The English teaching market and hiring processes for English teachers in Nicaragua is simple compared to many countries in Southeast Asia or the Middle East. In Nicaragua, you’re eligible to teach in most schools with just your TEFL certification. Nicaragua has a fantastic teaching market because it accepts the widest range of individuals as English teachers. You don’t need a 4-year university degree, there’s no age limit, and you don’t need to be a native English speaker.
If you do have a 4-year university degree, you’re an even more desirable candidate to employers compared to your peers who do not have a degree. We like to say that most schools prefer people with a bachelor’s degree, but they’re not necessary.
Nicaragua is also a great destination for non-native English speakers. Nicaragua attracts people from all over the world, especially people from Europe. There are many different nationalities from Europe who reside within Nicaragua and Leon/Las Peñitas, and they are a testament to the diversity within Nicaragua. If you are a non-native English speaker from Europe or elsewhere, but fluent in English, you can still teach English in Nicaragua with your TEFL Certificate. Very rarely will schools ask for proof of English proficiency (TOEFL or beyond your TEFL Certificate.
Nicaragua also has a great teaching market for mature teachers and there aren’t any age restrictions or limits for English teachers. For example, if you’re over the age of 40 you’re going to have a very difficult time finding work in Japan. Nicaraguans have a great deal of integrity and respect their elders, so if you’re in your 50’s or 60’s, you’ll have no problem finding a job as an English Teacher.
A majority of English teaching positions in Nicaragua are found on the ground and most interviews are conducted in-person. This means you’ll need to apply and interview for your new job after you land in Nicaragua.
You’ll be teaching English on a tourist visa in Nicaragua, so you won’t need to apply for a work visa beforehand. This means you’ll be getting paid ‘under the table’ by your employers, which is typical in Nicaragua. You’ll either be paid in cash (usually bi-monthly) or by check, which you can cash by taking it to the issuing bank with your passport. In addition, most people will teach for about a year. From there, most either move to a different country to continue teaching or they move back to their home country to pursue other ventures – often times going back to school or continuing education.
It’s possible to get a work visa in Nicaragua, however very few employers will sponsor English teachers for one because it takes nearly a year to process. So, when you arrive in Nicaragua, you’ll pay $10 for a 90-day visa and then you’ll renew your visa by visiting Costa Rica for 72 hours – we call this a ‘border run‘. (Honduras and El Salvador have a treaty agreement with Nicaragua, and you cannot renew your passport by traveling to either of those countries.) Most English teachers travel with their classmates or other ITA alumni and make a trip out of these border runs. Employers know that you’ll have to do these trips every 90 days. So you’ll have no problem getting a long weekend off to go renew your tourist visas for another 90 days.