Teach English Abroad in Costa Rica

A Guide To

Teaching Abroad in Costa Rica


24 Teach Abroad Programs in Costa Rica


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Want to teach English in the heart of tropical Central America? Earn an internationally accredited TEFL certification and receive lifetime job placement assistance for teaching English in Costa Rica and more than 50 countries worldwide. Click the button to receive more information:

Students hanging out after TEFL class

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Complete a 4-week TESOL certification program in Costa Rica through Languagecorps. Teaching placements and certification courses are provided in the city of San Jose. All participants are offered job search assistance once certified.


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Join our team of English teachers in Costa Rica or travel around the world! Maximo Nivel offers the 4-week internationally recognized TEFL/TESOL Certification course at our institute in Manuel Antonio (on the beach!) and teaching opportunities with our institute in San Jose (capital city). Program options include: 4-week/150 hour onsite, Online-only, and Hybrid onsite/online courses.


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Provide conversational English tutoring to the Tourist Police of Costa Rica through GeoVisions. Participants will have weekends free to travel and immerse themselves even more in the local culture. Placements are offered in La Fortuna.


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Co-teach English in a primary/secondary school or vocational center Program Includes: • API advisor to assist you with all pre-departure needs and liaise with partner throughout program • Airport pick-up / arrival assistance • Housing with local host family • Meals (Breakfast and dinner daily; lunch on school days) • Medical, Life, and Travel Insurance • On-site program orientatio...


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We have a fantastic opportunity to earn you TEFL certification in a paradise location with our hands on, face-to-face program in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio. This beautiful location has lush rainforests, white sandy beaches and some or the most amazing coral reefs for you to explore. On completion of your 4 week - 150 hour TEFL course, you are guaranteed a job in Costa Rica! TEFL Heaven have...


Earn your TEFL certificate in Costa Rica and teach English while perfecting your Spanish language skills. Placements are available in cities including Heredia and Samara. Program fees include cultural classes and discounted Spanish language classes.


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Teaching English to primary school kids a real insight into Costa Rican culture, and in your weekends off you can enjoy trips around the local countryside offering you in a world of adventure sports, tremendous landscapes of natural beauty, great food, lively music and laid-back people. You can get involved from as little as 2 weeks and can earn your TEFL for free.


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General Description: Pan-American School requires bilingual teachers with an international mindset, who are facilitators of student learning, and who uphold the highest ethical standards. Teachers are passionate, knowledgeable, creative, and caring. Qualifications: Academic background: - Bachelor’s degree in field of study related to the position, or in Education - Advanced degree ...

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Teaching Abroad in Costa Rica

Pura Vida! Teach abroad in one of the oldest democracies in the world, and the most developed, politically stable, and peaceful nation in Central America. With the tourism industry at almost $2 billion a year, Costa Ricans are looking to speak English with a higher degree of proficiency than ever before. Finding teaching jobs in Costa Rica as an ESL teacher is no problem! From ziplining deep in the rainforest to hiking to the summit of active volcanoes, you’ll have no problem finding an adventure on your weekends away from teaching in Costa Rica.


The nation’s capital, San José, plays host to the majority of teaching jobs in Costa Rica. Nearby cities, like Alajuela, Cartago, San Pedro, and Heredia, are also popular Costa Rican teaching locations. If you’re located in the Central Valley, where most placements are, don’t expect easy access to the beach as the coast is a few hours away both east and west.

If you’re set on a teaching in Costa Rica near the seaside, you will find some opportunities if you dig, like those in the Nicoya Peninsula. For those looking to get out of the city, there are teaching placements available in smaller, rural communities, like La Fortuna. However, in some cases these can be several hours from the nearest metropolis.

Teaching Jobs

Many individuals who wish to teach English abroad are looking to gain experience and boost their resume, choose to teach in Costa Rica to jumpstart their careers.

In order to stick out in the hunt for a job and to obtain a higher salary, Costa Ricans seek to improve their fluency in English. As a result, you’ll find that the majority of teaching jobs in Costa Rica are for English language instruction and focused on adults rather than children. The most common ESL positions are found in private language schools or institutes. If you’re more qualified and have lots of teaching experience, you may be able to teach at a university too.

Schedule. The Costa Rican school year goes from January to December. Teachers can either select a full-time position or contract themselves for several part-time teaching positions. If you don’t want the commitment of signing a contract, teaching English lessons privately is a great market; these positions also allow teachers to live in rural or coastal areas, which is less common when seeking other teach abroad placements in Costa Rica, such as those at elementary schools.

Individuals who decide to teach in Costa Rica can expect to work anywhere from 10 to 25 hours a week as class starts in the early morning and runs until noon. Classes pick up again in the evening from around 4pm to 8pm because many Ticos (native Costa Ricans) take a midday break from work due to the heat.

Requirements. Being a native speaker of English with a TEFL/TESOL certificate and a university degree is typically required for most teaching jobs in Costa Rica. However, teachers looking to complete student teaching hours, build their experience, or begin teaching English abroad may have luck in small communities with less structured requirements. Beginners can also find success focusing their efforts on private English lessons in Costa Rica. If you’re not TEFL/TESOL certified, consider completing a certificate program in Costa Rica.

Salaries & Costs

Formal teaching placements in Costa Rica can pay anywhere from $8 to $10 USD an hour. The cost of living in Costa Rica is higher than other Central American countries since they have a more solid economy. However, depending on teaching position, you can expect anywhere from $500 to $1,000 a month, which is plenty to live off of during a teach abroad program in Costa Rica.

Rent costs for a typical two bedroom apartment in a big city sit around $500 per month and meals will set you back about $5 to $10 each. If living in rural areas or more touristy destinations, like the coast, expect the cost of living to jump quite a bit. If you budget well by shopping and eating local, and taking public transport, you won’t find cost of living to be an issue on a teacher’s pay.

Accommodation & Visas

Some teach abroad organizations will help teachers arrange homestays, while others put the teacher in charge of finding lodging. Working and living conditions typically vary based on the part of the country you’re living in and the school in which you are placed.

Most schools in Costa Rica will not sponsor your visa until you have worked there for a year, so obtaining a work visa to teach in Costa Rica can be a challenge. Working with American institutions is one way to get assistance in getting the work visa you need. For teachers on a tourist visa, prepare to renew every 90 days, and expect to have to exit the country in order to do so. Luckily, a bus ride to Costa Rica’s neighbor to the north, Nicaragua, is not too far. Other teachers in Costa Rica choose this time to go back home for a bit or visit other Central American destinations of interest.

Benefits & Challenges
  • Insurance. ESL teacher contracts in Costa Rica don’t typically include health care.
  • Machismo. If you’re a lady who’s not used to piropos (compliments in the form of cat-calls), expect them while walking alone on the street.
  • Punctuality? Don’t be offended if somebody is late; Costa Ricans run on “Tico time.”
  • PDAs Expected. Costa Ricans are very affectionate–don’t be alarmed if your students greet you with a hug or kiss.
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