Where to teach English in Colombia
Teaching English in Colombia has become an option for those who want to expand their cultural experience and improve their teaching skills. Teaching English in Colombia allows teachers to experience appealing South American life while teaching in a wide range of companies and institutions.
Teaching English in Colombia may sound frightening at first, but for many, it’s an extremely rewarding experience that also provides a professional context for starting a new career. We know it can be a bit overwhelming to take this important step, luckily, the teaching community also is highly supportive, and you will have the opportunity to not only experience Colombian culture, but also meet people from around the world.
Colombia offers several different scenarios to teach English such as teaching at universities, languages institutes and private lessons to your own students. Let’s take a look at these possibilities, see what you need to do to get started, and the pros and cons of each option.
Teacher in class
Teach English in Colombia at a University
Teaching at University in Colombia can be an exciting experience. You can get to know how the Colombian scientific and technological thinking has progressed, as well as you improve your research skills while teaching at a university. If you decide on this option, keep in mind that the educational requirements vary depending on the type of teaching job you apply for, such as an Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor.
Colombian Universities are often very strict on hiring, and usually require a Master’s degree and even sometimes, a Phd. However, they might make an exception (depending on the University and job) if you have a bachelor’s degree along with significant work experience in the field of teaching. If you do not have a Master’s Degree, it’s essential you provide a TESOL/TEFL certificate or Diploma to certify your ESL knowledge. Universities offer contracts usually on a fixed term such as 6 months or sometimes a calendar year.
The salaries may vary depending on the University and also depending on which part of Colombia you are teaching, with the entry level universities paying $800USD a month, and higher level universities paying an upwards of $1,500 – $2,500 USD a month.Keep in mind the fact that your living expenses will be different depending on living in Bogota vs. other Colombian cities, with Bogoá often being twice as expensive as other cities around Colombia.
Teach English in Colombia at a Language Institute
An important part of ESL teachers also considers language institutes. They are much easier to get into, with an opportunity to immediately get real world teaching experience that you can apply to future jobs. Most respectable language institutes will require a university degree and an ESL Certification, such as a TEFL, CELTA OR TESOL. Serious institutes will offer visa support, onboarding, and in-country training.
One of the biggest advantages to working at a language academy is the initial support that they offer. This support should always consist of visa sponsorship, in-country onboarding, cultural training, academic preparation, and continuing professional development; some of them also provide Spanish lessons for their new teachers and staff.
The migration process has become slightly more complicated in recent years in Colombia, hence, it’s essential that you speak with professional companies who understand the process in hiring foreigners, and are able to properly do the entire documentation from start to finish. If a company can’t properly respond to your initial visa questions, be very careful about moving forward with them.
Institutes vary on pay scale, with most institutes paying an hourly rate, anywhere between $8 USD to $20USD per hour.
Something else to keep in mind when working with institutes is the scattered scheduling across the day, and oftentimes in various locations around the city. On a regular day you could have lessons in 2 or 3 different offices around the city, which definitely has more advantages as a newcomer. The pandemic has obviously impacted teachers in Colombia, with a lot of companies moving to virtual classes. In your interview, be sure to ask how classes will be taught, what are their transport options, and what to expect in the near future.
Teach English in Colombia as a private tutor
Definitely not exclusive to Colombia, but teaching private lessons is very popular among Colombians (and Latin Americans). It is very common for ESL teachers to work part-time at a language institute and teach private lessons in order to supplement their income, or just fill in any gaps they may have in their schedule. As a native speaker, you can earn much more money per hour than you would be teaching at a language institute, however, the legalities of teaching privately can often be very complex.
In many cases, Colombians look for a private ESL teacher because of the flexibility in terms of time. Most of your potential students are working or are raising a family and are looking for someone to work around their availability. Private lessons allow ESL teachers to focus on problem points for their target public. ESL students might be learning English in school and looking for a private teacher to help them with pronunciation or international exams. There are no specific education requirements to start your own private classes, but a bachelor’s degree could increase your chance of attracting more clients, as well as a TEFL or TEFL certificate.
The payment for hours teaching private classes can vary depending on factors such as: experience, education and complexity of the content of the class. It is different to plan a class for a basic student than for a university student who must train to take an international certification exam. The fee can vary between $9 and $20. Remember that in this case you provide the materials for the class.
If you are thinking about teaching in Colombia, be sure to look at all your options and ask the right questions to a future employer, and check out out The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Colombia.
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.
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