Teaching English in Costa Rica

Teaching English in Costa Rica offers a decent salary for you to live on, anywhere in the range of $500-1,200 USD per month for 20-24 hours per week.

Overview
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Schools
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Salary
Certificate
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FAQ
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Facts

Overview

If you’re thinking about teaching English in Costa Rica, you can expect warm hospitality, sandy beaches, and a relatively safe environment. Costa Rica offers a decent salary for you to live on, anywhere in the range of $500-1,200 USD per month for 20-24 hours per week.

Compared to the rest of Latin America, Costa Rica is a bit more expensive. Although food and healthcare are cheap, electronics can be on the expensive side. Costa Rica is fairly safe. Petty theft is pretty much unavoidable. Drug trafficking also happens in some parts of the country.

When teaching English in Costa Rica, a lot of teachers picture themselves working next to the beach. But most jobs are in San Jose which is about 3-4 hours away from beaches.  Keep your expectations in check because you probably won’t be teaching next to a beach and volcano or surrounded by monkeys.  That’s usually not the case at all.

Schools

No degree is required for teaching English in Costa Rica. But a Bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification can really help you work anywhere you want in the country. Most jobs are in San Jose, but there are other schools around the country if you keep an eye out.

You can apply directly by sending your CV/resume to schools. We always recommend finding a school that will help you with your visa/health insurance. Because the salary is just enough to live in, we also suggest teaching English online through platforms like Cambly or VIPKid.

Some schools to consider working for are:

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Join the International TEFL Academy. Get certified with lifetime job support.

English First

Teach in Costa Rica in one of the largest chain language centers in the world.

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Start working for the Berlitz English language center in Costa Rica.

Salary

In Costa Rica, you can earn anywhere from $500-1,200 USD (₡400,000 colones) per month teaching English for 20-24 hours per week.  It’s a salary that’s enough to live from but doesn’t leave a lot for savings.

An apartment rental costs about $600 per month. If you can, try to find teaching jobs in Costa Rica with subsidized rent to save you a bit of money.  Although food and healthcare are cheap, electronics can be on the expensive side. 

It is more expensive than the rest of Latin America, so bear that in mind when looking at salaries. This is why you might find other teachers in Costa Rica teaching English online as a complementary salary.

Certification

TEFL Thumbnail TTA

The only certification recognized in both the UK and USA for job opportunities.

TEFL Thumbnail ITA

A top-rated TEFL provider with lifetime job search and alumni support services.

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A long-standing certificate provider with 20+ years of experience in TESOL.

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An accredited TEFL program clearly focused on classroom teaching and lesson planning.

TEFL Thumbnail Premier TEFL

An internationally recognized program with recruitment partners and internship.

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An accredited TEFL certificate training institute with virtual and on-site training.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a degree to teach in Costa Rica?

No. Costa Rica does not require applicants to have a Bachelor’s degree to work there. But a university degree and a TEFL certificate can open more doors for job opportunities.

Is Costa Rica a safe country to work in?

Costa Rica is reasonably safe.  It’s common to be a victim of petty theft, as it’s pretty much unavoidable. Drug trafficking also happens in some parts of the country.

Do you need a work visa?

Consult with your nearest embassy for the latest information on visa eligibility and requirements for Costa Rica. But the short answer is yes, you need a work visa/working holiday visa to teach English in Costa Rica. We always recommend finding a school that will help you with your visa/health insurance.

Do you have to know Spanish?

Many people already live and teach English in Costa Rica without knowing Spanish. Though it is better to know Spanish, Costa Rica is used to having foreigners around.

Are you able to save a lot of money teaching English in Costa Rica?

In general, you can’t save very much money in Costa Rica compared to other locations in the world.  Alternatively, teachers turn to teach English online for additional savings.

Facts

  • The white-tailed deer is the unexpected national animal.

  • Biodiversity is wildly important in Costa Rica.

  • Every time of the year is warm enough to visit.

  • Just under 5 million people call Costa Rica their home.

  • Spanish is the official language.

  • Costa Rica doesn’t have a military or army.

  • 99% of Costa Rica’s energy is renewable.

  • It’s one of the happiest countries in the world.

  • It’s the second-largest exporter of bananas.

  • Tourism is the leading industry.