Ecuador is a dream destination for culture lovers, adventure junkies, and history buffs -- and it is a great place to earn your TEFL degree. This South American country bordering Colombia and Peru has stunning coastlines, tropical rainforests, and breathtaking Andean cordilleras. Wander the cobblestone streets of Quito and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Take a drive to the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, or Middle of the World City, and stand with one food in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern. And forget Mount Everest -- Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo is actually the highest peak in the world!
Ecuador’s hubs for TEFL certificates are the capital, Quito, the ‘gateway to the Pacific,’ Guayaquil, and the relaxed Andean city, Cuenca. With so much international industry in Ecuador and anyone from children to adults eager to have a strong command over the English language, studying your TEFL degree in Ecuador is great way to situate you in a ripe market for teaching jobs.
TEFL, TESOL, and CELTA are all offered in Ecuador, and all range around 120-150 classroom hours and 10-20 practicum hours.
TESOL certificates are offered by various institutions, mainly in the capital, Quito, while CELTA offers courses throughout the country of varying duration, between four weeks and three months. Through any of these courses, you’ll learn the importance of classroom management, teaching strategies and tools to successfully instruct English grammar, vocabulary, and syntax using listening, reading and speaking exercises.
The practicum hours will be the perfect opportunity to put these newly acquired skills to the test in a real-life environment, preparing you to launch your teaching career in the Ecuador.
When to Take Your TEFL
Depending on the length of TEFL/TESOL/CELTA course you take, plan to finish the course around the time of peak hiring season, either February/March or July/August to ensure a quick job placement.
Popular Destinations For TEFL Courses
Three cities – Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca – are the most popular hubs for TEFL earners, but smaller areas such as the famed Galapagos Islands and the popular beach town Montañita. Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca are cities of different atmospheres and cultural makeups, but all boast a strong market for English teachers to find plenty of job opportunities.
Galapagos and Montañita will have fewer job opportunities post-TEFL, but offer students small communities for cultural immersion, Spanish-language skills, and outdoor adventures at your doorstep. It’s up to you to decide which environment you’ll thrive in, but remember, you can always earn your TEFL in one location and move to another to find a job.
What to Look For in a TEFL Course
There are several exceptional TEFL academies in Ecuador, but be sure it’s an accredited institution that will be a good investment of your time and money. Make sure you’ll be adequately prepared to teach and additionally be able to teach in other countries with the certificate you earn.
Because of the wide range of TEFL courses in the country, pay close attention to the cost, length, and additional benefits each one offers. Perhaps you’ll choose a four-week course if you want to earn your degree as fast as possible, or a three month course might suite you better should you wish to also take Spanish courses and spend lots of time exploring your new home. Pay attention to advertised class sizes, teach-to-student ratios, and opportunities for cultural immersion. Choose a program that matches your ideal experience abroad, whether you prefer more independence or hands-on guidance from the institution.
Health & Safety
Ecuador is a country full of warm, welcoming locals, but there are some health and safety precautions you shouldn’t ignore.
TEFL-earning students should be sure to arrive in Ecuador with standard vaccinations, such as Hepatitis A and Typhoid. To be extra cautious, be prepared with Malaria medication, rabies, and yellow fever. If you travel to the rainforest regions, be sure to protect against mosquitos, either with natural remedies or a high amount of DEET. Always be sure to wear sunscreen while outdoors, even when it’s cloudy, as Ecuador has a very high UV index.
Drink bottled or boiled water. Be weary of eating certain types of street food, especially fresh vegetables, but don’t let fear deter you from indulging in some of the country’s best culinary treasures.
While traveling throughout the country is generally safe, try to avoid bus travel at night and don’t arrive to a new destination at night. In major cities, pay attention to locals’ advice about areas to avoid, and be extra attentive of potential pickpocketing and robbery. Certain areas have been flagged due to recent assaults against travelers, especially women, such as Montañita. Other areas, such as the border with Colombia and south of Cuenca, are danger zones for drug trafficking and land mines.
As in all cases, be cautious but not overly fearful. Use your best judgement and ask locals for advice.
When To Apply For Jobs in Ecuador
Following the South American academic calendar, the peak hiring seasons for English teachers in Ecuador are in February/March and in July/August. Typically, contracts are set verbally for six months. If teachers arrive beyond the peak times, there is still possibility of finding employment at an academy, if not private students.
Average Salary of Post-TEFL Jobs in Ecuador
The average teaching salary is between $500-700 per month, but can be increased by teaching private classes or scheduling classes at multiple academies. Like the rest of the Latin America, Ecuador is also considered a “break even” destination despite the low cost of living. Teachers will earn just enough for food and accommodation and perhaps some money to travel around the country.
Tips For Finding a Job in Ecuador
Before heading off to Ecuador to earn your TEFL, make sure you have copies of your prior academic qualifications, such as transcripts or diplomas.
Utilizing job boards, Facebook groups, recommendations from other teachers and word of mouth, future teachers can identify opportunities and present their resumes and newly-earned teaching credentials to potential academies.
Apply to jobs in person. Talk up your TEFL degree and if you’re a native English speaker, highlight this as well. Some schools might expect to see a sample lesson plan, so come prepared with this to impress your future employer. Be sure to dress professionally and conservatively when you approach schools, as this will show you’re serious about the job and not just another backpacking foreigner passing through the country.