English Teaching Jobs and Work in Brazil

Brazil, teaching, guide, esl, tefl, tesol, English, abroad, jobs

Before you read part 1 of the English Teaching Guide, I would recommend taking a look at the introduction on the hub page.

You may have heard the saying “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”, well the same is true for teaching English as a second language (ESL).  What may work for one person may not work for another.

Whether you have experience or knowledge in teaching English or not, you can teach English.  I will go over the knowledge side in the next part but with that in mind, I would like to go over a few different typical “English Teaching Scenarios” so that you can see which one you best fit into.

*Note: I am not including public schools and universities as these aren’t typical scenarios.  They are very bureaucratic and Brazilians with degrees and vestibular as well as connections usually get hired.

Now before diving into these scenarios, keep in mind that you will need some type of a relevant visa allowing you to work (except scenario 5).

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Scenario 1 – Work for an English school on their payroll

Overview



Private English schools are very common in Brazil, you see them on pretty much every corner.   They vary greatly quality-wise and on whom they allow teaching, but as a rule of thumb the quality is pretty poor and depending on the area you live in (on how many foreigners live there), it can be a pretty easy job to get.

You will be teaching classes of Brazilians who pay to go to a private English school based on a schedule you get from the school.

Compensation



If you are starting out and have very little experience, then expect to get paid around 10-15 reals an hour.  This obviously increases with time and experience but not to where it’s a “great” salary.  You will be able to put food on the table and that’s about it.

Pros



  • A good place to get started and gain experience – especially if you are new in town.
  • After gaining experience and building a network, you can start your own private classes.
  • There is a place for you regardless if you speak Portuguese or not.
  • You are guaranteed a steady amount of work.

Cons

  • You have to deal with administrational bureaucracy
  • Very low salary
  • Boss only concerned about bottom line
  • Very few worker rights (get ready for some good ol’ @$$ kissin!)

Scenario 2 – Work for an English school as a “private teacher”

Overview

The overview is the same as Scenario 1 except that you will be teaching “VIP” classes for students who want one-on-one classes through the school.  These “VIP” classes are usually in the form of conversation lessons.

Compensation

You can expect from around 20-25 reals per hour, a much better salary then teaching classes but be advised that you have to factor in lesson planning, transportation (the classes are at odd times of the day) and meals.

Pros

  • Great opportunity to establish repoir with private students and build a network.
  • Good for starting out like above in scenario 1.
  • The salary is a bit higher then normal classes.

Cons

  • You have to deal with administration bureaucracy…
  • Few worker rights
  • Many cancellations and tardy students (as is cultural in Brazil)
  • You have to abide by the school policy regarding private lessons.

Scenario 3 – Self employed private lessons (physical)

Overview

You will be teaching private one-on-one lessons or group lessons with Brazilians at their home, your home or a dedicated location.  This type of teaching requires that you are the boss of your own business and therefore you are responsible for the success of the business.

Compensation

  • When starting out and building your network, expect to charge between 35-50 reals an hour (depends on what city you live in) but as you gain a large network and following, you can charge much more.
  • When doing group classes, you can charge 100+ reals an hour!

Pros

  • Highly flexible: you are the boss.
  • Lucrative when established and highly lucrative group lessons!
  • You can decide whom you would like to teach: kids, adults, business people etc.
  • You decide what area of English you will teach (only conversation, beginner, intermediate, advanced etc)
  • The easiest type of business to start in Brazil.

Cons

  • Lots of time wasted in transportation – especially if you live in a large city or are dependent on public transport.
  • Lots of money wasted on transportation.
  • Can be a HUGE headache with cancellations and flakey students
  • You have to build your own network, market yourself etc.
  • Not a reliable source of income until clientele is built up.
  • Have to start a business in Brazil and pay business taxes.

Scenario 4 – Self Employed Specialized Private Teacher

Overview

You will be giving one-to-one or group specialized English classes to business people and professionals (generally within corporations).  This could be English classes for doctors, engineers, business directors and the like.

Compensation

Very lucrative, can charge 150+ reals per hour and more for group lessons.

Pros

  • Very flexible and secure
  • Have a safe network if you made it in this branch
  • Highly lucrative
  • Much more dependable and serious students

Cons

  • Takes time and connections to teach specialized classes.
  • Most companies require that you have a CNPJ (business number) to give lessons.
  • Usually need an advanced teaching degree and certification.

Scenario 5 – Self employed private lessons (online) – no Visa required!

Overview

You will be giving either one-on-one or group lessons to foreigners in any location in the world from any location in the world.  This is a highly flexible and highly automatable business, which can become very lucrative.  No visa is required.

Compensation

Since you can teach students worldwide, you can pretty much adjust your price for each market.

  • One-to-one lessons: In Brazil you could charge a bit less then private physical lessons (but remember that there is NO money and time wasted in transportation!), maybe start out at 25-40 reals per hour lesson.
  • Group lessons: here is where the real money is!  You can give classes to multiple students at once or better yet, you can automate classes so that they are done as webinars! (meaning that you don’t have to be present).  You could charge maybe 15-25 per hour for each student if you are present and giving the class (max 3-4) or 10-20 per hour for each student if it is webinar style (unlimited students: think 10 students= 200 reals per hour for running the same class over and over with different students!)

Pros

  • Since everything is digital, you can register your business in any country in the world!
  • You can receive payments by paypal or accept credit cards
  • You can automate and really become flexible and lucrative
  • No work visa is required due to the fact that as soon as you are connected digitally, your business is located where you opened it!
  • You can find students world wide, in rural areas where there are no native teachers etc.
  • No transportation costs or headaches what so ever
  • You aren’t obligated to register a business in Brazil and deal with the bureaucracy
  • No experience required
  • Easy to build a network
  • Easy to market

Cons

  • You are responsible for building your network
  • You are responsible for educating and training yourself
  • You have to market yourself

I hope that you have found and chosen a scenario that fits you so that we can continue to part 2!  Now remember which scenario you have chosen.

In part 2, I will go over the courses, resources and tricks to get you ready!

Cheers, best regards and share this page!
Kevin

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11 Comments

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  • Hey Kevin!

    Thanks for laying this out for me… I’ve always wondered where exactly I would fit in and if it was possible to make $ teaching English in Brazil. The Scenario 5 is a no brainer for sure! It means that I can start working on it now before I move.

    I had a question though… what do you mean by highly automatable?

    Cant wait for part 2!
    James

  • Hey James,

    Glad to hear you liked the 1st part of this guide – would totally agree that Scenario 5 is the best option in my opinion as well, and especially if you want to build up the business and a network before arriving.

    This is one of the biggest concerns as a foreigner in Brazil , how is my life sustainable here?

    What I mean by “automatable” means that you structure your English Teaching website in a way that allows your products to be “scaleable” (more technical jargon 🙂 ). That means, the same work goes into 1 product for 1 person as 1 product for 1000 people! I will go over it in part 3.

    I will have part 2 up as soon as I can for ya!

    Valeu/cheers!
    Kevin

  • Interesting site. I plan on going to Brazil to teach English. I’ve been living there already for 7 years and know my way around. Still I don’t consider myself an expert on Brazil because the country differs from place to place. I speak some Portuguese and I consider this to be a huge advantage and this website is very helpful.

  • Thank you for the great overview Kevin. I plan to move to Brazil with my Brazilian wife in the near future and I want to teach English to adults commercially, but also provide free lessons for the under privileged children as I believe education offers them the best route to a brighter future. My wife is a teacher (and was responsible for setting curriculums and funding projects in her previous schools). I have been speaking Portuguese for a couple of years … I need to be there to really master it however.

  • Thank you much! Great to see this exists as I am planning to move to Manaus in a few months. I speak Portuguese fluently and have been interested in teaching English there since 1986 and have never made the commitment to actually do it. I have a BFA and need to prepare myself with lesson plans to teach English in a classroom setting or privately. So my question is : what sources will help me best to prepare?

  • I hope i am not being naive. I really like the sound of scenario 5. I have moved to brazil and need to find something to do. English is my 1st language and i am well spoken having lived in England for 4 years. So what better way to use this to my advantage. I really need help with how i go about setting up to begin with scenario 5

  • this is definately helping good one kevin, however I am looking to start to get to brazil its going to be a fresh start if anyone cares to join me, please feel free to wats app me +919823786272, people there in brazil or looking to reach will help both of us.

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