TEACH ENGLISH IN PANAMA

About Teaching English in Panama

The heavy tourism and development of other resort destinations are pleasantly absent in Panama. With seemingly endless beaches, rainforests, and mountains to explore, it is easy to fall in love with this country. 

Jobs for English teachers in Panama are typically found in February through March and again in July and August. English teachers should expect to interview in person and are responsible for airfare and housing costs. Most English teachers live in apartments recently vacated by previous teachers, and many share an apartment with coworkers.

Teach English in Panama TEFL Teach English in Panama TEFL


A solid hourly wage affords English teachers the ability to live a comfortable lifestyle. Schools typically offer around 20 to 25 hours of work per week, leaving plenty of time to travel and explore. English teachers do not need to have a bachelor’s degree to teach in Panama, but it is preferred. Most teachers supplement their income by teaching English online or private tutoring.

A TEFL certification is required, and though a Bachelor’s degree is not required to secure a job in this country, 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.

Teaching Requirements

TEFL CERTIFICATION

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

Teachers typically interview in-person in Panama, therefore, it is most common for students to take one of our TEFL course options listed below:

NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER

You do not need to be a native English speaker to teach English in Panama, 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

While a bachelor's degree is not required to secure a job in Panama, 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.

TEFL Jobs in Panama

JOB TYPES

The most common job types in Panama consist of:

  • Teaching adults in English language schools.
  • Private tutoring both children and adults.
  • Teaching Business English to adults.
  • Teaching English Online.

HIRING & VISA

English teachers in Panama can expect to find jobs during the peak hiring seasons of February-March and again in 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.

It's most common for English teachers to teach on tourist visas. Depending on your citizenship, your tourist visas will need to be renewed every 90-180 days. 

HOURS

English language schools in Panama 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. 

STUDENTS

It is most common that your students will be business professionals.

Salary & Cost of Living

START-UP COSTS

Start-up costs will range from $1,350 - $2,000 USD. These are expenses you will incur from your arrival in Panama 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. 

SALARY

A solid hourly wage enables teachers the opportunity to live a comfortable lifestyle while in Panama. Teachers can expect to earn $900 - $1,300 USD per month. It is common for teachers in Panama 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. 

COST OF LIVING & SAVINGS

The cost of living typically ranges between $900-$1,300 USD per month.

English teachers in Panama 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 does teaching in Panama look like?

Check out our blog to read stories from our alumni teaching English in Latin America.

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 a teacher in Latin America could look like!

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Teaching English in Panama FAQs

How much money can I make taking English in Panama?

Teachers can expect to make $900 - $1,300 USD per month in Panama. It is common for teachers in Panama to also teach English online to supplement their income. With the cost of living being low in Panama, you 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. 

Do I need a degree to teach English in Panama?

To teach English in Panama, make sure you understand what is required:

Required:

  • A TEFL certification
  • Savings for start-up costs

Not Required:

  • A four-year college degree is not required to secure a job in Panama, however, it is still strongly 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.

What type of visa do I need to teach English in Panama?

Teachers in Panama typical work on tourist visas. When you arrive in Panama, you'll get a stamp in your passport. This stamp is your tourist visa.

Your tourist visa will need to be renewed every 90 to 180 days. Many teachers border hop, or visit a neighboring country like Costa Rica or Guatemala to renew their tourist visa. 

It's extremely uncommon for teachers to teach on work visas in Panama.

Recommended TEFL Courses for Teaching English in Panama

Online TEFL Course

What's included 👇

  • 170-Hour Online Certification
  • 11 Weeks Part-Time
  • OFQUAL Level 5 Accreditation from TQUK
  • Live Office Hours with Your Instructor & Peer-Participation with Classmates
  • Lifetime Job Search Guidance
  • 20-Hours Live Practice Teaching

Intensive Online TEFL Course

What's included 👇

  • 4 Weeks Full-Time (40+ hours per week) - required class time typically 6-8 hours daily
  • OFQUAL Level 5 Accreditation from TQUK
  • Live Office Hours with Your Instructor & Peer-Participation with Classmates
  • Lifetime Job Search Guidance
  • 10-Hours Live Practice Teaching (Virtual) built into the course
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Why Our Alumni Love Us!

Nicky Irber

Teaches English in Panama City, Panama

Nicky Irber

Being able to live in the middle of the action is something I could not have afforded to do while I was in the States living in Chicago. Also, for Central America, you make pretty good money here in Panama in the city.

Mitch Broughton

Teaches English in Panama City, Panama

Mitch Broughton

Dive into the culture. Learn the language. See things you never dreamed you'd see. I would definitely recommend teaching in Panama. The people are friendly, the surfing is excellent and the weather is fantastically hot.

Sarah Garrett

Teaches English in Costa Rica

Sarah Garrett

Once you get your TEFL certification, it's tempting to jump right in and move, but I read one of these Q & A's and it was advised to take your time and save money and I'm glad I did. I would recommend teaching in Costa Rica, for sure! It's a beautiful country and I've had the experience of a lifetime. 

Visit the Panama section of our blog to read more articles and stories by our alumni about their experiences teaching English in Mexico.