How Much Money Does an Average Teacher Make a Year?

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How Much Money Does an Average Teacher Make a Year?

How Much Money Does an Average Teacher Make a Year

College students considering an education career often wonder, “how much do teachers make?” Teacher salaries have become a hot topic since the nationwide Red for Ed strikes in 2018-19. Teachers have been notoriously paid low wages and underappreciated for decades. There’s a popular misconception that teachers have short workdays and ample vacation time. In reality, teachers devote many hours outside the six-hour school day to plan lessons and meet parents. Teachers are also responsible for equipping their classrooms with expensive school supplies. According to Education Week, U.S. residents feel teachers are underpaid by $7,500 on average. Teachers typically make less than college graduates in other professional industries. This article identifies the average teacher salary and explores the various factors that affect salaries for teachers.

Salaries for Teaching English in Colombia

There are several different teaching opportunities available for TEFL-certified teachers in Colombia. ESL (English as a second language) teachers who ultimately spend time teaching English in Colombia do so via one of the following avenues:

Your salary will fluctuate depending on which teaching route you choose to pursue. On average, English teachers in Colombia can expect to make anywhere between $500 – 800,050 USD per month from working at a language school with the option to earn additional income through private tutoring ($7-$10 USD per hour) and teaching English online ($5-$20 USD per hour).

1. Colombia Language School Salaries

Most jobs in Colombia are going to be found in the major cities such as Bogota, Medellin, Barranquilla, Cali, Cartagena, and Bucaramanga. Positions are typically teaching adult students or business professionals in private language schools and can sometimes be secured in advance of being in Colombia. However, teachers should expect to go in person to these schools to request an interview and acquire an ESL teaching job. Pay will fluctuate depending on where you are located, with teachers in larger cities like Bogota and Medellin earning more than those teaching in smaller cities and towns. English teachers working at language schools in Colombia can expect to make anywhere between $500 – 800,050 USD per month.

Colombia is also a Latin American country where teachers have the opportunity to obtain a work visa as some schools will help with the process. However, some schools are okay with their teachers working as freelancers and staying on their tourist visas. Obtaining a visa will really depend on the school that the teacher is working for.

Visa Options for Teaching English in Colombia

Tourist Visa for Teaching English in Colombia

Depending on the school you work for, you may be working on your tourist visa which is stamped in your passport upon entry into the country and is good for 90 days. Before the tourist visa expires, travelers can request another extension of 90 days at the Colombian Immigration Authority. After this, you will need to leave the country, visit a neighboring country, and return to Colombia to get a new tourist visa stamped in your passport every 90 days.

Work Visa for Teaching English in Colombia

While some employers will choose to have you teach on a tourist visa, it is also common for an employer to sponsor a work visa for you which is known as an M-5 visa. If your job is secured before heading to Colombia, it is possible to process the M-5 visa at the nearest Colombian Consulate in your home country. However, many teachers process their visa in Bogota at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores Office.

Once you receive your visa, you have roughly 15 days to register your visa with Migracion Colombia to get your Cedula (national identity card). These offices are located in major cities around Colombia. It is very important that you do this within the allotted 15 days or you could be fined. Having a Cedula enables you to open a bank account, get a cell phone plan, etc.

“M” Visas in Colombia are valid for 3 years. However, holders of this visa can only work for the position or profession with which the visa was granted. You cannot leave Colombia for longer than 6 consecutive months with the M visa or it will expire and lose validity.

How much do ESL teachers make in Colombia?

2. Colombia Private English Tutoring Salaries

Getting clients for private lessons is a marketing exercise, and all the avenues that seem appropriate to your circumstances have to be explored. Here are some ways you can market yourself:

How much money can I make private tutoring ESL students in Colombia?

As a private ESL tutor in Colombia, you should expect to charge and make around $7-10 USD (27,700 – 40,000 COP) per hour for one-on-one lessons (depending on where in Colombia you are based). While this may seem low, bear in mind that the average monthly salary amongst Colombian nationals tips the lower end of the scale, averaging roughly $400-500 USD per month, so your private tutoring rates needs to be in line with what they can afford to pay.

3. Colombia Teaching English Online Salaries

Like private ESL tutoring, teaching English online is an extremely popular way for teachers to make money. Many ESL teachers in Colombia teach online as their sole job and income, while others do it to supplement the income they earn from teaching at a language school or from private tutoring.

Teaching English online provides TEFL-certified teachers with the opportunity to make money from the comfort of their own home, with most teachers being able to make anywhere from $5-$20 USD per hour. Hours are flexible and it is up to you how much or how little you teach – you are in total control of your schedule.

Other Financial Incentives for Educators Teaching in Teacher Shortage Areas

While the subject and grade level in which you teach won’t play a huge part in how much money a teacher makes a year, in many school districts, you’ll earn an annual stipend, signing bonus, or even student loan repayment if you teach in a subject that’s been designated as a teacher shortage area. Teacher shortage areas may be in a particular teacher license field, an economic development region within the state, or a teacher license field within an economic development region.

The teacher shortage in the U.S. is reaching unprecedented heights. According to the Economic Policy Institute, there was a shortage of 110,000 teachers in the U.S. in 2018, and by 2025, this number could reach 200,000.

According to the U.S. Department of Education database of U.S. teacher shortages, 45 states and Washington D.C. experienced special education teacher shortages in the 2020-21 school year, either in specific grades/special education areas or statewide. School districts in low socio-economic areas are affected most by teacher shortages.

Teaching an approved teacher shortage subject and/or in high-needs area may allow you to take advantage of loan forgiveness programs available at the federal and state levels, which can ultimately have a large effect on understanding how much money teachers make.

At the federal level, the TEACH (Teacher Education Assistants for College and Higher Education) Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 per year for students who agree to teach in a high-need field (such as special education, math, and science) that serves students from low-income families.

The Teacher Forgiveness Program also provides up to $17,500 in loan repayment for teachers with Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans. To qualify, you must be employed full-time as a highly qualified teacher for five consecutive years at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency serving low-income students.

Many states also offer loan repayment programs in teacher shortage or other high-demand areas. For example, Minnesota’s Teacher Shortage Loan Repayment Program pays up to 800,000 in annual loan repayment assistance (up to $5,000 total) to educators teaching in a statewide teaching shortage area. Check with your state’s education agency to learn more about tuition grants and loan repayment incentives available in your state.

At the local level, school districts may also offer specific financial incentives such as signing bonuses and annual stipends for teachers assuming or remaining in areas designated as teacher shortage areas.


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