How much can I earn teaching English in Colombia?

Until recently, Colombia was famous for its high profile drug barons and very public acts of gang violence, however, things have changed dramatically in the last few years. Today, Colombia is a peaceful country with a rapidly growing tourism industry that is being held back by a lack of English speakers rather than violence on the streets. This exotic destination offers a great deal of adventure, but it is recommended that you head there soon before everyone finds out about it.

What are TEFL salaries in Colombia?

Although average salaries are not especially high at between $700 and $1,000 USD per month, teachers can still live very good lifestyles as the cost of living is relatively low. Jobs in private schools typically pay the best salaries, as well as extra benefits such as a housing stipend and health insurance. Hourly rates for private tutoring range from $12 to $25, depending on the location and the teacher’s level of experience. If you sign up for the Teach English in Colombia Program you will receive $400 per month plus help with accommodation fees. Native English speakers with a TEFL certification are preferred by most employers, while a degree can also help in some cases.

Who are the main employers of English language teachers in Colombia?

The Teach English in Colombia Program (TEC) is a popular way to live and work in Colombia, while also giving something back to the local community. The program is a reputable scheme that provides free language instruction for people who can’t afford to pay for lessons. The scheme is open to native English speakers from the US who have a TEFL qualification or a year of teaching experience. Although it is a volunteer scheme, teachers receive a monthly stipend and help with accommodation.

If you want to earn a higher salary there are options in private international schools and language institutes. International schools pay very well, but they generally require a high level of qualifications and experience. If you don’t meet the criteria, private language schools are a good compromise as the pay is reasonable and jobs are widely available. There is also a new government initiative to hire foreign teachers to work in public high schools. The salaries for these jobs are not as good as private schools, but the working conditions are generally relaxed and comfortable.

What is the recruitment process for English teachers in Colombia?

For private language school jobs you will need to be on the ground in Colombia when looking for a suitable position as most employers do not advertise their jobs online. The requirements vary from job to job, but typically you will need to be a native English speaker with a college degree and a TEFL certificate. Although you will find language centers in most major towns and cities, the most popular destinations are Bogota, Medellin and Barranquilla.

Jobs in public schools or within the TEC program are best arranged in advance before you leave your home country. In most types of teaching jobs the employer should arrange an official work visa for you. However, many schools expect you to work on your original tourist visa which is technically illegal but commonplace and generally overlooked by the authorities. There is no official requirement to have a TEFL qualification to apply for a work visa, but having one will certainly widen your job prospects in Colombia.

What is the cost of living for English teachers in Colombia?

In western terms, the cost of living is low in Colombia. Housing is often the biggest expense for teachers, so any job that offers assistance with accommodation is always a bonus. Many teachers choose to share an apartment with another teacher to keep rental payments down. Where you choose to live will have a big impact on the rental cost so it is always good to get local advice on the areas that are both inexpensive and safe to live in. Public transport is generally very cheap and groceries are inexpensive if you avoid imported goods.