South America has many countries that are famous travel destinations and are great places to teach English. A few examples are Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. However, there is another option that people are sleeping on. After reading this article, you will put teaching English in Colombia on your career bucket list.
Colombia is a country famous for the natural beauty of its landscapes like deserts, rainforests, and mountains. But that is not the end. If you are a coffee lover, you will be mesmerized by Colombian specialty coffee. A large part of the Colombian population relies on their world-famous coffee trade. Imagine teaching ESL in Colombia, where you can enjoy hundreds of Colombian coffee brands and the amazing desserts prepared just for that type of coffee.
Furthermore, you do not want to miss out on the carnivals, music & dance, food, and historical towns. If you teach English in Colombia, these things will become more accessible, and you will be less stressed financially. Also, you will be able to easily travel to nearby Central American countries like Costa Rica. Continue reading to learn everything you will need to about Colombia’s ESL teaching job opportunities.
Teaching English in Colombia
You might not be so familiar with the cities of Colombia. But we’ve got you covered. The best cities to teach in Colombia are Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena.
First of all, Bogota is the capital city and the central location for education. Therefore, it is the city with the most job opportunities. Secondly, Medellin is the second-largest city and is known to be a great place to live and work. If you choose to live here, you will be able to get immersed in the diverse culture of music and arts. Lastly, Cartagena is an excellent place for teachers who love living by the ocean. Although it is smaller than the other two cities, you will have easier access to Central America and the Caribbean.
Of course, there are many more amazing locations to live in, but these are the three best cities for living, teaching, and traveling.
Requirements for Teaching ESL in Colombia
In order to teach ESL in Colombia, you have to meet the following requirements:
- A TEFL certificate
- A bachelor’s degree
- Prior teaching experience
If you want to teach English in Colombia, you must have a TEFL certificate. Also, most of the bigger language schools will look for a bachelor’s degree in English or relevant. If you have a degree not related to linguistics, some employers might require a minimum of two years of teaching experience. However, some private schools will accept teachers without a university degree.
Salary of Teaching Jobs in Colombia
The average salary for an ESL teacher in Colombia ranges between $500 – $1050 (USD). However, the specific wage depends on the teacher’s level of experience and the job type.
The lower end is what you will make as a public school English teacher or a volunteer. It’s not a lot, but it is enough to cover the basic costs of living in Colombia.
If you choose to work at a private school, your hourly salary can range from $12 to $27 (USD). Also, private schools tend to cover teachers’ housing, flight cost, and insurance.
English Teaching Jobs in Colombia
There are mainly two types of private schools for ESL teachers in Colombia.
1. Private International Schools
This type of school pays the highest salary. Are you an experienced Native English speaking ESL teacher? Then this is a great option. However, it can be challenging to find a job at international schools if you are not a native English speaker. Furthermore, these schools require more qualifications from teachers. You must be a native speaker, have a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree, and have minimum teaching or training experience.
2. Private Languages Schools
If you are not fully qualified for an international school, private language institutes are your next best option. Usually, a college or university degree is all you need. Like most the other South American countries, it is easier to find a job when you are already in the country. Therefore, you might want to travel to Colombia first, look for job openings, and do in-person interviews.
The most famous and recognized private language institute in Colombia is called Colombo Americano. It is located throughout the country and is supported by the U.S. embassy. Colombo offers great benefits for foreign teachers, including stipends, flight and rent coverage, competitive hourly wages, and visa sponsorship. However, as a teacher at this school, you will have to teach at least 35 hours a week, excluding outside class preparation and grading time.
Another example of a famous language institute is EAFIT. It is a teaching and research university in Medellin. January is known to be the best time to apply for a job at this place. Furthermore, even native English speakers must have an English proficiency certificate.
If you are looking for help in finding teaching jobs in Colombia, you can reach out to Greenheart Travel, a recruiter that offers ESL jobs to native English speakers. The Colombian government pays Greenheart Travel to hire ESL/TEFL teachers.
Things to Consider When Teaching in Colombia
The cost of living is low enough to be covered by the average salary. You will also make enough to explore the country. Yet, you might not earn enough to save cash. Employers will often expect teachers to work for long hours, even on weekends. If work and life balance is an essential part of your journey, do not forget to check the workdays and hours during the interview.
Still, this should not discourage you from considering Colombia as your teaching abroad destination. The benefit of teaching in Colombia is the accessibility to other South American or Central American countries. Plus, Colombia is the third country to have the most public holidays!
FAQ About Teaching ESL in Colombia
Here is a quick guide to some commonly asked questions about being an English teacher in Colombia.
Do you need to speak Spanish to teach English in Colombia?
You do not need to speak Spanish to become an ESL teacher in Colombia. Although it could be helpful, employers will not look for it.
How much do teachers make in Medellin?
On average, English teachers in Medellin will make around $700 – $1000 (USD). The specifics depend on the type of institution you work at and your experience level.
How do I teach English in Medellin?
You can either teach at a private international school or a private language institute. Popular language institutes are easier to get a job at than international schools. Two examples of language institutes are Colombo Americano and EAFIT.
Do I need a degree to teach English in Colombia?
The need for a university degree depends on the school. Some employers look for a bachelor’s degree, and some don’t. If you do not have one, it is not a big deal. You will still be able to find an ESL teaching job in Colombia. However, you will need a TEFL certificate to become a competitive candidate.
Teaching English in Colombia: Join the Conversation
What are your thoughts on teaching English in Colombia? Is it the right place for you, or are you looking for a country with well-paying TEFL jobs? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.