Find Your Dream TEFL Job

Quick Facts

  • Degree Required

    None

  • Salary

    $800-1,300/month

  • Visa

    Work Visa/Tourist Visa

  • Age

    18+

  • Contract

    6-12 months

  • Cost of Living

    $800-1,300/month

  • Typical Students

    Business Professionals

  • Interview

    In person

What Kind of Teaching Jobs Are There In Brazil?

Brazil’s TEFL jobs market is booming, with a recent growth in both tourism and international business fuelling the desire for English lessons.

The vast majority of English teaching jobs in Brazil are for adults in private language centres, with business English teachers in particular demand. However, there are some opportunities to pick up teaching roles in international schools and, very occasionally, in public schools, particularly if you have higher level qualifications.

Brazil also has a big market for private English tuition. If you’re planning to stay in Brazil for a few months or more, this can be a great way to top up your wages. In fact, many TEFL teachers start out in private language centres and then gradually move over to become full-time private tutors, in order to take advantage of higher pay and more control over their time.

Teaching at private language centres in Brazil

Most English teachers in Brazil find their first job at one of the country’s numerous private language centres. These mainly cater to adults although there are some opportunities to teach children. Business English is in particular demand, with English classes often delivered to employees on their own business premises rather than at the language centre.

Brazilian students tend to be lively – and not very punctual. Harness your students’ enthusiasm and be prepared to go with the flow, to get the most out of teaching English in Brazil.

Finding a job

Brazilian employers expect to interview candidates face-to-face. While you may see occasional positions advertised on TEFL jobs boards such as Love TEFL, you’ve got a far greater chance of finding work if you are already in Brazil when you apply.

Contact language centres direct to enquire about vacancies and be ready to be interviewed at short notice if a teaching position is available. Make sure you dress smartly and professionally ­– and don’t be surprised if you get offered a job on the spot.

TEFL employers prefer their teachers to be native English speakers with both TEFL certification and a Bachelor’s degree. However, the strong demand for English teachers in Brazil means that you can find work teaching English even if you’re not a native English speaker or don’t have a degree (though preferably not both together!), particularly if you have previous teaching experience.

When to apply

The majority of English teaching positions in Brazil start in February / March and run until the following January. There’s also a second, smaller window for jobs starting at the beginning of the new term in August. As private language centres like to interview candidates in person, most recruitment takes place relatively close to the start dates. Aim to be in Brazil in the weeks leading up to the changeover period at the end / start of terms, to give yourself the best chance of finding work.

If you’re not in Brazil during the peak periods, don’t despair. Private language centres do take on new students (and teachers) all year round. While you’ll have less options if you’re applying away from the start of a new term, you can find vacancies at private language centres in Brazil at any time of year if you’re prepared to put in the effort to hunt them out.

Teaching hours & Class sizes

You’ll need to deliver around 25 to 30 teaching hours per week in order to earn a decent wage. You may well be offered a contract with fewer hours (around 20 per week is fairly normal). If so, it’s worth asking if you can deliver additional classes, as private language centres in Brazil tend to be fairly flexible.

The majority of your teaching hours will be outside of the normal office / working day, so expect a lot of late afternoon, evening and weekend work. If you’re teaching business clients, you may also deliver lessons during their lunch breaks or in the early morning.

The size of your class will vary, depending on who and what you’re teaching. On average, you can expect around 10 to 15 students per lesson. However, groups can be far smaller, and even one-to-one, particularly if you’re teaching business English to employees.

Salary & Bonuses

Private language centres in Brazil can pay their TEFL teachers either by the hour or on a monthly salary basis. Wages vary, depending on your location and experience. As a rough guide, you can expect to earn between $6 to $11 per hour or around $800 to $1,300 per month if you teach English for 25 to 30 hours per week.

You’re unlikely to have any extra benefits on top of your pay, so you will need to put in a reasonable number of teaching hours in order to afford a decent standard of living. Most language schools are fairly flexible about working hours, so it’s always worth asking for additional classes if you want to top up your wages.

Vacation

TEFL teachers generally do not get paid holiday when teaching English at private language centres in Brazil. However, most employers are fairly flexible, so you should be able to take time off for short trips during the year – or wait until you’ve completed your contract and have a longer stint of travel.

Pros

  • Some flexibility over working hours
  • Teaching is mainly late in the afternoon and evening, leaving you time to explore during the day
  • Most students are adults, which is great if this is your preferred student group

Cons

  • You need to plan your day carefully, to avoid wasting your time off commuting between home and work
  • Working during the evenings and weekends can impact on your social life
  • There are less opportunities to teach English to children

Teaching at public schools in Brazil

It’s pretty difficult to find a job teaching English in a public school in Brazil, even if you have higher level qualifications. For starters, you’ll need to speak fluent Portuguese, have previous teaching experience and convince an employer that it’s worth investing the time and money in applying for a work visa, when they can hire local teachers more easily. While nothing is ever impossible, we don’t suggest you waste too much time looking for a paid position teaching English in a state school in Brazil unless your heart is really set on it.

If you are keen to teach English to children, a better alternative is look for jobs at private international schools. These schools generally teach all lessons in English and frequently recruit foreign staff. However, competition can be fierce, so you will need to be a fully qualified, experienced teacher with knowledge of the relevant curriculum to stand a reasonable chance of securing a post.

Finding a job

You will normally need a formal teaching qualification and teaching experience in order to find a position at an international school. Most schools also ask for a minimum commitment of two years. If you can’t offer this, you’re probably better off looking for a job teaching English at a private language centre.

Unlike private language centres, international schools in Brazil do advertise posts on specialist jobs boards and newspapers, such as TES and Love TEFL. Most international schools also have information about current vacancies on their websites. If you’re unsure what international schools are in the area, search for your preferred location and see what’s on offer.

On top of individual vacancies, international schools often welcome applications from qualified teachers on spec, which they keep on file for vacancies that come up.

When to apply

International schools often follow the UK / US school year structure, rather than the Brazilian timetable. This means that most positions start in August, with a second, smaller intake in March.

International schools tend to recruit well in advance, so start your search at least six months before you hope to begin work – and don’t be surprised if positions are advertised up to a year ahead.

It’s often worth contacting schools in between official recruitment periods. Many international schools welcome enquiries from qualified teachers and are happy to keep your application on file in case new vacancies come up.

Teaching hours & Class sizes

Class sizes in Brazil tend to be relatively small. Around 15 to 20 pupils per lesson is normal, although this does vary across age groups and locations.

Schools in Brazil are open Monday to Friday, with lessons usually starting between 8 to 9am and finishing between 3 to 4pm. Private schools also normally offer both before and after school activities to their students.

You will given a structured timetable at the start of each term. On top of your teaching hours, you’re likely to have some responsibility for out of school activities and will also need to allocate time for lesson preparation and admin tasks.

Salary & Bonuses

Salaries at international schools are competitive and generally higher than in private language centres. Exact figures are negotiated on an individual basis, depending on your qualifications and experience.

You will normally receive additional benefits on top of your basic wage which can include accommodation, flight reimbursement, medical insurance and free or subsidised places at the school for your children (if relevant).

Vacation

You should be given paid holiday as part of your annual contract if you’re teaching in an international school. You will normally be expected to take this during the school holiday periods.

Pros

  • International schools offer well paid, secure teaching positions
  • Employers should sponsor you through the work visa application process
  • If you’re prepared to work hard, the roles can be hugely rewarding

Cons

  • Positions for English teachers in public schools in Brazil are rare
  • English teaching positions in international schools are highly competitive
  • You’ll normally need to commit to a minimum of two years
Various photos of Brazil

Other types of teaching work in Brazil

You can pick up private English students in Brazil fairly easily, particularly if you’re already teaching English and have starting to build up contacts. Most of your students will be adults looking to extend their skills but you may find some children who want to have extra English lessons too.

Private tuition tends to pay better than language centres, with fees of up to double the wage you could earn in a language centre. As a result, many TEFL teachers take on a few private students initially to top up their wages and then move over to this full-time, if they continue to teach English in Brazil for a longer period.

Am I eligible to teach in Brazil?

To teach in Brazil, you just need a fluent level of English and a TEFL certificate. A Bachelor’s degree is not an official requirement, though some employers may ask for candidates with this qualification. There are also much fewer restrictions on what passport you need for a working visa in Brazil and employers are willing to hire many different passport holders.

How can I get a visa?

You can enter Brazil and look for work on a tourist visa. Once you’re offered a teaching position, you need to apply for a work visa. This can be an extremely lengthy and frustrating process but it is essential if you want to teach English legally in Brazil.

Don’t be surprised if your new employer is reluctant to go through the work visa application process, particularly for shorter term contracts. Brazilians aren’t hot on admin at the best of times – and the application process is both expensive and long. You may well need to pay the costs yourself in order to persuade your employer that it’s worth the effort.

Given the hassle of getting a work visa, many TEFL teachers in Brazil work on a tourist visa. Although this is commonplace, we don’t recommend it. You will be working illegally and there may be consequences (including deportation) if you are caught.

Where can I teach in Brazil?

The main concentration of TEFL jobs is in the big cities, with Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sao Paulo topping the list. All three offer a wide range of English teaching positions, with language centres constantly on the lookout for TEFL teachers, particularly in the run up to the start of a new term.

Rio de Janeiro is simply stupendous, with rainforests, mountains and the iconic Christ the Redeemer framing your view plus the stunning Copacabana Beach and a lively nightlife to enjoy during your time off.

If you’re looking for a super-friendly city with a world-famous Carnaval, then Salvador is hard to beat. This huge, modern city has a fabulous culture plus underground bars that just cry out to be explored.

For big city lovers, Sao Paulo is a great place to teach English in Brazil. This massive city combines towering skyscrapers with a thriving music scene and great shopping – plus loads of private language centres offering work to TEFL teachers.

What are the challenges of teaching English in Brazil?

Administration and punctuality are definitely not strong points for Brazilians. Classes start late or over-run and emails are frequently left unanswered for several weeks. This can be highly frustrating if you’re trying to find a new job or simply want to plan your day. Make sure you pack bags of patience, be persistent and then go with the flow.

Sadly, the massive income gap between rich and poor means that every major city in Brazil has favelas. These are slums, usually dominated by drug lords and crime and with very little access to basic facilities. They’re often only a road’s width away from wealthy complexes, so can be easy to stumble into by mistake if you don’t know where you’re going. Make sure you know where they are and avoid them where possible, particularly if you’re out alone. Having said that, for the most part, favelas are simply a feature of city life and shouldn’t have a huge impact on your time teaching English in Brazil.

Cost of living in Brazil

The cost of living in Brazil is relatively high compared to other South American countries, with Rio the most expensive location, followed by San Paulo and then Salvador. However, you should still be able to afford a reasonable standard of living on your English teacher’s wages. Just don’t expect to get rich from teaching English in Brazil!

Housing is rarely included in your wage package, so accommodation is likely to be your biggest monthly outgoing. A city centre apartment in San Paulo costs around $350 to $550 per month, with prices slightly higher in Rio and lower in Salvador. You can reduce this by around a third by looking for housing out of the centre and/or sharing.

You can eat out relatively cheaply in Brazil. A simple meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost around $7 to $15 and a local beer will set you back around $2. However, it’s generally cheaper to shop locally and cook for yourself.

About Brazil

From the Beautiful Game to throbbing music-filled cities, via idyllic white-sandy beaches, dense jungle and spectacular waterfalls, Brazil is stunning. And if that’s not enough, it’s also home to the greatest biodiversity on the planet, with numerous iconic creatures including howler monkeys, pink dolphins and toucans.

Under the surface, you’ll find a brilliant melting pot of nationalities. Although Brazilian culture has been hugely shaped by the Portuguese, there’s also the indigenous population and a strong African influence as well as a more recent wave of western Europeans and Asians to add to the mix.

As the largest country in South America by some way, the biggest question is where to start. Luckily, most towns and cities have fairly well-developed transport networks, making travel in and around the country relatively straightforward. However, Brazil is a country to savour. Make the most of your time teaching English here – and let yourself be swept along with all that this amazing country has to offer.

Various photos of Brazil
Various photos of Brazil

Brazilian culture

Brazilians have a huge thirst for living life to the full, with the country’s famous Carnaval epitomising the carefree, dazzling exuberance of this nation. This is a country that definitely comes down on the life side of work-life balance, with festivals galore celebrated throughout the calendar.

This energy often spills over into the classroom, with high spirits the norm. You definitely won’t struggle to get your students to speak – although keeping them in their seats could be a tougher challenge! Have a clear lesson plan, embrace their enthusiasm and channel all that energy into hugely interactive, positive English classes.

Although it’s not essential to speak Portuguese, you’ll find Brazil far more welcoming (and get a lot more out of the experience) if you at least make an effort with the basics.

Brazilian cuisine

Brazilian meals have a strong focus on rice, beans and either meat or fish plus tons of flavour, with the popular feijoada (stew with black beans, meat and spices) a great example. If you’re a fan of barbequed meat you’re in luck. You’ll find churrascarias (basically barbeque restaurants) throughout Brazil, with skewers upon skewers of meat ready for you to eat.

If you’re more of a sweet lover, try out brigadeiro – a gooey chocolate truffle, topped off with some chocolate sprinkles, to make sure you’ve got enough! Alternatively, sample the scrumptious acai – a gorgeous blend of berries that usually comes with honey, granola, banana and guarana syrup. It almost as good for you as it’s tasty!

You’ll need a drink to wash all the food down – and where better to start than with a caipirinha. This rather too tasty cocktail is made up of cachaca (white rum), sugar and lime. A great non-alcoholic option is agua de coco (coconut water) – particularly if you drink it straight from the coconut or one of the mind-blowing variety of Brazilian fruits that you can drink freshly squeezed by the juice bars that pop up in every town

One word of warning, Brazilian restaurants serve huge portions. This is perfect if you’re planning to share but less good if you’re stretching your budget to an occasional meal out. It’s also worth checking your bill before you leave, as overcharging is common.

Accommodation in Brazil

Brazil has a good standard of living, with modern apartments in all the main cities. You’re unlikely to be able to afford your own apartment in a popular location on a teaching salary. However, most TEFL teachers find decent accommodation by living outside of the city centre and sharing with other expats – which can also be a great way to find a ready-made social circle.

Weather in Brazil

Brazil has a tropical climate, with the dry season running from August to January and the wet season between February and July. Much of the country remains hot all year round, with Rio de Janeiro reaching sizzling temperatures of around 30 degrees in summer and rarely dipping below the low 20s in the winter months. However, the southern and coastal areas can get cooler between April to October.

Please note: The information in this guide is accurate as of the time of writing. However, the laws and requirements to teach abroad can often change. Make sure to check the latest advice from the local authority of the country you plan to work in.

Various pictures of Brazil

   How are we doing? Give us feedback on our site!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay in the TEFL jobs loop