Reasonable pay for teaching English?

My husband and I are now in Nicaragua. The first step was to find a house to rent in Managua...and that´s now done. We stopped in at a cultural center that offers English classes today to enquire about the possibility of teaching there. We´re going later this week for interviews. We both have college degrees and my husband´s a licensed teacher. Any idea what a reasonable hourly rate to expect for an English teaching gig in Managua is? We´d just like to know if they´re completely low-balling us or something. Thanks!


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teaching in Nicaragua

I'm getting your post late. Wondering how it's going. Just finished up teaching 3 years down there . . . pay ranges from $2.00/hour to $50.00 depending on where you are.

How has it played out?

R. Mullin

We took the jobs

A 4.5 hour class on saturday each for now, maybe more later. $6.00 an hour.

Future Blog(s) ?

I hope nothing in my earlier comment was construed as being anti-English teaching (this was not my intention). I offered it as what I have repeatedly heard and seen (first and second-hand), in the last decade here in Central America. I also hope that you, later, when you have a better feel for the job and this particular institution, post a blog of some sorts outlining the good and bad of your work setting / relationship. Many people ask me of this type of work, yet most of them end up in Chile or Costa Rica (or the Middle East, if they are seeking REAL money), so it would be good to hear a detailed, very recent, first-hand account.

No "norm"

There is no "norm" for such work (not in any Latin country). Working in any local school system, even if your salary is subsideized by outside sources, you might be lucky to make $1-3 per hour. In "English Academies", maybe double that. Most people make more after their contract is renewed the first time (but, still, this might mean doubling your $1.50 per hour salary). The real money is in private tutoring, though even that isnt all that high. One thing people often fail to mention is that while it is possible to work your way up to $10 or more per hour, most people do not work full-time. This is not by choice, but because there simply is not 40-50 hours a week of work for them to do, and often you must cross the city 2-3 times per day to get to the next "high-paying" private gig. Also, many if not most private gigs are "session based", and if people do not show up, and hence are not taught that day, they will be reluctant to pay (which raises the pre-pay TEFL debates). To some extent it wil depend on your age, teaching background outside your home country, and your appearance (this last one surprises many people, but it is a fact). If the outfit is conversational English based, having a background in teaching in a North American country, especially a background teaching English, might be a hindrance rather than an aid -- as strange as that may seem, but teaching English to English-speakers and teaching English to non-English speakers are rather different skills. The best way to find out about being lowballed is to ask someone wokring there what they make. There is also sometimes salary info as but Nicaragua is not exactly a prime destination for this work, so the info might be rather limited.


Saw your comment on TEFL. We would like to move there and seem to only have teaching English as a commodity. I have looked at the different agencies offering TEFL and they range from 10-20-40-60 hour courses on-line. What do you suggest? Thank you


Actually, what I recommend is locating a nearby college or university library which subscribes to a magazine entitled, "Transitions Abroad". This is more or less a front for TESL schools and related people, but as "fronts" go, it is not that bad. If you cannot find free access to paper copies, you could subscribe, or read the small(er) free portions online. Be advised that back-issues of this magazine can be useful, too. If you are interested in this sort of work, the actual magazines are a very good starting place. The website, as is true in most cases, is not a substitute for the paper copy. Their website is @ =

If you want to see how such teachers select destination countries, and guage pay and "quality of life", then check out the best (or at least the most popular website out there), =

* Be advised that Central America is far from the top of the ESL hitlist, for various reasons, though none are in themselves a reason to avoid Central America, nor Nicaragua in particular.

** What you should actually do, would depend on your educational background, age, hobbies, transportation, desired work week, and many other factors. To be honest, people seem to either love or hate this sort of work. It has been my experience that people from "more rigid schools", and the older they are (like me), the worse it is, tend to find the chaotic educational environment of Central America, quite frustrating, and rather disappointing. Then again, other people find the "freedom" refreshing.

Private gigs

Very good insight! I would starve to death if I had to live on TEFL. It is something I use to subsidize my flying activities, and at that, I can only afford to fly once or twice a month on what comes in tutoring. Most of my TEFL jobs ranged from two to four hours a week, and it would be hard to work full time at it on the private sector, and would definitely involve crossing the city as mentioned.

My background in teaching was teaching Spanish as a foreign language, so it is easier for me to do TEFL. The methods are the same, just switch languages. For the person who has never taught foreign languages, it is definitely different than teaching "English" to kids, for example, who already speak the language conversationally.

There are a lot of people in Nicaragua who want to learn English, but the average person can't pay the private tutor rates. I have found many courses offering dirt cheap rates, but often the teacher's pronunciation and grammer is so bad that the results are worth what they pay (very little).

Pay for teaching English

I have found that it depends on who and where you teach. There are several agencies, such as the NorthAmerican Cultural Center and the Academia Europea that have formal programs and use expats to teach. They pay very little, around $5 an hour. However, freelance teaching and tutoring pays significantly more. Make contact with the American Nicaraguan School (or perhaps Lincon School). ANS teachers often tutor after school for $10 or more per hour, and there is demand if you can connect. I have tutored privately via referrals and get $20 per hour. If you get real lucky, you may find a company, as I did, that pays $40 an hour to teach a group of 10 or so employees to speak English. And no ... I won't say which company. Sorry :(

Pay and teaching English

You might try Ave Maria College in San Marcos. It has a great English language program and I believe also offers other subjects also taught in English. I believe the pay is more in line with what you are looking for. Yesterday, while in Managua, I saw a building with the Ave Maria sign on it that may be a new annex in Managua. It is on the lake side of the pista urbana near Auto Nica (Toyota). I believe its in the old INVERCASA building (donde fue)an all glass 2 story building.

Just a guess based on Granada

If you get $1 per hour then you are doing extremely well, in fact rich compared to most nica teachers here...