TEFL jobs in Costa Rica
If you’re picturing an idyllic lifestyle of hitting the beach every weekend in Costa Rica, take a good look at the map – most of the paid positions you’ll be applying for are in San Jose, which is a good two-hour bus ride away from the nearest beach. Also, some expats say that San Jose is a polluted place to live and can be a dangerous place to live too, so this can be a major consideration when choosing where to apply for jobs in Costa Rica. If San Jose doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, many expats say that the city of Heredia is a better choice to get that balance between a good standard of living and somewhere with enough jobs on offer. Many teachers start off in the capital as a way to get into the country, and then if they decide to stay in Costa Rica long term, move to another city with a better lifestyle on offer. Volunteer teachers will have far more choice when it comes to choosing a location, and with most positions offering free homestay to its volunteers, you don’t need to worry too much about the cost of living.
Where to find work in Costa Rica
It’s very difficult to get either a work visa or residency permit in Costa Rica. For immigration you’ll need your birth certificate and background check to be notarized, then authenticated in Costa Rica. You’ll also need to be fingerprinted. Schools typically aren’t willing to help teachers sort all this out if they’re just coming for a one-year stint because of the cost and time taken to get the paperwork sorted. Some schools encourage teachers to just renew their travel visa every 90 days, and make themselves scarce if the immigration officer turns up. Deportation does happen from time to time so make sure your school is clear on what their policy is.
Employers in Costa Rica
Centro Cultural hires native speakers (or those with TOEIC 950 or above) and a minimum of one year experience. They provide a 2-week training course and their standard contract is for 1-year, with a minimum of 16 teaching hours per week. Payment is from 4,000 Colones an hour ($7+), minus an insurance deduction.
Costa Rica International Academy requires teachers with a related degree, a criminal background check and two references. Find out how to apply on their website.
English 2 Go serves predominantly business English clients. They prefer American or Canadian native speakers but teachers with other accents are welcome to apply. You need a CELTA/TESOL/TEFL and it’s preferred if you have experience teaching abroad. They also prefer a ‘professional appearance’. 6-month contracts are available but the standard is for 1-year. New teachers generally have 8-16 teaching hours per week, going up to 24 hours per week. The salary is $9 per hour. You’ll be paid in US dollars and can set your own schedule.
Intercultura Language and Cultural Center looks for native speakers with a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL/CELTA, as well as preferably having 1 year of teaching experience. Positions start in January or July and contracts are for 1 year, with an average of 18-24 teaching hours per week. Classes are 1.5 – 3 hours long. Part-time contracts are also available for 6-months. The salary is $800 – $1,000 per month. Full-time teachers also receive free Spanish lessons. Uniquely, Intercultura will assist with both acquiring a work visa and finding accommodation.
Pro-Language looks for native speakers with a TEFL or equivalent and at least 6 months’ experience. Contracts are for a minimum of 4 months, with part-time opportunities too. Pay is $8 per hour, and you get free Spanish lessons and assistance with both finding accommodation and getting a work permit.
Proyecto San Gerardo looks for volunteers to teach conversational English in the local elementary schools and also to groups of adults. Curriculum and resources are provided. Positions are for 3 months minimum, you must have teaching experience, and having a TEFL or TESOL certificate is preferred. Knowledge of Spanish is also beneficial. Applicants must be 21 or over. Homestay fee is $350 per month.
The Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center looks for native English speakers to volunteer teaching English. You need a TEFL or similar, teaching experience, and an intermediate level of Spanish. Positions are for 6-months with 18 hours of teaching per week. Room and board is provided with a local family.
The Swan English requires applicants to have a TEFL or CELTA and experience. Positions are for a minimum of 4 months, with an average of 20 teaching hours per week. Pay is 4,000 – 5,000 colones ($7-$9) per hour.
Tico Times is an English language online magazine that publishes classified jobs in Costa Rica.
Universal Idiomas looks for British or American native speakers with a TEFL/TESOL, a university diploma and a couple of years of experience. Contracts are for 1 year, with teaching hours predominantly in the evening or weekends. Salary is about $8 per hour.