Teaching English in Nicaragua

By | February 3, 2014

Nicaragua is a Central American country situated directly in the tropics and it shares borders with Costa Rica in the South and Honduras in the North. The Caribbean Sea is located in the east and the Pacific Ocean is on the west of the country.

There are three main geographical zones in in the country: the central highlands, the pacific lowlands and the Caribbean lowlands. Nicaragua is home to two of the largest lakes in the region: Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua and the Central Highlands house a number of volcanoes.

The 6 million people living in Nicaragua are multi-ethnic. The population includes indigenous tribes, and people with African, Asian, European and Middle Eastern origins. There are many languages spoken in the country, including Spanish, tribal languages and Creole (English).

Read more about Nicaragua from Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in Nicaragua

Tiscapa Lagoon

Tiscapa Lagoon – Image courtesy of WikiMedia.

Nicaragua is a beautiful country full of lakes and volcanoes. You can spend your free time visiting some of the natural scenery that Nicaragua has to offer. Moreover, there is a diverse and unique ecosystem in the country and you’ll find animal and plant species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world!

There is a growing need to be able to speak English in Nicaragua because it is slowly becoming a skill that Nicaraguans require to find a well-paying job. Tourism is becoming increasingly popular and many people are looking to find work in the tourist industry. As a result of this, learning English is becoming very popular in the country.

Therefore, there is a real need for native English speaking TEFL teachers in the country and there is not a lot of competition between jobs. Moreover, you can also make enough money to live a relatively comfortable lifestyle.

Where to Teach English in Nicaragua

As is usually the case, most jobs can be found in the larger cities. The capital city of Managua will have most opportunities and Grenada is also a popular destination.

Types of Teaching Jobs in Nicaragua

Private Language Schools

Volcan Mombacho from the Spanish fort

Volcan Mombacho from the Spanish fort

There are schools that only teach English and as most students want to learn with a native English teacher, they tend to be the biggest employers of TEFL teachers. You will usually work between 4 -5 hours a day and have a few days off each week. They don’t offer the same salaries as you would get in an international school, but they have fewer requirements with regards to qualifications and experience.

International Schools

International schools will offer the best salaries, but they will require that you have more credentials. Usually, they will require that you have at least a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate like a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA and some will even require that you are a qualified teacher in your home country.

Private Lessons

After you have been in the country for a while and have made a few contacts, you might find that it’s quite possible to start taking private lessons. These private lessons can be a great way to supplement your income.

Usually, teachers take a few extra private lessons around their normal schedule. However, one of the biggest problems with private students is that they often cancel at short notice or come late. This can cause you to lose money and have rearrange classes.

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Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

hacia el cielo

Hacia el Cielo

A lot of the schools will only require that you have some experience, but those with a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA will find the most opportunities and the highest paying jobs. International and bilingual schools have much higher standards. You will find that they usually need you to have a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field and/or be certified to teach in your own country.

Therefore, it is possible to teach in Nicaragua without a degree, but you won’t find as many opportunities and your salary will often be less than those with the appropriate qualifications and experience.

Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1527″]There can be quite a large difference when it comes to salaries. Some teachers can earn as little as $2 per hour and others can earn $10 an hour or more. Monthly salaries can be anywhere from $500 per month and up to $2,500 per month in some cases!

It really depends on a number of factors. First of all the city where you are located can be a big difference, and usually schools in Managua will pay the most. Secondly, it also depends on the types of school where you are working with international and bilingual schools paying the most. Finally, it will depend on how well qualified you are and how much experience you have got. In most cases, the more qualifications and experience you have will mean that you are able to negotiate a higher salary than those with less.

The living costs can be as little as $500 per month depending on your lifestyle. If you do away with some of the mod-cons that you get at home and try to live more like a local, you can live off quite a small amount of money. Therefore, depending on your salary, you might even be able to save a few dollars each month.

For more specific information about the cost of living in Nicaragua, click here.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

Nicaragua Lake

Nicaragua Lake

As is usually the case in Central America, working visas can be quite difficult to get insomuch that it can take a long time to process and you will need a range of different documents. On the plus side, if you work for a larger school and have signed a one year contract, your employer will usually make all these arrangements for you and in some cases they might even pay the fee for you.

Read more about the process from the US embassy website. If you are not from the US, the website will still be of some use because the rules are the same for most countries.

How to Find a Job Teaching in Nicaragua

Sunset in San Juan del Sur

Sunset in San Juan del Sur

You will often see schools or agencies actively recruiting online. Some schools will advertise online, but require that you complete a face-to-face interview in person and others will complete the recruitment process over the internet.

It is, however, easier to find a job when you are already in Nicaragua. Try to find websites for schools and check on their websites to see if they are looking for native English speaking TEFL teachers. Moreover, you can get their contact details and contact them directly either by phone or email.

A lot of schools don’t have an online presence so a good idea is to go and visit them in person and enquire about vacant positions.

Schools will recruit all year round, but peak hiring times are in February to March and July to August.

Teach English in Nicaragua

If you have good qualifications and experience then you should have no problems finding a relatively high paying teaching job in Nicaragua. There are quite a few opportunities for TEFL teachers and as more and more Nicaraguans start to learn English, these opportunities will only increase.

You should have no problems in earning enough money to meet your monthly living costs, and those that earn a good salary will be able to save a few dollars each month.

Nicaragua is a small but beautiful country and isn’t usually a popular destination for TEFL teachers. For this reason, you will find that there isn’t a lot of competition for the jobs that are available.


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

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