This Week in Costa Rica

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This Week in Costa Rica is a weekly, online radio program and podcast by US expat, Dan Stevens

Teaching English (TEFL/TESOL) in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Teaching News - It seems easy to leave the snow and the cold attitudes of people in North America and jump into a new life teaching English in an exotic place. If you are a native speaker of English it shouldn’t be hard to find such a job in any part of the world. There are, however, a few things you should know before making the move to Costa Rica.


A few people have been hired to teach English in Costa Rica before arriving. About half of these jobs fall through. Don’t worry because once you are here it is easy to find one. Small language institutes that provide business English classes to professionals will be glad to hire anyone with a native tongue once you are in the country.

A bachelor’s degree used to be sufficient qualification.  Language institutes are now increasingly restricting applications to only those with TESOL/TEFL certification, even if those people never went to college. Training centers such as Global TESOL College Costa Rica will train you and help you find job placement. Those teachers from North America get more jobs than those from other English speaking countries. This bias is unfair but it is due to client’s requests. If you can also speak another language such as Chinese, German, or French you will be hired instantly.


Global TESOL College Costa Rica, the first teacher training center in Jacó Beach, is a great option to get certified.  The college is the only internationally accredited TEFL/TESOL program on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.  Courses at the institute are available every month and the college gives students the flexibility to choose when they want to begin the course. The most popular program, the Advanced TESOL Program, runs for four weeks, with classes taking place Monday through Friday.  The institute also offers its graduates an international lifelong job placement guarantee.

English teaching jobs are mostly in and around San Jose, not near any beaches. Be prepared to travel to officesduring rainy season and teach in conference rooms. You must also be prepared to dress professionally. You will need a resume and passport sized photo for most applications. If you are insistent on teaching near the beach, it is possible. These jobs won’t be advertised though. Go in person and dressed nicely to the schools you find there. Expect more competition and less pay.

Many teaching schedules include early mornings, evenings, weekends, and free time in the middle of the day. They coincide with business peoples’ availability. Pay is around $8 per hour but you are restricted to working no more than 25 hours per week. $800 per month is normal. You will usually start with fewer hours as a test so come with some money to get you through three months or so. After proving yourself you may be able to negotiate $1000 per month. On $1000 per month you can live well. With less you will probably need a roommate or to live in a more remote area. The country is safe except for petty theft. Don’t take your laptop out on the bus.

Schools that work with the INA (Instituto Nacional de Apredezaje) have the ability to provide 2 year work visas for qualified teachers. Other schools allow you to leave the country every three months to get a new tourist visa. If you do get hired by one offering a visa, you are lucky! Documents you’ll need are copies of diplomas, a birth certificate, and a statement of good conduct from your local police. There are very elaborate requirements for how to certify these documents, which will be explained to you by the school. Ask for these instructions months before coming to the country.

If you are interested it getting your TESOL/TEFL certification or teaching in Costa Rica contact the Global TESOL College for more information.


Posted by 

Dan Stevens

 on Thursday, July 4, 2013 · 

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