Volcanoes, rainforests, coral reefs and beautiful beaches
are just a few of the elements that make up this country's
incredible landscape. With coasts on both the Pacific and
Atlantic Oceans, Costa Rica boasts a pleasant year-round
climate and incomparable ecological diversity. Sea turtles,
two-toed sloths, squirrel monkeys, and manatees are just
a few of the creatures to be found on Costa Rica's long
list of natural treasures.
Characterized by social and political stability, high educational
levels, and an efficient infrastructure, Costa Rica’s
society is as impressive as its scenery. Not to be overlooked
are the Costa Rican people, or "Ticos," who are
famous for their friendly hospitality and fun-loving attitude.
In fact, the appeal of this tiny nation is such that many
visitors never want to leave. The estimated 80,000 people
who have moved here in recent years have found that Costa
Rica is not just a great place to travel, it is a great
place to live, to work and to call home.
There are a significant number of job opportunities for
EFL teachers at present, and this is likely to increase
in the future since there is an ever-increasing need for
English language proficiency for all types of job opportunities
for Costa Ricans. The majority of jobs available are in
the cities of the Central Valley (San José, Heredia,
Cartago and Alajuela), in various situations, including
private language schools, private companies, primary and
secondary schools and universities. Jobs are also available
in rural and costal areas of the country.
Salary and hours
The average pay ranges between 3,000 colones and
4,000 colones (US$5.50 to US$7.75) per hour. The number
of hours per week varies according to the type of institution,
and if the courses are on or off-site. Each school will
have a different benefit package, some even including enrolment
on the Costa Rican Social Security system for health insurance,
a new arrival allowance, or rental of cell phone. The most
professional schools will also offer some kind of first
arrival assistance, i.e. finding a room or house for the
teacher to live in for the first week or so and then a monthly
stipend or overseas allowance for foreign teachers.
Type of teaching
General English courses are the most common courses,
but there is also a growing market for Business English.
There is also a lot of work in schools teaching Young Learners.
No. The most professional schools will offer some
kind of first arrival aid, i.e. finding a room or house
for the teacher to live in for the first week or so and
then a monthly stipend or overseas allowance for foreign
Start of school year/ best time to look for work
Any time of the year is good for looking for work.
However, if teachers are looking for a full time job, applications
should be received during November through to December to
start working in January or February. The school year begins
in early February and runs through to early December.
Regarding part time jobs, no time of year is better than
another since there always are schools looking for new teachers.
Teachers need a contract from a school to apply
for a work permit. The responsible schools will process
the required documents and pay the local fees for this.
Many schools, however, hire teachers without offering work
permission protection, and teachers must leave the country
every ninety days (staying out 72 hours) to have their tourist
The best advice is to get some type of recognized
TEFL qualification before arriving in Costa Rica or to take
one of the internationally recognized courses offered in
the country. Besides making the whole teaching experience
more positive, a teaching qualification in hand will make
the job search easier and will also allow the teacher to
earn better while in the country. Costa Rica is a beautiful
place and its people are very friendly and welcoming.
Lonely Planet - Costa Rica