Teaching English in Ukraine – a Guide

We spent two years teaching English in Ukraine for London School of English in Odessa. 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.

Odessa opera house

Odessa opera house

Job Opportunities teaching English in Ukraine

Most jobs for non-Ukrainians are in language schools. The biggest chains are the British Council, International House, American English Centre and London School of English. The British Council are only in Kiev, International House are in Kiev, Odessa, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovs’k, Poltava and Lviv, and LSE have three schools in Kiev and three in Odessa. American English Centre only take 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 School

If you want to find out whether you will like teaching English in Ukraine, you can volunteer at a summer camp. You won’t get paid, but you get accommodation and food. Check out GoCamps and ESS. We don’t know much about these organisations, so can’t say what they are like (have you ever volunteered at a summer camp in Ukraine? If so, get in touch).


St Michael's Cathedral, Kiev

St Michael’s Cathedral, Kiev


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 teaching English in Ukraine

Salaries at London School of English start at 16,500 hrivna (about $600) and go up to 22, 500 (over $800) and above, depending on experience. The school provides accommodation for teachers, so you don’t have to pay rent out of that.

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.




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 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. You need a degree here too.

Several schools, including London School of English 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?


Snowy beach in Odessa

Odessa beach is lovely in summer, and interesting in winter.


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.

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.

Kiev is a beautiful city full of stunning architecture, history and culture. There is an art scene now and some wonderful street art.

Kiev street art

Kiev has lots of cool street art


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.


Cheap beer on Odessa beach

Cheap beer on Odessa beach

The winter brings cold and snow, and then you can head to the ski resorts such as Bukovel in the Carpathian mountains.


Have we convinced you yet? If not, perhaps our blog: What we liked about Odessa will convince you, or our blog on Places to Drink in Odessa.

Or maybe fellow teacher, Anna, can convince you with her New Teacher Tales blog.


If you want any more information about teaching English in Ukraine, get in touch with us.


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

A guide to teaching English in Ukraine

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32 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,

    • 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


    • 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.


    • KateandKris says:

      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?

  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.

  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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