Puerto Rico may sound like more of a holiday destination than somewhere that you can find work teaching English, but this is a location with much to offer whether you’re just travelling through or looking for a more long-term job. While English is one of the official languages of this Caribbean island (along with French), it actually isn’t spoken that widely and so there are ample opportunities for teaching it as a second language. The vibrant tourist industry means that locals are keen to learn English to help their businesses thrive. Locals are also keen to learn English to improve their chances of getting work abroad.

While there is a good demand for TEFL teachers in Puerto Rico, there’s also a fair amount of competition, and when you look at the weather, it’s easy to see why. A tropical rainforest climate with temperatures ranging from warm to hot throughout the year, you’ll probably be wearing the same sort of outfit all year long. Daily temperatures don’t change much from one month to the next, and you can expect it to be 85 °F (29 °C) in the lower elevations and more like 70 °F (21 °C) in the mountains. The great weather (9 hours of sunshine a day!) makes it easy to enjoy the stunning natural beauty on offer in Puerto Rico, as well as the other smaller islands, some of which are often uninhabited, making them a true paradise. From mountains and forests to manmade lakes and gorgeous beaches, Puerto Rico is a photographer’s paradise. Do bear in mind that Puerto Rico sits at the boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates, making it prone to seismic activity such as tsunamis and earthquakes.

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Key Facts

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs: San Juan, Bayamón, Dorado and Ponce
  • Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of $1,000 – $2,000 (£700 – £1,400) per month. For master’s qualified teachers in international schools, positions may pay upwards of $3,000 (£2,125) per month.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be required for most positions
  • Prerequisite university degree: Required for most positions, some ask for Master’s
  • Term Time: Term starts in September
  • Currency: USD $
  • Language: Spanish and English
  • Teaching programmes: Public Schools, International Schools, Private Language Schools, Tutoring
  • Age restrictions: None
  • Previous teaching experience: Not always required but will be beneficial

While both English and Spanish are the official languages of Puerto Rico, locals will use Spanish at home, at work and at school (barring bilingual schools). At university level, some courses are taught in English, but Spanish is basically the predominant language. Teachers with an American or Canadian accent are often preferred for TEFL roles, but don’t rule it out if you come from elsewhere. The Department of Education in Puerto Rico is putting more emphasis on the importance of learning English, and as such, it’s possible to get work teaching English in public schools, not just private schools. Of course, private international schools are also a good option for teachers who want to work in a multilingual environment, but you’ll likely need better qualifications and more experience to work in this sort of school. Universities are also an option for well-qualified teachers. There are private language schools which will be easy to find in big cities, and there are increasing numbers of EFL schools in rural locations too. Teaching contracts are typically for 1-year but sometimes you can find contracts for 6-months.

Requirements for teaching English in Puerto Rico

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

The cost of living in Puerto Rico has rocketed in the last decade, and so the country now finds itself ranking as one of the most expensive places in the region. In particular, rent and bills are fairly high, so if you can find a job that provides accommodation, this would be a big bonus. With a relatively high cost of living, how you spend your spare time will depend on how much disposable income you have. It doesn’t cost much to enjoy the natural beauty of this stunning country, and while it can be nice to just chill out on the beach, other activities you can get involved in include snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing, and spearfishing. Hiking is a great way to appreciate the flora and fauna in this diverse landscape. You’ll also enjoy sampling local delicacies such as mofongo (which are plantains stuffed with either seafood, pork or vegetables), asopao soup (made from chicken, vegetables and rice) or lechon (a pig roasted on a spit – popular for parties).

  • Accommodation: £512 – £1,038 / $728 – $1,474
  • Utilities: £120 / $171
  • Health insurance: Cost of typical visit to a GP: £29 / $41
  • Monthly transport pass: £23 / $33
  • Basic dinner out for two: £29 / $42
  • Cappuccino in expat area: £2.32 / $3.29
  • A beer in a pub: £1.98 / $2.81
  • 1 litre of milk: £1.34 / $1.90
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £0.99 / $1.41

(living costs sourced from Expatistan)


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