Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Everything you need to know about becoming an international teacher in Switzerland

International teachers

A stunningly beautiful country known for its breathtaking scenery, rich culture, and high standard of living, Switzerland’s excellent education system is highly regarded worldwide, with a strong emphasis on innovation and creativity in the classroom. Switzerland also boasts a multilingual population, with German, French, Italian, and Romansh all spoken within its borders.

As an international teacher in Switzerland, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a dynamic and welcoming environment, where you can grow professionally and personally. You’ll be able to experience a unique blend of old-world charm and modernity, and enjoy some of the best food, wine, and outdoor recreation that Europe has to offer.

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about becoming an international teacher in Switzerland, including visa requirements, cost of living, healthcare, cultural expectations and norms, and expat communities.


Visa requirements for international teachers in Switzerland

International teachers who wish to live and work in Switzerland must obtain a valid work visa before they can legally work in the country. To be eligible for a work visa, teachers must first secure a job offer from a Swiss employer and meet certain educational and professional requirements. You will also need to demonstrate proof of financial support and provide a clean criminal record

Once a job offer has been secured, you must apply for a work permit at the Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country. The work permit application process may vary depending on the individual’s nationality, education, and work experience.

It’s important to note that the visa and work permit application process can be lengthy and complex, so it’s recommended that international teachers begin the process as early as possible.

Additionally, Switzerland has strict laws regarding the maximum number of foreign workers who can be employed in certain industries, so it’s important to research the current regulations before applying for a teaching position in Switzerland.


Cost of living for international teachers in Switzerland

Switzerland is known for its high standard of living, which can come with a high cost. The cost of living for international teachers in Switzerland can vary depending on the region and the lifestyle they choose to lead. Generally, the major cities like Geneva, Zurich, and Basel are more expensive than smaller towns or rural areas.

Accommodation can be a significant expense. Food, transportation, and healthcare are also relatively costly in Switzerland. However, salaries for teachers in Switzerland are typically high, and they can expect to earn a comfortable wage that can cover the cost of living.

Furthermore, the quality of life and access to amenities, such as excellent public transportation and world-class healthcare, can justify the higher expenses.

Overall, while the cost of living in Switzerland may be high, the benefits of living and working in this beautiful and dynamic country can make it a worthwhile experience for international teachers.

Cost of living in Zurich (USD)

Rent for one-bedroom apartment in city centre – $2,850 per month
Rent for one-bedroom apartment outside city centre – $1,900 per month
Loaf of bread – $2.50
Litre of milk – $3.55
12 eggs – $7.25
Takeaway coffee – $6.20
Meal for two at mid-range restaurant – $155.00
Meal at inexpensive restaurant – $27.70
Public transport – $4.85 one way


Healthcare for international teachers in Switzerland

Switzerland has a comprehensive and high-quality healthcare system that provides universal coverage for all residents, including international teachers. The country’s healthcare system is based on a combination of private and public providers, with mandatory health insurance for all residents.

International teachers who work in Switzerland are required to have Swiss health insurance, which offers a wide range of services, including primary care, hospitalisation, and specialist treatments.

The Swiss healthcare system is known for its efficiency and patient-centred approach, with short waiting times and access to cutting-edge medical technology. As a result, Switzerland consistently ranks among the top countries in the world for healthcare quality and patient satisfaction.

Many international schools in Switzerland offer health insurance as part of their employment package.


Cultural expectations and norms for international teachers in Switzerland

First and foremost, punctuality is highly valued in Switzerland, and being on time is seen as a sign of respect and professionalism.

Swiss culture is also known for being quite reserved, so it’s important to avoid overly familiar behaviour with colleagues and students. Additionally, dress codes are often more formal in Swiss schools than in other countries, so it’s important to dress professionally and conservatively.

In terms of language, while Swiss people speak several languages, Swiss German is the most commonly spoken language in many regions, so it’s beneficial to have some knowledge of this dialect.

Finally, Swiss culture places a high value on work-life balance, so it’s important to prioritise personal time and rest outside of work hours.


Expat communities for international teachers in Switzerland

Switzerland has a vibrant and diverse expat community that can make the transition to living and working in the country much smoother for international teachers.

There are many organisations and groups dedicated to supporting expats, including language classes, cultural events, and social gatherings.

The largest expat communities are located in cities such as Geneva, Zurich, and Basel, where many international organizations and businesses have their headquarters. These communities offer a range of resources, including information about housing, healthcare, and education, as well as opportunities to meet other expats and locals.

Many international schools in Switzerland also have active expat communities, providing teachers with a built-in support network.


Schrole international schools in Switzerland

Ready to find out what Switzerland has to offer you? Explore Schrole international schools in Switzerland now:

Inter-Community School Zurich
TASIS The American School in Switzerland


Full access

To career opportunities across the globe

$50 USD per year
Paid membership
  • Ability to create a unique educator profile that holds your references and important documents, such as teaching qualifications, all in one location.
  • Access to our entire database of 400+ international schools representing 100+ countries.
  • 5,000+ teaching vacancies every recruitment season.
  • Unlimited number of job applications.
  • Custom alerts so you’re the first to hear when your preferred roles are posted.
  • Access to virtual and in-person recruitment events with school leaders and recruiters.

Limited access

To career opportunities across the globe

Free membership
  • Ability to create a unique educator profile that holds your references and important documents, such as teaching qualifications, all in one location.
  • Access to our entire database of schools to discover your next teaching role.
  • Submission of three job applications.

Since signing up with Schrole we have been very impressed by the customer service, the modern-looking online platform, the absence of placement fees, and the various other Schrole products that we may be able to benefit from in the future. We have filled a number of positions this year with candidates from Schrole, during a particularly difficult recruitment year for us. The customer service is terrific. It seems that Schrole is leading the way in moving teacher recruitment into the 2020's.

Joe Lumsden Secondary School Principal
Stonehill International School