* Post updated 2017. Due to peso fluctuation, amounts are quoted in U.S. dollars
The most frequently asked question of all about teaching English as a second language in Argentina has to do with the payscale. There are many people who eek out a living as English teachers in Argentina and even more who get by with a combination of teaching English and other paid work. In any case it is recommended to come to the country with sufficient savings to cover your costs for a few months until you build up a regular clientele.
Q. How much money can I make as an English teacher in Argentina?
A. Most English teachers in Argentina are paid an hourly wage. If you work for an institution, they generally pay about the equivilant of US$10 per hour. For a private class a typical fee starts at US$12 per hour, although you can sometimes ask for as much as US$15-20, depending on factors such as travel time, number of hours per week and your reputation as a teacher. If you are just starting out, you may want to offer private classes for a cheaper rate, in order to build up your number of students.
What this amounts to per month depends entirely on how much you work. Most ‘full-time’ teachers average about four or five classes per day. Such a workload would allow you to make a salary that is better than the average local wage, but much less than professionals in the corporate world, and the workload as a full-time teacher can be grueling.
A very important factor to consider is the travel time between classes. Not many academies can offer you a whole batch of classes at one company, so you will likely be traveling around by foot, bike, bus or subway in order to get to different classes around the city. So it is possible to ‘work’ a 12-hour day, but only actually earn a fee for five or six of those hours, with the rest of the time spent traveling between destinations, or on little breaks of one or two hours that you could not fill with a class.
Quick tip: To save money on subway or bus fare, and get some exercise during the workday borrow a bike if in Buenos Aires through the city’s bike lending program, Eco Bici.
The majority of English students prefer classes at one of three times of day: before work, lunch time, or straight after work. Therefore you tend to easily fill those time slots with classes, but have more trouble filling the spaces in between.
So you can earn enough to survive and have a little fun if you are prepared to work long days, and are lucky enough to fill up your schedule or find well-paying private students. Many opt to teach less classes per day, or only work three or four days a week and earn just enough to live like a typical college student. At the low end, a teacher can expect to earn the peso equivilant of US$200 teaching 15 one-hour classes. A fulltime teacher working 40 hours a week can earn anywhere from the peso equivilant of US$400 to $625 per week, which isn’t bad money, especially outside of Buenos Aires. To see how this relates to the cost of living in the country, see check out the FAQ at Wander Argentina.com.
Note: There is a high inflation rate in Argentina which can make earning pesos a rollercoaster ride (and this is why we quote prices in US dollars) — luckily class fees tend to increase a little bit every year as well.