If you’re looking to unwind while pursuing your passion for teaching English abroad, Ecuador is the perfect place to begin by earning TEFL certification. Located along the equator, it may be surprising to learn that snow covers the highlands of Ecuador. But aside from the Andes Mountain range, Ecuador offers warm weather year-round along its Pacific coast, and an awe-inspiring tropical rainforest to the east. With a blend of humid, tropical air, skyrocketing mountains, and coastal beaches, the dispersal of scenery of Ecuador makes for an unmatchable setting for earning TEFL certification abroad.
TEFL certification programs in Ecuador can be found across the country. From small mountain towns, to coastal resorts, to the nation’s largest cities, TEFL programs are affiliated with various schools and institutions. The larger cities, such as Guayaquil, Quito, and Cuenca, are obvious choices for TEFL courses in Ecuador, because of their size and the number of teaching job opportunities available post-certification.
Guayaquil tends to offer the most English teaching jobs in Ecuador, based on its size alone. As Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil is historically known for its seaport as a means for trade, but has recently been attracting more international tourists. Guayaquil is a popular connection for anyone traveling to and from the Galapagos Islands, leading to an influx of international travelers and therefore a higher demand for English language skills. With a population of roughly 2.7 million, Guayaquil is an excellent location to obtain a TEFL certificate in Ecuador, as it has clear potential for professional networking.
If you’re looking for a less competitive job market and want to get away from the busy city life, you may want to try TEFL programs in smaller towns, such as Loja and Puya. Loja, located in the southeastern sector of the Andes, has everything a big city has to offer, with two large universities and a rich music and art culture, but in a more rural, less congested environment. Puya is another city that may get overlooked at first, but it is actually one of the fastest growing cities in Ecuador. This annual growth has strengthened the local economy, leading to a greater job market. The city is located on the edge of the eastern Andes and the rainforest, so not a terribly unpleasant locale by any means. As more people continue to move into Puya, tourism grows within the city too, leading to more English speakers and therefore a higher demand for locals to learn how to speak and understand English.
If you’re looking for a small town pace of living, but still want to live in a major city, TEFL courses in Quito are for you. Sitting at 9,350 feet above sea level, Quito is the highest capital city in the world. Whether it’s the high altitude or the traditional mindset, something about Quito creates a calmness that can’t be matched by most other capital cities. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quito has both a rich historic district as well as a modern side with thriving new businesses. Quito provides a unique blend of old and new for students earning their TEFL certification in Ecuador, and a pretty good teaching job market too.
Courses & Programs
TEFL programs in Ecuador are both accessible and manageable, setting you off on the right foot toward a successful English teaching career. Certification programs can be as short as one week or can last up to several months, but on average TEFL programs in Ecuador tend to last four to six weeks. An online application is the most common form of registration, and most programs will contact you for a phone or video interview.
Experience and knowledge of Spanish are usually not required, but some programs will require a bachelors degree. Some required online certification courses is common as well as hands on teaching within the classroom. Spanish and cultural awareness programs are sometimes offered in addition to traditional grammar and other specialist teacher training. This can be helpful for getting accustomed and adjusted to the local culture. You will find that the children of Ecuador have a distinct appeal, as they are known to be very approachable and curious about outside visitors.
Salary & Costs
TEFL courses in Ecuador can range from $1,000 to 2,500. You will get what you pay for from TEFL programs, as the cheaper ones will be shorter and will provide less benefits and the more expensive programs will provide housing, assistance finding work, and sometimes a guaranteed job placement. The cost of living is relatively cheap in Ecuador, and the national currency is the U.S. dollar, so you don’t have to worry about exchanging currency. The average rent is around $500 to 700 per month, and lunches can be as cheap as $2.50. Meals in good restaurants typically range around $10 to 15, and it is customary to leave a five to ten percent tip if the service is exceptionally good.
Teaching jobs in Ecuador will most likely cover living expenses, but the opportunity to save money is less likely; however, the overall experience inherited through teaching in Ecuador is worth much more than monetary gains. With the majority of the population falling within the middle class, people tend to have less and live simpler lives. Due to this simplicity, there becomes a certain complacency and equality among local people, making money less of a focus in society than it is in the U.S.
Accommodations & Visas
Many TEFL certification programs in Ecuador offer to arrange accommodations, which most commonly are in apartments either recently vacated by graduated students or living with other English teachers or TEFL students. It’s also common to live with host families while earning a TEFL certificate in Ecuador, which can be arranged by program providers. Living with a host family is a wonderful opportunity to save money on some living costs, while also sharpening your Spanish language skills and immersing yourself into the culture.
In addition to accommodations, some TEFL programs will offer assistance finding work after you complete your TEFL certification in Ecuador. TEFL program providers are often in contact with thousands of employers and have access to hundreds of English teaching jobs, so your program provider will be a wonderful resource for networking with local schools. Some TEFL programs will also offer travel insurance for students as well, or at least advice for the future.
Upon arrival to Ecuador, TEFL students and English teachers can acquire a visa for a 90 day stay or less. For longer stays, an application must be submitted for either a student or work visa. Student visas are $100 and are valid for up to one year; work visas are $200 and are valid for up to two years. Both also include a $30 application fee. Aspiring TEFL students and teachers are encouraged to get their applications submitted at least one month before their visitor visa expires, to ensure that all of paperwork is processed on time. The procedure is fairly clear and straightforward when it comes to required documentation, which is essentially a photo ID, a passport, proof of employment, and a local address.
Benefits & Challenges
- Diverse Atmosphere. The nation’s biodiversity, friendly and welcoming people, and the general simple yet fulfilling quality of life make Ecuador a great destination to earn a TEFL certificate abroad. The environment is not the only diverse thing in Ecuador, there also tend to be quite a few expats living and working in larger cities.
- Spanish Needed. Though you will not be alone as a foreigner in Ecuador, it is still important to immerse yourself into the local culture. Most natives will speak at least some English, but attempting to speak some Spanish will go a long way with the locals. After all, the Spanish spoken in Ecuador is relatively easy to speak and understand as it falls into neutral territory among Spanish speaking nations.
- “Homey.” As a nation so welcoming to outsiders, you’ll feel right at home as you establish your new life as an ESL teacher in Ecuador.