Teaching English in Colombia
Teaching English in Colombia is a country where you can live comfortably, but not save a ton of money. There is big demand for TEFL in Colombia.
Colombia is a desirable location to teach English with plenty to explore. Think of all the beautiful mountains and nice parks. Colombia has all types of climates to live in. But it’s generally tropical.
Work can be hard to find in Colombia because it’s become a pretty competitive market. A degree gives you higher pay and job opportunities. In general, schools ask for CELTA or TEFL certification.
Teaching English in Colombia is an experience where you can live comfortably, but not save a ton of money. There is a big demand for TEFL in Colombia. Colombia is making strides in English learning and it’s comparable to the markets in Peru and Chile.
Bogota, Medellin, and Cali have the most teaching opportunities in Colombia. Medellin has a very big expat community so it could be difficult to get yourself established there. The other cities have nicer weather and fewer expats compared to Medellin.
Most teachers just arrive on a tourist visa (generally 90 days) and look for work. Without a work visa, your stay is limited. The employers that hire foreign teachers are private language schools and public schools. Schools can assist you with straightening out your work visa when you get the job.
We often recommend starting at an established school and even volunteering opportunities like the ones below:
The average salary in Colombia is 2 to 3 million Colombian pesos (COP) per month. But if you have all the most sought-after qualifications, prior experience, or work in a university, your pay could increase up to 4 million. This equates to $500 to 1,000 USD.
For private lessons, rates vary substantially. Some students try to pay as little as 25,000 pesos per hour. The average hourly rate is about 40,000 pesos. There are also opportunities to teach English online which is becoming the norm for a lot of foreign teachers in Colombia.
If you live frugally, you can get by on 1 to 1.5 million COP per month. When you include rent and living expenses, it’s close to a break-even situation. Unless you are in a high-paying position, Colombia is not a recommended country for saving money.
Frequently Asked Questions
In general, foreign teachers don’t like the transportation system in major cities like Bogota, bureaucracy/paperwork, and that some areas are unsafe.
Your level of Spanish will not affect your employment opportunities in private language schools. But your experience will be much easier in Colombia if you can learn the language.
Theft occurs in Colombia. It’s advised to wear your backpack in front to avoid theft. Also, you should stick to safe neighborhoods, especially at night.
Many people already live and teach English in Colombia without knowing Spanish. Though it is better to know Spanish, Colombia is used to having foreigners around.
A work visa is sponsored by your employer and typically lasts for a year. Your contract usually is the same duration as your work visa. If you quit your job and want to stay, you’ll have to apply for another visa. Consult with your embassy for information on visa requirements for Colombia.
No. You don’t need a degree to teach in Colombia. But your earning potential increases with a university and CELTA/TEFL certification.