Teach English in Brazil

TEFL jobs in Brazil

Being the largest country in South America has given Brazil something of an advantage in the global markets, leaving it with something of an economic powerhouse reputation. As the economy has gone from strength to strength, the call for English teachers in Brazil has also increased, but contracts are short, making this the perfect gap year experience and leaving you time to travel extensively once you have done your six months of teaching.

Brazil has something of a party country, and there is a large carnival vibe with samba dancing and street events. Football is also essential to the country, and a combination of all of these makes it a great destination to explore. The culture has been heavily influenced over the years by the Portuguese element, and this is now the official language. But, don’t be fooled, it is a very multicultural destination, and this has led to diversity and an explosion of art and music which you will love to see. For those who love the sun, sand and sea combination, there are over 2000 beaches to enjoy, and of course, it is home to the Amazon rainforest, which is the largest in the world.

As well as being the fifth most populated country in the world, the 200 million people who call Brazil home have a reputation for being foodies, and the eclectic but wonderful collision of cultures comes across in the unique dishes, so be sure to check out plenty of local eateries when you can. No matter where you base yourself as an English teacher in Brazil, take the time to visit Rio de Janeiro and see one of the seven wonders of the world up close and personal, as this city is home to the monumental Christ Redeemer statue. The following guide will help you learn about finding work and making a life for yourself in this amazing country.

Job types

Business English Classes

English business classes tend to be held in local offices around the many cities, and as an English teacher in Brazil, you can build a working week visiting the various sites teaching adults who want to hone their English skills. More and more employers are realising the benefit of a workforce that can speak English, so they pay for the lessons to take place during the working day.

English Language Schools

The language school is a feature of most countries, and Brazil is no different. Here you will find adults who do not have lessons offered by an employer wanting to improve their own English, so having a top-up TEFL module in business English will stand you in good stead as an English teacher in Brazil. You will also find school leavers hoping to move to another country for their University education needing to meet certain English criteria in order to be eligible to apply, and again there are specific TEFL modules you can take to help you teach this area of English teaching in Brazil well.

Private language lessons

Many English teachers in Brazil will also add to their income as private tutors. You can offer your services to anyone in the local community and set your own fees, but if you are working for a language school, you should check if they allow you to moonlight. Another option is to use your TEFL skills to teach online in your spare time, this way, your students can be located anywhere in the world, and your employer won’t object. Remember that private lessons are classed as self-employment, so learn the rules and comply with them whatever country you are in.

Finding a job

Finding a job teaching English in Brazil is usually easiest in person, so most people just pack up and head out with a tourist visa as this tends to bring more opportunities. However, some vacancies will be on international job boards, and in this case, you will have your interview remotely over the phone. The larger cities will yield the best results, including Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Sao Paulo and Brasilia. Most contracts will only be for six months to comply with tourist visa rules, and you will have the most luck finding work between March and August.

Qualifications

The main thing you need to teach English in Brazil is your TEFL certification. They also prefer that you come from a native English-speaking country to ensure your knowledge and grasp of the language are as good as they need them to be. However, you do not need to have a degree or experience. If you have a degree, you can use it to secure a higher pay grade. Generally, they only employ English teachers in Brazil who come from the UK, USA, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, or Australia.

Visa Requirements for English Teachers in Brazil

The only way to legally teach and earn money as an English teacher in Brazil is on a tourist visa. These are issued for 90 days, and you can apply for one extension of an additional 90 days. This is why most posts are limited to six-month contracts and no longer. This isn’t the country for you if you are looking to settle for longer. You need to visa in place before you fly out, and to do this, you apply to your nearest Brazilian Consulate; costs vary depending on where you live.

Need to know

Although they are generally lovely people, the laid-back lifestyle has made Brazilians somewhat unreliable and likely to forget to turn up. If you have a contract at a language school or work as a business English teacher in Brazil, this is less of a problem as you will get paid anyway. However, if you are teaching privately, be sure to set things up, so you don’t waste your time. Get them to travel to you and take payment in advance, so it doesn’t interfere too much if they fail to arrive for their lessons.

Brazil enjoys a very favourable climate, and the minimum temperatures during the year never drop below 20C/86F, which makes it a great place to live for sun-seekers. Generally, you can get by without speaking any Portuguese as most people have some English skills.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio is the obvious choice for teaching English in Brazil if you love a loud and vibrant life; it is the capital and, therefore, the most expensive, especially close to Ipanema beach, so don’t look for accommodation there. However, if you like the hustle and bustle, it is a great place to work.

San Paulo

If you want something a little cheaper for living costs, check out San Paulo. It is also a bit quieter and less of a party scene. It is considered the business capital, and therefore private tutors are in higher demand here and can charge more than in other areas.

Salvador

A very laid-back life awaits those who choose to work as English teachers in Salvador. It has an absolutely stunning beach that is not packed with revellers, and this also makes the cost of living lower than in Rio. There are plenty of reasons to choose this delightful area to live and work in.

Recife

If budgeting if your thing, then Recife is another place to look. The $800 rent you spend here will get you a relative palace compared to the same costs in Rio, and you also get to live by the beach; however, stay out of the sea as it is known for having a lot of sharks.

Culture and Living in Brazil

Life in Brazil will never be dull, especially if you head to party central Rio de Janeiro. That said, it is a very safe place to live; you may experience pickpockets, but to be fair, that happens everywhere. The major cities have good public transport links, the bus system is comprehensive and doesn’t cost a lot, so this is your best option for getting around.

Classroom & work culture

Contact time tends to be 20-25 hours, but you also will be given a set amount of hours for your preparation and lesson planning. As you will be primarily teaching adults, classroom control isn’t really an issue, and they tend to be keen learners as it will benefit them either from a business or education point of view. Teaching English in Brazil will one easier if you can learn some Portuguese before you go, though you can get by without it.

Culture & etiquette tips

The main religion in the country is Roman Catholic, and this is observed by around 65% of the population. This makes an interesting clash between party life and the more conservative culture, but somehow, it works. Just remember, when you are at work, you should dress for the office and save your beach clothes for your downtime. You will find locals welcome tourists and are very friendly. The country also loves football, and games are played on the beaches and in the streets; they also support their national team at international events. An excellent way to fit in is to join in with the football games when you come across them.

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Living costs

Living costs in Brazil are considered low on a global scale; it ranks as the third cheapest place to live in Latin America. Remember, everything is relative, so your salary is designed to offer you a comfortable life with not much left over. It is rare to find any accommodation provided as part of your job, so renting will take the bulk of your money. When you first arrive, book into a temporary home and look for a place to live. Generally, you will find a house share is your best bet, and it tends to be apartment-style living with other teachers. As there is a regular turnover of TEFL teachers, you can generally find someone leaving as you arrive and take their room on.

The cheapest way to live is like a local, so shop for groceries and cook your meals using local produce. Save meals in restaurants for special occasions and try and avoid imported goods as they are always going to cost more. Learn to shop at markets, and you will find loads of amazingly fresh and locally grown bargains to make delicious meals.

To obtain the most up-to-date cost of living figures, we use the world’s biggest cost of living comparison website, Numbio.com.

  • Accommodation: £277–£458/$359–$592/€359–€592
  • Utilities: £68/$88/€88
  • Health insurance: Cost of a typical visit to a GP: £33/$42/€42
  • Monthly transport pass: £30/$39/€39
  • Basic dinner out for two: £14/$18/€18
  • Cappuccino in an ex-pat area: £1.51/$1.95/€1.95
  • A beer in a pub: £1.56/$2.02/€2.00
  • 1 litre of milk: £0.51/$0.66/€0.66
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.03/$1.33/€1.33

TEFL jobs in Brazil: KEY POINTS

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SALARY

€700 - €1,000

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EDUCATION

BA degree preferred

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MAIN JOB TYPES

Private schools, public schools, private tutoring, volunteering projects

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TEFL CERTIFICATION NEEDED

120 hour TEFL Training

KEY FACTS

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife, Sao Paulo and Brasilia
  • English teacher salaries in Brazil: The pay can be in the region of $800-$1,300/€800-€1,300 each month, depending on the type of role and your experience.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: At least a 120-hour TEFL qualification
  • Prerequisite university degree: A degree is not required to teach in Brazil but is highly recommended.
  • Term times: February to December
  • Currency: Brazilian Real BRL
  • Language: Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, but English is spoken by some, as is Spanish and Hunsrik
  • Teaching programmes: Teaching adults or children in private language schools, business schools, or as a private tutor.
  • Age restrictions: None
  • Previous teaching experience: Previous teaching experience is helpful for higher-paid roles.

Facts about Brazil

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LANGUAGE

Portuguese

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POPULATION

21.26 crores

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TEFL JOB DEMAND

Mid

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CURRENCY

Euro (EUR)

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CAPITAL

Brazilian real

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OUR BRAZIL TEFL RATING

3.8/5

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TEFL jobs in Brazil: FAQS

Q:

How much can I earn as an English teacher in Brazil?

Generally, you can expect to earn something in the region of $800-$1,300/€800-€1,300 each month as an English teacher in Brazil, depending on the establishment and your experience and qualifications.

No, Brazil isn’t that expensive to live in; it is technically the third cheapest country in Latin America, but your earnings will be relative, so don’t expect to have loads left over.

A degree is not considered compulsory for teaching English in Brazil; however, you will earn more if you have one. You do need to come from a native English-speaking country and have a TEFL certification.

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