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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Email Q&A: Certified Teacher Pay Rates at Private Elementary Schools

Hi Bruce,
I am currently in the US and am going to start in a middle school teacher certification program. It seems like I've seen ads from schools that seek Americans and require certification, and that kind of school might work out for me.

The thing is my adventuring days are behind me, and I'm pretty sure the salary would be a few hundred dollars a month. I get this from the Country Day School website, "Country Day School salaries are low compared to the U.S. and the cost of most imported items is high due to taxes." The thing I want to know is: How low is low? Are we talking $28,000 a year low, or $800 / month low?

I realize you may not know the answer to this question, but am hoping that you may know somebody who does. I guess when the time comes I can ask the schools point blank or post the question to blogs or posting forums, but right now I"m just trying to get the lay of the land.

Thanks for your interesting blog. I'm not an ESL person but I do enjoy your CR teaching life vicariously.

Asi que, adelante...

My Response:
Thanks a lot for the email - it's nice to hear that what I've been writing/doing is at least in some way helping others either make the transition or make the decision to do so. As for the salary question, in my experience, working for private language schools (such as the one I, and most people who are down here to work temporarily work for) will generally allow you to bring in 450-600/mo working a relatively full schedule (maybe 25 hours/wk). This kind of thing is fine for me, and others like me, because we are here on a temporary basis, and not having to worry about saving for retirement (yet), and having a bit of savings, makes living, and enjoying myself (travelling a good bit, going out, etc.) possible. That said, if you want to move to CR and live like an American and try to save money, it would be difficult on a teacher's salary. Again though, these are the private language institutes - I really cannot speak for other types of schools, but keep in mind that $5-600 per month is very good for tico standards (it just requires that you live more like a tico, and it's not easy to change one's lifestyle - it's been difficult for me). All that said, I don't want to dissuade you based just on my anecdotal information. If you are willing to devote multiple years to this, it may be possible to find work with larger more established schools that perhaps pay better. My advice is to keep doing what you're doing - research. Ask around, get various ideas as to what to expect, and base your decision on that in relation to your personal situation.

Hope this helps,

Finally, the reader asked the following:
Thanks for your reply. Please do post my question. Maybe someone who knows about the salaries offered at the Marian Baker School, Country Day School, International Christian School, or one of the other high end private schools will give us a reply.

Obviously, if anyone has any information regarding salaries and such at different schools, it would be helpful, if you choose, to post it on the blog as a comment. This is, after all, a collaborative effort.