Want to Teach English in Guatemala?
LanguageCorps in Guatemala
Anyone who has visited Guatemala knows that it’s a magical place, but we can’t help to wonder: Is it its people, nature, markets and abundance of colors, impressive volcano views, interesting rituals and ceremonies, its unique -although often painful – history, or is it the food that does it? Everything is equally impressive, but you need to visit the country yourself understand why visitors quickly become fans.
The TEFL certification program in Guatemala is located in Antigua, a beautiful colonial town situated at 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level in the central highlands. Your TEFL classes will take place in a beautiful colonial building only two block away from the main square. Around 700 Guatemalans come here to take English classes every day, so there will be lots of opportunities to interact with the local students and the teaching staff. The Training Center is fully equipped with up-to-date conveniences and facilities. The school offers spacious classrooms with comfortable furniture and whiteboards, a peaceful garden, and a roof top terrace with stunning views. There is a computer lab and a snack bar with free coffee and tea. TEFL students can visit the academic office to borrow and print extra teaching materials and portable speakers.
TEFL Certification Program
LanguageCorps offers 3 different programs in this location:
- TEFL Certification Program
- Combined Online + Onsite Program
- Teaching Internship Program
The four-week training course includes 150 hours of classroom time: 100 hours of in-class instruction, 35 hours of required reading and written assignments, and 15 hours of observation and practical teaching.
During this course, you become familiar with the principles of successful ESL teaching and you develop real-world skills to be an effective English teacher. The TEFL program focuses on practical teaching, lesson planning, classroom management, teaching specific skills, like reading, writing, and not to mention grammar! Our supportive staff will help you settle down in Guatemala and will be available to you 24-hours a day. In addition to your TEFL certification course, you can also sign up for Spanish classes. We highly recommend taking one-hour daily private classes to get the most out of this experience. The local team can also set you up with a Guatemalan language-buddy for English-Spanish exchange. A great way to quickly improve your Spanish and make local friends!
The 4-week Onsite TEFL Certification Program Fee in Antigua, Guatemala is US$1,400 (Additional book fee $150)
The Combined Online + 2-week Onsite TEFL Certification Program Fee in Antigua, Guatemala is US$1,100 (Additional book fee $50)
The Teaching Internship Program Fee in Antigua, Guatemala is US$3,795. Included in this price are the course materials, four weeks of 1-hour private Spanish classes and a private room with a host family including breakfast and dinner.
Airport pick-up is included in all prices.
Teacher Certification Dates
TEFL Course Dates 2019:
21 January – 15 February
18 February – 15 March
20 March – 16 April
22 April – 17 May
22 May – 18 June
24 June – 19 July
24 July – 20 August
26 August – 20 September
25 September – 15 October
21 October – 15 November
20 November – 17 December
To ensure placement in the program you desire, we advise applying two to six months prior to your intended start date. Late placements are sometimes possible; please contact us immediately if you are applying less than two months before your desired start date.
Teaching in Guatemala
Guatemala has become a popular destination in the last decade, and with it the need for English speaking employees in tourism has also increased. ‘Chapines’- a nickname for Guatemalans- are realizing that knowing English is an important tool to be part of the growing market, so the need for English teachers is growing with it.
Positions are readily available throughout Antigua, including opportunities at the English language school associated with the Training Center in the center of town.
Students at the schools are generally business and tourism professionals, as well as people wanting to work on personal improvement. This makes for very motivated students who are rewarding to teach. After graduation, most teachers find jobs at private language institutes. TEFL graduates with the right qualifications, and willing to stay for at least a year, can also apply for positions at K-12 schools and sometimes universities. The average amount of hours varies per employer, although at private language institutes, teachers usually work between 20-30 hours per week; K-12 schools required teachers to work about 30-35 hours per week.
Private language institutes hire year round, while K-12 schools and universities follow the Latin American school year, and tend to hire between January and February. There is another peak in July and August. Most paid positions are found in Guatemala City, Antigua, and Quetzaltenango (also know by it’s Mayan name Xelajú, or just Xela). In smaller places like the town around Lake Atitlan and Rio Dulce, it’s more likely to find volunteer positions that offer room and board, instead of salary.
Teachers are typically interviewed in person in Guatemala, so it’s best to book your ticket and apply for jobs in country. Sometimes a Skype interview in advance is possible.
A TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certificate is strongly preferred for teaching ESL in Guatemala and makes you very marketable as a teacher. A 4-year degree is necessary for teachers willing to teach at K-12 schools and universities. Otherwise a degree is preferred, but usually not required.
The pay for teachers varies widely and depends on your qualifications, hours worked per-week, and length of contract. Wages for teachers in Guatemala are normally between $450 and $550 per month which makes Guatemala a break-even market. This approximate salary range is based on 10-12 month paid teaching assignments. Salary for shorter-term assignments may be on the lower end of the displayed range, but some teachers earn additional income by doing private tutoring, which can be very lucrative. The salary should be sufficient to support yourself financially while living in Guatemala, which is one of the least expensive countries in Latin America. Housing, food, and transport are all very cheap!
Travel For The Program
Most people, including those from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe, automatically receive a 90-day tourist visa when entering Guatemala. This covers the duration of the certification course.
In Guatemala, just like most of Latin America, it is common to work on a tourist visa and get paid under the table. In order to stay legally in the country, you will have to ‘hop the border’ every 90 days to get a new stamp in your passport. Most teachers take this opportunity to take a short vacation to Mexico, El Salvador, or Honduras.
If you are looking to teach in Guatemala long-term, it is recommendable to apply for a work permit. It is not common for schools to sponsor their teachers for a work visa, but also not unheard of. Some teachers manage to work as independent contractors.
Living in Guatemala
Guatemala is known as the center of the Mayan world with Tikal being it’s most famous site. Today, about half of the population are descendants of the Mayas and you can still see a lot of traditional colorful clothing when walking down the streets.
If you’re into music and dancing salsa, merengue, and cumbia, you will have lots of fun in Guatemala. Take lessons or just go to a bar to find the locals dancing the night away-they will teach you! Many places offer live music at night.
Guatemala has a lot to offer- a modern capital city with a big business center, the beautiful colonial town of Antigua, many breathtaking archaeological sites that make you want to know even more about the Mayas, volcanoes, rain forests, mountains, a Caribbean and a Pacific coast, and a lake birthed by a monster volcano which is now surrounded by many little village that air relaxation and spirituality (if you’re looking for it) and much more! Did we mention the beautiful cemeteries?
Antigua has great little shops and boutiques where you can buy traditional textiles and ceramics. These are great souvenirs to bring home or to pimp your new house if you decide to stay in Guatemala. However, you also don’t want to miss out on visiting one of the colorful markets. Apart from handicrafts, you can buy delicious fruits and vegetables. Guatemala’s most famous market is the one in Chichicastenango.
Guatemala breaths culture and will never bore your senses, it is extremely rich! The country is a blend of Spanish and Mayan influences and is home to 21 indigenous communities who all have their own language. Mayan people are known for their beautifully colored traditional clothing which they wear with pride.
Guatemala has many rituals that are both interesting and beautiful to perceive. One of Guatemala’s main cultural events is the giant Kite Festival in Sumpango on the Day of the Dead. During Holy Week, you will find the streets filled with processions and ‘alfombras’; carpets made out of flowers.
In the western highlands of Guatemala, you’re likely to meet ‘Maximon’, or ‘San Simon’, a Mayan deity that usually appears as a flamboyant male doll wearing a suit and hat. Sunglasses and colorful scarves are also not unheard of. Guatemalans worship him by bringing him corn, flowers, cigarettes, and money.
Like many Latin American countries, the majority of the typical dishes primarily consist of rice and black beans. Guatamalans often eat the puree version of the beans, which can look like chocolate mousse when you first see it combined with fried bananas! With these two components often come tortillas, eggs, and farmers cheese and avocado. Chicken, beef and pork are the most popular meats, but the best seafood is to be found at the coast. If you like soups, you will definitely like Kak’ik, a traditional Mayan turkey soup, and if you’re up for a quick snack, a tamal, an empanada or a pupusa shouldn’t be missed.
You can also find a large variety of delicious fresh fruits in Guatemala. All very inexpensive since they usually do not come from very far, and the taste is amazingly fresh and delicious. There are many opportunities to eat out in Antigua. You will find an abundance of excellent restaurants, including traditional Guatemalan food, Mexican food, and international fare.
Guatemala is quite conservative, and this also applies to clothing. When in the city, it’s best to dress conservatively casual. Teachers are expected to look professional; dress shoes, nice slacks or skirts, collared shirts, sweaters, or nice blouses are all advised. While it is rare for teachers to wear suits, some of your students will, and certainly many language schools have dress codes that don’t permit jeans or athletic shoes. Males will find that having a few ties with them can be an advantage.
Guatemala offers a variety of excursions; visit the colorful markets in Chichicastenango, Sololá, Antigua or Comalapa. Challenge yourself and book a hike to the top of one of the many volcanoes; with both active and dormant volcanoes nearby, it’s sure to be an unforgettable adventure! Did you know that some of the dormant volcanoes have a lake inside the crater now where you can swim? But be careful! Some people believe the water is sacred and it is bad luck to enter… Speaking of which, did you know that the massive Lake Atitlan was once the crater of an enormous volcano?! You can easily spend a week around the lake visiting the villages of Panajachel, San Pedro de la Laguna, and San Marcos. Many visitors find these villages great for relaxation where you can enjoy a cup of world-class coffee, participate in a yoga class, or even attend a spiritual Mayan ceremony inside the Sacred Caves.
For the more adventurous travelers, Lake Atitlan has got some fun for you, too! Activities like mountain biking, zip lining, paragliding and paddle boarding are only some of the options.
Certainly, you can’t miss Semuc Champay! It takes a bumpy road and a bit of a hike to get there, but seeing the series of natural clear turquoise pools, and the 300 meter long limestone bridge, makes it all worthwhile. Do the extra hike to see the pools from up above, because the view is unparalleled! And if you want to make the most out of this excursion, it’s possible to pitch your tent there and stay for the night!
Guatemala has a pacific coast line with black sand and tropical fertile lands. On the other side of the country, you find the Caribbean coast, with the Garifuna enclave in a town called Livingston at the end of the Río Dulce river. It’s very different from the rest of the country which makes it quite fascinating.
Last but certainly not least: Tikal, Guatemala’s number one tourist attraction. Explore the impressive ruins of the ancient Mayas, climb its pyramids and enjoy the breathtaking views. Be sure to listen carefully to your guide because hearing about the Mayans numeral system, calendar, and astronomy will blow your mind.