Teach English in Central America

A Guide To

Teaching Abroad in Central America


56 Teach Abroad Programs in Central America

International TEFL Academy

Each year, thousands of people of all ages from a variety of educational backgrounds become TEFL TESOL certified. In a few months, you could be an International TEFL Academy graduate telling your friends how great it is to live and teach English abroad!


The LanguageCorps TESOL Certification Programs will give you the skills and methodology needed to be comfortable and competent teaching English abroad. While the particular details of the Programs vary by country, all include approximately 140 hours of training, and as many as 30 hours of actual teaching practice. The TESOL Certification Programs incorporate classroom instruction in effectiv...

International TEFL and TESOL Training

Where the world is your classroom ITTT offers a wide variety of high quality, internationally recognized TEFL and TESOL courses. Courses are available in-class, online or through a combination of both formats. Our teacher training courses enable graduates to obtain teaching jobs in nearly any location worldwide. No previous experience or qualifications are required. ITTT offers certifica...

GoEco - Volunteer Abroad

This program consists of many community based related projects around San Jose. Participants can select from working in a small rural farm community, teaching english in Cabuya, Montezuma and Matapolo or working with young people and students on an education and environmental program. The Rural Farming project is located in an area called Agro-Zapotal. In this institution, participants will ...

Teach Away Inc.

Tropical Nicaragua remains largely undiscovered by tourists, although a rapidly growing economy is creating more ESL teaching jobs, currently with less competition for roles than in neighbouring countries. Although largely undiscovered by tourists, Nicaragua has a fast growing economy that has created more ESL teaching jobs. The country has yet to turn into a TEFL teaching hotspot, making it...


“This has been the most exciting, eye-opening, rewarding experience of my life thus far. Being able to fully immerse yourself into a foreign culture, becoming a member of the community, of the school, and of the family, is something so special and unique, and I would not trade it for anything.” - Rebecca Settle Year-Long service in Costa Rica begins with a nearly month-long intensive orie...

TEFL Heaven

We have a fantastic opportunity to earn you TEFL certification in a paradise location with our hands on, face-to-face programs on the beautiful island of Antigua. On completion of your 4 week - 150 hour TEFL course, you are guaranteed a job placement in Guatemala, and it truly is an amazing culture to discover! TEFL Heaven have been training and placing teachers in jobs for years and have ma...

Costa Rica TEFL

Experience new cultures and learn new languages by teaching abroad with Costa Rica TEFL. Participants have the chance to earn a TEFL certification that opens doors to EFL/ESL teaching jobs in Costa Rica and other locations across the globe. The school provides a balanced program that combines teaching techniques and methodologies, and classroom management.


Participate in a teaching project in Costa Rica. Volunteers will be teaching conversational English, leading arts and crafts, and playing games with underprivileged children. They get to carry out these fulfilling and meaningful activities while enjoying the scenic beauty of a tropical paradise.

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Teaching Abroad in Central America

Central America is comprised of seven countries bridging the gap between Mexico and South America, with the Pacific Ocean bordering to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Teaching in Central America is perfect for individuals looking to gain experience, make a difference, earn a living wage, and simply immerse themselves in the Spanish language and ethnic culture of the region. 


While Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama all offer various TEFL/TESOL certification programs, individuals looking to spend hands-on time teaching abroad in Central America will benefit from focusing their search on Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras.  

Costa Rica has the highest number of teaching jobs available for individuals looking to teach in Central America. Although obtaining a paid position can be a bit more difficult than what would be expected in other Central American countries, there are a variety of options for teachers with a wide range of experience. The “pura vida” lifestyle of locals and incredible biodiversity help make Costa Rica the eco- and adventure-tourism capital of Central America. Costa Rica has a high demand for English instruction at every level - from primary education students to adult professionals. San José, the capital city and centrally located hub of the nation, is where the majority of teaching placements in Costa Rica can be found.

Guatemala is the ideal location for beginner teachers looking to gain experience and adventure through volunteer teaching in Central America. Internal conflict, political instability, and lack of resources have increased the need for volunteer teachers across the country in both urban and rural public schools. Some paid teaching jobs in Guatemala can also be found in private and international schools in larger cities - such as in the capital, Guatemala City - including teaching primary education, English language instruction, and various middle and high school subjects. 

Honduras offers international teachers the chance to teach in private bilingual schools. While the major cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula provide the majority of teaching placements in Honduras, recently high crime rates and violence make the smaller towns and outlying areas more desirable. Honduras is a destination for teachers with a desire to make a difference in their student’s lives as well as the local community, and although Christianity is not a requirement to teach in Honduras’s private school system, teachers should at least be comfortable reflecting Christian values.

Teaching in Central America

Volunteer teachers are always in demand throughout Central America, especially in impoverished communities and underfunded school systems. Volunteer teaching jobs in Central America require the leave amount of experience, and teachers can choose to teach for shorter periods of time than in most paid positions. Volunteer teaching jobs abroad are a great way to gain experience, impact positive change, and have the adventure of a lifetime.

TEFL/TESOL Certification & Teaching English placements can be found all across Central America. Generally, individuals will pay a fee to take the four to six week TEFL courses in their destination country, then receive either a job placement or assistance in landing a job teaching English in Central America. Requirements typically include English fluency and a bachelors degree, with a six to twelve month commitment (in addition to the TEFL certification program) preferred.

School Placements can include general primary education in both public and private schools, as well as specific subjects in middle-school, high-school, and international schools. Contracts often require at least a school year-length commitment, though some may ask for more. Experience, English fluency, and education in a relevant field are often additional qualifications necessary to land teaching jobs at school in Central America, and also play a role in determining one’s salary. 

Adult English-instruction teaching jobs are more limited, but are also available in Central America, and focus on teaching English to professionals and adults. Costa Rica is especially known for providing more prestigious positions teaching in universities, language centers, or places of business, but often require significant amounts of experience and education, and extensive bilingual ability.

Salary & Costs

Teaching abroad in Central America may come with a program cost, a living stipend, an hourly wage, or a monthly salary. The type of teaching position you obtain (volunteer vs. paid job) and your level of experience will largely impact your income and costs during your teaching stint. Volunteer teaching placements in Central America are unpaid and require participants to pay a program fee which generally includes some level of orientation, in-country support, accommodation, food, and other assistance. Teaching placements that incorporate TEFL/TESOL certification with the promise of a job placement post-certification usually generate a set initial cost, with future wages to be earned through paid teaching jobs in Central America.

Up-front teaching jobs in Central America can incur monthly salaries that range between between $250 to $1400 per month. It may seem a tad low, and a broad spectrum, but the cost of living in Central America is comparably lower than that of both North and South America and several factors determine a teachers pay abroad. You probably won’t get rich teaching in Central America, but it is very possible to earn a living wage, and some of the more prestigious employers may even offer medical insurance or visa assistance.

Accommodation & Visas

Homestays are the most common form of accommodation available for individuals teaching in Central America. Not only are homestays usually provided by your program or inexpensive to stay in, but they are also the perfect opportunity to live like locals and learn your county-of-choice’s culture first-hand (not to mention test out some yummy traditional cooking). Communal international teacher housing or apartment style living is also sometimes available, and the option for teachers to seek out their own living arrangements is always available if desired. 

Visa requirements for teaching abroad in Central America will vary based upon the country you choose, the type of teaching job you will be fulfilling, and the duration of your stay. Most stays lasting less than 90 days simply require a typical tourist visa that all travelers automatically receive when entering the country. In this case, your tourist visa can be renewed for an additional 90 days by either going to your nearest immigration office or by taking a quick trip to a neighboring country which will mean your visa will renew upon re-entry. 

You will most likely need to get a working visa for paid teaching jobs in Central America, however each country’s policy may differ slightly. A working visa generally requires that your passport be valid for a minimum of six months after your trip, that you show proof of a job offer, and have purchased a flight ticket to return home. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to obtain a work visa without help from your employer, and Costa Rican schools can be especially challenging since they often require a year-long commitment from paid employees before sponsoring a work visa to teach in Costa Rica.

Benefits & Challenges
  • Timeliness - While teaching abroad in Central America can be a great reminder to slow down and enjoy each daily experience, it can be frustrating at first for those used to following a strict schedule. Don’t be surprised (or offended) if people and plans run late. 
  • Immersion - There is no better way to learn Spanish than a crash-course in cultural immersion! Not only will your Spanish skills improve while teaching in Central America, but by making the most of your time abroad you will be able to truly appreciate the Central American customs, cuisine, terrain, and people.
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