Latin America offers a wide range of teaching opportunities for qualified ESL teachers, but it can be particularly more attractive to novice teachers, non-native English speakers, and teachers without a degree in languages.
It’s easier to find work on this side of the world than it can be in Asia and/or Europe, where a degree in languages is often a main requirement and visas can be a slow and tedious process, with employment often having very strict conditions.
Teaching English in Latin America is a great way to start a completely new adventure, and for many people, the job can be a real and unique experience in itself.
By making a difference in the lives of the students you teach, you can develop the competence to teach anywhere in the world. If you are looking for the best places to teach English in Latin America, here you’ll find some popular options to consider.
As you go through this list, you will realize that most of these places in Latin America that are mentioned involve capital cities. That is not a coincidence. Not only does a larger population simply mean more people looking for an ESL teacher, but also these cities are the financial centers for their country or region.
Many large companies put a high priority on their employees learning English in order to communicate with business partners all over the world.
Chosen to be the “Happiest Country on Earth” numerous times over, Colombia does not only offer a huge demand for ESL teachers, but also an incredibly warm and welcoming culture. The English market is booming in conjunction with the growth of trade and the popularity of English language media in Colombia.
Past associations with drug-related crime and violence are beginning to subside making this a great country to both teach and explore. Colombia is also a Latin American country where teachers have the opportunity to obtain a work visa as some schools will help with the process.
How much can you earn teaching English in Colombia? Typical salaries for ESL teachers in Colombia range from 1.5 million to 2.5 million pesos (£300 – £400/ $400 – $520) per month, rising with more experience and education. This might not sound like much, but keep in mind that Colombia is one of the cheapest countries to live in Latin America with very low living costs.
What qualifications and experience do you need?
In order to teach English in Colombia, you’ll need at least a 120-hour TEFL or a CELTA/ DELTA qualification. Some employers may ask for a bachelor’s degree or have a preference for one since it’s necessary for a work permit; this is a strict requirement. Colombia is suitable for new TEFL teachers, with plenty of roles available for first-time teachers.
The best places to teach English in Colombia: The most popular locations for English teaching positions in Colombia are Bogota, Medellin, Bucaramanga, Barranquilla, and Cali. As with many countries in Latin America, you won’t find many positions advertised online – those that are advertised tend to be for quite experienced teachers.
In addition to tango dancing in the street, delicious wine, and world-famous beef, Argentina also boasts one of the largest ESL markets in Latin America. This is especially true in the capital, Buenos Aires, where many international businesses, restaurants, tour guides, and hotels seek English-speaking employees to accommodate their international clients.
It is not typical for employers to hire teachers before arrival in the country or assist with work papers or a work visa. The country has been in a recession since 2018, which, in terms of the TEFL industry, has reduced the number of full-time jobs going – many teachers will work several part-time contracts instead.
But there are encouraging signs that things will be improving soon and in the meantime, there are still plenty of TEFL opportunities to be found in Argentina!
How much can you earn teaching English in Argentina? ESL teachers in Argentina are likely to earn between 45,000 pesos to 90,000 pesos (£465 – £930 / $600 – $1,200) per month, with the hourly rate being between 45 to 120 pesos (£0.50 – £1.25 / $0.60 – $1.60 ).
Freelance teaching can be more lucrative than working for a school, but make sure you’re on the correct visa if going down this route, which is less stable work than being employed.
What qualifications and experience do you need? To teach English in Argentina a 120-hour TEFL qualification is a must and a degree is often required. A degree isn’t a visa requirement, but it is strongly preferred by employers. If you’re heading out there without one be prepared for a tougher job hunt, particularly if you’re looking for a full-time position.
The best places to teach English in Argentina: If you’re searching for work in Argentina you’ll want to focus on Buenos Aires, Salta, Rosario, Córdoba, Mendoza, and Bariloche.
Employers almost always want to interview teachers in person, so you’ll struggle to secure work if you’re based outside of the country, although this has changed and employers are more flexible now because of the pandemic.
Chile has one of the most unique and interesting topographies and geographical configurations globally. 80% of Chile is covered by mountains, and it runs from deserts in the north to the glaciers of Patagonia in the south. The capital of Santiago is a very modern city in what is considered South America’s most economically stable country.
Santiago has lots to offer including a huge English teaching market. The largest market for English is among business professionals or adult students in private language schools. This is also one of the few countries that will consider hiring in advance as well as will help you in securing a work visa.
How much can you earn teaching English in Chile?
Salaries in Chile range from around 430,000 – 630,000 pesos (£427 – £625/ $550 – $800) per month. Teachers can supplement their income with private lessons, but be aware that your contract will likely prohibit this if you’re working for a language school.
What qualifications and experience do you need?
As is standard, a 120-hour TEFL qualification is a basic requirement for almost all TEFL jobs. A degree will certainly make you more employable, but it isn’t necessary for a work visa.
The best places to teach English in Chile
Most of the opportunities can be found in the capital of Santiago, but you can find jobs across the country in locations such as Valparaíso, Antofagasta, Concepción, Punta Arenas, La Serena, Ovalle, Arica, Iquique, Talca, Valdivia, Osorno, and Temuco.
Teachers without degrees can find it easier to secure work outside of the capital where there’s less competition for jobs
Ecuador:It might be the second smallest country in South America, but Ecuador’s ESL market is healthy with an ever-growing demand for qualified ESL teachers. It’s one of the best countries in the region for entry-level positions, so if you’re fresh off your TEFL course it’s worth looking into.
A lot of jobs in Ecuador involve working with university students and teaching business English, but there are more and more opportunities coming up to work with children.
How much can you earn teaching English in Ecuador? New teachers can expect to earn $500 – $800 (£385 – £620) a month teaching English in Ecuador, with experienced teachers able to earn up to $1,200 (£930). Wages aren’t particularly high, but with low living costs teachers can get by comfortably.
What qualifications and experience do you need? A 120-hour TEFL qualification is required in most instances and it’s highly recommended to ensure you’re TEFL qualified before heading out there. While it can be possible to find work without a TEFL certificate you’ll be making your job search unnecessarily difficult and good employers usually aren’t willing to take on unqualified teachers.
A degree isn’t necessary for a work visa and you can find plenty of opportunities that don’t require prior teaching experience.
The best places to teach English in Ecuador Quito, Cuenca, Latacunga, Guayaquil, and Quevedo are where you’ll find the most paid positions. In more rural parts of the country expect wages are low, but outside of cities, the living costs are significantly lower.
Since 1993, Peru has been experiencing steady economic growth, which has helped drive demand for EFL teachers. With a booming tourism industry, EFL teachers can find work teaching Peruvians looking to brush up their English skills and Business English is becoming increasingly popular.
You’ll also find plenty of volunteering opportunities, which will often include food and board in exchange for your services as a teacher.
How much can you earn teaching English in Peru?
Typical salaries in Peru for ESL teachers range from 1,890 – 2,640 Sol (£360 – £500 / $500 – $700). If you’re looking to supplement your income with some private tutoring you can expect to earn 18 – 75 Sol ($5 – $20 / £3 – £15) per lesson.
What qualifications and experience do you need?
A 120-hour TEFL qualification is necessary for most jobs, although volunteering positions may not require one. No degree is required for teaching English in Peru.
The best places to teach English in Peru:
The majority of positions are to be found in Lima, but Cusco, Sullana, Arequipa, and Trujillo can offer opportunities as well. Like many Latin American countries, securing work from abroad is very difficult unless you’re an experienced teacher applying for prestigious international school positions.
To find work in Peru you really need to head out there and look for work when you arrive.
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.