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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 11/27/2022

How Much Money Can I Make Teaching English in Costa Rica?

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

ESL teachers generally break even in Latin America.  You cannot expect to save money while teaching here like you could if you were in Asia or the Middle East. Costa Rica is no exception. The average cost of living in Costa Rica is 900-1000USD while the average teaching salary is about the same.

We've recently polled our grads about their teaching experiences in Costa Rica.  Let us share a little about their experiences.

Most of our graduates who stayed to work in Costa Rica have worked for language institutes, which typically pay around $10 an hour.  These institutes normally have classes in the early mornings, in the late afternoons or evenings and on Saturdays due to the working schedules of the students.  

Nearly half of these grads were given ten teaching hours or fewer a week when hired.  After gaining more experience, most of them were given a full schedule, which is 20-25 teaching hours.


Where Do The Teaching Hours Generally Come From?

Hours at a language institute can be supplemented with private tutoring hours.  These are usually students referred by friends or other students and are scheduled on an individual basis.  Many teachers hand out flyers or put up posters to advertise their services.  These students typically pay between  5-15 USD an hour depending on the student's economical standing and type of class they are looking for.  

Some students simply want a conversation partner to practice with which is minimal work for the teacher, while others want a teacher to prepare grammar lessons and use materials.  This can be a great way to fill up your schedule, but unfortunately attendance is not usually consistent.  Therefore, it's not a dependable form of income.  If the student cancels, you don't get paid. 


The private schools here that follow the US or British curriculum often have families looks for native English speakers to tutor their children as well.  These parents are likely to pay more per hour than most teaching gigs, sometimes up to 20USD an hour.  Call these schools and ask about getting on a tutor list!

What About Online Classes?

Another way to fill some hours is by teaching or tutoring online.  This is fairly new in the ESL world but is growing quickly.  Classes are typically held over Skype, and your students could be anywhere in the world!  There are language institutes, like Open English, that offer courses like this, or you can find students through job board postings.

Rarely do teachers teach online full-time, but it is a great way to get some additional hours here and there. 

When asked how they would describe their lifestyle based on this information, sixty percent of our grads that participated in the survey said they "live comfortably" or "break even," although it is possible to make even more money as a teacher here.  While deciding if teaching in Costa Rica is for you or not, you must ask yourself what you "need" and what you "want."  See our information on BUDGETING while living in Costa Rica! 

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