Teaching English in Ethiopia

Ethiopia

The following information and comments are from English teachers who have taught, or are currently teaching English in Ethiopia.

Do I need a degree to teach in Ethiopia?
It depends on the requirements of individual language schools.

Do I need a TEFL qualification and/or experience?
In rural areas, chances are they won’t know what a TEFL degree/certificate is; if you are in a more urban area, a certificate may needed.

What are the visa requirements?
You need to have a work visa prior to travelling to Ethiopia. The application for this requires a letter of sponsorship from the prospective employer. After arrival, the school will normally help to arrange a residence card to replace the business visa. You can’t change a tourist visa to a work visa without leaving the country.

Where are the jobs?
Most of the schools and therefore most of the work is in Addis Ababa.

What’s the best way to find work?
By contacting schools directly, or through personal contacts in schols or NGOs.

When is the best time of year to look for work?
Many private schools begin the year between the end of July and September.

What kind of salary can I expect?
Most schools pay between 5000 and 7000 Ethiopian Birr (roughly 285-400 USD monthly). Some schools include housing, others do not.

What kind of teaching schedule can I expect?
15-25 hours a week in private language schools. Teaching children can make up a high proportion of the work.

What about the cost of living?
a meal in an average restaurant 40-120 Birr in Addis Ababa
a month’s rent 2000-3000 Birr for a studio apartment in Addis Ababa
a Coke 6 Birr
1kg of oranges 3 Birr

What’s the best way to get around?
By taxi and bus.

What about internet access?
There are internet cafes, or dial-up connection by purchasing a CDMA.


I have never taught in Ethiopia but I have lived there for about 12 years. The people are great and the culture is so rich. I would think teaching there might be a little difficult because of the government. It is hard to get anything done with the government. Even something as easy as getting your license renewed takes days. Besides that the weather is great and you can walk anywhere. You don’t need a car transportation is easy. The only advice I have is if you are the type of person who is so used to having a government that is so cooperative then it might be a little hard to live in Ethiopia.

Anonymous, 20 September 2007


I lived and taught in Ethiopia for almost two years. I taught at two adult language schools and three private schools. The first private school was horrible. The second was not a lot better but the third time was the charm. I loved the food, the climate and the people, although some of them will cheat you out of your socks if you are not careful.

Anonymous, 14 February 2012


If you ever have the opportunity to go to Ethiopia… GO. It was one, if not THE ONE, of the best experiences in my life. I was only there for 9 short weeks, but those few weeks were full. The people are BEAUTIFUL in every way. True, the goverment is…, the buses, and taxis are packed. But, the experience is not to be missed.

Olivia, 1 March 2012

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