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The Requirements for Teaching English in Brazil
Learn what qualifications you need to teach English in Brazil including education, citizenship, visa, and age requirements.
Written By: Lynda Galea | Updated: November 10, 2021
Written By: Lynda Galea
Updated: November 10, 2021
With its vibrant and thriving culture, Brazil has emerged as an international economic powerhouse, creating unprecedented demand for certified English language teachers. It is a popular destination due to its landscape, beach life, food, and friendly, welcoming people.
If you are considering teaching English in Brazil, you will need to ensure you meet the following qualifications:
Requirements for Teaching English in Brazil:
- A TEFL certification;
- A bachelor's degree is not required (although it may be preferred by some employers);
- Native-English speakers from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa are preferred but not required. Non-natives will be expected to be fluent in English and speak at a native level;
- A valid passport
Let's expand on each of these Brazil ESL teaching requirements and qualifications below:
1. TEFL Certification
A TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification is required to teach English in Brazil. Getting TEFL certified will provide you with the relevant training and qualifications you need to get hired by a reputable school in Brazil and should leave you feeling confident in your abilities to provide ESL lessons to your students.
Which TEFL course is right for me?
Most job interviews in Brazil are conducted on the ground, in-person, therefore it is common for students to take our 170-Hour Online TEFL Course which you can take online from home. This course is part-time, which means you can still work and save some extra money in anticipation of your departure to Brazil, whenever that may be, and then begin your job search once you arrive in-country.
2. Language Requirements
If you are a qualified, non-native English speaker, you can be considered for ESL teaching jobs in Brazil. Non-natives will be expected to be fluent in English and speak at a native level. Although not required, native English speakers with citizenship from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa may still be preferred by some employers.
3. Degree Requirements
A bachelor's degree is not required to teach English in Brazil and your TEFL certification should be enough to successfully gain employment as an ESL teacher. Please note, while a bachelor's degree is not a requirement, some employers may still prefer that you have one and you should be prepared for a more competitive job search without one.
4. Required Documents & Visas
This type of visa is very uncommon for English teachers to receive in Brazil as you need an employer to sponsor you in order to obtain one. The majority of private language schools will not be willing to sponsor their English teachers as it is quite an expensive and long process. Work visas are only typically given to those teachers working in public schools.
As of November 2017, the Brazilian government implemented new immigration laws that enforce stricter penalties on employers that hire employees under the table, as well as on tourists that overstay their tourist visa. Employers are now liable for a minimum of BRL 1,000 and a maximum of BRL 1 million and employees are liable for a minimum BRL 100 and a maximum of BRL 10,000. Overstaying the tourist visas will incur a fine of $5 a day.
In order to enter Brazil as a tourist, the majority of nationalities must apply for a 90-day tourist visa through a Brazilian Consulate before arrival. Prices, processing times, and documentation may vary between all consulates so make sure you check with the appropriate one in your area. Once you are in Brazil, you may apply to stay in the country for an additional 90 days through the Policía Federal. Tourists are not legally allowed to stay in Brazil for more than 180 days per year.
Before deciding if a tourist visa for teaching English in Brazil is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you okay with working under the table on a tourist visa? Schools in Brazil will not assist their teachers in getting a work visa as it is a very long and expensive process. With fines having increased for schools/employers who hire teachers under the table, teachers should plan to look into private teaching/tutoring and teaching online.
- Are you planning on staying in Brazil for six months or less? As a tourist, you can only be in Brazil legally for 180 days per year. Once you are in Brazil on your tourist visa, you can extend it one time for another 90 days. After this, you are required to leave the country.
- Do you have extra start-up money to apply for your tourist visa? In order to enter Brazil, the majority of nationalities must apply for a 90-day tourist visa through the Brazilian Consulate before arriving in Brazil. Prices and processing times may vary depending on your country of origin.
Documents Requirements for Teaching English in Brazil
TEFL teachers applying for jobs in Brazil should expect to have the following documents available to secure employment:
- A valid passport;
- International resume and cover letter;
- TEFL certification
- Brazilian tourist visa
5. Age Requirements
Since teachers typically teach English in Brazil on a tourist visa and not a sponsored work visa, the tourist visa has no age restrictions attached to it. Be mindful of Brazil's retirement age though, which is 60 for both males and females.
6. Prior Teaching Experience
While prior teaching experience can help you stand out on your resume, you do not need it to teach English in Brazil. Your TEFL certification training will provide you with the relevant qualifications you need to get hired by a language school in Brazil.
Any reputable TEFL certification course should include a mandatory practicum component to help gain firsthand experience practice teaching with real non-native English speakers. This will prepare you for the classroom and leave you feeling confident in your ability to deliver well-structured ESL lessons to your students. This practice teaching can count as teaching experience and should be highlighted on your resume.
7. Physical Requirements
A health screening and/or drug test are not required to teach English in Brazil.
An accomplished traveler (she's visited 40 countries!), Lynda hails from Melbourne, Australia. Since she joined ITA in 2017, Lynda has become a primary expert on the field of teaching English online. Not only has she published numerous articles on the topic herself, but she has worked with International TEFL Academy alumni around the world to produce an entire library of information and content about teaching English online. Lynda also serves as a primary organizer of ITA's ground-breaking Teach Abroad Film Festival.
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