Teach English in Colombia

a world of opportunities

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Kirsten Colquhoun
August 22, 2023

Contents

Introduction
Why teach in Colombia
Best places for jobs
Teaching requirements
Visa requirements
What is not required
Types of teaching jobs
Teaching programs
Average salary
Cost of living
Life and culture

Do you feel unfulfilled in your job? Do you feel like your life is standing still? Are you itching for a new adventure? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then teaching in Colombia is the answer!

From salsa dancing in Cali to hiking in the Andes to lounging on the tropical beaches of Cartagena – Colombia is the perfect host for tourists, TEFL teachers, expats and digital nomads.

Why start teaching English in Colombia?

Teaching English in Colombia is a rewarding and enriching experience.

English language skills are in high demand in Colombia, mainly in the tourism and business sectors. So there are lots of opportunities for English teachers to find a job.

Teaching English in Colombia allows you to immerse yourself in Colombian culture and learn about the country’s Latin customs, traditions, and way of life.

Consider yourself a foodie? The arepas, the empanadas, and all the other Colombian specialities will have your Instagram feed lighting up!

The thing that really makes Colombia special is the people. They’re passionate, friendly, and always up for a good time. So, if you were looking for a sign to spice up your life – this is it!

Best places for English teaching jobs in Colombia

Colombia is a colourful place in terms of its art and culture. Each city has its own personality, so finding the right location to suit yours will ensure a happy stay.

Bogotá 

A cultural and artistic hub

The capital city of Colombia, Bogota, is a bustling cosmopolitan city with lots of cultural attractions to explore – such as museums, galleries and theatres. Bogota is also the center of commerce in Colombia, so there are plenty of business professionals and private language schools needing English teachers.

Cali 

An extrovert’s playground 

Cali is the place to be if you are looking for vibrancy. Did you know that Cali is the salsa capital of the world? So expect to be kept on your toes, literally! There is a high demand for English teachers in this lively city, so you’ll be able to foster relationships with other TEFL teachers and digital nomads too.  

Medellin 

Urban culture meets natural beauty

If you love nature, but don’t want to compromise on all the bells and whistles of living the urban life, Medellin is a good fit for you. The cost of living is much lower in this city too. Yay!

Medellin has been coined “The City of Eternal Spring” as the climate is the best compared to other cities in Colombia, so you can explore the city in any season and enjoy the weather all year round.

What will I need to qualify to teach in Colombia?

  1. Bachelor’s degree is preferred
  2. Fluent English speaker
  3. A TEFL certification

The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 Combined Course (168 hours) is the best certification to get if you don’t have teaching experience, as this course includes 10 hours of in-class teaching practice. If you’d prefer a completely online experience, our Level 5 40-hour Observed Teaching Practice Course gives you practical teaching experience online.

  1. A clean health check 
  2. Money for basic start-up costs

Your start up costs will be around Col$ 4.5 million and $ 7.2 million ($1,000 and $1,600 USD). So be prepared to fork out some cash before getting your first paycheque.

Do I need a visa to work in Colombia?

You have options when getting a work visa in Colombia. You can secure a job and collect your  M-5 visa in your home country before heading to Colombia. Alternatively, you can process your visa application in Colombia, in Bogota, at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores Office. This will cost you around $ 1.2 million ($282).

Once you have your visa, you’ll be expected to apply for your national identity card, or cedula, within 15 days of arriving in Colombia.

What is not required to qualify to teach English in Colombia?

Good news! Not having a Bachelor’s degree won’t deter employers from hiring you. However having a 4-year degree will strengthen your application and secure a better-paying job. 

Plus, being a native English speaker is not a requirement. If you have native English level proficiency, that will suffice!

Types of English teaching jobs in Colombia

The demand for teachers is the highest in private language schools, so the salaries are relatively high. Public schools don’t pay as much, whereas private international schools offer some of the highest salaries and benefits, therefore making it more competitive to secure a position.

Public high schools

The Colombian Ministry of Education has opened its public high schools up to foreign EFL teachers. Securing a position is relatively easy, but the salaries are not that high. If you are looking to make a difference, rather than make money, this position will appeal to your philanthropic side.

Private international schools

These schools offer higher paying TEFL jobs and housing and travel benefits. Finding a job in an international school can be challenging. You will need a Bachelor’s degree to apply, as well as be a native English speaker.  You will be teaching both native and foreign students, so your teaching experience will involve teaching diverse classes. 

Private language institutes

Teaching English at a private language school in Colombia will, in most cases, require a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. Working hours are longer (between 20-30 hours a week) than in other TEFL jobs. Healthcare and accommodation benefits may not be offered in your contract. You’ll be working alongside other TEFL teachers, creating a sense of support and community within and outside work.

Teaching programs in Colombia

There are a few different government programs available for TEFL teachers wanting to teach English in Colombia.

Government programs

The Teach English in Colombia Program (TEC) is only open to US citizens. 

The SENA National Training Service is a legitimate educational program that offers free English training to its native Colombian workforce. So if you prefer teaching adults, this is your opportunity to flex your teaching muscles with adult students. Note that this is a volunteer position and a stipend of $ 1.4 million ($310) a month is offered with this program.

The University Program is only open to UK citizens. You are compensated $ 2.8 million ($620) a month.

To be eligible to teach English in Colombia as a Language Assistant at a Colombian University, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Fluent in English
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Clean criminal record
  • Have B1-level Spanish
  • Aged 20 or older
  • Minimum of 6 months’ teaching experience
  • Have studied languages at university level

What is the average teaching salary in Colombia?

English teachers in Colombia usually take home an average wage of $ 2.2 million – $ 4.4 million ($500 – $1,000) a month. 

The average salary at a language school is between $ 1.3 million and $ 3.3 million ($300 and $740).

Most English teachers in Colombia teach online or private lessons on the side to boost their monthly income.

What is the cost of living in Colombia?

The cost of living is super low in Colombia, so your salary will go far.

Accommodation

  • One-bedroom apartment in city centre: $ 1.2 million ($270)
  • One-bedroom apartment outside city centre: $1 million ($222)

Utilities

  • Gas, electricity, water, garbage disposal: $260,000 ($58)  

Food and groceries

  • Monthly shop: $225,00 ($50) 
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $ 15,000 ($3)

Transport

  • Monthly transport pass: $150,000 ($33)
  • One-way ticket: $2,650 ($0.50)

Internet

  • Unlimited: $ 100,000 ($22)

Entertainment

  • Cinema, gym, clubbing: $ 450,000 ($100)

What's it like to live and work in Colombia?

To teach English in Colombia, you will need to have an adventurous spirit. Colombia is a special place because of the vibrant people, culture, nature and food. 

On the downside, Colombia is known for its precarious criminal element, so you’ll always need to be on guard. There is also a language barrier, so learning some basic Spanish is required to get around. 

Colombia is a bit rough around the edges, so expect to receive slow service when it comes to anything administrative, such as getting your work permit, opening a bank account or anything logistical in nature. 

Ready to take the plunge? Start your teaching course journey with a certified TEFL course provider today!

Contents

Do you feel unfulfilled in your job? Do you feel like your life is standing still? Are you itching for a new adventure? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then teaching in Colombia is the answer!

From salsa dancing in Cali to hiking in the Andes to lounging on the tropical beaches of Cartagena – Colombia is the perfect host for tourists, TEFL teachers, expats and digital nomads.

Why start teaching English in Colombia?

Teaching English in Colombia is a rewarding and enriching experience.

English language skills are in high demand in Colombia, mainly in the tourism and business sectors. So there are lots of opportunities for English teachers to find a job.

Teaching English in Colombia allows you to immerse yourself in Colombian culture and learn about the country’s Latin customs, traditions, and way of life.

Consider yourself a foodie? The arepas, the empanadas, and all the other Colombian specialities will have your Instagram feed lighting up!

The thing that really makes Colombia special is the people. They’re passionate, friendly, and always up for a good time. So, if you were looking for a sign to spice up your life – this is it!

Best places for English teaching jobs in Colombia

Colombia is a colourful place in terms of its art and culture. Each city has its own personality, so finding the right location to suit yours will ensure a happy stay.

Bogotá 

A cultural and artistic hub

The capital city of Colombia, Bogota, is a bustling cosmopolitan city with lots of cultural attractions to explore – such as museums, galleries and theatres. Bogota is also the center of commerce in Colombia, so there are plenty of business professionals and private language schools needing English teachers.

Cali 

An extrovert’s playground 

Cali is the place to be if you are looking for vibrancy. Did you know that Cali is the salsa capital of the world? So expect to be kept on your toes, literally! There is a high demand for English teachers in this lively city, so you’ll be able to foster relationships with other TEFL teachers and digital nomads too.  

Medellin 

Urban culture meets natural beauty

If you love nature, but don’t want to compromise on all the bells and whistles of living the urban life, Medellin is a good fit for you. The cost of living is much lower in this city too. Yay!

Medellin has been coined “The City of Eternal Spring” as the climate is the best compared to other cities in Colombia, so you can explore the city in any season and enjoy the weather all year round.

What will I need to qualify to teach in Colombia?

  1. Bachelor’s degree is preferred
  2. Fluent English speaker
  3. A TEFL certification

The TEFL Academy’s Level 5 Combined Course (168 hours) is the best certification to get if you don’t have teaching experience, as this course includes 10 hours of in-class teaching practice. If you’d prefer a completely online experience, our Level 5 40-hour Observed Teaching Practice Course gives you practical teaching experience online.

  1. A clean health check 
  2. Money for basic start-up costs

Your start up costs will be around Col$ 4.5 million and $ 7.2 million ($1,000 and $1,600 USD). So be prepared to fork out some cash before getting your first paycheque.

Do I need a visa to work in Colombia?

You have options when getting a work visa in Colombia. You can secure a job and collect your  M-5 visa in your home country before heading to Colombia. Alternatively, you can process your visa application in Colombia, in Bogota, at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores Office. This will cost you around $ 1.2 million ($282).

Once you have your visa, you’ll be expected to apply for your national identity card, or cedula, within 15 days of arriving in Colombia.

What is not required to qualify to teach English in Colombia?

Good news! Not having a Bachelor’s degree won’t deter employers from hiring you. However having a 4-year degree will strengthen your application and secure a better-paying job. 

Plus, being a native English speaker is not a requirement. If you have native English level proficiency, that will suffice!

Types of English teaching jobs in Colombia

The demand for teachers is the highest in private language schools, so the salaries are relatively high. Public schools don’t pay as much, whereas private international schools offer some of the highest salaries and benefits, therefore making it more competitive to secure a position.

Public high schools

The Colombian Ministry of Education has opened its public high schools up to foreign EFL teachers. Securing a position is relatively easy, but the salaries are not that high. If you are looking to make a difference, rather than make money, this position will appeal to your philanthropic side.

Private international schools

These schools offer higher paying TEFL jobs and housing and travel benefits. Finding a job in an international school can be challenging. You will need a Bachelor’s degree to apply, as well as be a native English speaker.  You will be teaching both native and foreign students, so your teaching experience will involve teaching diverse classes. 

Private language institutes

Teaching English at a private language school in Colombia will, in most cases, require a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. Working hours are longer (between 20-30 hours a week) than in other TEFL jobs. Healthcare and accommodation benefits may not be offered in your contract. You’ll be working alongside other TEFL teachers, creating a sense of support and community within and outside work.

Teaching programs in Colombia

There are a few different government programs available for TEFL teachers wanting to teach English in Colombia.

Government programs

The Teach English in Colombia Program (TEC) is only open to US citizens. 

The SENA National Training Service is a legitimate educational program that offers free English training to its native Colombian workforce. So if you prefer teaching adults, this is your opportunity to flex your teaching muscles with adult students. Note that this is a volunteer position and a stipend of $ 1.4 million ($310) a month is offered with this program.

The University Program is only open to UK citizens. You are compensated $ 2.8 million ($620) a month.

To be eligible to teach English in Colombia as a Language Assistant at a Colombian University, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Fluent in English
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Clean criminal record
  • Have B1-level Spanish
  • Aged 20 or older
  • Minimum of 6 months’ teaching experience
  • Have studied languages at university level

What is the average teaching salary in Colombia?

English teachers in Colombia usually take home an average wage of $ 2.2 million – $ 4.4 million ($500 – $1,000) a month. 

The average salary at a language school is between $ 1.3 million and $ 3.3 million ($300 and $740).

Most English teachers in Colombia teach online or private lessons on the side to boost their monthly income.

What is the cost of living in Colombia?

The cost of living is super low in Colombia, so your salary will go far.

Accommodation

  • One-bedroom apartment in city centre: $ 1.2 million ($270)
  • One-bedroom apartment outside city centre: $1 million ($222)

Utilities

  • Gas, electricity, water, garbage disposal: $260,000 ($58)  

Food and groceries

  • Monthly shop: $225,00 ($50) 
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $ 15,000 ($3)

Transport

  • Monthly transport pass: $150,000 ($33)
  • One-way ticket: $2,650 ($0.50)

Internet

  • Unlimited: $ 100,000 ($22)

Entertainment

  • Cinema, gym, clubbing: $ 450,000 ($100)

What's it like to live and work in Colombia?

To teach English in Colombia, you will need to have an adventurous spirit. Colombia is a special place because of the vibrant people, culture, nature and food. 

On the downside, Colombia is known for its precarious criminal element, so you’ll always need to be on guard. There is also a language barrier, so learning some basic Spanish is required to get around. 

Colombia is a bit rough around the edges, so expect to receive slow service when it comes to anything administrative, such as getting your work permit, opening a bank account or anything logistical in nature. 

Ready to take the plunge? Start your teaching course journey with a certified TEFL course provider today!

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