Everything You Need to Know Before You Teach in Colombia

by Published

How to get a job teaching English in Colombia. At the crossroads of North and South America, travelers find a land featuring unique Latin American charm. But colorful colonial streets, ancient civilizations, and giant avocados are not the only things that draw international teachers to Colombia. 

sunny skyline, Medellín, Colombia

We don’t mean to be Medellín, but teaching in Colombia sounds right up your alley.

Colombia is a country that takes pride in its education system. In the last two decades, government funding for teachers has nearly doubled, and teachers are needed in all types of learning institutions. Whether you’re planning a gap year or you’re an experienced teacher looking for a career break, teaching in Colombia is the perfect opportunity for travelers wanting to enlighten new communities.

 But what are the first steps to launch your English teaching career abroad? Here’s everything you need to know before you teach in Colombia!

FAQs on ESL teaching jobs in Colombia

What exactly do you need to teach ESL in Colombia? From finances to certifications, we have all the latest info! Keep reading for GoAbroad’s inside scoop on ESL teaching jobs in Colombia.

What salary can I expect when I teach in Colombia?

First things first: can you really make a living teaching English in Colombia? Unless you’re working as a volunteer, ESL jobs pay a monthly stipend to keep you afloat. Wages depend on several factors, including the type of teaching institution and your level of experience, and the average salary of an ESL teacher in Colombia can range anywhere from $500 to $3,000 per month. 

Depending on your program, you may receive added perks to teach in Colombia, including housing, airfare, health insurance, and on-the-ground support, so no worries if your salary is on the low end.

Guatapé, Colombia

Get used to the view teaching in Columbia. 😎

Will teaching in Colombia make me rich?

Even the lowest paying ESL teaching jobs in Colombia pay 1.5 million pesos. While $500 USD doesn’t sound like much, it will go a lot farther than it would in the USA. The cost of living is relatively low with cheap food and even cheaper transportation.

Depending on your qualifications and job position, you may not get rich while teaching in Colombia, but you’ll certainly make enough to live comfortably. Even if your savings don’t grow, you’ll be able to pay your rent, feed yourself, and travel through this beautiful country, growing rich in unique experiences!

What should I spend all my pesos on?

The two best ways to truly experience a new culture are through food and exploration. Luckily, Colombian cuisine will make your taste buds buzz! Colombians make almost anything into soup, and you won’t want to miss a single one. Start with the traditional ajiaco (chicken, potatoes, corn, and herbs) and make your way down the menu at your local eatery. Indulge on fresh fish along the coasts, and don’t feel bad about spending your pesos on extra fried plantains, served as a side with every meal. Got a sweet tooth? So do Colombians – grab a treat at a bakery on any cobbled street corner. 

Use your weekends to travel around Colombia. Each region offers a different vibe for travelers. Get a taste for Colombian city life in Bogotá, absorb the relaxed energy on the coast of Barranquilla, or lounge in a hammock overlooking the Sierra Nevada mountains.

 Speaking of hammocks, teachers abroad in Colombia should invest in one of these colorful beauties at some point during their stay. After napping on the beach with a warm breeze rocking you to sleep, you’ll never go back to a bed again.

Can you teach English in Colombia without a degree?

While every teacher has different experiences and educational backgrounds, it is nearly impossible to find ESL teaching jobs in Colombia without a bachelor’s degree. You may be able to get away with skipping your TEFL certification, but wait until after your university studies to teach ESL in Colombia. The students deserve only the best! 

Paragliding couple in Santa Helena, Colombia

If teaching English in Colombia isn’t enough of an adrenaline rush, we got you boo.

What are the teaching English in Colombia requirements?

Besides your degree, the requirements for ESL teaching jobs in Colombia are pretty relaxed. You will need to be a native English speaker, but unlike other countries, a TEFL certificate is not a requirement for ESL teaching jobs. 

Colombia highly values their education system, however, so having a TEFL certificate can be extremely helpful when looking for a job. If you aren’t an experienced teacher, a TEFL course will boost your confidence and teach you how to enlighten the minds of non-English speakers in the best way possible. Take a course online, enroll in an intensive in-country TEFL orientation, and don’t forget to read all about TEFL courses in Colombia.

What types of teaching jobs are in Colombia?

  • Private schools. Teaching English in Colombia at a private school offers high salaries and the opportunity to work with students of all ages. You’ll most likely need a TEFL certificate or equivalent, teaching experience, and flexibility to devote time to tutoring after hours.
  • Universities. University teaching jobs are the toughest to land, as you’ll need extensive qualifications and teaching experience. It’s one of the most envied teaching positions because of the salary and resume boost, so if you can pass the application and interview process, it will open doors in every direction.
  • Language academies. You’ll only need a university degree to teach abroad at a language academy. These learning institutions hire ESL teachers all year round, so they are the best places to look if you’re already in Colombia on the hunt for teaching jobs.
  • High schools. With Colombia’s new government initiative to fund teaching programs in Colombia, it’s easier than ever to find ESL teaching jobs in public high schools. Although there is slightly lower pay, the application process is easy, requirements are relaxed, and you can lead a classroom or co-teach with local teachers while leaving a positive impact on the students.
  • International schools. You can teach more than just English at international schools in Colombia. Take the opportunity to branch out to mathematics, history, or science. Teachers don’t need to be fluent in Spanish, but it will be helpful when conversing with students outside of the classroom.
Coffee beans in hands, Manizales, Colombia

Your 2:00 PM coffee break between lessons has never been better.

Where can I find ESL jobs in Colombia?

Choosing to pursue a career abroad can be a bit overwhelming, but GoAbroad’s online advisor can bring a bit of alegría to the process! Fill out your personal details and travel dreams, and GoAbroad will brainstorm the best programs to help you accomplish your goals, keep you up-to-date on new program listings, and help you jump start the process.

Already convinced that teaching in Colombia is for you? Check out GoAbroad’s guide on teaching jobs in Colombia. Not only will you have an overview of ESL jobs is Colombia, but you can browse specific programs, read reviews from past teachers, and connect with the providers. Still stuck? Here’s even more information on how to teach in Colombia

Once you’ve selected your program, sit back and relax. Typically, programs will guide you through the application process, and it is usually as simple as applying online and interviewing via Skype. Keep an open mind, flexible attitude, and determination and you’ll be packing your bags in no time!

Should I teach in Colombia in a city or a rural area?

Urban highlands, Andean mountains, and Amazonian rainforests ache to be explored. When choosing a location to teach in Colombia, consider your interests and the goals you want to accomplish. Do you want to enlighten the minds of youngsters from low income families? Explore beautiful beaches in your free time? Save money, or spend it all on chicharrón and aguardiente?

 Teachers can experience the essence of city life in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital. Formerly known for its violence and drug trade, Colombia’s largest city has since been revived, now featuring museums, libraries, historical monuments, and a massive street art culture. If you want the best of Colombian nightlife, Bogotá is your go-to city. Medellín, on the other hand, is a quieter city set in the Andes and a hot spot for teaching jobs. 

Coastal towns offer a completely different vibe, and costeños (locals on the Caribbean coast) live life to the fullest. Santa Marta and Barranquilla feature big, beautiful beaches and a positive energy that can’t be beat. Classrooms on the coast are filled with a beautiful chaos of dancing, singing, and constant games. Brush up on your Spanish, as you won’t find many English speakers in these areas. 

Want more of a rural experience? Consider Andean mountain villages, or the famous Coffee Region for beautiful landscapes, perfect temperature, and small-town vibes.

What are the best programs for teaching jobs in Colombia?

Keep reading for our top program picks for ESL teaching jobs in Colombia

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1. International TEFL Academy

Become a global citizen with International TEFL Academy. This program offers a one-month full-time TEFL course overseas, or a three-month course online. Get TEFL certified and gain access to paid teaching jobs both in Colombia and all over the world!

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2. TravelBud

TravelBud specializes in teaching placements in Bogotá public schools. Enjoy a one-week cultural orientation, and find job placements in both elementary and high schools. The best part? The program is free– all you pay is a $400 deposit that is returned with your last paycheck.

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3. Premier TEFL

Premier TEFL offers a 240-hour TEFL training and job placement. Once you complete the course, you’ll have access to higher paid jobs. Enjoy orientation in Colombia and teach abroad for up to one year.

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4. International Volunteers HQ

If you want to take the humanitarian route to teaching in Colombia, International Volunteers HQ is one of the best programs out there. Affordable fees include volunteer placements in under-resourced Colombian schools, accommodation, and meals, with an option to add on Spanish lessons.

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5. Internships Colombia

Internships Colombia works with the Colombian Ministry of Education to offer high quality English learning for students of all ages. Find placements in rural communities in Colombia and earn up to 1.5 million pesos monthly. Teachers will need a degree, but TEFL is not required.

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6. ESL Jobs Lounge

ESL Jobs Lounge is for both new and experienced teachers. If you’re already TEFL certified, join this program to gain access to teaching job opportunities online and in five continents. Thinking of teaching in Colombia long-term? Placements can be chosen for up to two years. 

Now’s your chance to teach ESL in Colombia

woman hiking through jungle with green backpack Valle Del Cocora, Colombia

Where you end up teaching will likely depend on what you’re most excited to explore in your off-time.

Now that you know what it takes to teach English in Colombia, go on and make your dreams a reality! Pick your program today and in no time you’ll be waking up to mountain views accompanied by a cup of the world’s best coffee to start your day of teaching. Even better, by teaching in Colombia, you’ll join an educational movement that aims to change the country’s future.

Do as the Colombians do and live your life to the fullest! What are you waiting for?

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