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Home / Teach English in South America the Complete Guide for TEFL Teachers | Reviewed May 2022

Tefl Jobs In South America

Teaching English in South America

Would you like to teach English in South America? There’s something for every sort of teacher, including English teachers in South America, whether you want to live in the mountains, on the beach, or in a bustling city! From the architectural and linguistic influences of Spanish and Portuguese to the ancient Mayan ruins, any educator will find that South America is an excellent location to educate. As the number of tourists visiting the region grows each year, an increasing number of people hope to learn English in order to connect and collaborate with ex-pats and individuals from other countries. So there’s no better time than now to get a piece of the action and teach English in South America!

South America has become one of the most popular countries for teaching English abroad because of its mind-boggling blend of magnificent natural beauty, different cultures, and dynamic cities. Costa Rica, Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the main cities of Brazil are some of the most popular areas to teach in Latin and South America. In addition, while earnings are not as high as those in Asia or the Middle East, the region’s low cost of living makes it financially appealing.

Types of Jobs Teaching English in South America

Language schools

English language schools are by far the most prevalent employment option for English teachers in South America. These institutions are an excellent choice for both experienced and inexperienced teachers, as they provide a wide range of courses for all types of students. In addition, students at language schools, which include young learners, working professionals, and those in the tourism industry, frequently attend evening and weekend programmes to supplement their education. Because of the flexibility of this class schedule, you will have the opportunity to explore the local area and neighbouring cities during your spare time! In Brazil, language schools are extremely popular.

International schools

If you plan to stay in South America for a long time, you should consider working at an international school. Most schools prefer teachers with a master’s degree in their field of study; thus, this is an excellent alternative for qualified educators searching for two-year contracts. For example, there is an international school in Argentina’s Buenos Aires.

Private tutoring

You can earn some extra money by giving private classes once you’ve settled down to teaching English in South America. Many families or individuals engage foreign teachers to gain additional instruction in order to improve their English skills. You can educate young students in elementary English language classes or businessmen who want to improve their conversational English skills. Tutoring is a terrific opportunity to meet people in your neighbourhood and earn money in any case. However, tutoring should not be your primary source of revenue. Sometimes students will cancel or skip lessons at the last minute! Before committing to instructing pupils, make sure you have a solid cancellation policy.


South America is still in need of massive educational reform, particularly in lower-income or neglected populations, despite the fact that it is classified as ‘developing’ in a number of countries. Teachers are frequently given the opportunity to integrate into their small town’s community by living with a host family or simply spending time with their students. Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador are the most common locations for volunteer teachers of English in South America.

Finding a Job as an English Teacher in South America

Top 5 places to teach English in South America

  • Brazil: The energetic country of Brazil will captivate any teacher hoping to mix business with pleasure. Teachers of English abroad in South America 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.
  • Argentina: There is something for everyone in Argentina, and that includes English teaching positions. Explore the bustling city of Buenos Aires, visit the sprawling wine country in Mendoza, or take a trip to the mystical Iguazu Falls. Find a teaching job at a language school or offer private lessons – either way, you will earn a steady income teaching English in South America and enjoy the perks of living in Argentina.
  • Ecuador: A popular destination for English teachers in South America, particularly volunteers, Ecuador is full of children and adults hoping to improve their language proficiency. Teach in one of the three largest cities of Quito, Guayaquil, or Cuenca. In addition, education reform in rural communities is on the rise, and many ESL teachers are needed all over Ecuador. The cost of living is relatively inexpensive, as you will be able to live as the locals do. It is easy to make friends and see why Ecuador is a great destination for travellers!
  • Chile: Chile is rapidly opening its doors to foreigners, and English teachers abroad in South America are included in that group. One of the best locations to teach English in the region, Chile is full of natural wonders, including mountain resorts (for skiing), expansive deserts, and beautiful lakes and rivers. Teachers have many choices in Chile, which include employment through volunteer work, private lessons, language academies, or private schools.
  • Peru: Peru is home to many students who are hoping to learn English from a native speaker. ESL teachers will find Peru an enchanting and dynamic country, with a great deal of natural and historic beauty. With many eager to gain proficiency in English, teachers have the option to volunteer with local organisations and work as an English teacher in South America at private language schools or international schools. Whichever you choose, there is no doubt that Peru will exceed expectations!

Salary for English Teachers in South America

ESL teachers’ salaries vary by continent, and because they are frequently paid in local currency, they should be viewed through the lens of local living costs. Despite the fact that South America is not recognised for being a high-paying TEFL location, ESL teachers in Peru will have the same level of living as teachers in Spain, who make more in absolute terms but pay a higher cost of living. The majority of jobs teaching English in South America are in the main cities of Caracas, Valencia, and Maracaibo, where the majority of the population lives. These cities are all major centres of trade and industry, which explains why TEFL teachers are in such great demand. You’ll also be teaching English in South America by the Caribbean’s warm blue waves, making Venezuela a dream destination for beach-loving English teachers.


Although a TEFL/TESOL certification is not necessary for many South American nations, having some English teacher training will make the job search much easier. Aside from voluntary teaching, most English teaching jobs in South America will require you to have some practice or expertise – TEFL certifications are an excellent method to demonstrate that you are a professional, committed teacher. In addition, you may be required to be a native English speaker at some schools. If you have a few years of good teaching experience and are neither TEFL-certified nor a native speaker, you will still be evaluated for opportunities. Every type of English teacher in South America will find a home.

Work visa

Obtaining permanent residency in South America is tricky unless you plan to stay for more than two years. Unfortunately, many English teachers employed by language schools or private enterprises remain in their home country for fewer than six months due to visa issues. If you plan to stay for more than a year or two, however, you should look for a contract with a respectable school that will sponsor your work visa.

Classroom culture 

In South America, you may notice that meetings and encounters do not always start on schedule. While this isn’t true for every meeting, many businesses or schools are less stringent about arriving on time. This isn’t to imply that South Americans don’t work hard; they do, but meeting schedules are frequently flexible.

In most schools, the interview procedure for English teachers in South America is quick and on the spot. In contrast to the United States or the UK, where interviews are often held over several weeks or months, colleges will recruit you on the spot if they believe you are a suitable fit. In the classroom, dress professionally (or business casually). Wearing flip-flops and blue jeans to work is never a good idea.



The cost of living in South America is often relatively low. It is simple for a teacher to live on a budget in this region because it is deemed ‘developing.’ Although some places, such as Sao Paolo and Bogota, have high living costs, most rural and urban areas offer reasonable housing and food. Providing private teaching services is an excellent method to supplement your income. In addition, offering your services as an English or other topic tutor will be easier once you have established a local network of coworkers and friends.

To get an accurate cost of living for South America, we use numbeo.com, the world’s biggest cost of living comparison website.

  • Accommodation: £175.48–£251.51/€200–€312
  • Utilities: £38/€42
  • Monthly transport pass: £14.40/€16
  • Basic dinner out for two: £8.30/€9.10
  • Cappuccino in expat area: £1.36/€1.60
  • A beer in a pub: £1.21/€1.42

Tefl Jobs In South America : KEY POINTS



Salaries EFL teachers earn vary across continents



No Bachelors



120-hour TEFL qualification



private schools, international schools, language schools, private tutoring, volunteering


  • Popular Locations: Argentina, Columbia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Mexico, Peru
  • Average Salary of an EFL teacher: Salaries EFL teachers earn vary across continents, and as they are usually paid in local currency, they should also be considered within the prism of the local living costs.
  • Education needed: TEFL Qualification
  • Term times: Feb- Dec
  • Language: Spanish and Portuguese are the languages mainly spoken in South America.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be required for most positions
  • Teaching programmes: private schools, international schools, language schools, private tutoring, volunteering

For English teachers abroad without a four-year bachelor’s degree, South American countries are a wonderful option. Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru are all popular choices. The majority of vacancies teaching English in South America require you to interview on the ground. You can schedule many interviews, visit the schools in person, and then determine which one you want based on the ESL job offers you receive. Unfortunately, South America is a break-even market, which means you won’t be saving money every month. Fortunately, the cost of living is relatively low, so you’ll be able to live comfortably and really appreciate your time abroad. 

Facts about Teach English in South America the Complete Guide for TEFL Teachers | Reviewed May 2022



Spanish and Portuguese



422 Million






Peso & Dollar





Tefl Jobs In South America : FAQS


Which TEFL course should I take to teach in South America?

When it comes to teaching English in South America, there are several TEFL course providers to select from. First, however, you must ensure that whichever option you choose is accredited/regulated, that you have completed at least 120 hours of training, and that you have tutor support.

In South America, there isn’t a negative option. In almost any country in South America, there are several possibilities to immerse oneself in the local culture. If you want to improve your Spanish and live like a local, stay away from large cities and tourist sites. It’s easier to get by in areas like Buenos Aires or Cuzco without totally immersing yourself in local culture because they’re more international by nature. Look for programmes that give you some control over where you’ll be put or that emphasise teaching in more rural regions. You’ll get the immersion experience you want, teaching English in South America no matter where you go.

Once you’ve got your shiny new TEFL certificate, you can start applying for jobs as an English teacher in South America straight away. Remember, you’ll need funds to cover your flights, travel insurance and spending before you start to get paid from your new TEFL job. The best place to look for teaching English in South America jobs is online on TEFL jobs boards.

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