Teach English in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Teaching Programs in Rio de Janeiro

Teach English in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Home of the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, as well as the annual festival of Carnival, Rio de Janeiro’s fame extends to all corners of the globe. In addition to hosting the 2014 World Cup’s final match, Rio will be the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in 2016.

Therefore, many locals are hoping to be part of the action in the next coming years by learning English. The presence of the English language is growing, and many children, teens, and adult learners are hoping to increase their comprehension sooner rather than later.

As Brazil’s popularity increases, as one of the world’s emerging powerhouses, Rio de Janeiro remains an ideal destination for teachers looking for adventure and diversity in a fast-paced urban setting!

Photo Credit: Jaime Spaniol.

Job Types

Private Language Academies/Schools:

Language schools are the most popular option for foreign teachers in Rio. Since it is difficult to obtain a permanent resident permit/work visa, many instructors are able to stay in Brazil for around 3 to 6 months. English language centers provide the most favorable employment options for these short-term stays.

Additionally, students (both young and mature) are primarily looking for after-school or evening English classes. Some examples of Rio language schools with these types of programs are CNA Cultural Norte Americano and Tallen’t.

International Schools:

Brazil is home to ethnic groups from all over the world. Portuguese, Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants are just a few of the many groups that have relocated to the large city of Rio. International schools offer a curriculum that highlights the many cultures, world views, and backgrounds of its diverse population.

Teachers are needed in every subject, not just English language; examples of schools that offer teaching options in addition to English include the American School of Rio de Janeiro and Rio International School. Although, keep in mind that many of these schools are looking not only for qualified, but permanent residents (in order to avoid the trouble of obtaining work visas).

Finding a Job

When and Where to Look for Jobs:

While many schools will conduct interviews over email, phone, or Skype, it is easiest to look for a job once you have relocated to Rio de Janeiro (particularly if you plan to stay for less than 6 months).


A TEFL/TESOL certification is required to teach in Brazil. While some schools do not require their teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree, it is to your advantage to have one, so that you can receive higher pay and larger benefits.

All teachers at international schools are required to hold a bachelor’s degree, in their field of expertise, and at minimum, 2 years of experience.

Salary & Cost of Living:

As Brazil rises in the ranks as an international player, the cost of living also grows. Since housing is not included in most teaching contracts, a good portion of your salary will go toward monthly rent. In a gigantic city like Rio, it might be difficult to save a good chunk of your earnings. The most popular neighborhoods are Lapa, Botafogo, Catete, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Santa Teresa. Keep in mind that short-term, affordable housing may be hard to come by during the month of Carnival (typically February or March).

If you don’t want to blow your funds, eat locally, as imported goods are burdened with high tariffs, and opt for a place of residence outside of the city center (if possible). Additionally, Rio offers many convenient and relatively inexpensive modes of transportation, through its taxis, buses, and metro lines.

Classroom & Work Culture:

Learn a bit of basic Portuguese and do not make the mistake of speaking Spanish to Brazilians! Many take offense to tourists or foreigners who attempt to speak Spanish, rather than Portuguese.

It is not uncommon to see two women or two people of opposite genders greet each other with a kiss or several kisses. Depending on your location, you will do one kiss (São Paulo), two kisses (Rio de Janeiro), or three. Keep in mind these aren’t real kisses, by definition, but the touching of cheeks.

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