Teaching English in Belize

By | January 29, 2014

Belize is a Central American country that is bordered by both Mexico and Guatemala. It is a very small country and has a population of just over 300,000 people, but this is likely to change quickly because Belize has one of the highest population growth rates anywhere in the world.

The country is a former British colony that only gained independence in 1981. In fact, although not all of the population speaks English, it is the official language of Belize. Around 30% of the population speak Spanish.

Belize has a tropical climate that consists of both a wet and a dry season. The temperatures tend to stay in the mid to late twenties (Celsius) all year round, although in the southern highlands, the temperature is much cooler throughout the year.

Read more about Belize from Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in Belize

Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak – Image Courtesy of Wikimedia.

For such a small country, Belize is a culturally diverse country. There is folklore, carnivals and a wide variety of food on offer! Although it is a small country, you certainly won’t be stuck for things to see and do whilst teaching in Belize.

Belize is a small country and it is an English speaking country, so you probably won’t find as many TEFL jobs on offer as you would in other countries. However, 30% of the population speaks Spanish and they learn English in both public and private schools. There are some very good opportunities in the country for well qualified and experienced teachers.

One of the bonuses of Belize being a predominately English speaking country is that you won’t have a language barrier when you arrive in the country. You’ll literally be ready to go as soon as you get off the plane!

Where to Teach English in Belize

You can actually find TEFL jobs all over the country and you’re more likely to find something in the bigger towns and cities. Belize City is the nation’s capital and largest city with a population of around 80,000.

Types of Teaching Jobs in Belize

Public Schools

Sailboat Belize

Sailboat in Belize

Public schools often employ native English speaking TEFL teachers and there are public schools all over the country. The salary is often lower than it is in private schools but one of the advantages is that your teaching hours are likely to be less than what you would have in a private school.

Private Schools

There a number of private schools that also employ native English speaking TEFL teachers and they often pay more than public schools. However, the hours are usually quite long and you will be working a lot. These schools are often international schools and don’t only teach English. There are a few language schools in the country that will cater for the Spanish speaking population of the country.

Private Lessons

You might find a few people willing to pay for private lessons, but probably not many. If you do find a few students that want to hire you for private one-on-one lessons, you can supplement your income a little bit.

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Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

At the bare minimum, you will need a bachelor’s degree, a teaching license and a work permit. It’s not always essential that you have a teaching certificate like a TESOL, TEFL or CELTA, but it will improve your chances of finding a job and getting better pay when you are offered a job.

To get a teaching license you will need a number of documents including photographs, educational certificates, birth certificate or a passport, medical checks and a criminal check.

For more information take a look at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports website.

Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1485″]Actually there is quite a large range of salaries available for TEFL teachers. It can start at around $1000 (USD) per month, but can rise to over $2000 (USD) per month. Public schools often pay their teachers quite low salaries but you will still earn enough to live on.

Having said that, a number of private schools will pay a lot more and international schools will pay the most. However, they will require that their teachers are more experienced and qualified and in some instances, international schools will require that you are a qualified teacher in your home country.

The cost of living in certainly isn’t the cheapest in the region, but it is still cheaper than most Western European countries and the United States. You can cover your cost of living with about $1200 (USD) per month, but if you want all the mod-cons of home, you should expect to spend a little more.

For more information about the cost of living in Belize, see this helpful blog post.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

To work legally in Belize you are supposed to have a work permit, but the process can be quite long and very bureaucratic. This ‘Application for Authorization to Employ Foreigners’ states that the person being employed needs to have been in Belize for at least the last 6 months.

For a more in-depth look at all the different types of visas available and how to apply for them, click here.

How to Find a Job Teaching English in Belize

Belize: Goff´s Cay

Belize: Goff´s Cay

You sometimes find job vacancies posted on various national and international jobs boards online, especially for private schools. It is, however, unlikely that the recruitment process will be completed online and you will are likely to need to have a face-to-face interview in person.

Public schools rarely advertise for vacant positions online and you’ll only usually find teaching jobs in public schools after you have arrived in Belize.

You can also try contacting schools directly, because although they might need TEFL teachers, schools might not actively advertise for them. Most schools have websites and you should easily be able to locate contact details for schools in Belize.

Finally, you can try visiting schools in person after you have arrived in Belize. Put on some smart clothes, prepare you CV and go out and speak to prospective employers directly.

Teach English in Belize

Although Belize is officially an English speaking country and it is a fairly small country with a popular of just over 300,000 people, there are still some TEFL opportunities to be had in the country. Due to the small number of positions available, teachers with good qualifications and some experience will find it much easier to secure a relatively high paying job.

Disclaimer

Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in Belize, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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