Teaching English in Colombia

Teaching English in Colombia

Colombia Overview

Main Cities/AreasSalary range (USD/month)
Bogota$700 – $1000

The level of demand for native speakers in Colombia is reasonably high. Unfortunately, TEFL salaries are relatively low and despite reasonably low living costs you certainly won’t be able to save much, if at all.

As in most Latin American countries, the students are lively and sociable and therefore a pleasure to teach. Colombia has a poor reputation but there have been considerable improvements in recent years with regard to the reduction of crime and the nightlife in Bogota is excellent. There is a high turnover of staff at many language centers across Latin America which says a great deal about the pros and cons.

Employers can be unreliable and have unreasonable demands such as the common one that you are effective β€˜on-call’ from 8 am to 8 pm or similar. You are rarely paid for traveling from one location or class to another and this can take up a significant chunk of your daily schedule. There are lots of other native speakers looking for short-term employment but many leave after just a few months due to the poor pay and the fact that many private students cancel at short notice (and therefore don’t pay you).

If you are experienced, persistent and hard-working then you may be lucky to find one of the few well-paid positions, such as those at bilingual schools. For the majority, however, TEFL in Colombia is a fun experience for a short period of time but certainly not a serious career option. For more information about TEFL in Colombia, see the Colombian Association of Teachers of English (ASOCOPI) website.

Image result for colombia flag

Typical Requirements and Tips

Degree?TEFL Certification?Experience?

A CELTA or TEFL certificate is not strictly necessary, but you will find that if you have one you are eligible for better jobs and better pay. You’ll also be a more confident teacher.

Given the low salaries, you may need to supplement your income with extra, private one-to-one tuition. Contacts are essential and found via word of mouth and through local adverts and websites. American and Canadian teachers may be at a slight advantage.

Your employer is responsible for obtaining your work permit. However, in reality, many work illegally. Despite the flexibility this allows, this is not recommended for obvious reasons.

Public transport is cheap but taxis are expensive. Food is moderately-priced. Accommodation can be expensive in Bogota and you will probably have to share with another teacher, to begin with.

Pros of Teaching in Colombia

  • High demand for English tuition
  • Fantastic, sociable students
  • There are plenty of other teachers in Colombia so you should have a good social network with both foreigners and locals alike

Cons of Teaching in Colombia

  • Generally low pay and many employers are reluctant to offer proper, full-time contracts
  • Teachers are usually expected to work split shifts and spend a lot of time traveling (which is unpaid)
  • It is very difficult to find work unless you are already in the country