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What Are the Requirements for Teaching English in Ecuador?

Wondering how to become an English teacher in Ecuador? Learn what qualifications you need to teach English in Ecuador, including education, citizenship, and visa requirements.

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From Andean peaks and ancient pre-Colombian history to Quito's bustling streets and the Galapagos Islands' warm shores, Ecuador offers mind-bending contrasts and an endless array of cultural and historical treasures waiting for you to discover.  It is also a young and dynamic nation emerging as a top job market for teaching English in Latin America.

With an economy increasingly based on international trade and tourism, English language instruction has become a significant priority for the Ecuadorean government and private citizens and businesses looking to reach their potential in a globalized economy where English is increasingly the dominant language. 

If you are considering teaching English in Ecuador, you will need to ensure you meet the following qualifications:

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become an English Teacher in Ecuador?

To teach English in Ecuador, you will need a TEFL certification. A 4-year college degree is not required but is often preferred. You do not need to be a native-English speaker but you will be expected to be fluent in English and speak at a native level. The average salary for a starting English teacher in Ecuador is about $500 - $7,000 USD per month.

How to Teach English in Ecuador

Now let’s look at the following requirements to teach English in Ecuador in more detail:

  1. Hold a TEFL certification

  2. Have a college degree (not required but preferred)

  3. Be a native-English speaker from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa (not required but often preferred)

  4. Hold a valid passport & visa

  5. Be financially prepared for start-up costs

Let’s expand on each of these Ecuador ESL teaching requirements and qualifications below:

1. Hold a TEFL Certification

A TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certificate is required to teach English in Ecuador. Getting TEFL certified will provide you with the relevant training and qualifications you need to get hired by a reputable school in Ecuador. In addition, it should give you confidence in your abilities to provide effective ESL lessons to your students. 

Which TEFL Course is Right for Me?

Most language schools in Ecuador recruit and interview on the ground, in person. Therefore, it is common for many aspiring English teachers to take ITA’s 4-week TEFL Course in Quito, Ecuador. Taking the course in Ecuador means you can begin interviewing for TEFL jobs in Ecuador immediately at course completion.

The course staff will assist you with finding local teaching opportunities and will provide guidance for the interview process. 

Another popular option is ITA's 170-Hour Online TEFL Course which you can take online from home. This award-winning course is part-time, so you can take it while going to school or working full-time, so you can work and save some extra money in anticipation of your departure to Ecuador. 

Teaching English in Ecuador requirements

2. Have a College Degree (Not Required But Preferred)

Can I Teach English in Ecuador Without a Degree?

A bachelor’s degree is not required to teach English in Ecuador. Your TEFL certification should be enough to successfully gain employment as an ESL teacher. Please note, while a bachelor’s degree is not a requirement some employers may still prefer that you have one.

Do I Need Prior Teaching Experience?

While prior teaching experience can help you stand out on your resume, you do not need it to teach English in Ecuador. Your TEFL certification training will provide you with the relevant qualifications you need to get hired by a school in Ecuador.

Any reputable TEFL certification course should include a mandatory practicum omponent to help gain firsthand experience practice teaching with real non-native English speakers. This will prepare you for the classroom and leave you feeling confident in your ability to deliver well-structured ESL lessons to your students. This practice teaching can count as teaching experience and should be highlighted on your resume.

3. Be a Native-English Speaker from the U.S., U.K., Ireland Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa (Not Required But Preferred)

If you are a qualified, non-native English speaker, you may be considered for English teaching jobs in Ecuador. Non-natives will be expected to be fluent in English and speak at a native level. Although not required, native-English speakers with citizenship from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa may still be preferred by some employers.

Do I need to speak Spanish to teach English in Ecuador?

You do not need to speak Spanish to teach English in Ecuador, though learning some Spanish will definitely make your life easier, including when it comes to recruiting private students.

4. Have a Valid Passport & Visa

You will need a valid passport to enter and work as an English teacher in Ecuador. If your passport is scheduled to expire within six months of your planned arrival in Ecuador, it is recommended that you renew your passport prior to your departure.

What Type of Visa Will I Need to Teach English in Ecuador?

There are two types of visas that most foreign English teachers will use for teaching English in Ecuador.  The type of visa that you will use will depend on your teaching job, your employer and possibly other factors like your nationality or the length of your contract. The process and required documents for getting each type of visa will vary.  To learn more, please read What Kind of Visa Can I Use for Teaching English in Ecuador?

Volunteer Visa

Your Volunteer visa can be processed in your home country at the consulate or in Ecuador. Contact the consulate to determine the length of visa processing time, as it can be same-day or mailed in a couple of weeks.

Professional Visa

You can process your Professional visa in your home country at the consulate.

Be sure to talk with your ITA Advisor about visas before you head overseas to Ecuador or enroll in your TEFL Class.

Requirements for Teaching English in Ecuador

5. Be Financially Prepared for Start-up Costs

Start-up costs include those expenses you will incur from your arrival in Ecuador until you receive your first paycheck and may include things like rent, apartment supplies, transport, groceries, getting your new local cell phone number set up, etc. Remember, nobody will hand you a paycheck the moment you step off the plane, and given that most English teachers will interview and apply for jobs upon arrival, you will need to cover 1-2 months of living expenses ($1,000 - $1,200 on the safe side) until you start working and getting paid. You will also need to cover your airfare to Ecuador from your home country. 

The cost of living in Ecuador is relatively low ($500 - $7,00 USD per month) with most teachers breaking even each month. This means you can cover your rent and bills, support yourself, and enjoy your life abroad to the fullest, but you shouldn’t expect to save money at the end of each month. Financial planning is imperative to prepare for your success.

A solid hourly wage enables teachers the opportunity to live a comfortable lifestyle while in Ecuador. English teachers in Ecuador can expect to make the equivalent of $500 - $700 USD per month. It is common for teachers in Ecuador also give private lessons and may teach English online as well to supplement their income. 

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