If you’re a TEFL teacher looking to find adventure in South America, Ecuador is one destination you should be considering. Don’t be put off by the low wages – while salaries aren’t high, the cost of living is very low in this country. While you can’t save much of your pay packet, it’s easy to get by when food and accommodation is so cheap. As such, Ecuador is becoming a popular destination for recently qualified TEFL teachers, who can live well on the salary and get a laid-back introduction to the teaching world. Many entry-level jobs have lower standards than other locations, enabling newer teachers to get a foot on the career ladder. As six-month contracts are standard, this is also a great opportunity for those just wanting to try out the TEFL life and not be tied down for a whole year.

Ecuador may be the second-smallest country in South America, but it has no shortage of exciting offerings. In a single day you could travel across glaciated Andean volcanoes, the Amazon Basin, and through tropical forests. There are plenty of outdoor pursuits available for the more adventurous, whether you fancy swimming, surfing, hiking, or horse-riding. For nature lovers, Ecuador will keep you captivated with its exotic birds and plants, unusual insects, and spectacular animals. With amazing landscapes, fascinating ecology, and great opportunities for exploring, variety is standard when it comes to this stunning country! When you arrive to teach English in Ecuador you will also encounter the warm and welcoming nature of the locals. All of these factors make Ecuador an exciting destination to teach English abroad.

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Key Facts

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Quito, Cuenca, Latacunga, Guayaquil, Quevedo
  • Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region $500 – $800 (£385 – £620) per month, up to $1,200 (£930) for more sought-after roles. $3 – $8 (£2 – £6) per hour.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification is beneficial for most positions but not always required
  • Prerequisite university degree: Most positions prefer a BA degree but it’s not always necessary
  • Term times: The school year starts in September
  • Currency: USD ($)
  • Language: Spanish
  • Teaching programmes: Public Schools, Private Language Schools, International Schools, Universities, Freelance, Volunteer
  • Age restrictions: None
  • Previous teaching experience: Useful, not always required

If you have a TEFL qualification but no degree, there will probably be places willing to hire you. Ditto to if you have teaching experience but no qualifications whatsoever. Public schools are also an option if you don’t have the qualifications to apply for better jobs, but these roles can be a challenge, with large class sizes, unmotivated students, and poor pay. If you’re qualified and experienced, you’re better searching for work at International Schools where the pay will be slightly better and the academic standards will be higher, too. For more qualified teachers, university positions are the best thing to aim for, as well as elite bilingual schools that offer programs such as the IB. Like any country, the better qualified/experienced you are, the better the jobs that will be open to you.

University students and the business community make up the majority of students wanting to learn English, but there are increasingly more opportunities to work with kids and teens, who you’ll find to be fun and cheeky in class. Lessons might start early in the morning and continue until the evening, but with a break in the heat of the day. Standards are usually quite casual, and your employer might not provide you with a firm curriculum. Dress code is also likely to be casual, but female teachers are cautioned to dress modestly in this society.

Requirements for teaching English in Ecuador

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Argentina £500 - £950
($600 - $1,200)
No March Preferred No Yes None
Bolivia £400 - £550
($500 - $700)
No February Preferred No Yes None
Brazil £650 - £900
($800 - $1,100)
No February No No Yes None
Chile £550 - £800
($700 - $1,000)
No March No No Yes None
Colombia £400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
No January/February No No Yes Under 62
Ecuador £400 - £650
($500 - $800)
Preferred May Preferred No Yes None
Guatemala £400 - £550
($500 - $700)
Preferred January No No Yes None
Mexico £400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
Preferred August No Sometimes Yes None
Peru £325 - £650
($400 - $800)
Yes March Preferred Sometimes Yes Under 70
Uruguay £325 - £800
($400 - $1000)
Preferred March Preferred No Yes None

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Living Costs

While wages are low in Ecuador, the cost of living is also very cheap. Few teaching positions come with any sort of accommodation, but if you can find another expat to share an apartment with, your outgoings will be minimal, even in the capital city. Just three or so hours of freelance teaching can earn you enough to cover a night in a hostel and an evening meal. Life in Ecuador can be fun and adventurous, making it a great opportunity for TEFL teachers looking for an exciting year, but also bear in mind that crime in this part of the world can be higher than other places, and so you have to be on your guard. Make sure you avoid any dodgy areas in town and don’t show off expensive items in public.

  • Accommodation: £407 – £549 / $526 – $710
  • Utilities: £40 / $51
  • Cost of typical visit to a GP: £29 / $27
  • Monthly transport pass: £19 / $25
  • Basic dinner out for two: £14 / $19
  • Cappuccino in expat area: £2.57 / $3.32
  • A beer in a pub: £1.51 / $1.95
  • 1 litre of milk: £0.76 / $0.99
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.49 / $1.92

(living costs sourced from Expatistan)


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