Teach in Bolivia
From Andes to Amazon, Bolivia has plenty to inspire teachers looking for adventure. With over 30 official languages, the country is as diverse as it is beautiful, but modern economic development has also brought the need for English-language education. English teachers are in high demand, and opportunities are available throughout the country.
Teaching in Bolivia
Options for teaching in Bolivia
Teaching English in Bolivia is possible in both paid and volunteer positions. As Bolivia’s tourism industry grows, the demand for qualified ESL teachers is also growing, with most citizens recognizing the importance of learning English in order to keep up with social and economic progress.
Licensed teachers can also find teaching jobs in Bolivia’s private schools, teaching any number of classroom subjects.
Salary and benefits when teaching in Bolivia
English teachers who already hold a TEFL certificate can find paid English teaching jobs in Bolivia, which pay a modest wage but provide enough to live on - usually between $400 and $600 USD. Because these jobs can be harder to find than volunteer positions, it is usually wise to secure a position before entering the country. Teachers without a TEFL certificate or previous experience can still find English teaching jobs in Bolivia, although much of the work will be unpaid. However, many volunteer programs will provide accommodation in order to offset teachers’ living costs. Some will also provide a small stipend, although teachers will usually need to supplement this with their own savings.
Educators who are licensed to teach subjects such as math, social studies, or science can find paid teaching jobs with salaries of around $500 USD per month or higher, a livable wage in low-cost Bolivia.
Teach in Bolivia - Hiring
The best times to apply for teaching jobs in Bolivia are in January/February or June/July.
What you need to teach in Bolivia
Qualifications to teach in Bolivia
In order to secure a paid teaching job, teachers will most likely need to hold a TEFL Certificate or the equivalent, and will usually need to have previous experience teaching ESL. Brand-new teachers, however, can still find plenty of opportunities to teach English in Bolivia.
To teach subjects other than English in private schools, teachers will need to demonstrate proof of government-issued teaching accreditation from their home state or country.
Visas for teachers in Bolivia
In order to legally work in Bolivia, teachers must enter the country on a Specific Purpose Visa. After arriving, they will complete an application for residency as well as one for a work permit. Most schools will provide assistance with this process; however, ultimately it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that all applications are complete and correct.
Living in Bolivia
Housing in Bolivia
Many volunteer teaching jobs will provide accommodation for teachers, although paid English teaching jobs typically do not. Those that don’t will usually provide housing assistance to help new residents get set up. Most teaching jobs are centered in La Paz as well as a few other populated areas, such as Oruro, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba, where it’s not difficult to find housing for as little as $100 - $200 USD per month.
Things to do in Bolivia
Much of Bolivia remains unexplored by tourists, meaning that adventurous travelers will have a challenging but rewarding experience should they choose to visit the more remote Bolivian provinces. Driving or bicycling the country’s mountainous roads will be more than enough adventure for most people - thrill-seekers have plenty of opportunity to put their mountain bikes to good use.
Teachers in La Paz will need to adjust to the roughly 12,000-ft altitude (for reference, that’s more than twice the altitude of Denver, USA). The city has a number of lovely parks and museums, although simply admiring the architecture and surrounding landscape can be enjoyable enough! Teachers have plenty of options for food, ranging from delicious and inexpensive street food to chic downtown restaurants. As is the case in any Bolivian city, fútbol is king, and the energy and excitement of a match is something that all sports fans should experience.
TEFL Certification for Private School Teachers
Many private schools in Bolivia require applicants to possess a TEFL certificate. The University of Toronto’s TEFL Online Certificate can help you become a leading candidate for some of the top Bolivian private school positions.
Bolivia at a Glance
Capital - Sucre (constitutional); La Paz (de facto administrative capital)
Language - Spanish and 30+ indigenous languages
Population - 10.6 million
Currency - Boliviano (BOB)
Government - Presidential constitutional republic
- Bolivia is home to 40% of ALL plant and animal life in the world.
- Sitting at 3,650m above sea level, La Paz is unofficially the highest capital city in the world.
- Bolivia has the world’s largest salt deposit.
- People live among the clouds in the Andes Mountains.
- In La Paz, people dressed as zebras can be found on the streets promoting road safety and helping children safely cross the street.
- There are more than 30 official languages in Bolivia.
- The clock on the National Congress building in the main square of La Paz runs backwards and aims to remind citizens to think differently.