How to find a paid job teaching English in South America
| Teaching House Nomads Blog
October 20, 2022
Are you looking for a unique and rewarding experience? Here's how to find a paid job teaching English in South America!
South America is a popular destination for English teachers all over the world. Teaching in this continent opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to travel and explore frequently while you hone your English teaching skills. There are 12 countries to choose from all with diverse cultures and histories, you’ll likely find yourself learning a new language as well!
Another bonus of many South American countries is the number of festivos or public holidays each year, seventeen in Argentina for example, giving you plenty of long weekends to explore.
We’ve put together a helpful guide to land yourself a paid teaching job in South America.
Choosing a Country to Teach
First off, choosing a country out of the 12 beautiful ones in South America can be difficult and overwhelming.
Your choice will depend on a few factors, such as general interest, wages, the cost of living, as well as where the high demand for teachers are. Teaching salaries vary across the regions depending on the country and if you are teaching in a school compared to a university.
You’ll also have to consider visas and travel documents. The most common option is a tourist visa, which usually lasts for 3 to 6 months (depending on the country) and is typically renewable.
We’ve put together a few options to get you started on your search:
Average monthly salary: $600-$1,100/month
The majority of teaching opportunities can be found at language schools in the country's capital city of Buenos Aires. Teaching salaries in Argentina are relatively low but should be enough to cover the cost of living, even in the big city.
Average monthly salary: $500-$1,000/month
Colombia is quickly becoming one of South America’s top TEFL destinations. Teachers are in high demand in this country – which is great news for you! Columbia has a rich history and vibrant cities where you can thrive and explore a different culture.
Average Monthly Salary: $800-1,300/month
The energetic country of Brazil will captivate any teacher hoping to mix business with travelling. Teachers will have the chance to help many students cultivate their language skills, as there is no required English curriculum in the vast majority of schools. You will find rewarding experiences not only in the classroom but also by travelling locally and soaking in the vibrant culture of Brazil.
Types of ESL jobs in South America:
If you are deciding which country to teach in, you should also begin familiarising yourself with the types of jobs that are on offer.
Private language schools
The most popular way to teach English in South America is at private language schools. These schools cater to young learners, professional adults, or university students seeking to better their English.
Teachers are typically hired on a part-time basis and can earn more weekly hours as they gain seniority. In addition, many teachers fill their schedule with teaching hours at multiple language schools or by tutoring privately on the side. These jobs are often posted on our TEFL database here.
This option is for teachers looking to make some extra money on the side of a main income. Teachers can find tutoring opportunities by advertising on local job boards, classified ad sites and Facebook groups.
South America hosts a few volunteer opportunities for English teachers. These programs typically provide volunteers with a small teaching area while staying with a local host family.
There are two main hiring seasons every year in South America, however some countries do hire all year round! This is important to research as it will get you set up early to ensure you have a better chance of getting the position you want!
Language schools start hiring around November - January. The demand for ESL teachers usually remains high until August, then decreases. Remember our TEFL Job Database. We upload jobs from agencies, schools and universities that have positions available. This is a great way to find jobs and apply early!
A CELTA certificate will be very beneficial for you when applying for ESL jobs in South America. Not only is it a necessity in some countries, but candidates with this certificate stand out above other applicants and higher-paid positions often require it. Here at Teaching House we have multiple locations around the world to undertake our CELTA course as well as the option to study online.
Depending what job type you are applying for, having a certification is a necessity for private tutoring sessions, which most teachers in South America rely upon to boost their income. If you plan to teach at a business institute – a Bachelor’s degree plus a CELTA certificate are generally a must, while a job at an international school requires a Bachelor’s degree, CELTA certificate and teaching experience.
Once you have secured yourself a job, enjoy yourself while you are there. Embrace the local culture, learn the language, and open yourself up to new experiences. You’ll learn by doing, and you just might be surprised by how quickly South America feels like home.