Teaching Jobs in Central America

Situated in-between South and North America is Central America, a popular destination for new and experienced teachers looking to work in countries like Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama and Guatemala. Positions in highly reputable schools are opening up all the time, giving you the chance to add a new angle to your CV you may not have previously thought possible. Teaching in Central America allows you to immerse yourself in the many wonderful cultures the continent has to offer, potentially also enjoying a range of wonderful salary packages that cover accommodation, travel and insurance costs.

Popular countries:

Central America consists of Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Belize, offering a diverse opportunity for teachers and travellers alike.

  Average salary p/m Top salary p/m
Panama £800 £1,200
Costa Rica £475 £800
Honduras £1200 £400

The highest teaching salary in Central America will be found in Panama at an average of £9,600 – £14,400 per year. This figure varies drastically per country. The cost of living in Central America is very low compared to North America and is on par with many countries in South America. That is reflected in the low wages paid by schools, although still enough to live comfortably in the country of your choice. If you opt for teaching jobs in Panama, you will also benefit from the generous tax system they have in place. Rates range from as little as 7% up to 27%, with teachers likely to fall into the lower bracket. And If you stay in the country long enough to purchase a property, you will not be required to pay any property taxes for 20 years.

Teaching requirements

As with many overseas teaching roles, schools in Central America prefer that you have a mixture of degrees and bachelor-level qualifications, along with relevant teaching experience. You will also be able to find entry role jobs that require fewer qualifications, along with volunteer opportunities (TEFL + Teach programmes) that also ask you are in possession of a degree. If you are going to teach English in a public or private school in addition you will need to hold a TEFL certificate at minimum.

Legal requirements

A work visa is a basic requirement to live and teach in any Central American country and you will need assistance from the school to obtain this. This is the advisable route to pursue as anyone hoping to remain in their country of choice beyond 3 months (but less than 12 months) working on a temporary travel/work visa may have to cross the border and return to gain a new one. This rarely applies to volunteer workers as many jobs of this nature in Central America do not last beyond 3 months. However, if you wish to remain in the country to continue work elsewhere, you will have to seek help from the employer or leave and return. The general rule is that securing a long-term work visa in any Central America country can take quite a long time and can be a little frustrating, so patience is advised.

Teaching in Central America

Classroom cultures will vary from country-to-country, with some more formal than others. For example, Panama has a laidback atmosphere focussed more on relationship building, although you will still be expected to dress in a business-like manner for school. Meanwhile, Costa Rica has a mixture of being formal and more relaxed, which will all come down to the type of school you are employed by (language schools are generally more laid back compared to public/private schools).