Quick Guide to Teaching English in Costa Rica

English is the most popular second language learned around the world, and therefore teaching English is a great way to earn extra income, while boosting your resume and professional marketability. All over the world, ESL instructors are making use of their skills by teaching English abroad on the weekdays, and spending weekends exploring foreign lands, partaking in exciting excursions, and making new friends. A great starting point for jumpstarting your career as an international English teacher is Costa Rica, where you can gain the skills and experience you need to succeed. Read more to see how you can teach English while traveling in Costa Rica.

Do I need a degree?

Not all institutions require a formal degree to teach English in Costa Rica, but most will. Regardless of your graduate status, all ESL instructor positions require formal teacher training through either a TEFL certification program or three years of teaching experience.

Where will I teach?

The increasing demand for English teachers in Costa Rica makes this country a perfect place to start your new career. If you always wanted to live and work in Costa Rica, working as an international English teacher is the way to go. English teachers in Costa Rica can get the opportunity to work in both private and public institutes and school settings. San Jose is a commercial center and you can find many teaching positions in the city.

What sort of institution will I teach in?

The kind of institution you will teach in depends on your job profile. Being an international English teacher will allow you to work in various language schools across the country, or in universities, government schools, or private after-school classes. The working conditions, salary, and work hours depend on where you are working in Costa Rica.

Do I need to speak Spanish?

Technically, you don’t have to learn or know Spanish, or any other local dialect or language spoken in Costa Rica. Even if you know it, you might not want to use it as it can discourage your students from having to learn English. However, it will be useful to learn Spanish to run your daily errands, communicate with others in your community, and better immerse yourself in the Costa Rican culture.

How much money will I make?

No matter where in the world you work, earnings will be comparable to the cost of living where you are teaching. Costa Rica is one of the more advanced countries in Latin America, putting you in a great position to earn a comfortable wage compared to other Latin American countries. On average, ESL instructors in Costa Rica make anywhere from $700 to $800 per month.

How many hours will I work in a week?

Generally, English teachers work around 20 to 35 hours per week. However, hours and schedules will vary depending on where you are teaching. In K-12 schools, the working hours are 30 to 35 hours, while in private institutions it would be somewhere around 20 to 30 hours.

How long is the contract?

The work contract also varies from employer to employer. However, most K-12 schools will demand a commitment of at least 1 to 2 years, while private institutions would have a commitment period of 6 to 12 months.

How do I find a job?

First, make sure you have the proper qualifications to teach English in Costa Rica. If you do not have a TEFL Certificate, look into a well-reviewed company, such as Maximo Nivel. Maximo offers a 4-week TEFL course and guarantees lifetime job placement assistance thereafter.

Do I need a job before I get to Costa Rica?

With such high demand for English instructors, you can usually find a job just a few weeks after you arrive in Costa Rica. If you are doing a TEFL certification course, you can find a job through the institute to ensure that you have a great base for building your career as an English teacher.

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