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Finding a Teaching Job in Costa Rica

Costa Rica News – With budget cuts across the country and pressure on testing, many of teachers in The Unites States find themselves exploring alternative teaching jobs.  If you are considering a moving abroad to teach English, Costa Rica offers a number of opportunities. 

teaching-english-in-costa-rica 1Close proximity to unspoiled beaches, rain forests as well as a stable and safe country are only a few of the benefits of living and teaching in Costa Rica.  Before you buy your plane ticket and start to sell your possessions, here are a few guidelines to get you started:

What types of opportunities can I find in Costa Rica?

There are two main types of education settings that employ English-speaking teachers: language institutes and elementary schools. Both will normally require a teaching certification, whether online or from a university, as well as teaching experience.   Language Institutes have sprung up all over the area around San José, the capitol, and look for teachers year-round.  They offer students classes at centers and sometimes send teachers out to companies to provide instruction. Elementary schools are more highly concentrated in the San José area, though there are some options out in the more rural regions.  The school year in Costa Rica starts either in August or January, depending on the school, and a few months before then is ideal for starting your job search.

How can I search for jobs in Costa Rica?

The internet has made it easier to look for jobs everywhere, including Costa Rica.  I suggest both searching on, or, and also applying directly to the schools and institutes.  Internet searches of private English-speaking schools or institutes will yield many options.  Always send a cover letter, explaining your relevant experience and interest in the position, letters of recommendation letters and copies of your certifications and degrees with your initial application.

Keep in mind though, that in Costa Rica, people still value personal contact.  You may get hired from abroad, but you will have a lot of success if you plan on starting your job search once you get to Costa Rica.  If you do come without a secured position, make sure that you have saved (if you are frugal) at least $1,000 per month.

Where should I live?teaching-english-in-costa-rica

Costa Rica is a small but diverse country.  All of the seven provinces provide their own unique experience and opportunities for teachers.  The San José area, including Heredia and Escazú, area offer the greatest access to public transportation, making it easier to get around if you do not plan on buying or bringing a car when you move.  This area is home to hundreds of language institutes, schools and colleges to choose from.  If you plan to move out to more a remote location, it is ideal to have a position already secured as they are harder to come by outside of the San José area.

How is the application process different in Costa Rica?

The application process in Costa Rica is very similar to what you might expect in the USA, but there are some cultural elements you should be aware of.  Costa Rican have a reputation for being very courteous and welcoming.  Keep this in mind when emailing possible contacts and interviewing.  Take a few minutes to ask (and listen to) how your interviewer is doing, talk about family or weather before jumping into business.  Small talk and manners go a long way in Costa Rica. Also, in Costa Rica, unlike in the United States, you are allowed to ask age, marital status and for a picture, so do not be offended if this information is requested of you.

Good luck to you in your job search and pura vida!

By Natalie Montella

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