Teaching English in Brazil (The Country Guide)

Whether you’re a language learner, a restless wanderer, or a committed teacher (or all three!), consider teaching English in Brazil!

While Brazil isn’t one of the most popular TEFL markets, it’s one of the rare countries where almost any fluent English speaker can land a job.

No degree? Not the “right” passport? Não tem problema!

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You’ll find plenty of work — and play — here, and you’ll love exploring all this country’s nooks and crannies.

Read on to find out what’s so special about Brazil, the opportunities and salaries, and to figure out how to start your teaching English in Brazil journey!

Short Info
Types of JobsPrivate schools, private tutoring
Visa Requirementsalmost none
Average Teacher Salary$800-$1,500/month
Average Living Costs$800-$1,300/month
Peak Hiring MonthsMarch-August
Teaching English in Brazil- The Country Guide

Country Info

As the largest country in South America, Brazil has no shortage of things to do. Apart from Carnival and a host of other festivals, you’ll also find tons of things to do here on a day-to-day basis.

Catch a futbol match, kayak, surf, or eat some delicious barbecue: whether you’re a foodie, a sports fan, or an adventure freak, you’ll find your niche in Brazil.

This country is known for its great weather, beautiful scenery, and bustling tourism industry. And its rising economy has made it a great destination for ESL teachers because demand is ever rising.

Hop on a plane and find your new life in the land of adventure!

The world-famous "Selaron Steps" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The world-famous “Selaron Steps” in Rio de Janeiro (Photo: Elizeu Dias)

Basic Requirements to Teach English in Brazil

The requirements for teaching English in Brazil are pretty loose: you don’t really need a bachelor’s degree or a passport from an English-speaking country, although both will help you get more jobs.

In plain words: Yes, you can teach English in Brazil without a degree and as a non-native speaker!

You also don’t need a TEFL certification, but having one will help you look more desirable to employers — and it’ll give you the skills you need to be confident in the classroom.

However, there are some other requirements you should meet if you want to teach here.

First off, you should have $1,200 – $3,000 saved up before you leave for Brazil. You need more startup money here than in many other places because it often takes teachers longer to find steady work in Brazil than in other countries.

More important than savings, though, is your personality. If you want to lead a new life in Brazil, you should have a healthy sense of adventure and a willingness to try new things.

Teachers in Brazil often have to cobble together multiple part-time jobs, make visa runs to neighboring countries, and otherwise be creative in making it work.

If you love living on the edge you’ll flourish here, but if you prefer to play it safe you might not have what it takes to live in Brazil — unless you get lucky and land a cushy job at an international school.

TEFL Courses in Brazil

If you live in a small town in Brazil, it might not be worth it for you to get TEFL certified. However, if you decide to work in São Paulo you should definitely get your certification if you want to appear competitive to employers.

Apart from making you look like a more desirable candidate on paper, your TEFL course will teach you how to be an effective ESL instructor and give you confidence and teaching skills.

As there aren’t many options to get TEFL certified in Brazil, consider taking a course in your home country or purely online.

We recommend the accredited 120-hours online course from Let’s TEFL, including personal support and employment training.

For example, International TEFL Academy offers 4-week TEFL courses at two locations in North America, in New York and Chicago. Find more details here.

(ITTT International TEFL and TESOL Training advertises a TEFL course in Natal, but they haven’t set any course dates yet.)

ESL Job Opportunities and Salaries in Brazil

While there are some really nice international schools in Brazil, they generally only hire teachers who are certified and have teaching experience in their home countries.

For everyone else, you’ll probably find yourself doing a few different part-time jobs to cobble together an income and a schedule.

If you tutor adults or children before or after school through a private language institution, you’ll probably make between $20 and $40 an hour. Your schedule will be a little bit flexible, but you might find yourself working odd hours early in the morning, late in the evening, and on weekends.

You can generally make between $20 and $40 an hour working for a school and between $40 and $60 working for yourself.

Hiring and Application Process

It’s fairly difficult to get jobs in Brazil without having a face-to-face interview unless you’re applying to teach at an international school or somewhere similar, so you should plan on devoting a solid chunk of time to job hunting upon arriving in Brazil.

The hiring process is usually pretty quick, and you may find yourself working pretty immediately upon getting hired somewhere. It can take a couple of months to find a place that will hire you full-time, though, so don’t get off the plane assuming you have a job in hand.

When you’re applying for jobs in Brazil, make use of resources like online forums and expat websites to help you find the schools that are hiring.

Job classifieds for English teachers in Brazil, on empregos.com.br
Job classifieds for English teachers in Brazil, on empregos.com.br

Empregos.com.br is all in Portuguese, but if you speak any (or have a friend that does) you’ll be able to find plenty of jobs for English teachers here. You might also find some ESL opportunities on GoAbroad.com.

Visa Requirements for Brazil

While it is possible to get a work visa in Brazil if you work at an international or private language school, the vast majority of teachers here work on travel or student visas.

Work Visa

If you happen to get one of the rare jobs that offer a work visa, they’ll guide you through the whole process. Keep in mind that you’ll probably need to sign a multi-year contract if you’re trying to get a work visa.

Tourist Visa

If you work on a tourist visa you’ll need to periodically make visa runs to Argentina or Uruguay, but there are practically no requirements for the visa. You should of course always check on the specific requirements for your country, but by and large, all you need to do is show up at the airport and you’ll be granted a travel visa.

One important note if you decide to teach in Brazil on a tourist visa is that tourists are only allowed to be in Brazil for 180 days a year.

Teachers often overstay their visas and simply pay the $400 fine, but it’s definitely not a perfect system — and you will be working illegally should you choose to teach on a tourist visa.

Student Visa

Teachers who also want to learn Portuguese often apply for student visas. You’ll need to enroll in some type of language program in order to get a student visa, and you’ll need to present the following documents to get approved for it:

  • A passport that will be valid for at least 6 months after your arrival in Brazil
  • A filled-out application form
  • A passport-sized photo of yourself against a white background
  • Documentation showing proof of enrollment at a Brazilian institution
  • A letter from said institution
  • An FBI Criminal Background Check
  • Proof of health insurance that’s valid in Brazil
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your travel itinerary
  • A reciprocity fee of $160

You’ll bring all your documents to your local consulate or embassy in order to get your student visa processed.

And remember, once again: while many teachers do work on travel or student visas in Brazil, you’re working illegally if you don’t have a work visa. Make sure you’re okay with that before you put yourself into a potentially dicey situation.


It’s exceedingly rare to find a school that will subsidize rent or provide housing in Brazil, so you’ll probably be left to your own devices when it comes to figuring out your living arrangements.

Rent can get pretty pricey in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but you can find a shared room in the city center for around $400 and your own place further away from the city center for closer to $600-$900. If you live in a smaller town, rent (and everything else) will be significantly cheaper.

The average rent for an apartment in Brazil, according to numbeo.com
The average rent for an apartment in Brazil, according to numbeo.com

It’s always a good idea to look to expat forums and ask other expats for advice when you’re looking for housing, but you can also find apartments in Brazil on expat.com or Airbnb.

Can You Save Money Teaching English in Brazil?

While you may be able to save money teaching English in Brazil if you work at an international school or live somewhere very cheap, most ESL teachers merely break even, making enough money to pay for rent and general expenses every month.

You’ll probably be able to live comfortably here, but you almost certainly won’t get rich as an ESL teacher in Brazil.

On numbeo.com, you find a detailed breakdown of the average living costs in Brazil.

The Best Cities to Teach ESL in Brazil

São Paulo

São Paulo by night
São Paulo by night (Photo: Vanessa Bumbeers)

Known as the business capital of South America, São Paulo is truly a buzzing metropolis. English teachers enjoy higher earnings here than they do in any other Brazilian city, but the cost of living is also higher here.

You’ll find lots of job opportunities, great public transportation, and tons of culture here in São Paulo!

Rio De Janeiro

Aerial View of Rio de Janeiro
Aerial View of Rio de Janeiro

This non-stop city is full of fun (and, of course, hosts Carnival!). You’ll find plenty of expats, nightlife, and delicious food here, as well as amazing public transportation!

There’s no shortage of jobs to be found to teach English in Rio de Janeiro, but there’s also no shortage of competition. Prepare to work hard to find a good job in Rio de Janeiro.

And while you can make a good living teaching here, keep in mind that the cost of living is also high.


The "Wire Opera" in Curitiba, Brazil
The “Wire Opera” in Curitiba (Photo by Adelano Lázaro)

This environmentally friendly cultural center might not be as bustling as Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, but it’s unquestionably cool. Known as the greenest city on earth, it has a lively immigrant population, amazing public transportation, and a totally unique history.

You’ll find a fair number of ESL jobs here and can breathe easy knowing that the cost of living in Curitiba is much more manageable than in Brazil’s biggest cities.

Classroom and Work Culture

Work for ESL teachers in Brazil is generally pretty relaxed: teachers spend around 20-30 hours teaching each week, plus planning and prep time. If you live in a little beach town it’s possible to work even less: perhaps as little as 10 hours a week.

And many teachers arrange their schedules so they only work 4 days a week, giving them plenty of time to travel, explore, and see all that Brazil has to offer.

No matter where you end up teaching, keep in mind that how you dress matters, especially in bigger cities. While you don’t need to be totally formal or anything, you should make sure your clothes are clean — and should probably refrain from wearing jeans.


If you love beaches, barbecue, futbol, and free healthcare, hop on a plane to Brazil today!

While it’s not the best destination for teachers who want to get rich quick or work super cushy jobs, it’s a great place to live for adventurers, wanderers, and lifelong travelers.

Looking for something else? Check the best places to teach English in Latin America or look into our huge archive of TEFL country guides.

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