Costa Rica is most famous as a leading ecotourism destination thanks to its unrivalled natural beauty. However, it is also one of the most popular destinations for TEFL qualified teachers in Central America as jobs are generally numerous throughout the year. Another part of its appeal is that it is not always necessary to have a university degree to get a good position in a respected school. The Central Valley area is home to the majority of jobs, particularly the capital city San Jose.
What can I expect to earn while teaching English in Costa Rica?
The average salary of an English language teacher in Latin America is generally quite low in comparison to some other parts of the world, however, this doesn't stop many thousands of teachers flocking to the region every year. For most teachers the average income is around $600 to $1,000 per month, although you can potentially earn considerably more if you have a degree and previous teaching experience. Private tutoring outside of normal working hours is a common way for many teachers to top up the income earned from their normal job. Private tutoring in Costa Rica usually ranges from $10 to $20 per hour.
What kind of employer will I work for while teaching English in Costa Rica?
Most foreign TEFL teachers working in Costa Rica are employed by private language schools that are commonly found in many parts of the country. Some operate classes solely for adults or young learners, while others cater for both types of student. If you secure a job with one of the bigger schools you should be offered a full-time contract that requires around 20 to 25 teaching hours per week. Smaller schools often prefer to hire part-time teachers. In this situation many teachers take on jobs in more than one school to make up the equivalent of a full-time salary. Typically, classes in this environment operate in the early mornings, evenings, and on weekends to suit the schedules of the students.
Can I earn extra cash as a private English tutor in Costa Rica?
As there is a strong demand for private English tuition many teachers take on a few extra students outside of their normal working hours in order to bring in a little extra cash each week. Some are also able to make it a full-time job once they have established a regular list of clients. Much of the work in this area is with school aged children who need extra lessons when preparing for exams. There are also opportunities to be found with local businesses looking to improve the English skills of their staff in various areas, such as hotels, restaurants, or shops etc.
How does the cost of living affect TEFL teachers in Costa Rica?
The cost of living in Costa Rica is relatively high by the standards of the region due to its popularity as a tourist destination. This is even more noticeable in the popular beach resort areas where prices can be significantly higher than elsewhere. The biggest outlay for teachers is generally accommodation which starts at around $200 to $350 per month for an all-inclusive homestay option. Other popular alternatives are renting a room in a shared apartment, which costs around the same as a homestay, and renting a private house or apartment that will start at around $400 per month in the cheaper areas.