TEFL Course in Colombia

Just like its famous river of many colours, Colombia is colorful, exciting and fun. Teach English in Colombia to explore the beautiful landscape, culture and people - while you earn.

A TEFL certification is required if you want to become an English teacher in Colombia. Most employers prefer teachers who also have a bachelor's degree. You can earn up to USD1,000 monthly teaching English in Colombia.

In addition to this, the casual lifestyle in Colombia is quite enticing to English teachers as the country has grown to become a popular tourist destination with the old drug and conflict-ridden reputation fast becoming history.

With a very flexible work schedule, you can spend your free time exploring the colorful streets of Colombia, touring the amazing Amazon rainforest and relaxing on Caribbean beaches.

Earning a TEFL certificate is key to teaching English in Colombia or any other South American country. With a recognized teacher training qualification, many ESL teachers choose to teach in either Colombia, Argentina, or Brazil to enjoy the fascinating landscapes and the richness of the Latin American culture.

A Guide to Teaching English in Colombia

A Guide to Teaching English in Colombia

Are English teachers in demand in Colombia?

English teachers are in high demand in Colombia, with opportunities for teachers as full-time, part-time and independent contractors. Private tutoring and business English teachers are also highly sought after due to a surge in the expat community.

Colombia's population is the second-largest in South America, and there is an increasing drive to learn English among Colombians. As a result of these, and the introduction of Bilingualism in the National Development Plan, there is always a high demand for ESL teachers.

While there are opportunities in private language institutes, private international schools, public schools and online teaching opportunities, many ESL teachers in Colombia also take private tutoring classes to add to their income and improve their lifestyle.

A level 5 TEFL certificate in Colombia will expose you to teaching opportunities all over the country with higher bargaining power and better advantages, especially in cities like Bogota and Medellin, where ESL teachers often choose to settle.

What qualifications do you need to teach English in Colombia?

To teach English in Colombia, you need a TEFL certificate, a bachelor's degree and some teaching experience. An internationally recognized TEFL certification such as a Cambridge CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL is necessary to get high-paying ESL job offers in Colombia.

There are also a lot of Colombian private language schools that lookout for teachers with some teaching experience. In contrast, most Colombian universities will demand higher qualifications, such as a Master's degree.

Although you do not necessarily need a Bachelor's degree to get a teaching job in Colombia, it is much preferred by most employees in addition to a TEFL certificate. This is even more important if you choose to work in the Ministry of Education Program. These qualifications will give you an edge and help you enjoy a less competitive job search.

What type of jobs are available for English teachers in Colombia?

Colombia has a variety of job opportunities that are very flexible for ESL teachers and can be taken part-time or full-time, depending on the type of school.

There are private international schools that pay higher salaries. There are also public schools where the government hires ESL teachers to co-teach the English language. However, this kind of school pays lower salaries.

Private International Schools

Private international schools usually pay more than other English teaching job types in Colombia. This kind of school provides benefits like housing stipend, travel allowance and health insurance. Some of the most popular private schools in Colombia are Colombo Americano and Colegio Gran Bretana.

Teach English in Colombia (TEC) Programs

Several English teachers in Colombia become volunteers in the Teach English in Colombia Program (TEC) instituted through the SENA National Training Service. The SENA initiative collaborates between workers, industry owners and the Catholic Church to give vocational training to Colombia's workforce. TEC volunteer jobs are available to US native English speakers with a TEFL certificate to teach vocational English to adult students.

Public/Government Schools

There are opportunities to teach English in public schools in Colombia. For most schools, you will be co-teaching alongside a local teacher. Public school jobs in Colombia pay less than private international schools and usually require a degree alongside a CELTA or TEFL certificate. One of the most popular recruiters for Colombian government schools is Greenheart Travel.

Private Language Institutes

Private language institutes have more lenient requirements than private international schools. They may hire English teachers with only a college degree. However, you may have to work an odd number of hours per week and salaries are often lower than other job types.

Private Tutoring

As a private English tutor, you can earn between USD10 and USD30 per hour. The demand for private teachers is high. Due to the low salaries in public and private language schools, many English teachers in Colombia engage in private tutoring to supplement their regular income.

Across the different teaching jobs in Colombia, ESL students include business professionals, school children and private and university students.

How to find English teaching jobs in Colombia?

You can find English teaching jobs in Colombia by applying directly to schools in the country if you are already physically present. However, suppose you want to apply and get a job before traveling to Colombia. In that case, you can apply to schools online or through expat groups that advertise job offers.

Finding an English teaching job in Colombia is relatively easy since there is a high demand for ESL teachers. It is even easier if you have a TEFL and a degree.

There are many ways to find English teaching jobs, whether you decide to look for jobs when you arrive in Colombia or your country.

Apply Directly to Schools

The best way to find English teaching jobs in Colombia is by going directly to schools to submit your applications. Employers in Colombia reply to emails late, so it is advisable to visit in person or send direct messages to their websites and Facebook pages. This is why many EFL teachers travel to Colombia on a tourist visa to look for a job physically.

It is also important to note the peak hiring season (usually from November). This is when most schools recruit new teachers. You can begin your search by sending your application directly to English language schools like the Colegio Nueva Granada and Montessori British School.

Join an Online Forum for ESL Teachers in Colombia

It is possible to find teaching opportunities by joining ESL teachers' forums online. These could be on Facebook or any other social media platform. Many online teachers' forums in Colombia consist of existing EFL teachers who can help prospective teachers identify schools with vacancies.

They can also provide vital information like interview tips, accommodation, salaries to expect, etc. Some of these include ESL/EFL Teachers in Colombia and Colombian English Teachers Network.

Apply Through Recruiters and Government Programs

Many EFL teachers in Colombia get teaching jobs through government-approved recruiters like Greenheart Travel. Some also apply to the TEC Program or SENA. You can start applying to any of these options while you are in your home country and get an offer before traveling to Colombia. However, you must check the websites to ensure you meet the requirements.

What is the salary for English teachers in Colombia?

ESL teachers in Colombia earn an average of USD1,000 per month on a typical 20 hours of work per week. As a private tutor, you can make more money, as much as USD14 per hour.

The salary rate for English teachers in Colombia is dependent on many factors such as certifications, experience and type of school. ESL teachers who have a TEFL certificate and work with international private schools earn higher than teachers in public schools.

ESL teachers in Colombia earn enough to break even and enjoy some fringe benefits, especially those who work with private international schools. These include paid holidays, free airfare and medical coverage. Most ESL teachers also get a substantial amount referred to as the End of Contract bonus at the end of their contract (usually two years) with a school.

What type of visa do you need to teach English in Colombia?

You need a work visa to teach English legally in Colombia. However, some English teachers in Colombia teach on a tourist visa. While you can stay in Colombia on a tourist visa for up to 90 days and begin your search for a teaching job, you need a work visa to teach in Colombia.

Colombian Work Visa or M-5 Visa

You can either apply for a Colombian work visa from the Consulate in your home country or carry out the process while still on a tourist visa in the country. If you are in Colombia already, you can apply for a work visa at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores Office. However, you must have secured a teaching job for you to begin the application process for a Colombian work visa.

Some employers in Colombia will sponsor your work visa, so you need to ask before you go ahead and pay with your money. You could look out for such employers while applying for jobs. Requirements for a Colombia work visa varies based on the country you are from, so ensure you check the Colombian Embassy or Ministry of Foreign Affairs for your country's requirements.

M-work visas are valid for three years, but you must apply for a Cedula within 15 days of your arrival in Colombia. The Cedula is like a national identity card that lets you operate a bank account within the country.

Can you save money while teaching English in Colombia?

You can live comfortably on an English teacher's salary in Colombia, but you may find it a bit hard to save. Although the cost of living in Colombia is lesser when compared to European countries, teachers usually break even rather than save.

However, if you take on extra teaching jobs online or engage in freelance private tutoring in addition to your regular teaching job, you may be able to save a few hundred dollars monthly.

Cost of living in Colombia

One of the benefits of teaching English in Colombia is the low cost of living. This is even more surprising as you would have access to many top amenities and infrastructure, usually found in expensive countries.

The average cost of living for English teachers in Colombia is between USD500 to USD1,000 with a potential to break even and save if you get enough private tutoring opportunities.

Accommodation Options in Colombia

Rent in Colombia varies depending on the city or neighborhood you choose to live in. Accommodation costs are cheaper in the lower estrato neighborhoods than the higher estrato neighborhoods in Chile. You need not worry about spending all your salary on rent. You can get an apartment between USD300 to USD500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in Chile.

When can I apply for teaching jobs in Colombia?

The hiring season in Colombia is flexible and allows you to travel on a tourist visa and explore the country while you apply. Most public schools begin their school year in January, so you can start applying in November. The best time to apply for private schools will be between May and June since their academic year begins in September.

It is also easy to get hired as a private tutor either on a full-time or part-time basis. The opportunities for private tutoring are available all year round.

The people of Colombia are friendly, which extends to the work and hiring process for English teachers. It is best to visit the schools and speak with the people in charge than send a CV through email as some schools will not reply to emails.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I teach English in Colombia without a degree?

Yes. Although schools may be ready to hire you without one, having a degree will make your job search in Colombia a lot easier as employers mostly prefer teachers who have a degree and a TEL certificate.

Can a non-native get a teaching job in Colombia?

Yes. Being a native English speaker is not a prerequisite to getting English teaching jobs in Colombia. However, as a prospective ESL teacher in Colombia, you are expected to speak English on a native speaker level.

Where can I teach in Colombia?

You can teach English in cities like Medellin, Bogota and Cali. These are the cities with the highest concentration of English teaching jobs.

Do I need to know Spanish to teach in Colombia?

You do not need to understand Spanish to teach English in Colombia. It is crucial that you speak English to ESL students to help them grasp the language faster. However, you may need to understand a little Spanish to relate with other teaches and locals. Understanding Spanish will also help you when bargaining in the market.

How easy is it to get a teaching job in Colombia?

It is pretty easy to get an English teaching job in Colombia, especially with language institutes that recruit teachers with lesser qualifications. You can find a job within a few weeks of arriving in the country. Finding an English teaching job in Colombia is also easy since there is a high demand for ESL teachers. It is even easier if you have a TEFL and a degree.

Fun and travel activities while teaching in Colombia

Away from its history of drugs and crime, Colombia has grown to become a very colorful tourist destination country with many exciting places to visit and natural wonders to explore.

The river of five colors or rainbow river is one of the most astonishing things you will ever see in Colombia. It transforms color from red to blue, green, yellow, and orange. The best times to visit are from July to December as the river is usually closed to tourists from January to May.

Other interesting sites to visit in Colombia include the Convent of San Pedro Claver and the Spanish Inquisition museum, Plaza Bolvar in the old colorful town of Cartagena.

There is an exciting hike to Tayrona National Park for lovers of nature, where you can have an exciting speed boat trip to Taganga. You can also choose to make a stop at El Panon and try climbing the huge beautiful rock.

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