Teach English Abroad in Guatemala

Back to Programs

A Guide to Teaching Abroad in Guatemala

Guatemala is a poor country that has only enjoyed political stability for less than two decades, which began after a never ending internal conflict which started with a coup in the 1950s. The nation has spent the better part of its finances, energy, and several generations of young men on these conflicts, leaving them with a range of social issues. While you will not earn the type of wages you would find in Asia or the Middle East, teaching English in Guatemala is an experience that is worth the adventure and most definitely in high need in Guatemala.


Guatemala City is the nation’s large and busy capital, complete with many of the urban ills of other larger Latin American cities, including crime and poverty. The city does not exemplify the beauty of the country but it does illustrate the need for international English teachers in Guatemala. Most private schools and international schools, including the Christian American School of Guatemala, are located in Guatemala City. It is also the best place to find commercial private language school jobs and private tutoring opportunities in Guatemala.

Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must see city. It is rich with Spanish colonial ruins, as well as some of the oldest universities and churches in the region. Antigua also happens to be home to over 30 Spanish language schools. The town is surrounded by amazing volcanoes, and sits in the shadow of the dormant and majestic Volcan Agua. The local indigenous market is grand and chaotically beautiful as well.

The Western Highlands is the region to the west of the capital, which includes Lake Panajachel, Chichicastenango, Chimaltenango, Antigua, Quetzaltenango (Xela), and other “-ango” towns. These small towns have become seats of fourth world centers, non-profits, agricultural co-ops, coffee production centers, hippy art stalls, and general backpackers escaping on La Ruta Maya.

Teaching Jobs in Guatemala

There are many opportunities to teach in Guatemala, which range in prerequisite skills, age group of students, and structure of classes. Though hiring times are typically in February and July for teaching abroad in Guatemala.

Teaching in Guatemala at an international school is possible, but more competitive for international teachers because wages are highest at international schools in Guatemala. A bachelors degree is required to teach abroad in Guatemala for the most part, and typically individuals with education degrees are preferred. Students at international schools in Guatemala are usually middle and upper class local students along with the children of expats and other foreigners living in Guatemala, so classes are often bilingual.

International English teachers can also teach in Guatemala at language schools. Many of the Spanish language schools in Guatemala also offer English language lessons to local tourism or hospitality workers and to local teachers. Wages are lower and hours can be inconsistent, but the setting can be inspiring as most of these schools are out of the capital, in Antigua and other western highlands villages. Private English language schools do exist in Guatemala City, however, because local workers in the fields of international relations, business, banking, and trade all need to have some level of English proficiency.

The most common opportunity to teach in Guatemala comes in the form of volunteering.  Volunteer teachers are needed across the country, at both rural and urban public schools. The best way to find a volunteer teaching position in Guatemala is to apply through a volunteer placement organization.

Salaries & Costs

Individuals who work at international schools in Guatemala or teach in Guatemala through tutoring job opportunities in Guatemala City, can expect to make from $500 to $1,200 per month. Language schools in Guatemala may provide earnings up to $300 a month, which is definitely enough to survive in Guatemala considering the low cost of living in comparison to the U.S. and Europe.

If volunteering to teach in Guatemala, individuals can expect to pay from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars to work as a teacher, depending on the program’s inclusions and the organization’s structure. For example, nonprofit organizations that place volunteer teachers in Guatemala may be funded solely by volunteer fees and therefore require more program costs.

Accommodation & Visas

Guatemala was made for homestays, which can be arranged in almost every location in the country. Tourist offices often even have lists of homestay families where travelers can spur of the moment go and book a room. In addition to the language practice opportunities that are involved in living with a Guatemalan family, homestays will allow you to eat plenty of local foods, like beans, homemade tortillas, and aguacate.

Apartments are generally available in all but the smaller villages of Guatemala. While apartments are typically quite basic, individuals who teach in Guatemala will also find them to be quite affordable, typically under $300 a month.

Visas are not typically required of individuals who decide to teach abroad in Guatemala. Many nonprofits avoid the issue by calling teacher’s pay a living allowance and considering them to be volunteer English teachers. Language schools will often pay cash under the table too. Most informal, short-term teachers in Guatemala can stay on tourist visas, which are good for up to 90 days. Tourist visas can be renewed at immigration offices in Guatemala once, after that renewals require a trip outside the country. Mexico and Costa Rica are the best places to renew a tourist visa because the borders are closest. Teachers can travel to San Jose, Costa Rica via the Tico Bus for a cheap fare and get to see Central America with hop on hop off privileges.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Teachers at Spanish language schools can often trade English teaching for Spanish language lessons.

Professional dress is expected as the “hippy” appearance is often equated with drug use.

Guatemalans are less direct, like most of Latinos, and appreciate non-confrontational and non-direct communication.

Teachers are typically hired in person and rarely hired from abroad, because most teaching jobs in Guatemala will require an in-country interview as part of the applicant selection process.

Teaching in Guatemala will not make you rich but the experience is valuable beyond dollar signs.

Read More
Banner Report 2018

A Guide To
Teaching Abroad in Guatemala


 Find Teaching Jobs in Guatemala Now


This listing has been saved 1 time

International TEFL and TESOL Training: La Antigua, Guatemala

Take a TEFL certification course offered by International TEFL and TESOL Training in Guatemala. The training centre is located in lovely La Antigua, and is situated in a historical colonial building. The classrooms boast updated modern amenities, and overlook a central garden The main TEFL classroom on the second floor has a covered patio that overlooks the town and a stunning view of Agua ...


This listing has been saved 75 times

Teach and Travel Abroad as a Professional English Teacher

Join our team of English teachers in Guatemala or travel around the world! Maximo Nivel offers the 4-week internationally recognized TEFL/TESOL Certification course at our institute in La Antigua, Guatemala. Top-performing participants receive job offers every month directly with our language school. Program options include: 4-week/150 hour onsite, Online-only, and Hybrid onsite/online courses.


This listing has been saved 18 times

Get Paid to Teach English Abroad with a TEFL Certification from International TEFL Academy

English teaching jobs abroad are a fantastic way to live overseas and get paid to travel the world! Armed with an International TEFL Academy TEFL TESOL certification, you will be able to work abroad teaching English while getting paid. After completing the TEFL training program, you can quickly begin working in major cities throughout the world. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (T...


This listing has been saved 7 times

Teach English in Guatemala - TEFL course and Job Guarantee!

We have a fantastic opportunity to earn your TEFL certification in a paradise location with our hands on, face-to-face programs in the amazing La 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 many happy ...


Multiple Teaching Positions Available

Participants have the opportunity to teach various subject areas including Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies while working as an elementary homeroom teacher in the Christian American School of Guatemala. Candidates must at least possess a Bachelor's degree, prior teaching experience, and embrace Christian values. Participation is limited to American citizens only.


Primary School ESL Teacher - Immediate Hiring

Our school at UPAVIM has a position open for fluent English speakers with intermediate proficiency in Spanish. Candidates with TEFL/TESOL certificate and teaching experience will be given preference. You will take on the role of a primary school ESL teacher from August 2018 to January 2019. Your main responsibility is to teach conversational ESL classes to grades 1-3 and 4-6 students. You wi...


Panajachel Colegio Internacional

Panajachel Colegio Internacional offers this teaching opportunity to individuals who are interested in living and teaching abroad. Applicants must have an ESL or ELL certification in addition to having at least a year of teaching experience. Limited to American participants only, this program is based in Panajachel, Guatemala where participants teach elementary to middle school English language.