and masters degrees but none in teaching English (history, anthropology, geography) and I was a credentialed public school teacher, taught classes in my subject materials at the 2 and 4 year college levels. I’ve been writing technical monographs for 40 years, served as a general and technical editor, and always found teaching to be relaxing after working in the private sector. Curious but how long would it take for someone with a comparable background to get the proper certificate(s)? If I had even a poor reason I’d go to Ukraine without much thought. Odessa was incredible in 1994-96 and I almost fear what it might have become in the 20 subsequent years. still, the Battleship Potemkin Steps are something that must be visited to comprehend their enormity and the U.A.S. Museum has an incomparable gold collection dating to the Iron Age steppe. Kyiv too is an amazing city, and yes, the architecture is outstanding. Naturally, it’s foolish to judge a people and a culture but in 21 weeks in the country I met no one who wasn’t pleasant. Some of my post visit memories I’ve posted on my family web site. I would caution Americans that Ukrainians can seriously party and they will swill 100 proof vodka as if it were water: It takes some time to acclimate.

  17. Gene Cutler says:

    Hi Kate and Kris. I am currently trying to get a temporary residence visa for the Ukraine. One of the routes I have chosen to obtain this is by doing voluntary work. I was thinking about teaching English voluntarily although I have no teaching experience. I currently have a friend in the Ukraine who I live with when I am there however I can only at present stay for 90 days in 180. Where could you suggest that I went to , to do voluntary work in this capacity
    Thank you very much

    • KateandKris says:

      Hi Gene, I really don’t know I’m afraid. You’ll have to find an organisation that is able to sponsor your volunteer visa. I don’t know of any, I only know language schools where teachers work. Good luck.

  18. Joe says:

    Hello, I want to understand the work visa requirement correctly, you can NOT get a work Visa to teach English without College degree ? I have a couple certificate from community college in USA and speak English Natively because I moved to USA as a young teenage, I worked as translator for 7 years with US army as well. so, I am very much into linguistic and philology and have a deep interest and understanding of Indo-European language in general.

    Any chance of getting a teaching job in Ukraine other than summer camp? Thanks

    • KateandKris says:

      No, you don’t need a degree, but you do need a teaching certificate, ideally a CELTA or Trinity cert or equivalent.

  19. Thanks for the detailed post! I did a TEFL in Prague 10 years ago but haven’t been teaching English for the last few years. Am considering checking out Ukraine next, to do a CELTA first. Why did you leave Odessa for Kyiv?

    • KateandKris says:

      We didn’t actually! We left Odessa to go to Thailand, and then we got invited back to Kyiv and accepted. It’s all the same company.

  20. Josh says:

    I’m a 19 year old high school graduate that is fluent in Russian and English. I also hold citizenship in USA and Ukraine. Do you think there would be teaching opportunities for me?

  1. June 3, 2017

    […] Ukraine. Due to the political upheaval, the currency plummeted when we lived there, which made it very cheap to live. A beer cost about 50p and a night out, including dinner for two, was about $25. We also got a free apartment, which helped. Even though the salaries look low in Ukraine, your cost of living is really low too. You can read more about teaching English in Ukraine in our blog. […]

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