Brazil is the largest country in South America, with a beauty filled terrain which includes idyllic beaches, like Baia do Sancho, over 60 percent of the Amazon Rainforest, and waterfalls, like the world famous Iguazu Falls. From dancing in the streets during the annual Carnaval to the enthusiastic football fans, Brazilians know how to live life to the fullest. There is a continuously growing demand for English teachers, which presents a range of opportunities to teach in Brazil. As a country with large tourism and international trade industries, it is necessary for many Brazilians to learn English, allowing teachers to benefit from a large and promising job market.
The major cities in Brazil are the most common places to find opportunities to teach English abroad. Sao Paulo, Rio, and Salvador are especially great cities with many Escolas de Idiomas (language schools).
São Paulo. The nation’s largest city and a popular place to search for English teaching jobs in Brazil, São Paulo’s sheer size ensures that there will be plenty of schools looking for international teachers. Its modern architecture, towering skyscrapers, and wealth of cultural sites and events, such as the Julio Prestes Cultural Center, make São Paulo a fantastic place for big city lovers to teach English in Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro. Rio is home to the famous Maracanã Football Stadium and iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. It is a lively city filled with beaches, clubs, and sports bars. Surrounded by rainforests, coastal mountains, and the Brazilian Highlands, Rio offers many outdoor activities and beautiful sights. English has become an important language to speak in this city due to its large and thriving tourism industry. Think of all of the tourists that were there in 2014 for the World Cup – it has become quite necessary for those living in Rio to learn English! The city’s large size, again, gives teachers an advantage in finding teaching jobs in Rio de Janeiro.
Salvador. Any place known as the “Capital of Happiness” is sure to draw people in. If the largest Carnaval in the world isn’t enough to attract international teachers, schools in Salvador love native English speakers and are continuously seeking to hire certified teachers. As the third largest city in Brazil, there are plenty of available teaching placements in Salvador which will boost your chance of finding a good job.
The most popular teaching jobs in Brazil are in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), and peak hiring times are in March and August. To teach in Brazil, namely as a TEFL instructor or at an international school, it isn’t necessary for teachers to speak Portuguese fluently. There are many acronyms used to describe teaching english abroad, including TEFL, TESOL, and ESL. Teachers who want to fulfill TEFL jobs will be required to be native or fluent English speakers with specific certification, while more basic English teaching jobs in Brazil may just require teaching experience.
To become certified, there are a variety of TEFL programs online and worldwide that will allow you to become certified in teaching English as a foreign language. Some TEFL certification programs in Brazil will offer job placement assistance after certification too, so participating in a TEFL program may be advantageous in your hunt for a job teaching in Brazil.
Teachers also have opportunities to teach in Brazil at international schools. At these schools all subjects are taught in English, making it easy for teachers who do not have a knowledge of the Brazilian language too. Most of these schools will require a teaching degree and license, and may also require past teaching experience. Subjects taught in international schools are wide and varied, providing more options than just teaching English.
School Schedule. Teaching jobs in Brazil can be found in public and private schools, language schools, and international schools. But the Brazilian school year starts some time in February, depending on what day Carnaval falls on, and goes until the end of June, when students have a break until the beginning of August. In August, the second semester starts and goes until the beginning of December.
Salaries & Costs
Those who teach in Brazil are typically paid, though there are some teaching programs that may charge program fees and/or offer room and board as compensation for teaching. Teachers can expect to earn anywhere from $800 to $1500 a month on a typical salary, but subsequent tutoring and specializations are where you will make the real money. If you can get your foot in the door of a corporation and be hired as their go-to English teacher, the sky is pretty much the limit.
Accommodation & Visas
Teachers will be able to live comfortably on their salary while teaching abroad in Brazil, but overall expenses can be high. Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Brasilia have all made lists of the most expensive cities in the world. One bedroom apartments close to city centers or in upper class neighborhoods can cost over $2,000. Don’t be too disheartened though because this type of a price tag can be avoided. You can find cheaper accommodations outside of the “it” neighborhoods that will be closer to $700. If you teach in Brazil outside of the major cities, the accommodations will be much more affordable or maybe even included. Either way, Brazil is not the place to teach English abroad if you are looking to save a ton of money. The average teaching job in Brazil will allow you to live comfortable, but not save too much.
You can teach abroad in Brazil on a tourist visa, and it is common for schools to hire teachers who only have a tourist visa. However, a tourist visa doesn’t actually allow you to legally work in Brazil. If you’re interested in learning Portuguese, you can enroll in a Portuguese language course and teach in Brazil on a student visa, but this doesn’t make you a legal part of the Brazilian workforce either. The only real ways to work legally and teach abroad in Brazil are to get a work visa or obtain Brazilian citizenship, both of which are difficult. The process will be long, full of paperwork, and teachers need extensive contracts to apply. Contact your employer or placement provider to get good advice on the visa process and requirements.
Benefits & Challenges
- Language. The Portuguese language can be difficult to learn. If you are familiar with Spanish, don’t expect that it will help you much. Although, the languages do have some similar words and sounds, the accents and meanings are incredibly different.
- Specialize in a Type of Language. Since Brazil is a center of trade and tourism, many companies are located there. These companies will hire English teachers just for their own purposes. If you can gain experience in some specialized area, such as law or medicine, you can make close to $70 an hour tutoring or teaching in Brazil in business settings.
- Fiestas. Everyone knows it so let’s be honest, Brazil is an amazing place to party. We’re not saying you need to hit the clubs or drink your time away, in fact just the opposite. Brazilians are colorful and energetic. Their culture is active and lively seemingly around the clock. The samba and capoeira events are things you cannot miss while teaching English in Brazil.