Brazil is the largest country and probably one of the most popular travel destinations in South America. This diverse and colorful country is famous for several things. Carnivals, soccer, bossa nova, and beaches are just a few. Therefore, it isn’t surprising why teachers consider teaching English in Brazil.
There are ESL teaching job opportunities in Brazil throughout the country. However, the few cities you would want to focus on are São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, and Brasilia. These places are the central financial districts, famous tourism areas, or the most populated cities.
If you are not entirely sure if you want to teach English in Brazil, you can consider other countries in South America. A few of the alternatives are Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina. Also, Costa Rica in nearby Central America is a great option to think about.
Teaching English in Brazil
Like many other countries in South America, Brazil also has peak hiring months. For Brazil, it is March and August. You will have a lower chance of finding a job during January and February as it is the popular vacation season. Furthermore, most employers will offer a contract for a maximum of 6 months.
Additionally, employers will expect you to be in Brazil for in-person interviews. Thus, unless you have a connection with someone, you will travel to Brazil and then start the job search. There are four standard time zones in Brazil. So, make sure to know which time zone your destination is part of.
As an ESL educator thinking about traveling to Brazil to teach English, you will have many questions. Continue reading this article to find out all the answers.
Requirements for Teaching English in Brazil
The most common requirements for ESL teaching jobs in Brazil are:
- TEFL certificate
- Bachelor’s degree (preferred)
The minimum qualifications for English teachers in Brazil are pretty simple, unlike in many Asian countries. A bachelor’s degree will increase your chance of securing the job you want. Yet, it is not required. Therefore, it won’t dramatically affect your job search if you do not have one.
Still, you are strongly recommended to get the TEFL certificate. Some employers will only hire ESL teachers with TEFL (or TESOL/CELTA) certification. Even if you don’t have teaching experience, the certificate is a great way to show that you are qualified. If you don’t have it yet, consider taking TEFL courses to boost your chances of getting an ESL teaching job.
Salary for ESL Jobs in Brazil
The average wage in Brazil for teaching English is around $800 – $1,300 (USD) per month. It is less than what most teachers make in North America. However, the cost of living, including rent, is approximately 60 to 80 percent lower than the major cities in North America.
Additionally, you can double your salary by having extra private lessons. As a private tutor, you will be able to make $15 – $25 (USD) per hour. However, you won’t be able to find students for private lessons before making connections in Brazil. So, you will need savings for start-up costs.
English Teaching Jobs in Brazil
There are mainly two types of ESL teaching jobs in Brazil: private language academies and private tutoring.
Private Language Schools
This option is excellent for teachers just beginning their teaching careers. It is because, with the private language teaching institute, you will be able to interact with various types of students and classes. You will be able to teach beginners to advanced-level students of different ages, class sizes, and locations. It is a great chance to build your ESL teaching experience.
You will have the greatest chance to find a job at this type of school during February and March. This is right after the end of the huge Carnivals. Keep in mind that employers are only willing to hire teachers already in Brazil. Therefore, in most cases, you need to be in the country during this period physically. You could go earlier, but it is the vacation season, so it will be hard to find a job opening. Nevertheless, if you want to enjoy the festivals, feel free to travel earlier.
The tourist visa laws in Brazil have changed a lot since the end of 2017. The law reform made it more difficult for teachers to work under the table without a proper work visa. Unfortunately, most employers in Brazil are not willing to help ESL teachers get a work visa. So, English teachers in Brazil are advised to do private tutoring lessons or teach online.
Some teachers use private tutoring as a supplementary source of income, but some choose it as the only form of income. This is possible because of the higher hourly wage of private tutoring. Teachers can make twice the salary from private language schools. However, it is crucial to beware of the uncertainty of private tutoring. Students can withdraw any time they wish to, making it an unstable source of income.
Things to Consider When Teaching in Brazil
As a tourist, you can only stay in Brazil for up to 180 days. You can make a one-time extension of 90 days while in Brazil. However, after that, you cannot stay any longer. If you are planning to stay in Brazil with a tourist visa, you have to plan your stay accordingly.
It is uncommon for English teachers in Brazil to have a work visa because it is difficult to obtain it unless the employer sponsors the ESL teachers. In addition, most private language institutes do not want to support the expensive and long visa process.
FAQ About Teaching English in Brazil
Here is a quick guide to some commonly asked questions about being an English teacher in Brazil.
Does Brazil need English teachers?
Brazil is opening its market to more competition and foreign investments. These positive improvements are turning Brazil into an international and regional economic powerhouse. Accordingly, more local business people are expected to learn English. Thus, there is a high demand for ESL teachers.
What qualifications do I need to teach English in Brazil?
The two required qualifications are a TEFL certificate and the fluency of a native English speaker. You do not necessarily have to be a native speaker; you just have to be as good as one. Also, a bachelor’s degree is preferred but is not required.
How much does an English teacher earn in Brazil?
On average, ESL teachers in Brazil make around $800 – $1,300 USD per month. Teachers supplement their salary with private tutoring lessons, which they can make $15 – $25 USD per hour.
What is the cost of living in Brazil?
The cost of living in Brazil is relatively low. Compared to the major cities in North America, the cost of living in Brazil is approximately 60 to 80 percent lower.
What city in Brazil speaks English?
Only 5 percent of the total population in Brazil speaks English. Among the 5 percent, only a tiny portion are fluent speakers. You will have a hard time finding people who can speak English outside of the major cities.
Should I Teach ESL in Brazil?
Deciding whether to teach English in Brazil depends on various factors and personal preferences. Here are some aspects to consider:
- Job Opportunities: Brazil has a significant demand for English teachers, particularly in larger cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. There are opportunities to teach in language schools, private institutions, and even through private tutoring.
- Cultural Experience: Teaching in Brazil allows you to immerse yourself in a vibrant and diverse culture. You can experience the country’s music, dance, food, and explore its natural beauty.
- Language Exposure: Brazilian Portuguese is the primary language spoken in Brazil. If you have an interest in learning Portuguese or want to be exposed to a new language, teaching in Brazil can provide an excellent opportunity.
- Cost of Living: The cost of living in Brazil can vary depending on the city and region. Major cities may have a higher cost of living, but it can still be relatively affordable compared to other countries. Research the specific location you’re considering to assess its affordability.
- Work Environment: Brazilian schools and language centers may vary in terms of facilities, resources, and teaching methodologies. Research potential employers to ensure a supportive work environment that aligns with your teaching style.
- Visa Requirements: Check the visa requirements to teach English in Brazil. Depending on the length of your stay and your citizenship, you may need a work visa or another form of legal authorization to work as an English teacher.
- Cultural Adaptation: Brazil has its own unique cultural norms and customs. Prepare to adapt to a different work culture and be open to learning and embracing the local way of life.
- Professional Development: Teaching in Brazil can provide opportunities for professional growth. Engage in teacher training programs, collaborate with local educators, and gain experience working with a diverse student population.
Teaching English in Brazil: Join the Conversation
What are your thoughts on teaching English in this amazing country? Is it the right place for you, or are you looking for a country in nearby Central America? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.