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Teaching English in Peru

As more and more European and North American tourists come to Peru, the ability to speak English is becoming more important for Peruvians. And the tourism industry isn’t the only reason – Peruvians are finding that there are good jobs available for those who have a good grasp on the English language. This is good news for Expats looking to make extra money or even support themselves - teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) has become an important source of income for many expats here.

Some cities are better for TEFL than others – Lima, of course, has the most opportunity for English teachers, however, other large cities such as Arequipa and Trujillo are good choices. Cuzco, as the center of tourism, is also a good location for TEFL. While technically, anyone working in Peru must have a work visa, there is a lot that goes on under the table. Many institutes will hire people who are here on tourist visas. However, working without documentation does have its perils – pay is rarely more than $10/hour, some institutes aren’t always good about paying on time and can have unusual working hours or locations.

The highest paying teaching jobs are with universities and international schools, and if you qualify for a job with one of them, they will help you get a work visa if needed – however, note that a BA or teaching certificate is usually needed for these jobs. The best option for a good paying job is to get hired before you come to Peru – International schools will hire from overseas and typically pay higher for foreign hires. Remember that classes in Peru start in March, so you must start sending out your CV by November. If you are already in Peru, the best option for finding work is to go in person with CV in hand.

Optionally, you can give private lesson, either at your home or going to clients homes. Although the money can be good (as much as $20/hour in Lima), it takes time and effort to build up a good customer base – and clients will often cancel at the last minute or just not show up. That said, if you don’t have a degree or a TEFL certificate, this can be a good way to get a start teaching. There is a lot of material for teaching English to be found on the internet – lesson plans, worksheets and reading material are easy to find and often available for free. If your customer has a computer, you may want to consider teaching via web-cam conference.

TEFL Certification:  Most companies prefer that you are a certified TEFL teacher, especially if English is not your native language. Although it’s a good idea and can get you a job quickly, it is not always necessary if you are a native speaker; you will usually still get hired without one.  A wide variety of TEFL certification courses exist, both online, and at various institutions and schools around the globe.  Maximo Nivel is an English language school in Cuzco that offers a 1 month TEFL training course, where students live and go to class in the heart of the city. The Institute TEFL Zorritos holds certification courses in Zorritos and Arequipa. Idiomas Catolica, in Lima, also holds a TEFL certification course.  After completion you know the ins and outs of teaching and can make good money holding private classes or tutoring during your free hours.

Payment: If you are employed under a tourist visa and working without a permit, always be aware of your financial situation with your employer.  Because you are not legal, if you go unpaid you will not be able to seek legal help to regain your money.  Always take caution when your payments are late, and it is advisable if more than a week has gone by to stop working until full payment is provided.  That said, most large language institutions are reputable and payment may sometimes run a few days late, but usually no longer.

Some Recommended Schools:

International Schools -
Cambridge High School
Markham College
Roosevelt American School
Colegio Peruano-Britanico
Newton College.
There is a lot of competition for positions in these schools, and they usually require a degree and a 2 year contract. They will assist with work visas.

Language Institutes:
Business Links
English Life

For more information on teaching English in Peru, the Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Peru is highly recommended.

Click to learn about receiving your TEFL certification in Peru

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