TEACH ENGLISH IN COLOMBIA

Everything you need to know to get a job teaching English in Colombia.

 
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About Teaching English in Colombia

To teach English in Colombia, you will need a TEFL certificate. A 4-year college degree is not required but is strongly preferred. Native English proficiency is also expected to find a TEFL job. The average salary for an English teacher in Colombia is about $500 - $1,050 USD per month.

With the region's fast-growing economy, TEFL certified teachers are in high demand in Colombia. With over 45 million inhabitants, Colombia has the second largest population in South America. It is also home to the fourth-largest number of Spanish speakers in the world after Mexico, the United States, and Spain, which means it provides for a great opportunity to perfect your Spanish while teaching English in Colombia. 

Twenty years ago, Colombia was a virtual no-go zone, but in recent decades the nation has become one of the most dynamic countries in Latin America and it has become much safer as well, as evidenced by its huge growth in tourism.

English teacher in Colombia English teachers in Colombia


English teaching jobs in Colombia typically start in January - March, and  July - August time periods. Most positions are for teaching English in private language schools, primarily to adults (business types, university students, tourism, etc.). 

The English teaching job market in Colombia is very strong in Bogota, Medellin, and other larger cities. Colombia is a break-even market, which allows teachers to live comfortably while teaching 20-30 hours per week.

How to Become an English Teacher in Colombia: Requirements

TEFL Certification Colombia

A TEFL certification is required to teach English in Colombia. You do not need professional teaching experience but earning your TEFL certification will provide you with the training and qualification you do need to get hired. 

English teachers in Colombia typically interview in person. It is common for students to take one of our TEFL course options listed below before departure

Native English-Speaking Proficiency

You do not need to be a native English speaker to teach English in Colombia, however, you will be expected to be fluent in English and speak at a native level to be considered for teaching jobs. Citizenship from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa is typically preferred but not always required.

Degree Requirements for Teaching English in Colombia

While a bachelor's degree is not required to secure a job in Colombia, it still can be strongly preferred by employers. If you do not have a degree, you should be prepared for a more competitive job search.

How to Find English Teaching Jobs in Colombia

TEFL Jobs in Colombia

The most common TEFL jobs in Colombia consist of:

  • Teaching adults or children in English language schools.
  • Private tutoring both children and adults.
  • Public school programs.
  • Teaching English online.

Finding English Teacher Jobs in Colombia: Hiring & Visa

English teachers in Colombia can expect to find jobs from January-March and again from July-August. While there are some opportunities to interview in advance over the phone and via e-mail, most English teachers interview on the ground,  in-person.

Teachers in Colombia typically teach on either a tourist visa or a work visa.

Read More: What Type of Visa Can I Use to Teach English in Colombia?

Teaching in Colombia: Hours

English language schools in Colombia offer approximately 20 to 25 hours of classroom work per week plus additional hours for prep time. This allows for plenty of time to travel and explore. 

Teaching Colombian Students

It is most common that your students will be children, adults, and business professionals. 

Salary & Cost of Living

Start-up Costs

Start-up costs will range from $1,100 - $1,600 USD. These are expenses you will incur from your arrival in Colombia 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. 

TEFL Colombia Salary

A solid hourly wage enables teachers the opportunity to live a comfortable lifestyle while in Colombia. Teachers can expect to earn $500 - $1,050 USD per month. It is common for teachers in Colombia to also teach English online to supplement their income.

There are no flight or housing benefits/stipends provided so you will need to remember to account for accommodation or temporary housing for your first few weeks in your start-up costs until you find an apartment to rent. 

Read more: How much can English teachers make in Colombia?

Cost of Living & Savings

The cost of living typically ranges between $500-$1,050 USD per month.

English teachers in Colombia can expect to break-even month over month. This means you can cover your rent and bills, support yourself, live comfortably, and enjoy your life abroad to the fullest, but you shouldn't expect to save money at the end of the month. If you are hustling and taking on private tutoring lessons and/or teaching English online in addition to your regular teaching schedule, you may increase your ability to save.

 

What Is It Like Teaching English in Colombia?

Watch ITA alumna Brianna Brage show us a day in her life living and teaching English in Medellin, Colombia.

Want more? We've got you covered! Visit our Video Library to watch day in the life videos from our alumni and get a glimpse into what your life as an English teacher in Colombia could look like!

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Teaching English in Colombia FAQs

Can you teach English in Colombia without a degree?

To teach English in Colombia, make sure you understand what is and is not required:

Required:

  • A TEFL certification
  • Understanding of the types of English teaching jobs that are available
  • Savings for start-up costs

Not Required:

  • A four-year college degree is not required to secure a job in Colombia, however, it is still often times preferred by employers. If you do not have a degree, you should be prepared for a more competitive job search.
  • 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 to be considered for teaching jobs. Citizenship from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa is typically preferred but not always required.

How much do TEFL teachers make in Colombia?

English teachers in Colombia can expect to make $500 - $1,050 USD per month. It is common for teachers in Colombia to also teach English online to supplement their income. 

There are no flight or housing benefits/stipends provided so you will need to remember to account for accommodation or temporary housing for your first few weeks in your start-up costs until you find an apartment to rent.

Read More: How much money can I earn teaching English in Colombia?

How do I get a visa for teaching English in Colombia?

If your job is secured before heading to Colombia, it is possible to process the M-5 visa at the nearest Colombian Consulate in your home country.  However, many teachers process their visa in Bogota at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores Office.  

You can also fill out the application online, which will require scans of all of the necessary documents. After you receive approval, you can travel to Bogota or the nearest consulate to get the visa in your passport.  Online approval can take roughly one week. 

Once you have gotten your visa, you have about 15 days to register your visa with Migracion Colombia to get your Cedula (a national identity card - more about this below). These offices are located in major cities around Colombia. It is very important that you do this within the allotted 15 days or you could be fined. Having a Cedula enables you to open a bank account, get a cell phone plan, etc.

To get a Cedula you need to:

  • Have a blood test
  • Complete the online application
  • Schedule an appointment at a Migracion Colombia office. At your appointment, you will need your passport with visa, blood test, photocopy of the data page from your passport, and approximately 183,000 pesos ($60 USD approx.)

Read More: What Type of Visa Can I Use to Teach English in Colombia?

Do you need to speak Spanish to teach English in Colombia?

You don’t need to speak Spanish to teach English in Colombia. The classes you teach will be entirely in English to immerse your students fully in an English-only environment. However, learning Spanish will certainly make your life easier in Colombia, and your friends and colleagues will appreciate your efforts.

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Reviews From ITA Students Who Now Do TEFL in Colombia

Tara Ashraf

Taught English Colombia

Tara Ashraf

I would highly recommend teaching in Colombia, I loved it so much. If people are to teach abroad, they should understand there are weird cultural factors...But if you go along for the ride, and you take advantage of those times, you will be able to see a very different part of the world! I've already been back to visit this year and hope to every few years.

Craig Skillman

Taught English Colombia

Craig Skillman

I really enjoyed the course. I liked how it touched base on not only the educational side of teaching, but the cultural side as well. The lessons, assignments, and practicum aspect were all very useful in preparing us to go out and be able to plan, teach, and work on our own.

Rebecca Sirull

Teaches English in Colombia

Rebecca Sirull

This on-the-ground strategy not only let me make connections with many different companies, but also gave me the chance to get to know the cities. I usually spent another few days after my school visits just spending time in the place and seeing all it had to offer.