How do I find a job teaching English in Latin America?

Latin America attracts a large number of teachers from all over the world who are looking for fun and adventure. Across the region there are a wide variety of opportunities available in a diverse range of countries. By doing your own research and following a few simple tips, most people should have no trouble finding a good teaching job that will lay the foundation for a trip of a lifetime.

What are the requirements for teaching English in Latin America?

The Latin America region typically has less restrictions on teachers than any other part of the world. There is generally no requirement for teachers to have a degree or previous classroom experience which makes it a perfect choice for first-time teachers. One thing that most employers will expect however, is for you to have completed a reputable TESOL training course. In many cases an online course is sufficient, although some schools will insist on a course that included some practical teaching practice with real language students.

What is the best way to apply for jobs teaching English in Latin America?

Only a small percentage of ESL teaching jobs in Latin America are advertised online via job boards and other related sites which means that most people apply and interview for jobs from within the country of their choice. The most effective approach is to simply arrive in your chosen area and immediately start visiting schools in person. Although this approach can seem a little daunting, it is common practice across Latin America and most people have no problem finding a suitable job in a short space of time.

When is the best time to apply for jobs teaching English in Latin America?

To make sure you have the widest choice of job options it is best to arrive in your chosen destination during the peak recruitment season. Across much of South America the peak time is during February and March, and then again in July and August. In many Central American countries the best time to arrive is during January. While term times usually determine when public schools and universities do most of their recruiting, it is worth remembering that jobs with private language academies, business English employers, and private tutoring are generally available at anytime of the year.

What visa will I need to teach English in Latin America?

The visa situation for foreign teachers will vary depending on the country you have chosen as your destination. To ensure you have the current information it is advisable to visit the embassy website of your host country before you pay for your plane ticket. The most common approach in many countries is to arrive on a three or six month tourist visa and then apply for a work permit once you arrive. In many cases it is common practice to simply work on a tourist visa and then renew it every few months by crossing over into another country. Although working without the correct permit is technically illegal in most countries, it is normal practice in many areas and it rarely causes an issue for the teacher or employer.

How much money will I need to start teaching English in Latin America?

Before you decide to head overseas to teach it is important that you have enough funds to last you until you get your first pay packet. As most schools pay on a monthly basis, it is recommended that you budget for a minimum of six weeks. Your budget will need to cover accommodation, meals, and transport costs. As the average cost of living is relatively low in most countries in the region, you will be able to get by on a lot less than you would need back home. However, you should still budget for somewhere around $1,000 to $2,000 US.

Where should I look for jobs teaching English in Latin America?

Where you choose as your teaching destination will have a big impact on the number of job options available to you. While many people dream of working in a popular beach resort with hammocks under the palm trees and miles of white sand, the reality is that the competition for any jobs in these areas will be very strong indeed. In contrast, major cities such as Santiago in Chile, São Paulo in Brazil, and San Jose in Costa Rica, all have a huge number of opportunities waiting for you to explore. Simply draw up a list of schools in your chosen area and then visit them in person to drop off a CV and hopefully introduce yourself to the management. By using this method you could potentially have dozens of positions to choose from.

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