Home / Teach English in Colombia the Complete Guide for TEFL Teachers | Reviewed May 2022

Tefl Jobs In Colombia

Due to the risks associated with visiting and residing in Colombia, it used to be referred to as a no-go zone for TEFL teachers. But ever since a peace accord in 2016, Colombia has begun to shed its past reputation, and people looking to teach English in Colombia have been pouring in. It is all the more appealing because the natives are hospitable, inviting, and supportive of foreigners’ arrival. In addition, Colombia is a fascinating location with a lot to see and do, which makes it well-liked among daring TEFL teachers. The walled city of Cartagena, the Gold Museum, scaling Mount Monserrate, lounging in the lovely Parque Arqueológico, and marvelling at the Piedra del Pool are just a few of the top tourist attractions available.

Because many jobs focus on corporate English, it is simple to locate positions teaching English in Colombia, and various initiatives encourage bilingualism in the educational system. Both entry-level roles for freshly certified TEFL teachers and possibilities for highly skilled and experienced English teachers in Colombia are available. You can also find volunteer opportunities teaching English in Colombia in addition to paid employment. Even while wages are often modest—especially for work in the local language schools—a low cost of living makes it possible to get by on a lower salary. Colombia can be the ideal teaching location if you’re eager to travel somewhere new where the excitement is around every turn.

In this guide, we have tried to cover everything you need to know, including the qualifications and experience you will require. We also take a look at the culture and how you might find it living and working as an English teacher in Colombia. Because this was once an unsuitable country to live you should be sure you understand the various pitfalls and take precautions to keep yourself safe. It is worth saying that things are improving all the time and that plenty of people will attest that working as an English teacher in Colombia is now a safe and enjoyable way to spend some time and will come with many great experiences.

Types of teaching jobs in Colombia

Positions teaching English in Colombia at neighbourhood private schools and academies or volunteer teaching programmes with a living stipend are typical forms of teaching employment in this country. Your qualifications, expertise, and preferences will determine which works best for you and, of course, the level of pay you will be offered.

Program to Teach English in Colombia (TEC)

Workers, business owners, and the Catholic Church collaborated to create the SENA National Training Service, which offers vocational training to the workforce of the nation. For pupils who can’t afford it, SENA is a respected training course that is free.

The TEC Teach English in Colombia programme was recently launched under SENA in response to the new government’s emphasis on English education. TEC volunteers are American native speakers who have a TEFL certification or at least one year of classroom experience and will teach English in Colombia to private individuals.

International private schools

Private international schools may be a fantastic area to hunt for a high-paying career for English teachers in Colombia with two or more years of experience. The typical requirements for these English teaching positions in Colombia are native speakers, a TEFL certificate or equivalent, and at least a bachelor’s degree.

Private language school

You might simply need a college degree to be eligible for a position teaching English in Colombia for a for-profit language school. However, arriving in the nation and making an application in person is the greatest strategy to find these teaching positions as they tend to prefer to interview their candidates in person.

Finding work might be challenging if you don’t know where to seek it, just as you might anticipate anyplace in the world. The private institution Universidad EAFIT is a well-liked location for TEFL instructors to work.

State-run high schools

Many public schools in Colombia are now employing foreign teachers to co-teach English lessons as a result of a recent government initiative. So despite the slightly lower income, you can be confident that the kids you teach are benefiting from the work you do if you choose this type of work when you teach English in Colombia.

How to get a job teaching English in Colombia

In Colombia, looking locally is the greatest strategy for finding employment. Many employers won’t take on foreign-trained teachers. Instead, they favour employing English teachers in Colombia that they can speak with and meet in person. Consider joining a programme that places teachers all around Colombia if you want to be guaranteed a job in your home country.

Where to find a job

If you’re interested in teaching English in Colombia at a public school or through the TEC programme, you should apply before travelling through one of the many organisations that will place you at a school or SENA centre. Private language institution jobs are best found on the ground, though.

When to apply for a job

For the best odds of getting employment teaching English in Colombia for the upcoming semester depends on where you want to work. If you intend to teach English in Colombia at a private language institution, arrive in November, December, or January. However, applications should be sent between September and December of the previous year as placements for the TEC programme begin in January.

Work visas

A type V visa will be given to those English teachers in Colombia in the TEC programme. This visa will be valid for the entire time they are teaching English in Colombia and will allow them to come and go as they like. A tourist visa is typically used to enter the nation by English teachers looking for employment at private language schools or in the public school system. You must visit the regional consulate to apply for an M work visa once you have received a job offer. You don’t need to go back home because you may apply for this and have it completed locally.

Classroom and work culture

Colombian English teachers are generally not severe, and the educational system might come across as being relatively lax. However, students may be tardy for class, and meetings may start later than expected, so you should get used to it but try and remain on time yourself.

The ties between students and teachers are close and frequently on a first-name basis. The required outfit depends on your school and might range from shorts and t-shirts to business casual. Be sure to check before you start and if in doubt, go for smart casual the first day, as you can always adjust later. In this hospitable culture, greetings are significant, and men and women are expected to shake hands and give each other a cheek kiss.

Culture and etiquette

Politeness is valued in Colombia. Rude behaviours include slamming doors, chewing gum with your mouth open, and yawning without covering your mouth. On the other hand, the culture places a high value on social interaction, and having informal talks with passersby is rather popular, so it won’t take you long to get to know people in your local neighbourhood. Guests are treated with kindness by hosts, who provide food and coffee. It is customary to give a little gift, like a cake, loaf of bread, or dessert, if you are invited to a Colombian’s home.

Colombians won’t accept light-hearted jokes or remarks about the country’s turbulent past with the drug trade because the country has advanced significantly since Pablo Escobar’s reign. Although most Colombians are open to discussing social and political problems, it is best to steer clear of general enquiries on difficult matters.



Colombia is the second-cheapest nation in Latin America and is less expensive than 91 per cent of the world’s nations. Although TEFL salaries aren’t large, you can survive on even the lowest pay due to the high cost of living. In Colombia, professors frequently go on volunteer teaching roles, yet they nevertheless manage to enjoy themselves while travelling without being paid. Most volunteer opportunities provide free housing, a monthly stipend, and internal transit from Bogota.

Life in Colombia can be a little spartan for some ex-pats; don’t count on things running on schedule or being overly efficient, but visitors will quickly grow to love the country’s kind people. In addition, you’ll experience a wide range of weather conditions (so carry proper gear!) and indulge in a variety of regional specialities when dining out.

You should exercise caution when out and about, even though Colombia is shedding its reputation as a dangerous country. When taking public transportation or in crowded areas, it is advisable to phone ahead and reserve a taxi rather than flagging one down on the street. You should also always keep your possessions close at hand. In addition, it is advisable to stay away from dark areas at night and conduct your social visits in a group, especially if you are a lone female.

To obtain the most up-to-date cost of living figures, we use the world’s biggest cost of living comparison website, Numbio.com.

  • Accommodation: £303–£508/€391–€626
  • Utilities: £45/€55
  • Health insurance: Cost of a typical visit to a GP: £16/€17
  • Monthly transport pass: £25/€30
  • Basic dinner out for two: £7/€8
  • Cappuccino in ex-pat area: £1.44/€1.75
  • A beer in a pub: £0.76/€0.90
  • 1 litre of milk: £0.55/€0.65

Tefl Jobs In Colombia: KEY POINTS






Bachelors degree



120-hour TEFL qualification



Public & private schools


  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Bogota, Medellin, Bucaramanga, Barranquilla, and Cali
  • The average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of 1.5 million to 2 million pesos (£300–£400/ €380–€500) per month. Jobs for experienced teachers at IB schools can pay up to around 5 million (£1,000/€1,200) pesos per month.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be required for most positions
  • Prerequisite university degree: Most positions require a BA degree
  • Term times: Public school years start in January/February and end in November, with holidays in April, June and October. Private schools start in August/September and end in June
  • Currency: Peso (COP)
  • Language: Spanish
  • Teaching programmes: Private Language Schools, Public Schools, Voluntary, Government Program, Freelance
  • Age restrictions: None
  • Previous teaching experience: Beneficial but not always required

Business English roles or adult immersion programmes make up the majority of TEFL jobs in Colombia, so this is an excellent location if you like teaching English to adults. However, there has been a push in recent years to offer free programmes for underprivileged pupils as well as language education to kids in Colombia. As a result, there are many jobs available, ranging from unpaid volunteer labour to positions for more seasoned English teachers in Colombia. However, if you’re applying for a government programme like TEC, you should definitely research it beforehand. The majority of jobs are pleased to recruit you locally and actually prefer for candidates to already be in Bogota, or at least in Colombia. Teaching contracts often last one year, but you can also find English teaching jobs in Colombia hiring for as little as one month. Typically, volunteer roles last for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of twelve weeks, so this might be a great way to spend some of your gap year.

Colombian students are amiable, carefree, and frequently unconcerned about showing up to class on time. Therefore, you should anticipate being addressed by your first name by students, and you probably won’t have to wear a uniform or adhere to a rigid dress code.

Facts about Teach English in Colombia the Complete Guide for TEFL Teachers | Reviewed May 2022






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Tefl Jobs In Colombia: FAQS


Is Colombia expensive to live in?

Colombia is the second-cheapest nation in Latin America and is less expensive than 91 per cent of the world’s nations.

Private Language Schools, Public Schools, Voluntary, Government programs, and Freelance are popular options when looking for a teaching job in Colombia.

The average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of 1.5 million to 2 million pesos (£300–£400/€380–€500) per month.

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