TESOL, TEFL Courses and other Guides in Brazil – Solving a Mystery!

Brazil, teaching, guide, esl, tefl, tesol, English, abroad, jobsThe great course confusion: what should I take to get qualified to teach English in Brazil?

So what qualifications will get you into a language school in Brazil?  What courses do you need to take in order to teach English privately?

Those are a couple of the many great questions surrounding the teaching of English in Brazil and I intend on demystifying them today!

But before you continue and if you haven’t, I recommend that you start by checking out the introduction at the hub by clicking here.

In part 1, I went over 5 different English teaching scenarios in Brazil and a general introduction to what they are.  I also asked you to pick one you can follow with through the rest of this series.

Do you remember which scenario it was?  If not, then you can get a refresher here

I will separate this part into 2 groups: qualifications for teaching at a school and qualifications for teaching privately.


1. Qualifications for teaching English at a private school

What qualifications do you need in order to teach English at a private school?

Here it goes: YOU!

The biggest determining factor for getting a job teaching English or not, is that you:

  • Are a native or near native speaker
  • Have connections
  • CAN actually teach

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Well yeah, it can be and it can’t be… let me explain: imagine that you find a school willing to hire you and convince the director that you can teach.  You get the job and begin teaching full time but constantly get caught with your pants down with the language, don’t have any structure in your classes and just don’t understand how to teach in general.

I mean, learning English by growing up with it is WAAAYY different then teaching it to people as a second language.  The whole “it is said this way because it sounds right” just doesn’t slide….

It would be irritating and embarrassing, and would probably end in your termination!

Let me give you an example

I have a friend who needed a job badly.   Well he had a buddy who was a personal friend of the director of an expensive and prestigious private international school in the city.  The students paid at least 2,000 reais a month (1,500 USD) to be there.

He was hired on as a teacher based on his qualifications: he was American, knew the right person who recommended him and promised the director that he could teach.

To make a long story short, he was basically illiterate and ended up having to “quit” due to the embarrassment owed to his illiteracy and inability to teach.  Not to mention that his buddy who referred him looked like a complete idiot and a friendship was in jeopardy…

He was caught with his pants down, around his ankles down!

What would have changed things?

If he wasn’t completely illiterate and overconfident it would have helped.  But the biggest thing that would have changed things would have been being prepared to teach and deliver.

It goes like this: the more prepared you are to teach English, the better off you are teaching!  It is a pretty big no-brainer if you ask me.

I’ve converted it into a simple math equation: Happy successful students = happy successful school.  Happy successful school = happy successful director.  Happy successful director = happy successful you!

FYI: If you are wondering how to get the connections and choose an English school that is right for you, I will cover it all in part 5.

I will go over the real courses and tools I recommend you have to get you prepared after introducing the qualifications for teaching privately (or you can skip down).

2. Qualifications for teaching privately

What qualifications do you need in order to teach English privately?

Here it goes: YOU!

The biggest determining factors for you being able to teach privately are:

  • Are a native or near native speaker
  • Have connections
  • CAN actually teach

Yep, the same as above.  It can be quite simple but difficult at times.  Any Joe six-pack can open a business as an English teacher but it wont be successful unless you can actually teach and run a business!

Let me give you an example

I have a friend (oh the friends I have!) who decided that he would jump into the arena of private lessons to make some extra cash.

He had no experience in teaching, couldn’t put himself into the learners shoes and had no clue about building a network or running a small business.

The student would come, receive his “teaching” (they just read children’s books) and leave confused and frustrated that he didn’t get anything out of the class.

The friend of mine was also extremely frustrated and said how hard it was for him to teach, that students wouldn’t show up when they agreed, wouldn’t pay up and that he wasn’t getting any new clients.

What would have changed things?

He had no clue about teaching English as a Second Language, setting up and running a small business (will spell it out in part 3), building his network and marketing himself.

He wasn’t dumb or anything, a completely normal dude who was just trying to make a living teaching English who was caught in frustration and embarrassment due to his lack of preparation.

It goes like this: the more prepared you are to give private lessons, the better the lessons will be and the more lucrative you will become!

I converted teaching private lessons into a bit of a math equation as well.  Happy successful students = happy successful business.  Happy successful business = happy successful owner.  Happy successful owner = a happy successful you!

FYI: if you are wondering how to build a successful English teaching business, I will go over it in part 3.

It all boils down to this: whether you teach for a school or give private lessons, you must be prepared!

3. Getting ready and prepared

So which of the following do you think will get you ready?



I can imagine that you are thinking something to the tone of “what do I choose and what are they!?

This is a heated debate within the foreign community in Brazil and hard to specifically say.

But remember that students and schools only want 2 things: that you are native/near native and can teach!

They could care less about your certificate or degree!  I mean a university education in “letras” (languages) from a Brazilian institution doesn’t mean a whole lot to a Brazilian (bad school quality) – they don’t know that you may actually be educated and qualified to teach.

The bottom line is that the courses and certifications are for YOUR sake to prove to them that they can use you!

A useful course

I could spend an eternity and maybe even dedicate this website to understanding and researching the different certifications, but for my sake and yours I wont!

If you come to the plate with one of the above courses in your toolbox, good for you!  If you’ve taken an actual degree in it, then really good for you!  Do you feel prepared to teach?

If you haven’t taken any type of course or preparation, don’t fear, it’s actually quite easy, cheap and quick to get started.

Disclaimer: I’m in no way saying that you will be qualified to teach English over night, it is a process that takes time.  I am just referring to getting you off onto the right start so that you can begin making money asap.

i-to-i TEFL courses :

I think the name says it all, but the courses they offer are quick, cheap, internet based or live and focused on practical tools to get you ready to teach.  It also offers access to their network of English teaching jobs abroad.

I highly recommend i-to-i’s courses.

Note: since this gives very practical tools in teaching English to foreigners, a university education is not necessary for enrollment.

The i-to-i TEFL courses:

  • Teaches how to teach effectively
  • Covers analysis and teaching methodology
  • Optional specialized modules (i.e. Business English, teaching children etc)
  • Face to face training opportunities
  • Offers the Cambridge CELTA in 4 weeks
  • Help you find jobs
  • Access to their network
  • Courses from 20-160 hours (depending on your need)

They have a little of everything and come highly recommended, you can click on this link to find out more: (note: affiliate link)

As a quick note , if you can’t afford a course then I will include some free links to resources in part 6 :)

What the courses won’t teach you

There really isn’t a course that teaches you the on-the-ground cultural and practical knowledge to teach English.

What about avoiding no-shows?  How about if a customer pays in in check and it bounces?  How do I deal with cultural behaviors? How do I charge? What common Brazilian grammar mistakes bleed over into English?

There is no e-book, course or anything out there that will teach you geographically specific stuff, but I will be happy to do so in part 6 “Resources, tips and tricks!”

4. Final words

I hope that this has shed a bit of light on getting prepared to teach English in Brazil.  Are you ready to start getting the teaching preparation going?

If the i-to-i course is something that interests you, I would recommend if anything meshes with you, they offer a free e-book as well.

I hope you are looking forward to part 3 titled “Setting up Shop, Here we go!” where I show you how to set up your own lucrative English teaching practice step by step.

Part 5 will be for you who wish to get a job at an English teaching school.

Look forward to the next part of this guide!

Cheers, all the best and share the love.



  • Ciro


    I’m interessed in this position… I lived in England for 12 year and tought English here in Brasil for the past 2 year. I’m belive that i have great social skills as most of my previous jobs have been in the area of sales. please get in touch on this email so that we can speak more about this opportunity, this way i can email um my curriculum.

    Thank you very much for the interest

    Best Regards

    Ciro D’Imperio