This article was updated in March, 2019
As Peru’s tourist industry continues to boom, and Peruvian companies become more and more international, Peruvians are finding that there are good jobs available for those who have a good grasp of 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 teaching English than others – Lima, of course, has the most opportunity for English teachers. However, other large cities such as Arequipa and Trujillo are good choices too. 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. Some smaller language institutes hire people who are here on tourist visas, but bear in mind that working without documentation does have its perils – pay is rarely more than $10/hour, and some of these institutes aren’t always good about paying on time and can have unusual working hours or locations.
Optionally, you can give private lesson, either at your home or going to the student’s home or office. 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 students 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 at teaching. There is a lot of material for teaching English to be found on the internet. Lesson plans, worksheets and reading materials are easy to find and often available for free. If your student has a computer, you may want to consider teaching via webcam conference.
The highest paying teaching jobs are with universities, top language institutes and international schools, and if you qualify for a job with one of them, they sometimes help you get a work visa, if necessary. However, note that a BA or teaching certificate is usually needed for jobs at universities and elementary and high schools. 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 teachers. 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 your CV in hand.
Most private schools, language institutes and universities prefer that you are a certified TEFL teacher, especially if English is not your native language. A wide variety of TEFL certification courses exist, both online, and at various institutions and schools around the globe.
Here are some of the best known institutions for getting a TEFL certification in Peru:
Maximo Nivel is an English language school in Cuzco that offers a one month TEFL training course, where students live and go to class in the heart of the city.
TEFL Zorritos is a TEFL training institute which offers certification courses in the coastal town of Zorritos and in the colonial city of Arequipa.
Idiomas Católica, the language institute of Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, also holds a TEFL certification course in Lima.
International House Lima offers the CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults), an intensive one month English language teaching qualification moderated by Cambridge English, part of the University of Cambridge. This certification is accepted by employers worldwide.
Idiomas Pacífico, also in Lima, offers three different TEFL certifications for teaching english to children, teenagers and adults. They have two institutes, one in San Isidro and another in Miraflores.
After completing your teaching certification, you will know the ins and outs of teaching English as a second or foreign language and will increase your chance of earning good money.
Some Recommended Schools for teaching courses in English:
Keep in mind that there is a lot of competition for positions in these private schools, and a reminder: they usually require a bachelor’s degree and a certification for teaching in Peru. It is recommended you apply from abroad or try to connect with these schools at international job fairs. If you want to take your chances and apply while in Peru, bring apostilled and legalized copies of your diplomas and certifications. Again, these schools may assist with work visas if necessary and, in some cases, they might even require a two years contract. Soliciting a work visa for a foreigner has a cost in terms of time and fees for these institutions, so they do not take it lightly.
Check out this comprehensive list of international schools in Lima for other teaching opportunities.
As opposed to teaching at an elementary school or high school, where you might have the opportunity to teach not only English, but other courses IN English, you can also try to apply at an English language institute. These institutes provide group classes in house, but some of them also offer English classes at the students home or office.
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.
We’d like to hear from you. Have you taught English in Peru? What tips would you give to somebody who is just starting out? Share your experience with others in our forum post: How can I teach English in Peru?