Career pathway for English teachers in Colombia
In Colombia, there are excellent public and private university programs for starting a career pathway as English teachers, being these undergraduate programs composed by pedagogical and linguistics cores. But, what if I am a native English speaker and want to travel and teach English internationally? Here are some important tips for you to have in mind to start and continue your career pathway as an English teacher in Colombia.
How should I start?
As a native English speaker, the opportunities are vast too since, if you have university studies and a teaching training, you may have the opportunity to travel to Colombia, know the country, meet a lot of people and work as an English teacher.
The first step is to get a CELTA or TEFL certificate. They are the most required and also complete training programs to start your teaching experience.These certificates help you get the knowledge and strategies needed to teach English internationally and in the best manner for the sake of our students.What’s the difference?
The CELTA certificate by Cambridge, (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) requires students to complete 120 hours of class time and six hours of teaching. Of course, it requires full-time attendance and commitment, since it has a considerable amount of workload such as class planning for the practicum and written assignments.
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) programs vary from being as short as one intensive weekend, or about 20 hours of class time, and as long as several months, with up to 300 hours of class time.
Other types of certificates are the TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) which can give you different benefits, depending on the country you would like to travel to, the kind of students you want teach and the experience you would like to live.
Applying to a teaching job
Colombia has become one of the most attractive countries to visit and know all the diversity it is famous for. Whether you want to work directly with the community or in private classes, depending on your studies and teaching experience, you can look for opportunities to start your career pathway for teaching English.
Most of the job opportunities are concentrated in the major cities of Colombia like Bogotá, Medellín and Cali. You can start contacting institutions such as language schools, private or public schools or government funded programs through their websites, job postings and social network groups.
Remember that you will have to get a visa sponsored by the hiring company or program. As there are different types of visa and somewhat complicated processes, we recommend you to be informed by reading one of our blogs about it How to get a work visa in Colombia | 3 types of visas in Colombia .
One of the options with many positions all year round is to work for language schools. Normally, you will teach adults or university students but if you prefer, there are always programs for kids and teenagers to reinforce their English knowledge.
Most of these language schools require teaching certificates as the ones we previously mentioned but in some cases they are not essential and, according to your experience, you will be teaching English focused on communication, business, tourism, etc.
Salaries vary from 10 to 20 dollars per hour.
Private schools and universities are fee-paying schools which teach English at a high level and expect to have good results. Many of these options are bilingual schools and require teaching experience and an English teaching certificate. You will find higher salaries in these schools going from 550 to around 910 dollars per month.
There are some international private schools which also require teaching experience, an English teaching certificate and a postgraduate certificate in education. This extra requirement also gives extra money, that is why salaries can vary from 900 to around 1200 dollars per month.
Public schools, public universities and government funded programs are aimed to improve the English instruction in these institutions. We can mention the bilingualism program from the Ministry of Education (MEN) and Teach English in Colombia (TEC) whose main objective is to place English native speakers in public classrooms to bring them different and immersive learning environments.
Although these public jobs tend to pay less than private ones, the experience of working with kids, teenagers and adults that can’t afford English courses will give you the opportunity to give back to the community and help to close the socioeconomic gap. There are also some opportunities to come as volunteers and get a stipend and shared accommodations with other volunteers, depending on the city, town or village you will be visiting.
Another good option is to have private classes. You can have online classes from home or face-to-face ones as soon as you get enough students. The more hours you teach the more money you will earn, that is why it is very common to have this option as a complement to increase your income. You can charge from 10 to max 20 dollars per hour.
Are you ready?
Although you may have more questions, online research and contacting institutions or programs you may be interested in will help you make more informed decisions. If you are thinking about teaching English in Latin America, be sure to look at all your options and ask the right questions to a future employer. If you’re interested in teaching English in Colombia, get in contact with us today. We’re always looking for great individuals to join our team.