Boasting the largest population and biggest economy in South America, Brazil represents one of the largest job markets in the world for teaching English, a status that will only be enhanced in coming years as the nation plays host to the world’s two largest sporting spectacles: the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympiad. In addition to a strong job market, one can write up a nearly endless list of reasons to live and teach English in Brazil, from the glamorous beaches and nightlife of Rio to the lush jungles of the Amazon Basin.
For those seeking to teach English in Brazil, earning an accredited TEFL certification in a city like Rio can make a ton of sense. It will provide you with the training and qualification you need to get hired as a teacher, and since most schools and language institutes hire locally, and face-to-face in Brazil, it will put you right on the ground where you need to be to get hired after you complete your training.Photo credits: atagemouati.
When considering your options for TEFL certification in Brazil, bear in mind that schools and language institutes in Brazil (and around the world) seek to hire those who hold at least a 120-hour TEFL certification from an accredited provider and includes live practice teaching. This equates to a four-week intensive class or a part-time equivalent. Receiving job placement assistance is also a key element that you should look for in a course.
The majority of accredited TEFL courses in Brazil are four-week intensive classes that incorporate 120-130 hours of training, including at least 6-10 hours of live practice teaching with local ESL students. The courses will provide a professional level certification accepted by schools and language institutes in Brazil (that will hire foreign English teachers). All of these classes will cover critical teaching skills including teaching methodology and practices, lesson planning and classroom management.
When and Where to Look:
Primary hiring seasons are in March and August, so plan to take your class in Brazil in the months leading up to those periods. Brazil is a huge country and there are thousands of schools throughout the nation looking to hire foreign English teachers. Most opportunities will be concentrated in major metropolitan areas like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Most TEFL certification programs in Brazil are open to fluent English speakers, ages 18 and older. However, those without a degree and non-native English speakers may be required to write an essay and/or interview with the course director.
Post-TEFL Resources and Salaries:
Before enrolling in any TEFL class in Brazil (or anywhere else for that matter), you should inquire about job placement assistance, which can make or break your efforts to gain employment after your course. Top quality TEFL courses should be able to refer you to local language schools seeking to hire teachers and also to provide assistance in areas such as resume development or coaching you on the interview process. Well-established TEFL training organizations also provide worldwide job placement assistance for gaining employment teaching English in other countries.
English teachers in Brazil are typically paid by the hour (and in cash). Expect to make the equivalent of $8 - $10 USD per hour to start, depending on the school, the job and your basic qualifications. That may not seem like much, but bear in mind that the cost of living in Brazil is considerably lower than in major American cities. You should look to work 25 hours per week (class time) to make the equivalent of $800-$1200 USD per month, which is enough to live comfortably and cover your expenses. Giving private lessons, for which you can usually receive $8-$12 USD per hour, is a great way to make extra money for travel and other pursuits. Salaries will typically run a bit higher in major cities like Rio de Janeiro to account for the higher cost of living.
Cost of Living:
The cost of living in Brazil is typically lower than in the U.S., Canada or Western Europe, but life in the major cities, such as Rio de Janeiro, doesn’t come cheap. If you are taking a course in Rio or Sao Paulo, plan on needing $1,000 - $1,500 USD to cover monthly rent and living expenses both during your TEFL course. If you end of living and teaching outside of a major city, monthly living expenses will usually range $600-$1000 USD depending on where you live and teach.
Housing is not typically included with tuition for a TEFL course, but most providers can assist with making arrangements in a local apartment (often shared by multiple students), a hostel, or possibly a home-stay with a local family. The local course staff can usually provide some guidance when it comes to finding a place to live after the course as well. Many English teachers share an apartment with other teachers, and given that English teachers are constantly coming and going, it’s usually easy to find somebody looking to share a flat.