How easy is it to work as an English teacher in Norway?

Teachers have told The Local Norway how easy it is to become an English teacher in Norway. Pictured is a teacher with his students.
Teachers have told The Local Norway how easy it is to become an English teacher in Norway. Pictured is a teacher with his students. Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash
Norway might not be the obvious country to work as an English teacher but it is possible. The Local spoke to some of those doing exactly that to unearth some valuable advice for those interested.

Where can I find a job teaching English? 

There are a number of routes you can choose when it comes to teaching English in Norway. International schools within the country are often on the lookout for native level English speakers. You can also look into private educational institutions that specialise in languages. Even Norwegian public schools are in need of teachers who can teach English. 

Madie Rose, an English teacher based in Oslo, had a fairly straightforward route into the profession, albeit after doing her homework.

“In my case it wasn’t too difficult, I found work at Folkeuniversitet Øst within the first month or two,” she tells The Local. 

“However, I had been laying the groundwork for a good six months before moving to Norway (reaching out to various schools, becoming familiar with the field etc.). The difficulty lies within trying to find permanent and full-time work as an ESL (English as second language) teacher.”

You may also have a better chance in finding a job if you settle in or around one of the bigger cities in Norway, such as Oslo, Trondheim, and Bergen. 

“It is fairly easy to get a teaching job in Oslo, for example,” says Oda Buestad, an English and Religion teacher based in Bergen. Adding, “The more schools there are in an area, the easier it is to find a job, is my impression. I have heard that it is quite difficult in smaller places or cities.”

While Finn.no is the most popular website for job searching in Norway, it is worth checking your own municipality’s website for available positions. Often positions in the public sector, such as teaching, have their own application portals found via your town or city’s homepage.

The most popular time to hire teachers is between September and January.

What qualifications do I need?

Teachers looking for jobs in Norway will have the best chance at getting hired if they have, at minimum, a Bachelor’s degree and an internationally recognised TEFL certificate. 

There is a popular saying that a Masters degree is the new Bachelor’s Degree in Norway. Many of the locals you will be competing with for jobs may have a higher education qualification, so you may stand a better chance if you have a masters. 

“You absolutely can succeed as an ESL teacher, but the ones who do are usually those with good qualifications and experience from before and who really want to make a career out of it,” says Rose.

If you want to teach in a Norwegian public school, they will likely require you to have a certain knowledge level of spoken and written Norwegian skills. 

This is especially true if you want to teach children in primary school. “If you manage to find full-time employment, then you would normally need to speak Norwegian as you’ll be integrated into the regular working structure (attending departmental meetings, giving or attending training etc.),” says Rose.

On top of having the correct accreditations and experience, your chances of getting hired increase if you already have some English teaching experience. 

If you are a teacher who is an EU citizen, then you aren’t required to apply for a work permit to teach in Norway. However, if you are a teacher whose homeland is outside the EU, you will need to apply for a visa to teach, work, and live in Norway. 

And if you received your education and accreditations outside of Norway, they will need to be National Association of Credential Evaluation services before being eligible to get a work permit. 

What can I expect as a salary?

The annual salary, if you are employed at an international school, is around 386,000 kr (£32,150 / $39,000) for primary school teachers. And 465,000 kr (£38,730 / $48,000) for secondary school teachers. 

Tips from the experts

“Avoid thinking of Norway as a country where you can use TEFL as a temporary way to earn and travel – there is not really a market for that here (as there is in many other parts of the world, South East Asia, for example)” says Rose. Adding, “You absolutely can succeed as an ESL teacher, but the ones who do are usually those with good qualifications and experience from before and who really want to make a career out of it.”

Rose also recommends looking for work with Folkeuniversitet, Berlitz, Lingu, universities, and schools.

“Do it!” says Buestad. “It is fun, and the students enjoy the subject for the most part. If you can work in Videregående, or “high school”, the subject is much bigger there, so you have more hours a week with your students.” 

Buestad also wants job seekers to know that it is normal to start with a substitute position. “When you first get a job, it’s most often substitute work, and then you go from there. You start with a small position, maybe 30-50 percent, and then it adds on when the school needs you more,” she says. 

“If you have worked for three years in a substitute position with the same employer, they have to give you a permanent position with that employer, and many teachers get their teaching job this way.”

Useful vocabulary

jobbsøker – job seeker 

søknadsportal – application portal 

Engelsk lærer – English teacher 


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