www.costaricatesol.com - ITA Costa Rica

Costa Rica TEFL Certification Course in Central Valley

Earn your TEFL certification while living the Pura Vida lifestyle in Central Valley, Costa Rica.


Known as the province of flowers, Heredia gives you the best of all worlds: wonderful nightlife, a safe environment, a true cultural immersion experience, a temperate climate, and tons of places to explore. With our network of schools and job placement assistance, getting your certification in Costa Rica is by far the easiest way to get a paid job teaching English in Central America. Or, use your summer break to get your TESOL certification under your belt for teaching positions or programs once you graduate from college.

The Costa Rica TESOL Certificate course is an intensive, in-person 190-hour ESL/EFL teacher training course which provides participants with the skills and confidence needed to succeed in the English language classroom. The TESOL Certificate you will receive is accredited and recognized worldwide.

During this one-month course you will acquire both the necessary skills and knowledge to become an effective and dynamic ESL / EFL teacher. There are three important areas of focus which will ensure that you achieve this goal:

  • An excellent grasp of important grammar rules
  • A good base of different teaching techniques
  • A solid database of proven activities for use in the classroom for both adult and young learners


  • July 04 - July 29, 2022
  • August 08 - September 02, 2022
  • September 12 - October 7, 2022
  • October 17 - November 11, 2022
  • November 21 - December 16, 2022
  • January 2 - January 27, 2023
  • February 6 - March 3, 2023
  • March 6 - March 31, 2023
  • April 17 - May 12, 2023
  • July 3 - July 28, 2023
  • August 7 - September 1, 2023
  • September 11 - October 6, 2023
  • October 16 - November 10, 2023
  • November 20 - December 15, 2023


All participants must show a serious commitment to learning, and a willingness to plan and teach in groups and to work reflectively. In order to make sure you gain all of the tools and practice you need to teach English, the course is intensive and involves long days in the classroom, plus homework on nights and weekends. Other requirements are:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Native English Speaker*
  • High school diploma
  • Must be open minded, flexible, and adaptable
  • Have a laptop (tablets not acceptable)
*Native English speakers or non-native speakers with a C1 certificate with a high school diploma may be academically eligible to join the course.

Cost and Inclusions


($600 deposit to secure your spot in the course. The remainder of the tuition will be paid directly to the school.)

Early Bird Discount: $150 discount if you register 60 days before your course date! ($1,649) This discount will be reflected in the balance that you pay to the school not the deposit.

What's included:

  • 4 weeks of intensive TESOL training in Costa Rica
  • 190 Hour TESOL / TEFL Certificate (upon successful completion)
  • Lifetime job search guidance
  • Practice teaching real Costa Rican ESL students
  • Resume workshop
  • Wireless internet
  • Free airport pickup
  • Assistance in finding accommodation
  • Contact information for top ESL schools in Costa Rica
  • Letter of recommendation upon request
What's not included:
  • Accommodations during the course (~$450-700/month)
  • Meals (meals ARE included with the homestay option)
  • Airfare to/from San Jose, Costa Rica
  • TEFL Course Book ($67)
  • Access to a computer (make sure to bring your own laptop)


Accommodations are not included in the course price because we have several different housing options depending on your preferences and budget. We highly recommend the student house or host family option, as they will give you a great support system, a location close to the school, and culture and language immersion!

School staff will assist you in finding housing for your month of training. You can choose to extend the stay in your accommodation past the original month if you care to.

Student House

Spend the month with some of your TEFL classmates in a beautiful, modern house that is a fifteen-minute walk from the school in Barva. A private bedroom, laundry, and all utilities are included for your 30-day stay. You will be responsible for preparing your own meals. Located between Barva and downtown Heredia, you will also be within walking distance of a number of restaurants, supermarkets and bus routes. This option allows you a nice balance of home-cooked meals while still enjoying the independence of living on your own.

Cost: $450/month (30 days)

Live with a Host Family

The most popular choice, and highly recommended by alumni of our program. Live with a Costa Rican family within minutes of the school and build relationships that will last a lifetime. Get to know the "tico" culture and practice your Spanish daily at a very affordable price. Three meals per day are included.

Cost: $625/month (30 days)

Your Day to Day

This course is an intensive 4 weeks and students should expect to be at school for the majority of the day Monday - Friday and to complete homework assignments every night. Here is a typical daily schedule, but keep in mind that start times and schedules will vary based on the day:

  • 7:30 - 9:00 AM                          Wake up, get ready, eat breakfast
  • 9:00 - 9:30                                Commute to school
  • 9:30 - 2:00                                Morning session (grammar, lesson preparation, methodology)
  • 12:00 - 1:00                              Lunch break
  • 1:00 - 4:00                                Afternoon session (lesson planning, prep time for practicum)
  • 5:00 - 8:00                                Student teaching and classroom observation with locals
  • 8:00 - 9:00                                Eat dinner, go out with friends, relax
  • 9:00 -11:00                               Homework, prepare for tomorrow's class
  • 11:30 PM                                  Go to bed

Although this course should not be taken lightly, as long as you go to class and get your homework done each night, you will do great! It is rare for students to fail this course, but you should expect a fairly intensive 4 weeks.

Job Search Guidance

All students and graduates receive hands-on job placement assistance from the local staff in Costa Rica in addition to lifetime, worldwide job search guidance from ITA's expert team of advisors.

All students and graduates of the Costa Rica TESOL course receive lifetime job search guidance to find paid jobs teaching English around the world. This includes - but is not limited to - the following:

  1.  Personal guidance from an experienced Job Search Advisor: Expert Job Search Advisors are available to speak with you and correspond by email to address all of your questions and to assist you with every aspect of your job search from writing your resume/CV and cover letter, to coaching you on the interview process in different job markets, to helping you assess which destinations might be the best fit for you based on your preferences and qualifications.
  2.  Local Costa Rica Job Search Guidance: During and after your course, local staff will do as much as possible to introduce you to the local ESL market here in Costa Rica. During the first week of the course, you will receive a packet of invaluable job search resources, including lists of schools and institutes in Costa Rica that hire foreign ESL teachers. The lists are categorized by students' ages as well as school locations (ie, at the beach). Many of the possible employers, especially the language institutes, have a working relationship with the TEFL school, and happily hire course graduates regularly. Staff will recommend the schools and institutes with the best reputations, and to warn you of those without good reputations. Surveys are given to course graduates working in local schools and institutes to find out what the benefits of each school are and what type of environment it has.
  3. ESL Job Search Manual: All graduates of the course receive a manual detailing all relevant information for major job markets around the world, including hiring seasons, academic standards, and the interview process as well as templates for resumes and cover letters. This manual also incorporates extensive listings of online resources, including nearly 100 ESL international job boards listing thousands of teaching opportunities around the world.
  4. ESL Worldwide School Directory: We will send you a directory of approximately 8,000 schools worldwide that you can contact directly regarding employment opportunities.


1. Speak with a Live Admissions Counselor

This is critical to gain an understanding of hiring procedures and international job markets for English teachers. The following considerations may affect your plans and opportunities for teaching English abroad:

  • Citizenship, age, educational level, hiring cycle, interviewing procedure (in-person or phone interviews), and more
  • It is extremely important that all of our students understand the hiring procedures and eligibility requirements for English teaching positions prior to enrolling in a TEFL class
  • Also, while we provide lifetime job search guidance to our graduates, you must have a clear understanding of your responsibilities for interviewing and obtaining a teaching position
  • A minimum of a High School Diploma or GED
  • Fluent and proficient English Skills
  • Non-native speakers will be required to write a brief essay and interview over the phone to verify their English skills prior to enrollment
  • Ability to complete a university level course that incorporates extensive reading, homework, papers, quizzes, tests, lessons plans, and student teaching/observation (practicum).  All work is graded and each student must pass the class and fulfill the practicum requirement to earn their certification
  • Requirements and admissions policies for the four-week onsite courses vary from course-to-course and non-native English speakers or native speakers without a four-year degree will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be required to write an essay and/or interview.  Please speak with your TEFL Admissions Advisor to determine whether you are eligible to enroll in the course of your choice.
2. Enroll in a TEFL Course in Advance Before it is Filled
Class sizes can range from 14 to 22 students. When the class size exceeds 14 students, students are split for the instruction portion of class. Courses often fill 2-3 months in advance. We strongly recommend that students enroll at least 90 days prior to their desired course start date to secure their spot and have ample time to make travel arrangements.

3. Registration is a Two-Step Process

A) Pay the class tuition to reserve your spot:

Onsite courses require a deposit to enroll ($600); the remaining balance will be due to the onsite course director 30 days prior to the class start date. 

Payment is accepted by credit card, debit Visa/Mastercard, Paypal, bank wire transfer or money order. You may pay using our online shopping cart or by speaking with your advisor and providing credit card information over the phone. Instructions for paying by Paypal, money order, electronic transfer and bank wire will be provided upon request.  Payment is the only way to hold your spot in a TEFL course.

Receipt: Upon enrollment, you will receive a confirmation email with your receipt and instructions regarding the next phase of your registration and beginning your class.

B) Documents:

To complete your registration you must complete the Registration Document and Terms and Conditions Document. Please sign, date, and return to our Chicago office via fax or email with two days. Onsite TEFL Class Students will not work with the onsite course director until these documents are received.

4. After Course Registration is Complete

Onsite Students:

Students will work with our Student Affairs office in Chicago and be placed directly in touch with the Onsite Course Director. 

The Onsite Director will assist you with:

Housing options, arrival and transportation options. It is HIGHLY advised NOT to book your airline ticket or accommodations until you speak with the director as he/she is an expert of that city. You will pay your housing fees to the hostel/hotel/hotel/homestay directly. You are responsible for the cost of these expenses, they are NOT included in the price of tuition. Your advisor will provide you with typical costs for accommodations for each location. 

Your TEFL Certificate

Onsite students will receive their certificate on the last day of the course.


The Costa Rica TESOL training school the best place to study because it is owned and operated by real English teachers, who know firsthand what it's like to be in your position. They are all English teachers who have experienced the amazing things that ESL teaching provides, as well as the negative aspects. The staff understands your excitement and enthusiasm, as well as your worries, fears and doubts, and will go the extra mile to address them all.

You should take this course if you:

  • Prefer learning in a physical classroom (instead of online)
  • Are still in school, but want to teach English when you graduate. Get qualified now!
  • Are interested in being immersed in a different culture while earning your certification
  • Want to learn or practice your Spanish while getting certified
  • Are seeking the best accreditation from an independent accrediting body
  • Are a novice teacher: The course offers solid, practical, teaching techniques to ensure you enter the classroom with confidence
  • Want to teach English in Costa Rica or other Latin American countries
  • Decide on quality rather than price alone because you realize that you are investing in your education and your future
  • Understand that highly qualified, experienced instructors, an exceptional curriculum and excellent accreditation are absolute necessities in TESOL / TEFL Certification training

Students must be 18 years or older, fluent in English, and have a high school diploma.

During the course, staff will assist you with the creation of an ESL resume and cover letter, and provide you with detailed information regarding what you can expect when applying for jobs around the World. You will also be provided with a detailed Costa Rica ESL School Chart that includes contact info, hiring seasons and the inside scope on what are the best ones to apply to. For those looking for jobs elsewhere around the world, we'll put you in contact with graduates currently teaching around the world.

Teaching positions can be found year-round!

We do not guarantee job placement after your course, but 100% of the course graduates find work in Costa Rica. We can guarantee that staff will make the extra effort to find you the job you want. Most TESOL schools have a list of phone numbers and emails, which they print off for their grads and say, "Here you go. Good luck." Our school has strong relationships with many schools throughout Costa Rica, and we will find out which of them are hiring, and put you in contact with them. Plus, the TESOL training center has its own ESL school that hires teachers. Course graduates get priority for these placements.

Additionally, during the course, we have in-person visits from school representatives looking to hire ESL teachers. Taking the course in Heredia gives you the opportunity to meet with the schools, learn more about them, ask questions, and submit your resume for a job interview.

Luckily for our students, the Barva training center is located within 20kms of 90% of the English schools in Costa Rica. Making contacts, scouting out schools, getting established before you graduate, meeting teachers, and seeing early where you'd like to live and work WHILE taking your TEFL course gives you a leg up on landing a job after you graduate. Use our central location to your advantage!

The Costa Rica TESOL Course was founded by ESL teachers that have over 20 years of experience teaching English in Costa Rica. They have contacts in the major ESL schools around Costa Rica, universities, and even access to some public schools (although it is tricky getting a job with the government).

  • Pre-Course Grammar Module
  • Basic Principles of Teaching
  • Grammar
  • Resources
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Classroom Management
  • Lesson Planning
  • Error Correction
  • Visual Aids

Costa Rica is one of the most developed countries in Latin America, and that is due to the large amount of foreign companies moving there to provide their services, like Intel, IBM, Western Union, HP, Oracle, just to name a few. This has made mastering the English language necessary, opening the doors to countless ESL schools. This is all excellent news for English teachers wanting to move to Costa Rica and teach English.

Heredia and the surrounding community where the school is located are extremely safe, and there are always families and people of all ages strolling about well after dark.

If you choose to work in San Jose once your course is finished, you do have to be more careful. Parts of downtown San Jose and San Pedro have more tourists and more crime, so precautions are necessary. It is a capital city, and like all capitals, there is a higher crime rate. However, it's not as bad as other big cities in the U.S. or Europe.

Monthly salaries range from $800-1,000 USD per month, depending on a part-time or full-time schedule. This is considered a "break even" ESL teaching destination. With enough hours, you should be able to support yourself while living in Costa Rica, but you should not plan to save extra money. In fact, it is recommended that you bring some extra money to help support you while you are living in Costa Rica. The peak hiring season is December/January and the end of June to mid-July.

Teaching hours are typically 18-25 hours per week, and contracts are usually 6 months to 1 year. Teachers usually work on a tourist visa that needs to be renewed every 90 days.

Everyone learns at their own pace, but taking your course in Costa Rica is a great way to learn or perfect your Spanish! The training center is part of a local community, which means you'll get to know lots of "ticos" and have a lot of opportunities to practice the language. We also offer Spanish courses to our students and alumni at the Heredia location. We highly recommend staying with a host family if you are interested in practicing your Spanish!

Because a large portion of the population uses public transportation, the Costa Rican bus system is much more efficient than those found in the U.S. and Canada. Buses run frequently, usually passing every 5 or 10 minutes. A trip from our school to downtown Heredia takes about 10 minutes and costs around 35 cents.

 Also, the Central Valley has Uber and allows you to request private rides directly from an app on your phone. Rides through Uber are safe and typically cheaper than taking a local taxi. For example, an Uber ride from our school in Heredia to a nearby mall, which is the largest mall in Central America, costs about $3-4 USD.

Taxis are also a cheap, convenient way to travel, especially at night. We can also provide you with phone numbers of taxi drivers who work directly with the school, are very friendly, and can be trusted to give teachers excellent service. Pre-arranged pick ups can also be set up through the school.

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