Do you seek international adventure in South America? Would you like to live in a country with thousands of miles of coastline, grand mountain ranges, and endless miles of rolling hills and wine country? What about learning Spanish while living in city like Santiago, a combination of European cosmopolitanism and elegance with the passion and romance of Latin America?
Earning an accredited TEFL certification in Chile offers the opportunity of a lifetime to live and work in one of the most dynamic and beautiful nations in Latin America. While not as large as Argentina or Brazil, Chile is the most economically advanced country in South America and offers a strong job market for English teachers (in addition to endless fantastic travel and recreational opportunities). It will also provide you with skills and a certification that will qualify you for thousands of great job opportunities, not only in Chile, but also throughout South America and all over the world.
When considering your options for TEFL certification in Chile, bear in mind that schools and language institutes in Chile (and around the world) seek to hire those who hold at least a 120-hour TEFL certification that is from an accredited provider (and includes a live practice teaching aspect). 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 out for in a TEFL course.
The majority of accredited TEFL courses in Chile, which can provide a professional level certification accepted by schools and language institutes, 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. All of these classes will cover critical teaching skills including teaching methodology and practices, lesson planning and classroom management.
When and Where to Look:
You should plan your TEFL class around the primary hiring seasons in late February – March and July-August; though it is certainly possible to gain employment during other parts of the year, particularly in big cities like Santiago. The top job market by far is in Santiago, and similar job opportunities will be found in other major cities such as Valparaiso.
Most TEFL certification programs in Chile 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. Most language schools in Chile seek to employ foreign English teachers with a four-year degree.
Before enrolling in any TEFL class in Chile (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 Chile are typically paid by the hour. Expect to make the equivalent of $8 - $12 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 Chile is considerably lower than in major American cities. You should look to work 25 hours a week (class time) to make the equivalent of $800-$1000 USD per month, which is enough to live comfortably and cover your expenses. Giving private lessons, for which you can usually receive $10-$15 per hour, is a great way to make extra money for travel and other pursuits.
Cost of Living:
Count on needing around $1,000 - $1,500 USD to cover housing and living expenses during your TEFL course. Housing is not typically included with tuition for a TEFL course, but most providers can assist with making housing arrangements in a local apartment (often shared by multiple students), a hostel, or possible 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. 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.
Once you begin teaching after your course, expect to pay approximately the equivalent of $400 - $600 USD per month in rent in a major city like Santiago; getting a roommate will cut down on costs and note that rent will vary from city to city and from neighborhood to neighborhood. Most apartments are furnished. Also, you should also count on needing $800-$1000 USD per month to cover other expenses like food, transportation and recreation. As a local, you will learn how to eat, drink and have fun at prices that are much lower compared to the U.S. or Western Europe.