When it comes to teaching English in Latin America, countries such as Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico tend to get the most coverage. However, there are several other countries in the region that have seen a significant growth in demand for foreign teachers in recent years, including Ecuador. Boasting a wide range of fascinating environments to explore, from the Andean Mountains to the Amazon rainforest, Ecuador is a truly unique destination for teaching English abroad. Teaching positions can be found in abundance in big cities such as Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca, as well as in smaller numbers in other towns and cities across the country.
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As is the case in much of Latin America, salaries for foreign teachers in Ecuador are quite low in comparison to many other parts of the world. However, the very low cost of living means that even a modest salary will go a long way. The actual figure you can expect to earn will vary considerably depending on your qualifications and experience, but the average is around US$500 to $1,000 per month. Teachers with extensive qualifications and experience can earn considerably more than the average by working in international schools or universities. Rates for private tutoring range from $10 to $15 per hour.
For the majority of teachers the most likely source of employment is private language schools that can be found in most parts of the country. Private schools often hire teachers with no qualifications or previous experience, however, a degree and a TEFL qualification will significantly enhance your earning potential. Actual teaching hours vary from school to school but on average you can expect to spend around 20 to 25 hours per week in the classroom. Language schools in Ecuador rarely include any extra benefits such as housing allowance or paid holiday.
Teachers with plenty of experience and qualifications might also be able to apply for positions in universities and international schools which offer significantly better salaries than private language schools. As these jobs are small in number and often include extra benefits such as paid accommodation and airfares, competition is generally very strong.
Although the average wage for an ESL teacher in Ecuador is relatively low, it is offset considerably by a low cost of living throughout the country. Utility bills, public transport, and groceries are all generally much cheaper than more westernized countries. Eating out can also be very inexpensive as delicious local food can be found for as little as $2 to $3 a meal. Accommodation is most likely to be the biggest expense; however, rental costs are also much more affordable than many other countries in the region. Good quality apartments range from $100 to $400 per month depending on size and location. If you prefer to mix with other travelers you might prefer to stay in a long-term hostel where rooms can be found for around $6 to $12 per night.