Teaching English in Medellin

Downtown Medellin
Downtown Medellin

In late August, after about a month of exploring Medellin and its surrounding regions, I decided to start looking around for English teaching positions.

I started off by asking my family for some names of good bilingual schools and English institutes in the area and they gave me quite a long list.

Here’s a short list of the schools I looked into:

Here’s a short list of English institutes I looked into:

Well, I’m more than happy to say that I ended up getting a fist grade teaching position at a top bilingual school here in Medellin!

I’m equally as happy to report back to Medellin Living followers that it was a pretty simple process… although at times I found myself disappointed and discouraged.

I started preparing for my job hunt back in Jersey by making dozens of copies of my resume in both English and Spanish.

I was then advised to “apostille” my college diploma and my New Jersey teaching license (for those of you who have never heard this term, like myself, an apostille is a seal that your state places on documents to show authenticity overseas).

Once in Medellin I simply began calling the schools and institutes mentioned above.  Typically I introduced myself and told them that I was a certified teacher from the USA hoping to find a position as an English teacher.

A number of places informed me that they were in the middle of the school year and that they would not be looking for anyone until the beginning of the school year in late January… this was not good news for me.

A few places did however show interest in me and invited me in for interviews.  The interviews were all held in English and they were pretty straight forward.

Typical questions like:

  • “What experience do you have as a teacher?”
  • “Which age groups do you enjoy working with the most?”
  • “How would a typical lesson run in your class?”

All of the questions were easy for me to answer being that I had teaching experience from home.

I came to Medellin thinking that it would be easy for me to find a good paying job because I’m a native English speaker and because I have teaching experience and credentials but this wasn’t necessarily the case at most of the schools and institutes that offered me positions.

Here’s what some of the job offers looked like…

A number of language institutes offered me part-time positions, about 10-15 hours a week, paying 8 thousand COP ($4.40) per hour (the hours and pay were not exactly what I was looking for).

One well-known English institute offered me 15 hours a week and a private preschool offered me a Saturday morning position, both paying 18 thousand COP ($10) per hour.

These were two offers I was about to take but then… I received a call from a well-known bilingual school.  They called me in for an interview and offered me a full-time teaching position, with benefits, as a first grade teacher… it was my Colombian dream job!

I was offered a salary of two million COP ($1,100) per month which will now allow me to stay in Colombia for as long as I wish.

I’ve now been working for two solid weeks teaching English in Medellin, and every day I enjoy my job more and more.

I’ll be writing about my experience as a teacher in the future but I hope that this blog gives everyone some insight into looking for a position as an English teacher in Medellin.

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    • It’s tough but doable here in Colombia! I’m very lucky to be living rent free in a family studio apartment and I only pay about $150 US a month on water, electric and my cell phone. Since I’m on my own I food shop every other week and it always comes out to about $300 US a month (the school where I work does give me a huge lunch on a daily basis, relatively free of charge).

      My bills aren’t much and I’m able to go out every weekend for drinks and dinner. I do however resort back to my savings account back in the US from time to time!

      • Ana,

        Love your blog! You speak of one well known institute and one private pre school that offered you 18,000 CP per hour. Can you please say the names of both. My email is wommy81@hotmail.com if you don’t want to say it publicly. I am in Medellin now and am hoping to do some part time teaching work. I am a fully qualified English teacher in Australia but I do not have formal qualifications in TEFL. Also, would these places sponsor me for part time work so I can get the temporary work visa.

        Kind Regards,


      • Hi Ana,

        You mentioned that you had taught in Guatemala for 1 1/2 years. Can you tell me the name of the school and where it is located?

      • Hey Ana, I´ll take the IELTS in a month, How much do you charge per hour and where are you from? I dont even know anything from you, just checked your blog quickly!!

      • Hello Anna,

        I am looking to teach in Medellin. I have wanted to teach overseas for years and a former student of mine suggested Medellin (her family is Piasa). After 11 years teaching middle school science in California, I am looking for a change. In the past I visited Bogota but didn’t care for the city (weather, people and culture). I also didn’t care for the trend of people dressing up in “Black-Face” during festivals. From doing research on Medellin and talking to people from Colombia, it seems that the weather is much nicer and the people much more open than Bogota. Also from what I have gathered it would be an ideal place to learn Spanish.

        For some reason I am having difficulty finding contact information about The New School in Medellín, Antioquia. Do you know of anyone who works at the school? I have a phone number but would like to send my CV by email.

        Any advise you could pass along to me about other bilingual schools in Medellin would be highly appreciated.

        Thank you for your time in advance.


      • Ana,
        I wonder if you still check this blog… I am currently living and teaching in Ecuador but I’ve always had my heart set on going to Medellin. Can you give me the names of the schools which had the best salaries? I will be traveling there in about a month and I would like to narrow down my choices.

        • Hi Emily,

          I don’t know that Ana checks these comments anymore, but I’m guessing EAFIT (a wealthy private university) offers one of the higher salaries. They’re also harder to get a job with as I think they, and most universities, recruit for new teachers once a year (I forgot when, exactly).

          I’ve also talked to teachers who said they can make more money doing private tutoring then working for one or more schools. The key there is to network, and find the wealthier clients and families who can afford to send their kids to private lessons.

      • Hola Ana,

        I am not suere that you still have access to this blog, but just in case. I am trying to set up a language school in Medellin and woild like to know from your experience about salaries and the time for you to get the working visa.

        I would be very grateful for any information or even contact of people that might want to work at the institute.

        Many thanks;


        • Hi Alejandro,

          I was directed to this blog because I am searching for a job in Medellin. Family concerns should have me busy there for at least a year and I will certainly need a job while I am there. I have over ten years teaching high school in Pennsylvania Schools. A dream job for me would be to teach high school History or Math, but I am told that English as a second language teachers are in greater demand.

          I would be very interested if you need teachers. I hope to be in Medellin by February 20, 2014. I will forward my resume and references if you like. Best of luck in your endeavors. Tom

        • Hello! My wife and I are TESOL certified English teachers living and working in Jeonju, South Korea at the moment. We have been here for 2.5 years and are ready for a change in January 2016. Really considering Medellin due to lots of research and friends who have great experiences there currently. Just wondering if you did end up setting up a language school in Medellin and if so, if we could speak about it? Thanks!

      • hello, ana!

        i am a frisky, 63 yr old, my social security is a nice buffer.
        i come from a wall st/commodities background but have been teaching yoga/had a yoga studio for the past 15 years.
        i have looked around the world for places to live in the winter.
        and i think colombia is the place! i am coming down in january for at least our winter and with the possibility of staying on.
        ii got an ESL certificate although i have not completed the grammar yet. <:)
        my only teaching experience would be from 18 years of teaching yoga?
        i am also an accomplished thai massage therapist.

        i guess my question is, "would you say there are oppurtunities for one of my background in medillin?
        thank you.

  1. Congrats on the teaching position. As you mentioned, these kinds of jobs are not as easy to come by as one would think.

    A friend of mine also took the same route as you did several years ago and did some $5 per hour English teaching in a mediorce school but evetually found a position in a bi-lingual college and is now in his 4th year with them. As well as the yearly increases in salary he is also intiled to some bonuses for sticking around and some travel benefits so it’s now a very good gig for him.

    This is really the only viable teaching job that is available here in Medelin that will enable you to get by without burning into your own savings.

  2. I lived on $1,500,000 COP for some time in the early ’00s when the peso was worth less than it is now. And I paid rent. It is very doable. Life in Colombia is cheap, even in the second-biggest city (Medellin). Shop for your food (or at least produce) at the plaza and you get a heck of a lot for just a little money. As newlyweds, my wife and I ate like royalty for $45/week around 2002. The costs have not changed drastically. Imported items and luxury items are considerably more expensive, so one has to keep oneself in line. But it’s highly doable.

    I worked at the Centro Colombo-Americano in 2001/2. It was a terrible experience. I came to them with 4 years experience in TEFL in Asia and part of a master’s degree program in linguistics. At first they asked me to evaluate their other teachers. When I gave them my frank analysis (almost all were doing some variation on fill-in-the-blank grammar or watching movies without significant analysis), they turned on me and treated me like crap till I quit. It gutted my self-confidence as a teacher. It’s a nice setup over there but I aroused the dislike of the dominant clique and it made the whole experience suck. Beware the Colombo.

  3. I think that in Medellin the best place to learn English is the University EAFIT because they have professors from USA and London and i believe that the people can learn more about of language like the pronunciation, the write , the read. I wrote about it because i studied here and i learned so much.

  4. Hi all,
    I was wondering if anyone could give me a few pointers. I was in Medellin in June after backpacking around Colombia and once I got to Medellin I tried to get a job teaching English. I was not very persistent or successfully mostly due to the fact that i had only a small amount of money left and wanted to enjoy the rest of my trip. I want to go back in the new year with some money and get myself set up. I have a list of all the possible schools but no teaching experience. I have a degree in Economics and a TEFL certification. I was told it was a bad time of the year last May, does anyone have any experience of searching for a job without experience and achieving a satisfactory result? Thanks Richard.

  5. Hi, I just recently moved to Medellin and am looking for a job, I am not certified in teaching english although I do have two years of experience. Does anyone know if it would be possible for me to get a job and if so in what sort of places? Any advice would be helpful, thanks

    • Hi Diana, certification may be required if you want higher paying jobs with universities. Otherwise, I’ve gathered that being a native English speaker, especially from the USA, is important.

      • Hey! My wife and I have 2.5 years experience teaching English in South Korea at private schools for kindergarten – middle school with 120 hour TESOL certificates … in the most general sense, would you say we are qualified enough to make a decent wage in Medellin? Thanks!

  6. Ana
    I have been looking on behalf of my Fiance’ for an English Teacher who has capabilty for private lessons or active classes. I read Ana’s post and I am highly intereseted in a teacher of what seems to be of your caliber who has a good program and skills and has good command of the English language . Please contact me if you are still teaching or have some good recommendations.

  7. Ana, thanks for this article. I am currently in California but want to move back home to Medellín and teach English. I am fluent and actually arriving in June to register in the TKT at the Columbus School.

    I would love to have you as a contact or reference since I believe networking is vital in manners such as this. I am 28 years old.

    • Hi Miguel, I´m trying to find a job out there too – could you give me some advice about how you get in with the Colombus School? Send me an e-mail please if you [or actually anyone who sees this] can help: margaret00009@gmail.com. Thanks so much!

  8. i love medellin,, am a certified sped teacher in usa,,, can speak spanish a lil and getting better all the time for no more immersion than i have where i am,,, i have visited and know a few people in bello /antiquia district,, i was just wondering what kind of edge having states license give you when applying looking for jobs in medellin,, sounds like you did good,, i hope to have same results,, like benefits and such,,,
    claudejackdaniels@yahoo.com,,,,, if you have any reAL useful info i shoiuld have,, thanks

    • I wouldn’t expect it to help, unless it is a master’s or PhD. If you want to teach English as a Foreign Language, it’s a different type of qualification, a CELTA cert, an MA TESOL, a DELTA, MA Applied Linguistics, etc.

        • Thanks, just made it. About to get back into teaching English. 🙂

          Great blog you have, I enjoy reading it and keep up the great work!

      • Greetings George, I have ben seriously thinking of getting tesol/tefl certified to teach English in Medellin. From your comment it looks like these are favorable certifications, is that correct?

  9. Ana,
    Your post has been more helpful to me than the last 20 posts I’ve read, combined.
    I am planning to move to Colombia(hopefully Medellin) in Aug. or Sept. to teach English. I have B.A. in Psych and have been tutoring kids with autism for the last 9 months, but do not have specifically ELT experience. I am thinking about doing the CELTA course in Bogota in Aug. or Sept, mostly for the great job network it should provide.
    I’m wondering, you didn’t mention getting a TEFL or CELTA cert. Did you get a cert before going to Medellin? Also, what time of year did you start looking for a job. I have heard that some schools start in Sept like the states and some in Jan. Is there a lot more of one over the other in Medellin. Lastly, I have heard that Medellin schools don’t want to hire someone without a work visa and you can’t get a work visa w/o a contract from an employer. Just wondering what your experience was with that. If anyone else has useful info for me it is much appreciated. mlawson1776@hotmail.com
    Thanks so much!


    Hey Ana, sorry to put this on your blog but well, I figure it can only help anyone reading it who is looking for work. And of course Ana, I would be glad to hear from your good self if you are interested.

    Why hello there.

    I am in a situation where I have a surplus of clients for my private tutoring in English. So I am looking for an honest, hard working and talented native English speaker who can take on this work. Someone from the U.S. or Canada would be great. Most of the work is in 2 hour blocks in the evening. In this case the clients normally like it if you travel to their house. If the distance is further than a standard trip in Medellin you can charge more. Any one hour sessions are done wherever you please, preferably somewhere nice. If you are teaching one or two students at a time you will earn 20 thousand pesos per hour. However, if you are teaching a group of three you will earn 25 thousand pesos per hour. This is actually the most common scenario because the students get to pay less, so you earn more 🙂

    The teaching methodology I use is excellent because it is the best option for the students, but it’s also good for the teacher as less preparation is required 🙂 It is called ‘Authentic Material’. Classes are conversation based with less focus on grammar.

    I would ideally like to hire someone who has teaching credentials and experience in teaching ESL. Being able to sell yourself and have a certain level of Spanish is also exceptionally important because the clients will need to talk to you before committing to the first class, most likely over the phone. I will be taking a percentage but the aforementioned figures are what you will receive.
    If you are interested please contact me by email. Then we can organise discuss further by phone.

    My email is elmemoffice@gmail.com

    I look forward to working with you.


    P.S. I want to be very clear. I am only looking for native English speakers as this ties in with the teaching methodology of my classes. I would prefer people with work visas etc… but will consider someone on a tourist visa.

    • Hi Glen, I’m going to leave your advertisement up in the Comments, however for future reference (on my blog and any others), I think it’d be more appropriate to email the site owner privately first to discuss the best way to share such a communication with his/her readers.

    • Hi Glen, I am an american citizen (by naturaliz.) also, I have my colombian citizenship because I was born in Medellin, Colombia. After living here in USA almost all my life, I think I could be of some benefit for your teaching classes up there in Medellin. I will be moving back within the next few weeks and I would love to get involved in this kind of teaching. Even though I don’t have any of those certifications, I am willing to get the one will give me the opportunity to get into the teaching as a certified one. I know you are looking for native English speakers and I know mostly those could be with not much spanish knowledge, but in my particular case, I am bilingual, I speak spanish fluently, and English as a second language, but to tell you the truth, after being here for so long, I have a very good grammar background and I think that I will be very helpful to your bilingual future teaching proyects. I am retiring from my business but I still want to be involved , as I told you before. Please get in touch with me if you wish. Thanking you in advance for the attention to my note. Very truly yours, Reyna Abu Nawas

  11. I have the same dream. I am pleased to hear that you have accomplished your goal. I have a few amigos in Bello district and love the land and culture down there. Im an experience SPED teacher in US,, so do you think that I may have a similar experience. I am seriously contemplating the move.. Have always wanted to land a job before I go,, but that can be quite difficult.. If you have any info or contacts that would be great . claudejackdaniels@gmail.com ,,,, congratulations,, and thanks for the inspiration.

  12. The teaching methodology I use is excellent because it is the best option for the students

    Every student learns differently, just like every teacher teaches differently. You can’t put this claim. Some of your students learn best with visuals, some with audio, some by reading, writing, etc.

    Question to all…
    I’m a private ESL teacher and am currently searching for my next country. I’m interested in Medellin or Cali. Is there a need for private English teachers in either of these cities. I’m not interested in Bogota, so don’t suggest it. I’m leaning towards Cali because it’s closer to a border for border runs. I read an old post somewhere that said $5-10 is the going rate outside of Bogota. Is this still true? I usually charge $10 an hour (so I’m not in it for the money). Is this possible? Thanks for any info.

  13. Hi Ana,

    My company needs a certified native English teacher that can come two mornings from 7-8 and also do 2 hours on Saturday. As I see in your blog you are working, but I thought you might know someone that can send us his/her CV and how much they charge per hour for a team of 4 people.

    I’d really appreciate any help,

    please feel free to write me : tatiana_at_kogimobile_dot_com



  14. Hey Ana

    This is a very useful blog. I have taken the advice within it regarding seeking employment in Medellin. I have CELTA, an MA in History and EFL experience in Ecuador. However, I have a problem in that I am now in London and most of the more established institutions in Medellin require an interview in person and not over Skype. If I enter Colombia on a tourist visa and then obtain employment I will have to leave the country in order to return with the work visa!

    Could you offer any pointers at all?

    Thanks in advance


    • Yes, Luke, this is the inevitable way that it works. I believe MinRelExt is working on something that doesn’t require leaving the country for the future but I haven’t heard anything more concrete about it.

      Some employers will send you to Panama for the return entrance, others will insist on you returning to your home location.

      Keep in mind that there are a limited number of positions in Medellin, so if for some reason this city doesn’t work out, try Bogota. There is a lot more. In the future you will be able to more easily move to Medellin.

      Best of luck.

    • Hey Luke, it’s definitely easier to get teaching work once you arrive in the country. But, it’s not hard to leave again to obtain your work visa, and some schools will help arrange it as well. You can do a quick run to Venezuela, Ecuador, or take a flight to Panama City for example. This can be done pretty cheaply from what I hear.

  15. Hello Ana,

    I am considering this same path. I would like to discuss a few things with you when you have the chance. Please email me or tweet me at @viajecin or @_charrito_. I would greatly appreciate it!

  16. Hi Ana,

    My company needs a certified native English teacher that can come two mornings from 7-8 and also do 2 hours on Saturday. As I see in your blog you are working, but I thought you might know someone that can send us his/her CV and how much they charge per hour for a team of 4 people.

    I’d really appreciate any help,

    please feel free to write me : tatiana_at_kogimobile_dot_com



  17. Hi,
    I am a credentialed social science teacher in California with a Masters in Education and have experience teaching ESL kids and would like to teach English to adults in Medellin for 3-4 weeks in July 2012. Are there any recommendations or steps that I might take in attaining this goal?
    Thank You,

  18. Hello,
    I’m planning to move to Medellin this year to teach. I have 3 years experience teaching in China, Chile and I’m currently in Thailand (all at language schools, mostly teaching business english). I have my bachelor’s degree and also my TEFL and I’m from the states so I’m a native speaker. From everything I’ve read, it seems like it’s a bit difficult to get a job teaching in Medellin. I would like to work at a language school, but there doesn’t seem to be very many?? Is it just a lack of information on the web or is this true? Also, is January the only time of year that hiring is done? I’m planning to just ‘show up’ w/resume in hand and go from school to school, but I’m discouraged from everything I’ve read because it seems so difficult (and from past experience I’ve been hired by every school I’ve applied at). Can you please give me some advice, and especially, if you could let me know about the best time of year for hiring for language schools and if, in fact, it is as difficult as everyone says to get a job there? Should I consider Cali instead ( I do not want to go to Bogota)…any advice from anyone regarding this information would be greatly appreciated!!! Please email me at flyingav@yahoo.com….thanks so much! Abigail 🙂

  19. Hi Guys

    I’ve read all the postings but have yet to read anything about any other type of job available for an American (that speaks fluently Spanish and English) with 15 years experience in Sales. I’m getting married in April in Medellin and we haven’t decided if we will live in Medellin or California. If I could get a deasent job I would seriously move to Medellin in a heart-beat. Anyone with some helpful info would help me much.


  20. Very sad to read that all these jobs need a native english speaker…I have been living in Canada for 33 years, have my teaching certificate, have taught…refugees mostly, and free…because I am not a native speaker. I love the English language and read and astudy it every opportunity I have…the fact that I have an accent should not diqualify me from teaching…..furthermore, I believe that having gone through the process of learning another languagegives me an advantage over someone who only speaks English… but going back to the accent issue….I believe having an Australian or british accent ….or an accent which is from somewhere which is not Canada or the USA would be a disadvantage for the student….just can not imagine a colombian trying to learn English with an Aussie accent…and trying to communicate….it will sound very ….pathetic…but as always, foreigners are prefered in the country where I was born …an it will always be so….

    • That’s so true! Why it has to be Native English speaker? I speak english with a little of a “spanish accent” ….. and I am very proud of my accent! ….. pathetic is the right word Reyna

    • You must have been away from Colombia for a reeeaaallll long time because I can assure you there are many Colombian (non native) English speakers teaching English in schools here.

      This is part of the reason why the general standards of English in Colombia are so poor.

      • Hey James, how dare you saying that ? Non native speakers such as Colombians cannot be good teachers ? But a bloke from round the corner (like you maybe) having English in its blood, will surely makes a good teacher, teaching is intuitive right ? But hey what do all these people study in universities for years to become competent teacher ? A language or pedagogy, didactics, phonetics, syntax, linguistics,….? What is important in a language class is first the pedagogy, second , the linguistic competence of the teacher since the materials don’t come mostly from his mouth but from other resources.
        By the way your sentence “for a real long time” is not correct, one should say for a “really long time” since semantically an adverb is required.

    • Hey German – don’t get discouraged! I know it’s hard that everyone wants native speakers as first preference, but like James said below, there really are a ton of Colombian English teachers in Medellin – even at prestigious schools! I’d say work on neutralizing your accent by focusing on the characteristics that make you stand out, and maybe that will give you a better edge 🙂 Good luck~

  21. Hello Everyone,

    I, like many of the people inquiring on this blog, am looking for teaching positions in Medellín. While I do not have any certification in teaching from the United States nor the TEFL, I taught for two and a half years in Guatemala at a bilingual school. I taught not only English, but social studies as well. I am fluent in Spanish and have been in education in bilingual communities for 5 years. I am now currently in Medellin until the end of May and it would be great to meet face to face with anyone who knows a thing or two about teaching opportunities here in Medellin. I really love the city and the people who inhabit it. There is a great vibe here, so please let me know as soon as possible. My email is isaac.hunnewell@gmail.com.

  22. Hi all,

    I am an MFA candidate in Visual Communication Design (Graphic Design) about to finish up all but dissertation. Planning on moving to Medellin, visited over Spring break and loved it.. Does anyone have any advice/knowledge about teaching at the college level?

    Not quite up to par on my Spanish (yet). That’s next on my list, o I haven’t been able to comb university sites for positions.

    My email is victoria@pickettcreative.com


  23. I’m a new yorker living atm at first I was administrating a bar due to my previous bartending experience.I m looking forward to teach english but I have no degrees at all and I need tips from you guys. If any of you guys are cool feel free to add me on msn mspotti001@hotmail.com
    Medellin beautiful city!!!!

  24. As a new yorker living in medellin ive been having a bit rough time getting a job here in medellin.First i was administrating a bar but it was no good boss was horrible and just wanted me to make a new cocktail recipes for the menu and ended owing me money.Im interested in teaching so i looked at this forum and saw many posts from succesful teachers so if you guys dont mind adding me on hotmail so you guys can give me tips on what should i study since i just have a high school diploma .Btw medellin beautiful city fell in love with her since i was a kid …
    mspotti001@ hot….

  25. ana it is good to know you are doing good im from medellin and i still looking for a job as a an english teacher but im happy for you i would love to know you better for advices thanks

  26. Hi! I would really love if you could respond, I´m looking for jobs in Medellin and I feel like I´ll have similar problems. I´m coming back from a year abroad in Spain and I want to teach in a bilingual school and that salary sounds great for me — could you please give the name of the bilingual school so that maybe I could contact them? My e-mail is margaret00009 at gmail if you wouldn´t mind! I know that´s kinda sketch to ask but I´m so nervous about going I would really love all the help I can get.

    Thanks so much, Margaret

  27. Hello,

    I have read the posts on this site before, but never published anything. I am writing in hopes that someone will be able to help me. I want to permanently move to Medellin or anywhere in Colombia to be with my family yet the only thing keeping me in New Jersey is my inability to land a teaching position out there. I am an English Teacher in the U.S. as well as an Ivy League graduate and native English speaker. If you have any useful tips, please contact me at marrero.jose.e@gmail.com, 301-440-9275 (Colombia), or 201-618-1230 (U.S.).

    Thanks and best wishes to all.

    • Hey Jose, from everything I’ve heard, it’s easier to find a job in Medellin (and Colombia) once you’ve arrived. Have you thought about going down there for a week or two to do some searching and networking in person?

      Also, it’s much easier to find work teaching in Bogota, or other parts of the country, then Medellin. It’s a more competitive market there. Buena suerte!

  28. Ana,

    I was born in Medellin but lived in California for 22 years, just moved to back, I taught 5 years in Central California and have plenty of teaching experience in various grades. Can you please email me and give me some information about the schools you contacted. My email is ink2one@gmail.com.

  29. Hello,

    BTW I have been looking for a teacher (non British accent) in order to improve my english. Young female and reliable professional teacher with some experience is my request, my wife is interested too.

    I´m engineer from a Multinational here in Medellín.

    Please write at emontmde in yahoo.com.


      • Embee, if you scroll to the bottom of the comments you’ll see further explanation from Joel. I can totally appreciate his reasoning, especially having lived there myself.

        If I’m going to be sharing a 5 bedroom apartment with strangers, I prefer they at least be similar to me in age. Not that I have anything against older folk — I’ll be one of them soon enough!

      • Totally agree with Dave, I have had different eng native teachers specially in Berlitz and I feel more comfortable with this preference, I´m a professional engineer so I have to say finally as I said in my post: last but not the less, I request a professional teacher. Hope it clarifies my humble opinion.

  30. Here’s a question for you all, any sense of what it’s like to get a job doing something besides teaching English?

    I plan to move to Medellin beginning of the year from the States. I’m not fluent in Spanish now, and I am taking classes at the local community college. I plan to get a tutor when I come to Medellin and think after a couple of months of total immersion, I will be fluent.

    I’m a graphic designer and I do teach design at the college level as an adjunct faculty. I don’t have my Masters yet (all but dissertation). Ultimately, I would like to teach design at a University in Medellin. But I’ll need something to get by for the time it takes for that to happen.

    Right now, I’m a server in a restaurant. Is that a viable option in say a restaurant in Pablado?

    I’m a native speaker of English, but don’t have experience teaching it. Sounds like I could look at some low paying jobs in a mediocre school as a backup.

    I appreciate any advice or resources that you can throw my way.

  31. Ana,

    thanks for this informative website. I plan to contact the schools on your list. I will be in Medellin in the third week of Sept. I was just wondering if there are any schools in particular I should focus on. I have my CELTA, 12 years of experience and am a qualified Canadian journalist.


  32. Hey! great blog and great information,
    My name is Ian, I am a native English speaker from the US and can speak conversationally in Spanish. I have 2 years of science teaching experience in the U.S. and 3 months of English teaching experience in Cusco, Peru, as well as a TEFL certification. However I do not have a completed bachelors degree, do you think it will be difficult to find a job in Columbia as a English teacher? I appreciate any information.
    Thank you,

  33. Hola Ana and everyone else!

    Great site!
    I have 5 years teaching at college and business English. I am TEFL certified. I have a bs. in marketing with entrepreneurial honors. I owned a brick and mortar vintage clothing store, now on the internet. And lastly, my website http://www.antiquetibet.com is #1 for the search: antique Tibetan textiles, rugs, Indian antique textiles- just an information site of what I collect.

    I want to teach in Medellin, Columbia. I need to learn Spanish before continuing my travels. I get antsy feet so I need to be responsible to keep me in one place. I been traveling since 1998.

    Any help anyone can offer I certainly appreciate it.

    Michael Petras

      • Ooh Dave, Yes. I want to stay in Medellin and teach English, thereby improving my Spanish vastly. I won’t stay if I don’t work- weird but I get antsy feet if don’t have some sort of responsibility. I been traveling for 14yrs. , I know myself pretty well. If your in Medellin, perhaps we can meet.

        • Hey Mike, I was only in Medellin for two weeks this year. I’m going to be in Europe until December.

          Your best bet is to try and meet and network with other teachers.

  34. Hey Dave, I am aware from your posings that you know Medellin pretty well like hte back of your hand. I am not a typical horny man looking for sex in Colombia particualy with a paisa in Medellin. I am thinking of wanting to teach english in Bogota but I do not have a teaching certification but my BS in Business Administration. I am an Panamanian-American born mostly gringo lookin guy who wants adventure and to help people succeed especially if they want to learn American Englsih the right way. I have send my application to Mint in Bogota but no reply yet. What do I have to do to get a reply back? Thanks, Howard

    • You can’t depend on email Howard, your best bet is to show up in Medellin and hit the pavement. Colombia is still old school in that way. At the very least, try and contact them by phone, but your best bet is to visit in person.

  35. Hi all,
    I am Colombian living in Portugal. I´d like to share a bit of advice to all language teachers. I´m a Spanish language teacher and here things are not better. I worked for a prestigious institute that paid ok but with no contract. Then, there are language school that pay peanuts. I guess it is the same in Colombia. I have 17 years experience and I am certified, yet, it is not easy. So, one day I decided to open my own services. So, this is the advice (it may work, it may not): ONLY if you are experienced and certified. By now you know the official syllabus for EFL, so organize your classes based on that. Don´t follow textbooks, GET YOUR OWN classes resources. Most texts are, well, rubbish (in my opinion). Then, learn the official examinations exams formats and prepare your students to learn English based on 1) the syllabus 2) prepare them for the examination 3) their needs. If you are experienced you know what I mean. Follow your instincts as a teacher and as a student yourself. Teach with quality and be humble. Then, there is only one thing you need to have. And it is very important in terms of getting clients, that is money, that is food, etc. Look for people who want to learn english form a native, experienced and ALWAYS state that your course prepares them for the exam as it solves the “problem” of not being yourself a teaching company/institution. A student is not dumb and will know that he is learning or not, that he is improving or not. Get a space to work in (I started in cafes, Starbucks, etc and now I can afford a cowork space). Place ads in universities, associations, etc. Charge 20 euros per hour and explain that with that price you accept up to 5 students, so it is a good deal for them (It is). Split your levels in hours and charge in advanced for 50% (or 30%) in advanced. I mean, be a good teacher, professional but charge what you think you deserve. in my case, all my new students come through the former students (now I teach students mostly from one place, a very prestigious university), I don´t pay for advertising anymore, I don´t visit schools, colleges, etc. They come to me. I have a 100% rate success in their official exams (Portuguese love languages but they love even more the certificates). Not only the pass but the do it with a 9/10 grade. So, something I´m doing right. I´m not a Pope on how to teach English in Colombia but I´m a hard working man, exprerienced and I know what I´m doing. I don´t see why it cannot work in Colombia. I understand Colombia grants you a sort of sefl employed visa (I heard). Next year I´ll be coming back to live in my country and I hope I´ll meet some of you. Abrazos.

  36. Hello! I came across this blog and thought it was very interesting. This is exactly what I would love to do, but I am not a certified teacher.. Do you think it would be possible to do something similar to this in Colombia without a degree or certification?

  37. I love leaning Spanish, and I love Medellin. i want to live there, but can’t wait until retirement.

    I have a JD in Law (Bar certified) and a BS in Geological Sciences.

    I have no teaching certificate.

    Any I dea of what the demand might be in these area?

    • Hey Hutcat! I’m down here now applying for jobs, and many of the contracts are “open contracts” meaning they can stay til whenever or until the school is unhappy with them, or 2 years [in the higher paying Bilingual schools I mean]. For that reason, most of the jobs for next year are set, but they’re looking for preschool teachers in many places if you’re interested in that. Hope this helps!

      • Margarita-

        As of right now how is the job market for English teachers looking? I am moving there late January, and I have a TEFL certification with little experience and a bachelors degree, so I’m wondering what I can expect to find in terms of pay and hours.



        • hey Ben – sorry I didn’t see this until now… but it’s honestly been harder than I thought and I have a Masters and TESL Certification :X lol It’s just that most schools already have full staffs, or are only looking for preschool or whatnot… hours are like 16-ish min and upwords with pays starting at 2 milliones and upwords at least for me, (I wouldn’t work for less) but I know the nice bilingual schools can be more just not sure how much more, maybe another 500,000-million? sorry I don’t have more info on the payment -M

          • margaret or anyone,

            is it normal for a bilingual school to charge a teacher a fee to send the visa papers and to prepare them? They said that the total cost for issuing the documents was $350. I’m weary of this being a scam. Thank you for any help or comments guys.

          • Hey Ed!

            Question: What school and are you in Medellin?

            If you are not in Medellin, I wouldn’t send anything because people here don’t tend to hire people online/internet/phone-wise and I had to go to 5 seperate individuals at the Colombo Britanico to get the position they offered me… Speaking of the school name, I was told by the majority of the upper-scale schools that they’d handle that for me, but they were the ritsy ones, and didn’t have availabilities.. I dunno if that’s because you snagged the jobs 😛 haha but $350 does seem kinda steep! I haven’t done VISA paperwork yet for mine but yikes I hope that’s not true! lol maybe $350,000 COB I could handle…

            Hope that helps!

          • Ben – no problem! If you’re interested, I have an excel spreadsheet with a list of about 90 scools and several hotels with contact information, websites, addresses, and etc. I’d be happy to send you if it helps your job search 🙂 Just shoot me an e-mail asking me for it: margaret00009 at gmail

          • Hey Everyone,

            I am in Medellin looking for English teaching jobs, but have not had much luck yet.

            I have bachelors degrees in Secondary Education and History. I also have a teaching license from the Maryland State Department of Education, as well as a TEFL certificate from an internationally accredited institute. I speak Spanish at a high-intermediate level.

            My teaching experience includes middle school social studies and high school English as a second language (ESL). I have also taught English to adults in Costa Rica.

            If anyone could provide me with additional information that hasn’t been posted on this site, I would greatly appreciate it.

            Maragarita, could you also send me that spread sheet?


            James G

  38. Hello, i am an american native English speaker of Colombian parents and of course my Spanish is fluent i took various courses to perfect it further, i have some questions… first i would love to teach in Medellin since all my family lives there and they can help me around, second would i need to obtain colombian citizenship ? or is this unnecessary, since i am of colombian parents this wouldn’t be hard to obtain , anyways i would like to know what are the chances of me finding a job i don’t have any teaching experience but i am a highschool graduate and currently in college studying are there any chances of work for me in medellin? i hope i get a response my email is emunoz9935@me.bergen.edu please message me back thank you! ^_^

  39. Hi everyone I am hopeing someone can help me My daughter is currenly a freshman in college and is looking to study over the summer in Medellin to better her spanish she is studing to be a teacher here in the states can someone recommed a school in Medellin that she might be able to attend or how to go about getting the information. please email Lmfuentes03@gmail.com

  40. Hi all,

    I am an attorney with an English degree and a TEFL certificate. I am a native speaker. I am considering making a move to Colombia. I am married to a Colombian and would like our children to experience the culture and learn the language. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    I am not sure of our timeline.

    Thanks for any help!

    You can e-mail me back at jenadosims@yahoo.com

  41. I just ran into this blog by accident. I am currently looking into moving back to Medellin after 50 years in California. I have dual citizenship and work visas would not be an issue. I also have family living in Medellin proper as well as “en el oriente.” I have been in the real estate finance game for over 30 years and would like to start a 2nd career teaching – probably business English for Colombian professionals. Is this a viable niche? I was briefly in Colombia during the early 80’s (when I my wife at a family reunion – I was born in Colombia) and taught English to high school and college kids – it was the most fun I ever had and I would love to retire doing that type of work again. Any advice or suggestions?
    I have a bachelors degree in psychology, was a licensed real estate broker, loan officer and Notary Public. I have used my bi-lingual skills is California extensively and thought I might make even better use of them in Medellin. Please feel free to contact me with your views.

    John D.

    • Hi John, thanks for reading.

      It certainly sounds like you have a wealth of experience. I do believe there’s plenty of room for teaching business English, and you’ll probably make better money and have more control over your schedule that way too (as opposed to working at a university).

      One thing I’ve heard over and over is that an effective job search begins once you get to Colombia. Don’t expect responses from Colombian schools or language institutes to any emails you send from the USA.

  42. Hello everyone,

    Great site. Like many people out there, I’m considering a move to teach there. There has been little mention of university teaching. Anyone have any experience with them there? I am currently teaching EAP at a university in China, was Director of Studies prior to that, and have a DELTA.
    I do not have a teaching license, though, so I don’t think international schools are an option for me.

    Any advice on uni jobs would be welcome 🙂

  43. Hi guys! Finally made it to Medellin and loving it so far. This website has been so helpful, but I’m definetely eager to start working. Does anyone have any leads on English teaching jobs? I have the TEFL certification, experience, and speak Spanish at an advanced level. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

  44. Hello! I am a certified K-6 teacher with a Master’s Degree- my husband and I are looking to move to Medellin for the 2013-2014 school year- what school are you working at now and any advice! (I’ve applied to most on your list).

    Thanks so much!


  45. I love Medellin! Im 49 and know very little spanish but want to move and live in the cooler climate. What jobs can I get? I am a writer..Like I say yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus and heaven on earth is Medellin…

  46. Hello guys!
    Just like most of you I’m planning to move to Colombia and ideally find a job as an ESL teacher. English is not my mother tongue, however, I have an equivalent of bachelor’s degree in teaching English as a foreign language and master’s degree in English Philology from my home country (Poland). I have experience teaching in a school and to individuals. Also I have now lived in the UK for 6 years working with preschool age children. Do you think I have any chances of finding a teaching job in Medellin, not being a native speaker? Any info will be greatly appreciated!

  47. Thank you for this information. I have been in Medellin for a week and love it here. I am just starting to get myself motivated to look for English teaching jobs. You have confirmed my thoughts, that most schools won’t be hiring now until January. I feel that now is the time to start looking. Thank you for the list of schools and also the idea of salary. It is always difficult to know exactly where to start and if I get a job offer, is it a good one?

      • Hey Edgar,

        I’m a CELTA certified, native English speaker and currently reside in Medellin. I’m looking for students for private classes, so if you’re interested please contact me for more info.

        • Hi Cara Monica.
          I’m looking for a private teacher to practice conversation. I speak fluently, but I need to practice. Could we meet at the medicine school of Universidad de Antioquia? How much do you charge?

  48. Hi there,

    How is it possible to travel into Colombia and start a job there without having to fly out again to get your work visa. I presume you’d have to do this?

  49. Everyone here is making this way too difficult……I was a teacher in the states who did not have the money to go back to school and get my teaching certification. I came to Colombia on a tourist visa, interviewed and accepted a job at an institute…..took the bus to Ecuador, changed it to a work visa and now I have switched over to a bilingual school where I make a decent middle class income which allows me to travel off and on while also giving me benefits and vacation. That being said I consider myself a professional and I continue to work on myself professionally by studying English (even though I am a native speaker) and gradually earning better certifications. Right now I am working on my C2 level certificate from Cambridge University (good bragging rights) and my future plan is to earn the TKT Certificate also. I think employers in Colombia want someone who is passionate and dedicated more than anything else so just get your feet on the ground and see what happens!!

    • Hi Donaldson,
      I just moved to Medellín and am a freshman college student. I’m from the U.S. so I’m a native English speaker and I really need a part-time job. Could you direct me to any particular place/school/company etc. that you know of that is looking to hire part-time workers?

        • Hi Everybody,

          I created a company named Internships Colombia in 2012. Now we work as recruitment agencies with the SENA and Ministry of Education in Colombia. If you are interested in teaching English in Colombia, you can read some information about our sponsored Teaching English Programs. Here is the website http://www.teachingenglishcolombia.org/?utm_source=medellinliving. One note, there is a big demand for Medellin so they are few spot available. However, the SENA and Ministry of education offer more than 15 cities placement. Have a great night, Yoann

  50. Hi everybody!

    I know I am in an English web page but somebody told me maybe I might have some contacts here!

    So I am looking for a place of French Teacher in Medellin!

    I am French, teacher in France, and I will come back to Medellin in November in order to find a job!

    I speak Spanish and as you can see a little bit of English!

    So if somebody can give me some contacts of school, institue or whatever, I will be very thanksful!

    My mail is: ketchupmayo@hotmail.com

    Thank you everybody! 🙂


  51. Hi everyone.. I came across this blog obviously with the interest of teaching english in Colombia where i have great colombian friends and i have recently visited a few months ago. I am argentinian so my mother tongue is spanish but i ve been living in uk for 10 years so far. While i was back home since an early age i studied for many yrs English as another language in a private institute which it has helped me out a lot since then. My plan is to move to Medellin in the near future have a living out of teaching there. I d love to know what type of courses or diploma etc etc would i need to start off and where to get them in order to execute my desired plan productively . Many many thanks !

  52. Would like to share with you Google people that I have personally contacted well over 25+ schools either in person, online, or via telephone over the course of three months and have received absolutely zero interest. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
    I am an Australian with the CELTA, IELTS experience, and have taught for three years. I even have a Colombian former co-worker helping me out here. She has been teaching in Medellin for 10+ years and is trying hard to help me.
    Closest I have come was a school (term used loosely) saying they would contact me the next day to arrange a language test. Surprise, surprise, I am still waiting for that call! Only one school has sent me a courtesy email to say no.
    Personally, I feel that I have exhausted absolutely every possible option with regards to finding employment here in Medellin or the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, my present situation means that I just have to keep on tryin’.
    Just felt that I should post this here since this is the top Google search result. Don’t want anyone to pack it all up and come here thinking it will be a breeze.
    Good luck to all seeking employment 🙂

  53. Hi
    I was hoping that anyone who currently is residing in Medellin now could recommend schools for elementary and high school for my children. We are American but we have also been living in the Caribbean for the last 5 years. My children are fluent in Dutch, English and a little Spanish.
    Thank you for any info you can provide.

  54. how do i even start looking? i am new to this and want to try it. I was a missionary that had to learn spanish and most say im fluent. and english is my first language. I have taught a little english myself but have no certification what do you think? I would be free to do it august into december. do you know of and programs that would accomodate that?
    feel free to email me at joelwoodward71@yahoo.com

  55. Much of the information regarding teaching English in Medellín is somewhat outdated, you will not be able to simply turn up and find a well paid job, if any job at all! A well regarded qualification such as CELTA is essential, and experience is strongly preferred.

    My partner and I completed our CELTA in November at EAFIT University and have had no luck finding work so far, despite applying to 30+ institutions. The problem here in Colombia is that small schools can’t afford to give out work visas, so large companies and universities have a monopoly on foreign teachers. Some use this to offer ridiculous salaries (we were offered $8000 / hour!), but most are not hiring at all.

    If you’re thinking of moving to Medellín to work as an English teacher, my advice would be:
    – Have a CELTA or equivalent.
    – Apply at the start of December, don’t leave it till later as many of the places will have been filled by the start of term (around 15th of January).
    – Don’t just send emails, phone! The email response rate here is nearly zero which can be very frustrating. Send your CV, then follow-up with a phone call.
    – Consider somewhere else. Medellín can be a very nice place to live (I would strongly recommend Envigado rather than Poblado or anywhere more central), but it’s where everyone wants to be and for that reason it’s saturated.
    – Consider volunteer work – some places pay a ‘stipend’ of 1.500.000 per month (not $750 as advertised, the peso has not been doing so well recently), which is about as much as the average teaching salary. Finding a place in Medellín is possible if you apply early, but there are many places all over the country.
    – In the mean-time, offer private lessons. This way you can earn a decent wage (around $30.000 / hour is normal) and maximise your interactions with paisas, who are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.

    Incidentally if you are looking for private English lessons, feel free to contact me through my website http://www.inglesmedellin.co

    Hope this helps!

    • Hi Everyone. I would like to come to Medelline to teach Business English and to adults. I have high school English teaching experience, Junior Technical College teaching experience and have worked in Marketing positions in the medical industry. I have an Oxford Seminars TEFL certification, a master’s in teaching education behavior disabilities and an MBA from a pretigious business school.(Duke).

      My question is that it is now March 2015. Is it true the hiring season does not start until December? Has anyone else graduated from Oxford Seminars? If so how helpful did you find their placement services.
      Thanks in advance for any help offered. Craig

      • Hi Craig,

        Hope you are doing great!

        We offer free teaching english programs in Colombia for the Colombian Government. The start dates are in June 2015 (future start dates will be available later this year). The placements are offered in over 19 regions around Colombia. The length is 6 to 10 months. The stipend will cover your basic living expenses (around 1,500,000 pesos). You can apply here http://www.teachingenglishcolombia.org/?utm_source=medellinliving. We will set up a Skype call with you as soon as possible. Best regards, Yoann

  56. Hi. I am interested in teaching Business English and English to adults. I have a Oxford seminars TEFL, a master in education and a MBA from Duke, five years teaching English at high school level plus one year teaching business courses at the college level. Corporate marketing experience with Johnson and Johnson.

    Does anyone know what might be the best institutions to apply? Does the season for hiring not start in 2015 until December? Is there any change to come to Columbia earlier? Has anyone been able to arrange interviews before coming to Medellin? Is find work in Bogata easier?

    Thanks in advance for any advise or recommendations. Sincerely, Craig Cothren

      • Hi Andres. I live in San Luis Potosi Mexico. Therefore, I could not teach face-to-face. However, we could talk about on line. What level would you say your English is? What is your primarily reason to learn English? For work or pleasure. I what is your profession. My Skype name is cccraig2. Ask me on Skype to make you a friend.

  57. Hi everyone,

    I’m looking for a teaching job during the summer in Medellin. I am currently living in Valledupar, and am finishing up the school year at a private school here. I am looking to move to Medellin from the beginning of June until mid-August (when my Visa expires). I imagine not many institutions or schools will offer contracts for the two months, so if anyone has any advice for me, please let me know.

    On top of the high school teaching job, I have also been giving private lessons from children as young as 7 to middle-aged adults who are preparing for their level exams.

    If anyone has any advice, please let me know at ryanfcovel@gmail.com

  58. I have been laugh at loud reading this blog. Colombia isn’t a easy country to live. Medellin it’s even harder because they love degrees, and even having degrees there is always someone better than you; Paisa mentality it’s very narrow. Definitely I recommend use the “Colombian hat” do what Colombian does to survive. Forget emails, hit the pavement, use tie, carry hoja de vida. Pretend you are rich. For those without degrees try a different industry. Private lessons it can be hard to find in a weekly/monthly basis. These are My two cents among friends! Good luck and enjoy the view and nice weather.

  59. Ana, I recently married my wife who lives in Medellin (February 2015). We are currently going through the Immigration process here in the US (California). I have been looking to hire someone to tutor her in english, there in Medellin. What is the best way to find a english teacher in Medellin when I live here in the California?

    Also what is the price ranges for such tutoring?

    Thank you.

  60. Hi Ana,
    I am an Trinity TEFL qualified with one years experience teaching English at a well known language school in Russia.
    I’m also a qualified experienced mathematics high school teacher.

    I plan to travel to Medellin in September, and start looking for English teaching work there. It would be even better if I had some contacts there at language schools and other institutions before I arrive.
    Any help will be much appreciated,
    Thanks in advance,
    Joseph (approachwithconfidence@gmail.com)

  61. Hello Everybody,

    I have been living in Medellin for over 5 months and besides the occasional tutoring, finding a job as an English teacher has been challenging. I am a native English speaker with a BA in Spanish with a minor in Education. Because my parents are Colombian, I have a Colombian Cedula and I am also TESOL certified. Moreover, I am just a couple of courses short of securing my ESOL Endorsement.
    I am open to any suggestions so that I can make my dream of living in Medellin for a few years a reality. I have “hit the pavement” Colombian style in an effort to secure employment but I have not been successful.
    I am currently looking at the possibility of working at Bilateral as a customer service rep since I have not succeeded at accomplishing my initial goal of teaching English.

    Thank you I advance for your suggestions,


  62. All I know is that in medellin they prefer native theachers from usa,they don’t want tne british accent,most of the students prefer young theachers and but away,is colombia not columbia.

  63. Hi all.

    I am a South African professional.
    I am teaching English at Ilingua institute in Mérida in the Andes Mountains of Venezuela. Currently here in Medellín on vacation because Venezuela is in a bad space economically. I am thinking of moving here permanently.

    I am TEFL certified and teach kids ages from 3 years old, teenagers and adults.. I have 15 years teaching experience.

    I can teach :
    Business English to Business People
    Private English Lessons in the comfort of your home /office
    Ages. 3 to 99

    Please ? Email me. waynehse@hotmail.com
    Mobile ?. 300. 4675342

  64. Hi,

    I am an Irish management consultant taking a one year break from late September. I have a Masters degree in Economics and Business from Imperial College London. 3 years ago I taught English for 6 months in Bangalore, India. Would be looking to teach English, Economics or Maths in schools from Late Sep/Early Oct. Alternatively would be interested in teaching business English to professional on a part time basis.