Teaching English in El Salvador

By | February 2, 2014

Although El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, it is still home to more than 6 million people. The country shares land borders with both Guatemala and Honduras.

It is a tropical country and for such a small country it is home to many different species of animals and a lot of wildlife. There are 2 distinct seasons, the wet season and the dry season. Unfortunately, the climate isn’t all that good as the country is occasionally hit with natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes. There are also active volcanoes that sometimes erupt in the country too!

El Salvador is a developing country, and it has been growing very quickly in the last few decades. In 2001 the U.S. dollar became legal tender in the country. Even though El Salvador is the smallest country in the region its economy is a lot larger than other larger countries in the area.

Read more about El Salvador from Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in El Salvador

San Salvador

San Salvador – Image courtesy of WikiMedia.

As El Salvador becomes increasingly industrialised, the English language is becoming ever more important for people to find a better job. Moreover, the tourism industry is booming in the country and the ability to speak English is vital in the tourism sector. As with most countries in the world, the importance of learning English is getting higher every year. For this reason, there is a real need for English teachers.

El Salvador is an exotic and beautiful country that is unlike anything you will find in Europe or the United States. This multicultural country still has quite a low cost of living and you can earn a decent amount and enjoy a fairly high standard of living.

On top of this, it is pretty easy and fairly cheap to travel to other countries in the region, but if you’re only going to spend a year in El Salvador, there is more than enough in the country to keep you entertained in your free time!

Where to Teach English in El Salvador

Although most teaching positions will be available in the nation’s capital, San Salvador, you will find a few other opportunities in other larger towns and cities like Soyapango, Snata Ana, Mejicanos and others.

Types of Teaching Jobs in El Salvador

Private Language Schools & International Schools

Ermita de San Salvador

Ermita de San Salvador

It is one of the many private language schools that you will find the most opportunities as a TEFL teacher. If you have the correct paperwork for your visa, you can find a good teaching job in El Salvador that has some benefits. There are schools of various sizes and some of the more well-known and expensive schools will require that you have at least a bachelor’s degree and an internationally recognised TEFL, TESOL or CELTA.

International schools also hire native English speaking teachers and they often pay more than private language schools, however, they will often require that you are a licensed teacher in your home country.

Public Schools

San Salvador de Cornellana

San Salvador de Cornellana

Public schools teach English to all students that attend, although the level is usually very low. However, the public schooling system in El Salvador doesn’t have enough funds to employ native English speaking TEFL teachers. Instead, they often have volunteer programs available.


There are a number of call centres that cater for the United States market and these call centres often employ TEFL teachers to provide training for their staff. However, they will not employ anybody who doesn’t have the appropriate visa.

Private Lessons

Sometimes teachers take private lessons to supplement their income and after you have been in the country for some time and made some connections you might decide to make a few extra dollars taking private lessons.

Usually teachers use private lessons to supplement their income and only a few teachers use this method as their primary source of income. One of the reasons for this is that the work isn’t often reliable enough because student’s often cancel at very short notice meaning that you won’t get paid!

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Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

To find a job you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree. It isn’t always necessary to have a teaching certificate, but most employers will give higher salaries depending on the qualifications and experience that you have.

If you arrive in the country with a bachelor’s degree and an internationally recognised teaching certificate such as a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA then you will have no problems in finding a job.

Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1511″]The salary for English teachers is pretty low and teachers can earn as little as $400 per month. Some of the bigger international schools will pay a little over $1000 per month. Even working as a teacher for one of the large call centres will only pay between $400 and $600 per month.

The good news is that the cost of living is a lot less than it is in the United States or Western Europe. Although they are not as cheap as you might expect for a developing country. The cost of eating local food is much cheaper than imported products. To get the most for your money, you’ll want to head over to the local markets.

Read more about the cost of living in El Salvador.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

Atardecer desde la Puerta de El Diablo en El Salvador

Atardecer desde la Puerta de El Diablo en El Salvador

To work legally in the country you will need a work permit and this must be done applied for by the school or company that employs you. You will need a number of documents all translated into Spanish and there is also a fee to pay. Your employer might pay this for your, or you might need to pay it by yourself. Ask your school about this after you have been offered a contract.

You will need to apply for the work permit when you are already in the country.

For more information about work permits in El Salvador, please see the US Embassy website. Although the website is for US citizens, similar rules would apply to citizens of other countries such as the UK or Canada.

How to Find a Job Teaching in El Salvador

Amanecer desde mirador municipal de San Salvador, El Salvador 5:30 a.m

Amanecer desde mirador municipal de San Salvador, El Salvador 5:30 a.m

You will often find advertisements for vacant teaching jobs online, but usually the employer will want to complete a face-to-face interview in person before employing you. Therefore, it is always a good idea to be in the country when you are looking for a job.

You can also use the internet to find a list of schools and contact them directly. Take a look at their websites and see if they have any vacant positions available. If you can’t see anything on their website, get their email address and telephone number and contact them directly.

If you are already in the country, you can go and visit schools directly. Go and speak to the person responsible for recruiting and ask about work. Make sure that you are dressed well, have some CVs ready and you are well prepared because you might get lucky and have an impromptu interview there and then!

Teach English in El Salvador

If you go to El Salvador with a degree, a teaching certificate and some experience, you should have no problems finding work in the country. You won’t earn a fortune, but if you live a like a local, you will earn enough to have a fairly comfortable lifestyle and maybe even save a few dollars.

Although this is the smallest country in the region, there are a growing number of TEFL opportunities in the country. The country is becoming more industrialised, the tourism industry is growing and the ability to speak the English language is becoming increasingly important for the local population.


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 El Salvador, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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