Due to Brazil’s rapidly-expanding economy, there is an increased demand for English teachers. Brazil is already South America’s largest country and its recent economic growth has created an even better job market. English teachers might not find as many teaching jobs in Brazil as in places like South Korea or the U.A.E., but most teachers who have a TEFL certificate will be able to quickly land ESL teaching jobs in Brazil. In addition, Brazil’s status as the 2016 Olympic destination has made even more Brazilians eager to learn or perfect their English language skills.
The most popular locations for TEFL programs in Brazil are, not surprisingly, the nation’s largest cities that lie on the coast: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador. Other TEFL program opportunities exist inland (i.e. Brasilia), but there tends to be a lower demand for English speakers in these areas. Travel in Brazil is generally affordable, so you may be able to explore teaching job options throughout the country upon certification; however, it can be time consuming to travel from place to place because of the mountainous terrain, making selecting your location for TEFL courses in Brazil even more important.
São Paulo. As Brazil’s most populous city and primary business hub, there is no shortage of opportunities to teach English in São Paulo, to clients of all ages. For this reason, São Paulo hosts a variety of TEFL programs and language schools to meet the demand for ESL teachers. For those who seek a massive city environment with a skyline much larger than that of New York City, São Paulo is particularly alluring. Be sure to take a look at what neighborhood your TEFL courses will be located in, in relation to your accommodation, because within the city commutes can take quite a long time!
Rio de Janeiro. This city is Brazil’s most well-known for a reason: it is truly stunning. From the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, views of the coast studded with mountains like Pão de Açúcar, and Copacabana beach to the art surrounding you around every corner (sometimes on the very stairs that you walk on) in the Santa Teresa neighborhood, Rio de Janeiro is the place for those who want to explore and interact with locals. Rio has a variety of language schools and TEFL program opportunities, all of which will allow TEFL students to enjoy everything the city has to offer.
Salvador is sometimes overlooked as a destination for TEFL programs in Brazil, compared to Rio, but is no less exciting. In fact, it has the largest Carnival celebration in the world! Though best known for its dance, the samba, it is not uncommon to see capoeira dancers in the streets of Salvador. Did we mention that Salvador has over 50 miles of city beaches? For TEFL certification seekers hoping for a thrill, as well as a vast number of teaching opportunities, Salvador beckons!
Courses & Programs
TEFL courses in Brazil are usually four weeks long and classes are scheduled from Monday to Friday all day. When looking for TEFL certification courses abroad it is recommended to choose ones that provide at least 120 total training hours, as this will allow you to teach English abroad in the greatest number of countries worldwide, including in Brazil. Most TEFL programs in Brazil will give you the chance to complete at least five to ten hours of teaching in an actual classroom too. The good news is, almost all TEFL certification programs require no previous teaching experience in order to apply.
What will you learn? During TEFL courses in Brazil, you will learn classroom management, methodology for teaching, guides to lesson planning, and basic teaching skills. TEFL programs will include courses that focus on best practices for teaching students how to speak, write, read, and comprehend the English language best, as well as how to instruct students on grammar rules, pronunciation, and vocabulary. While earning your TEFL certificate in Brazil, you will also learn about Brazilian culture and elements of the local culture that may impact language acquisition.
You will also usually observe other teachers in the classroom, in addition to having your own chance to be in front of the classroom instructing real students. Remember, TEFL courses are your chance to learn as much as you can about running a classroom, so ask as many questions as you can and try to picture yourself truly leading the lessons and activities during TEFL training. You will find that it never hurts to carry a bank of games, activities, and songs in the back of your head.
Grading. Most TEFL courses in Brazil do not have a final assessment, but rather instructors are continuously evaluating written assignments, lesson plans, and practice in front of the classroom throughout the course of the program.
Developing a Portfolio. During your TEFL program in Brazil, you should keep a portfolio of the different skills, activities, and lessons you learn. You never know when you will get hired, and some schools could be in such great need for an ESL teacher that you may start a day or two after interviewing for the teaching job. A portfolio is also useful to carry with you to interviews and keep handy during your job search, in case interviewers request to see lesson samples.
Online Vs. In-Country. Getting a TEFL certificate in Brazil will allow you to get to know the culture and Portuguese language, so when you are in the classroom you will already understand your students better, in comparison to if you complete TEFL certification online. You will also be able to network and get to know the different regions of the country before deciding where you would like teach in Brazil after you are TEFL certified.
When To Apply. The peak hiring times for English teaching jobs in Brazil is during the months of March and August. Larger cities offer teaching positions throughout the year, but if you’d like to catch the bigger waves you should plan to complete your TEFL certificate in Brazil by the start of March or August.
Salary & Costs
The cost of earning TEFL certification in Brazil hovers around the $2,000. This price includes the cost of the certification courses, books, and job placement assistance. Some TEFL programs in Brazil will also offer students accommodation during their course within the program price. Make sure to check into these important details as you look for TEFL programs in Brazil.
Once placed in a teaching job in Brazil, you can expect to make anywhere from $700 to $1,500 a month for full-time work, which is a reasonable wage even for big cities like Rio and Sao Paulo.
The cost of living in Brazil is a bit higher than in other South American destinations, but still affordable. A shared apartment can cost between $400 and $900 a month per person. A liter of milk is under a dollar, a full lunch at a restaurant is about $8, and a bus ride is about $1. You may not be living the life of luxury, but TEFL certified teachers will definitely be able to enjoy Brazil on ESL teaching wages!
Accommodation & Visas
Most TEFL certification programs in Brazil do not include accommodation in program costs, although some do. Make sure to pay attention to this important detail when investigating program opportunities. Lodging options in Brazil vary in price and type depending on which city you decide to enroll in TEFL courses in. Affordable, shared apartments and homestays are very easy to find and are the most popular among TEFL program participants in Brazil.
Visas are required in advance to travel to Brazil legally and the process can easily take over a month. It is crucial to start planning for your visa early, making sure that you have proper required vaccinations and paperwork. The status of TEFL students may change and it is best to communication with your TEFL certification program provider to understand which visa type is best for you.
Benefits & Challenges
Language Barrier. Brazil is unique from other Latin American countries as its primary language spoken is Portuguese, not Spanish. It can be a challenge for Spanish speakers to transition from Spanish to Portuguese, especially when dealing with regional variations and accents. In the big cities, like Rio and Sao Paulo, there are plenty of people who speak English as well as opportunities to take Portuguese classes or participate in a language exchange.
Jobs. Once TEFL certified, teachers won’t have many problems finding English teaching jobs in larger cities. In smaller towns, it may be more difficult to find high wages, although the cost of living also goes down dramatically outside of urban areas.
Culture. It does without saying, but one of the highlights of Brazil are the festivities. Brazilians throw an incredible Carnival, they celebrate soccer and sports like no other, and their dances, the samba and capoeira, can be marveled at nightly in most towns.
In Brazil you’ll have the chance to teach English to some of the most happy people on Earth, enjoy meaningfully travel from beaches to mountains to the rainforest, and take part in colorful festivals too. For those looking for a TEFL certification program abroad in a vibrant, culturally rich Latin American country, with plenty of teaching opportunities for later on, Brazil will not disappoint.