Ecuador, tucked against the Northeast side of South America and straddling the equator, offers a variety of geographic regions, from the Amazon to the Andes. From the Galapagos Islands to the rugged coastlines, the historic city center of Quito, and some of world’s richest array of wildlife species, teaching in Ecuador will be inspiring in more ways than one! The adoption of the U.S. dollar as the national currency, consistent trade with North America, and the growth of English speaking schools and universities, have all fueled the growth of English teaching jobs in Ecuador.
Quito is the chief destination for tourists in Ecuador. Spanish language students, study abroad university students, voluntourists, and adventure travelers all head to Quito before exploring the rest of the county. As a result of increasing numbers of foreign tourists in the capital, individuals working in fields of tourism, hotel and restaurant management, or hospitality in Quito all seek to improve their English language skills. Quito is a great place to teach in Ecuador, from the milder climate thanks to the city’s altitude to Incan ruins to modern hotels.
Guayaquil is another solid location to find teaching jobs in Ecuador. Once a rough and industrial port city, Guayaquil has undergone a renaissance in recent years. It is home to several universities, an international school, and Blue Hill College, an English language university, which provide varied opportunities to teach in Guayaquil.
Rural villages, Cuenca, and the Galapagos Islands also provide teaching opportunities for volunteer teachers. These more rural based positions teaching in Ecuador are often more difficult to secure from abroad unless offered through a program provider.
Qualifications. TEFL certificates are recommended for anyone who wants to teach English in Ecuador. Additionally, most English teaching jobs in Ecuador will also require a bachelor’s degree. If you are a qualified teacher back home you may consider looking for teaching jobs in Ecuador at an international school, where wages are higher, schedules are regular, working conditions are more consistent, and benefits are greater. Keep in mind that the peak hiring season for TEFL teachers looking to teach English in Ecuador takes places around February or March, as well as in the months of July and August, so be sure to plan accordingly!
Volunteer Teaching opportunities are the most common teaching jobs in Ecuador. You may be thinking “Why would I volunteer to teach in Ecuador, when I can get paid to teach somewhere else?” Volunteer teaching placements are often very rewarding, and in countries where the wages are generally low you might decide that a volunteer placement teaching children in a rural area or indigenous village better suits your goals rather than teaching business executives in evening classes.
Private Language Schools are the more common paid teaching opportunities throughout South America. These positions vary in Ecuador but are always located in the three main cities of Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. Wages are typically paid by the hour, and while they aren’t enough to save much during your time teaching in Ecuador, there is still a steady demand for well-trained teachers.
Tutoring requires developing personal connections with local students and the desire to make your own schedule. Tutoring outside of paid work at private schools in Ecuador is typically frowned upon, however as you develop your local network you will be able to find prospective students outside your day job. Tutoring in Ecuador can be done independently of structured teaching roles.
English Teachers shouldn’t expect to save a great deal of money while teaching English in Ecuador. Teachers in Ecuador can expect to make around $300 to $800 per month, depending on teaching hours and type of placement. Schools usually pay an hourly wage, ranging from $3 to $10. While this isn’t a huge salary, other living costs in Ecuador are reasonably low, allowing teachers to live a comfortable and modest lifestyle during their international teaching job in Ecuador. When you’re not in the classroom teaching in Ecuador, which can range from 20 to 25 hours per week, there will be plenty of time and places to explore. Be sure to get to know your new home when teaching abroad in Ecuador.
The most common teaching jobs found in Ecuador are offered in private language institutes and volunteer organizations. So while volunteer placements aren’t going to necessarily pay for your student loan payments back home, the need for teachers in public and rural schools is great and will provide a well structured route to immerse yourself in the local community. Your “salary” for volunteer teaching in Ecuador comes from the benefits the experience adds to your resume and future career.
Since the cost of living is quite low in Ecuador, accommodations are affordable but are not often provided for individuals who decide to teach in Ecuador. However, volunteer teaching programs regularly provide housing with a local family, which is a great way to learn more about the Ecuadorian way of life and try authentic cuisine that may not be available in a typical restaurant.
Tourist visas are not required for U.S. Citizens who want to teach English in Ecuador for under 90 days. For those who are looking to teach abroad for a longer period or take part in paid teaching positions in Ecuador, a visa is required. Many teachers may choose not to actually obtain the appropriate working visa and instead just renew their tourist visa by leaving and reentering the country every 90 days, but this is not recommended. If you obtain a paid teaching job in Ecuador, the school or university you will be working for can help you to apply for and receive a one-year cultural exchange visa, which has an additional perk: it turns your salary into a tax free “allowance.”
Teachers decide to teach English Ecuador for Ecuador, often not for the wages associated with teaching jobs. The diverse geography, the people, and the culture are the draw, rather than the incredible incentives and bonuses.
Ecuador is affordable and offers relatively flexible English teaching jobs. Ecuadorian schools typically allow international teachers to create their own lesson plans, incorporate their own style, and work without a long term contract, giving them incredible experience teaching English abroad.