The best English schools in Ecuador (often in the captial, Quito)require their teachers to have a TEFL Certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate Course. Understandably, Ecuadorians want to make sure the person they will be paying for their English lessons has some relevant training.
If you have a TEFL/TESL Certificate and/or relevant teaching experience, most schools will employ you even without a degree. It is also possible to get a teaching job without teacher training, but if you are serious about teaching - and want to be able to teach in other parts of the world, where the demand for qualifications is greater - you should really consider investing in quality preparation.
If you do have a degree in Education and are certified to teach in the US, you have good chances to find employment at the international schools, like the Academia Cotopaxi in Quito, one of the top English-language schools catering for Ecuadorian and American students from early childhood through to secondary school, or the InterAmerican Academy in Guayaquil, a private, nonprofit, coeducational day school which offers a U.S. educational program from nursery through to grade 12.
Salaries paid by international schools are linked to those back home (making them comparably higher to local ones) and teaching hours are based on an American academic calendar, allowing you to enjoy not only the Ecuadorians holidays but also the traditional American breaks.
With regards to salaries, you should always view them in light of the low cost of living that characterizes Ecuador. At the bottom end of the market there are the private English schools where you can get hired without a university degree or a TEFL certificate.
Teaching rates here are around $5 USD (€4, £3) per hour. If you get hired by a school which requires you to have a degree and TEFL/TESL training or relevant experience, you can expect to earn between up to $7 USD (€6, £4) per hour. On average teachers put in 16 contact hours a week (don't expect to get paid for preparing lesson plans). An average monthly wage is around $400 USD (€317, £255) to $800 USD (€633, £509).
If you are coming from richer countries, this doesn't look like a lot of money but in Ecuador you can live on $300 USD (€237, £191) a month or so, staying in the main cities of Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca, where more jobs are on offer. You can get by on even less in the smaller towns, but jobs are harder to come by there.
If you want to live it up and, for example, eat often in restaurants or travel around the country every weekend, you will need about $500 USD (€396, £318) a month. So be prepared to either teach more hours, and perhaps work in more than one school, or have some savings in the bank.
Good schools will often offer benefits on top of your salary. These can include free Spanish classes, help with accommodation, assistance with travel arrangements, and the processing of your work visa so you can reside in Ecuador legally.
English teachers in Ecuador are often not required to sign contracts (unless you teach at an international school). Private English schools may ask for a verbal 6-month or year-long commitment, but contracts are rarely formalized.
A word of warning to all female teachers! Ecuador is a patriarchal society where machismo is a reality. Expect cat calls and leering but don't be afraid, it is all done in good nature.Image © AgenciaAndes